Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Having dreams and vision beyond your wedding day is important. Most of us have already some dreams in mind; they may include career, children and having our own home. You may have a dream home in mind and are working towards the goal of purchasing it but without a good marriage that home becomes only a house. Building your home is about building your relationship. To do this effectively, we need to follow Biblical principles.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV) says “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” Encouragement should be a big part of your communication!

Interestingly the phrase ‘build each other up’ can also be translated as ‘edify’. It comes from two Greek words: oikos which means ‘a home’ and dimeo which means ‘to build’.

Your home life might only be starting, you are building from ground level, you have just got married, and your relationship is in the early stages of growth. The word translated ‘to build’ is also relevant to restoration, rebuilding and repair. That is good news for those who are struggling in their marriage and wondering how they are going to reverse their current situation and rebuild their broken relationship.

Where do we start? It is never too late to introduce encouragement into our marriage but if it hasn’t been a pattern in your marriage you may find it difficult to know where to start.

Identify 5 things you appreciate about your spouse:

1.    _____________________

2.    _____________________

3.    _____________________

4.    _____________________

5.    _____________________

If you are having difficulty doing this think about even the smallest of things. For example, you might appreciate being made a cup of coffee, the way they look, the help they are around the home. Once you start looking for the good in someone the task becomes much easier. Often we can focus in so hard on the negative that we can forget about the positive attributes of our spouse.

  1. Learn to say thank you. Thank you may seem like an insignificant thing to say, but it means so much to the person who is hearing it. A sincere thank you given for mundane tasks as well as for gifts is an encouragement.
  2. Don’t buy into the retaliation game. Too many people use the excuse “Why should I encourage them when they don’t encourage me?”. There is a spiritual law called sowing and reaping. Galatians 6:7 says “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows this he will also reap”. If you want to start receiving encouragement then start sowing it.
  3. Say sorry for criticising. Repentance can be difficult especially if you feel justified in what you have said, but criticism sown in the marriage is a destructive seed. If you build your home through encouragement, then the opposite is tearing your home down through criticism. Take time to ask God’s forgiveness and ask him to give you a new perspective of your spouse.
  4. Don’t Nag. Nagging is not the same thing as encouraging! In fact, if you nag you will drive your spouse from your home rather than build your home. ‘It is better to live on a corner of a roof than to share a house with a nagging wife’. Proverbs 21:9 (New International Reader’s Version)
  5. Support Each Other. Encouragement is about supporting. If you go to watch sports you cheer your team on. Cheer each other on in what you are doing, you are on the same team. A good example of how we should support one another is to think of a candle in a candle holder, without the candle holder the candle can’t stand and can’t do its job easily. Support is a human need; it isn’t a weakness if we realise we were made to complete one another rather than compete.

If you have trouble accepting encouragement you need to realise that you are of value in God’s eyes. Study these scriptures to see how He feels about you.

  • You have value (Psalm 139:13-16).
  • Christ loved you so much He died for you (Romans 5:8).
  • You are God’s own child (John 1:12).
  • God has a plan and a purpose for your life (Ephesians 2:10).

If you don’t have a Bible but want to look up these scriptures the BibleGateway is a useful on-line tool. Simply visit: www.BibleGateway.com.

by Lainey Hitchman

Bringing Worlds Together Book

Many couples struggle to get on the same page in marriage. Whether you are newlyweds or have been married for years Bringing Worlds Together will help you blend together. Expect to learn more about your spouse, gain insight and be challenged.

Are you ready to move closer rather than drift apart?

Available in print and ebook formats.

Adjusting Expectations Book

No-one enters marriage expectation free. Adjusting Expectations helps identify how expectations were formed and whether or not they were realistic. Most expectations need some adjustment; they are often too high but can also be set too low. The good news is expectations can be reset!

Find out what you should expect and what God expects from you.

Available in print and ebook formats.

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