Looking Out (Part 2) – Blessing Our Spouse Through Our Attitudes

Last week I wrote about the importance of looking for opportunities to bless our spouse. As I wrote then, too often we are focused on how things benefit us and striving to prevent any personal inconvenience. This self-centered perspective is bound to create barriers rather than building a relationship with the one we love. In the previous post I shared three practical things that we can do to turn those tables around and instead intentionally bless our spouse. Today, I have three more suggestions. But instead of being focused on what we do, these three recommendations concentrate on the condition of our hearts. Our attitudes can be a blessing to our spouse just as much as our actions.

Express Gratitude

As I have shared before, my parents were high school sweethearts and when by Dad got his promotion to heaven they had been married for 34 years. Despite this long history, my mom still thanked my dad for every dinner that they went out to – whether it was for a date night or a dinner together as a family. She didn’t have to do this but I am confident that it both encouraged my dad and blessed him to know that my mom still appreciated his gesture. He knew his thoughtfulness was noticed and for most of us, just knowing that we are not taken for granted can be a significant blessing.

In a marriage it is easy to get into routines and have expectations. We would be wise to thank our spouse for the things that they do for us, even if they are things that we are used to them doing. After all, who among us doesn’t appreciate appreciation? And what a blessing it is to know that our spouse is grateful for all we do on a regular basis.

Eliminate the Scorecard

Often times in relationships we seek for balance – we want there to be an equitable division of labor and we don’t want to give more than we take. The problem with this approach is that we are constantly keeping score, trying to figure out which way the scales are tilted. If we are busy trying to figure out whether we are owed something, we are not busy figuring out how to be a blessing. A scorecard mentality is detrimental to any relationship, and it is doubly so in a marriage. There will be seasons of life where you will need to give more, and there will be seasons where you will be the recipient of greater gifts. Our tendency is to focus on the times where we are giving, but it would be better if we didn’t keep track at all. After all, I Corinthians 13 says that love “keeps no record of wrong.” Focusing on what our spouse did or didn’t do is unlikely to strengthen our marriage; thinking about what we can do today, in this moment, to be a blessing, will.

Celebrate Accomplishments

Along with having a propensity towards thanksgiving, we can bless our spouse by sharing in their joy. This may seem obvious, but in far too marriages, people are too busy getting things done to take the time to recognize each others’ accomplishments. It may not seem like a big deal to you that your spouse was complimented at their job, but it may be to them. Perhaps it seems like an easy task to get your kid to sleep on time, but for some moms and dads that requires a herculean effort. The point is that the accomplishment does not have to be something monumental for it to be significant. And looking for ways to encourage your spouse in the work that they are doing by taking notice of milestones and achievements will go along way towards encouraging them to continue doing those things with excellence.

A Mutually Beneficial Arrangement

When it comes to intentionally looking for ways to bless our spouse, both our actions and our attitudes matter.  In all likelihood our actions will follow our attitudes so perhaps that is the best place to start. But even when our hearts are distracted and our minds are overwhelmed, we can still find ways to be a blessing if we are intentional about doing so. The sad reality is that we are more likely to drift into ambivalence than we are to leap into purposefulness. That is why we must commit to consistently seek ways to bless our loved one, and to do so regularly, in big ways as well as small.


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The Path of Least Assurance

We have all probably been there. We are faced with a decision and one path seems like the “rational” choice, and yet after prayerful consideration, we believe that God is leading us in the other direction. It may not make sense to us, let alone to our friends or family, and yet we feel compelled to pursue this path of uncertainty. We may not see beyond the next step, and we definitely do not know what the end result will be, but we sense that this is the way the Holy Spirit desires us to go.

In these situations, I often find myself wondering why God doesn’t reveal more. Of course, He has been gracious to reveal as much as He has through His Word, but at times, it appears that following Him would be easier if we had a clearer sense of where He was leading. Perhaps if we could see what He was orchestrating, we would more confidently pursue it. Perhaps if we knew what the plan was, our hearts would be more inclined towards it. If we understood more, wouldn’t we follow better?

While all of this sounds good, I’ve come to believe that one of the reasons God may choose not to reveal all He has planned is because we would be tempted to follow the plan, rather than Him. If we had a greater sense of the work He was doing in and through us, we might become so focused on what He will accomplish, that we would neglect to bring glory to the One whose accomplishment it is. If we understood how the pieces fit together, we might think we could complete the puzzle without Him. In other words, sometimes God may call us to the path of least assurance because if we do not have confidence in the circumstance, it may cause us to increase our dependency on Him.

Of course, just because something is uncertain is by no means a clear indication that this is the path a Christian should pursue. We should dedicate our decisions to prayer, seek wise counsel and dive deep into His Word. At the same time, we mustn’t be afraid if the path that we are to walk is not completely revealed. It is enough to know the One who leads us, and to place our assurance not on the road that we see, but on the One who leads the way.

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