Convince Your Spouse to Fight for Your Marriage

Love UnconditionallySometimes it’s the most simple of suggestions that makes the biggest difference in life and marriage. Gary Chapman shares a bit of advice on influencing your marriage partner to reengage with you in marriage. If you are consistent with following Dr. Chapman’s wise counsel, I think you’ll find yourself and your spouse becoming more and more encouraged over time.

 

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What is one positive action you can take to be a better spouse?

 

What do you think might help you to maintain a consistent focus on giving to your mate, even when he/she does not give in return?


Linking up with – Marriage Mondays, The Weekend Brew, Faith and Friends, Making Your Home SingMondays @ Soul Survival,  Sunday Stillness,  Sharing His Beauty, and  Playdates with God

  • Mary

    Wise words from Dr. Chapman today. Building into others consistently will always reap positive rewards when we do it in love and grace. So good to see you today at The Weekend Brew. Praying your week is blessed!

    • Yes, Mary, this is important for us not to lose sight of in any relationship. It’s easy to become discouraged and not realize that we are making a difference in our marriage one small loving act at a time. My post on Wedded Wed will give one more benefit that I think actually trumps “influencing” our mate’s heart. Thanks for your kindness to me, Mary! I do not take any of it for granted!

  • Yes! This is a relationship to fight for, to live for, to work for! Living out what we say we want {love, respect, joy, honor} is a big key to hopefully getting that in return.

    It’s in His hands …

    • Yes, Linda, and as Joe has mentioned above, it’s not that we do this to get, but because it is the right thing to do. God blesses us when we do the right things in our marriages. And you are also right about it being how we can “fight” for our marriages. I believe it is so worth the effort to value and protect what is our sacred union–no matter the cost! Thanks for stopping by, my sweet friend!

      • ShelaEM

        This concept reminds me of a phrase I’ve come across recently – and I think it is even a title of a book (can’t recall the author’s name) – it goes something like this, “God cares more about your holiness than your happiness.” This is a tough concept to put into action when your spouse is not actively investing in the relationship. But one that brings us to our knees at the feet of Jesus which is, ultimately, most important.

  • Nice! Learned something new again. Taking down notes for the future. 🙂

    • Yes, Dr. Chapman is a great teacher of how we should act as good spouses, Lux. It’s easy to lose sight of that when our spouse doesn’t act good or loving toward us. My hope is that this will give practical answers to those who’ve become discouraged in marriage. Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me, my friend!

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Great wisdom here.

    It seems to me – and I may be totally wrong – that asking what one might do to be a better husband or wife puts nearly everything into play. The answer may be something we don’t want to hear, much less do.

    But we have to do it, because we’ve been given clarity. Not following through when one has asked that question can make things much worse, because it becomes a steep hill back into trust.

    Am I off base here? This is how things have seemed to work in my marriage, but is this universal, or am I living in a kind of Gothic singularity?

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2015/07/your-dying-spouse-35-homebound.html

    • JosephPote

      I think it depends a lot on the people, their relationship, and the current situation, Andrew.

      That always sounds so great to ask “How can I be a better husband to you?” And, sometimes, that can be a really, really good conversation to have…discussing needs and expectations…searching deep and listening well…

      But…if the mood is wrong or the other partner is feeling offended…it can also easily turn into a dump fest…spouting off a litany of every perceived slight going back years…

      Or, if the timing’s off and they’re not immediately ready for a lengthy in-depth serious discussion, you may feel the let-down of being completely blown off when you were being vulnerable…

      I think it is a useful tool, but one to be used sparingly and cautiously…certainly not something to keep repeatedly asking every couple of weeks…

    • I think in most marriages this is a great question to ask. Most of the couples I’ve dealt with that have been in an unhealthy and volatile marriage for very long often take on a “victim-mentality” or feeling of helplessness. This gives the “victim” spouse a new power to wield in a way. They have not only demonstrated humility and a desire to connect to their spouse, but are positioning themselves to receive something that may have been overlooked as they remained rather “inward” throughout a lengthy standoff. If the victimizing spouse takes advantage of this, you’ll see it right off the bat! So this would, perhaps, not be something you’d continue to offer. But I would still say that there might be some nugget of wisdom (even if encased in sarcasm or hostility) that should be examined more closely and worked on in the “victim’s” life.

      You also bring up an important point that this creates greater accountability. So to ask this question and not to follow through is a recipe for disaster. But it also provides a greater incentive to change that might just move you from the stymied position you feel in a lengthy messy marriage.

      Much of my experience has been in doing that next right thing in marriage even when my spouse does not. Thankfully, my spouse has been inspired and influenced for the better at times–as have his good actions inspired and influenced me for the better. That’s not always the case, but I feel I can’t address adequately every situation that might occur. This is a blog and not a book. 😉 Thanks for your continued engagement and insight, my friend!

  • JosephPote

    Hmmm…

    I’m pondering this one from several angles…because I’ve experienced it from several angles…

    First, yes, in a reasonably healthy marriage where both partners at least WANT to be a blessing to each other…to love, honor, and cherish one another, it makes a lot of sense to daily recommit to intentionally treating your spouse in love whether or not you feel they are being loving toward you. This is something I strive to live out on a daily basis.

    However, there are marriages where one spouse chooses selfish destructive behavior no matter how well their spouse treats them…and the only way to stop the destructive behavior is to end the relationship.

    Blessings to you, Beth!

    • JosephPote

      Okay…I awoke this morning thinking about this post and realizing what it was about the Gary Chapman clip that most concerned me (Kudos for that, Beth! I don’t often return to thinking about a blog post hours later.)

      Acting in love is always appropriate. Sometimes love is tender and sometimes love is tough, but love always acts in the other person’s best interest. More often than not, in a marital relationship, acting in love includes tenderness and gentleness.

      However, when we behave in a tender and gentle manner toward our spouse for the purpose of influencing how they behave toward us, we have just taken a step away from acting in love toward acting to manipulate. Right behavior, wrong motive.

      Yes, as we consistently act in love toward our spouse that is likely to influence how they feel and act toward us. However, changing their behavior should not be the primary motivation for our behavior. When it is…that is something less than love. And…it is likely to lead to unnecessary frustration and disappointment.

      I act in love toward my wife because I have chosen to love her…because Christ commands it…because the Holy Spirit compels me…because Jesus said love is the mark of the true believer…because I swore a sacred oath to love, honor and cherish her…because it is the right thing to do…and because I want to love her even when I don’t feel like it…

      I Corinthians 13 gives a detailed list of what love is and what it is not. Not once in this chapter are we told that love is used to manipulate the other person’s behavior.

      Frankly, if I believe my spouse is mistreating me or eroding our relationship, that is better dealt with by a frank and honest discussion about boundaries, goals, and expectations rather than trying to manipulate through tender behavior. That doesn’t mean the tender behavior isn’t appropriate…it likely is. But the motivation for the tender behavior should not be to change my spouse’s behavior toward me.

      My two-cents worth…based largely on personal experience… 🙂

      • I can see that this has struck a nerve for you, Joe and I try to always keep that in my sights here at Messy Marriage. I am so very aware of how many people have tried these steps in marriage only to be faced with failure and divorce papers. In fact, my post for this coming Wedded Wed actually deals with that side of things. But I also don’t want to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” I think the issue might be the title Dr. Chapman and I gave this issue – “Convince Your Spouse.” But if you listen to the video, Dr. Chapman talks about how we cannot “change” our spouse. That should never be the reason why we do it, but that does not mean we leave out the part that very often “works” in this paradigm. It’s like the purpose of prayer is not to get what we want from God. Very often prayer is what changes us for the better, rather than changing our circumstances or the people we are praying about. However, that does not mean we stop praying for others or expecting that the prayers we pray will make a difference. It’s not manipulation but rather how love in action works. And it does work–even if only on our hearts.

        I chose to keep the title that Dr. Chapman gave this because I knew it would be an eye-catcher to those who need to hear this message. But I neglected to add a disclaimer–which I typically do–on not trying to manipulate or change our spouses. Thanks for your passion for marriage, Joe–especially for those who’ve tried and failed to make what is a two-way street passable when the other lane is “shut down.” 😉