Approval in Marriage Caring for Your Spouse

Bless His Heart, He's A Nice Guy But He Sure Is ...........

 

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Have you ever heard another person say, "He's (she's) just not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, bless his (her) heart" ?  Or maybe the statement sounded something like, "I don't think he gets out much, bless his heart."  OK, you may not have heard those exact quotes, but some throw on a "bless his heart" at the end of the sentence, as if "bless his heart" is a type of magic wand that negates any harmful impact of a critical or sarcastic statement.  Doesn't quite work, does it?
 
In fact, giving a blessing, acknowledging a person's value, and being a blessing are all important features of loving relationships.  We are focusing this week on letting our spouse know that he/she is a blessing, that we approve and assign great value to our marriage relationship.
 
We want to learn and practice effective ways to communicate Approval to our spouse. 
 
Approval can be communicated in both verbal and non-verbal ways.  Non-verbal has to do with your body language.  The ways you look at your spouse,  the position of your body, the ways you listen, and the touches you give your spouse can say "I approve of who you are" and "I truly value our relationship" and "You are important to me."  Also, if done incorrectly, they can convey that we don't approve of him/her.

Approval (Blessing) 
Building up or affirming another person, particularly for who they are (as opposed to what they do); affirming both the fact and the importance of our relationship with another person.
( Ephesians 4:29; Mark 1:11)
 
WALKING IN THE LIGHT IS THE KEY!
Lord Jesus made it clear:  "...Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you." (John 12:35)
John spoke, "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin." (I John 1:7)
So --- Let's Walk in the Light!

THREE SOURCES OF LIGHT - Help Us Experience Approval in Marriage 
 
Light Source #1:  Jesus is the Light of the World (John 8:32)
Walking in the Light:  Experiencing God's Love and Giving It Away (Approval)
 
Let's Walk in the Light of Fresh Encounters with Jesus
 
Did any of the people with whom Jesus interacted during His earthly ministry live lives that were contrary to what Jesus taught and lived?  Of course they did.  Truth is, not one of them lived exactly according to what Jesus taught and lived.  Romans 3:23 and 6:23 are clear.  We, each of us, fall short of God's glory and deserve to be separated in death because of our sin. 
 
But "God, Who is rich in mercy" has given us a priceless gift through believing the Gospel of Jesus.  You may need to read this next verse a few times to catch it deeply enough to evoke gratitude and worship, but here goes:
 
"Yet now he has brought you back as his friends. He has done this through his death on the cross in his own human body. As a result, he has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault." (Colossians 1:22)
 
Would you take a few minutes to encounter Jesus and "stand" with Jesus in the presence of God?  He brought you there....that is what it says.  Now, stand there before God in the condition Jesus says you are in.  Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to write that you and I are "holy and blameless as you (we) stand before him without a single fault."
 
Don't go yet!  Stand there and experience this fresh encounter with Jesus, who is "the same yesterday, today and forever".  I mean - it's true!  Walk in the light, stand in the light, and enjoy the light. 
 
Enjoy God's Approval - apparently He values you, values the relationship, wants it, thinks highly of you, and has done the hard work of establishing and maintaining a relationship with you through Jesus - from beginning to never ending!
 
How cool is that? 
 
Did you walk in the light of a fresh encounter with Jesus standing with you in the presence of the God the Father?  How does He do that?  I have no idea, but I truly enjoy the fresh encounter with Him.
 
Light Source #2:  God's Word is a "Lamp and Light" (Psalm 119:105)
Walking in the Light:  Experiencing God's Love and Giving It Away (Approval)
 
Let's Walk in the Light of "Doing the Book"
 
"Yet now he has brought you back as his friends. He has done this through his death on the cross in his own human body. As a result, he has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault." (Colossians 1:22)
 
I am sticking with the same verse in Colossians 1:22 and inviting you to focus a few minutes on how to align attitude and actions so that your non-verbal matches the verbal communication of approval for your spouse.
 
Non-Verbal:
If you have not yet been in the presence of God during the experience of Walking in the Light of a Fresh Encounter with Jesus (see above), please do it ASAP.  The simple truth remains:  You cannot make yourself feel approved or even feel approval for others.  However, in the presence of God as His approval washes over you, there will be birthed in you such deep gratitude and worship that Holy Spirit will create in you His attitude and heart toward your spouse.  God loves and approves of him/her.  I did not say He approves of every action your spouse performs.  He doesn't approve of every action you or I perform either, but God sees your spouse's value, as a unique creation full of life - potential glory  - eternal influence.  Besides that, even if you or I are unable to do "great things for God", each of us is still valuable to Him and therefore valuable.....period!
 
I want you to find a way or two to demonstrate that you know your spouse has value, that you approve of who he/she is, and that you are honored to be married to him/her.  (Maybe you could become a better listener and make good, prolonged eye-contact when he/she speaks.  Think about turning off the TV or closing the laptop/notebook/smart phone when she/he comes into the room just to be ready to receive your spouse with approving body language and physical touch.  Perhaps you could sit closer or invite him/her to sit with you on the same sofa or squeezed into the same chair.  You could even go outside on the deck or for a walk just because you value your spouse and want uninterrupted time to show approval.
 
Verbal:  I want you to think about the character of your spouse.  Consider punctuality, neatness, organization, listener, creative, energetic, servant heart, hard worker, wise money manager, frugal, planner, detail oriented, able to go with the flow, spontaneous, fun, serious, conversationalist, good personality, his/her positives help fill in your weaknesses, accepting of others, cautious, content, decisive, dependable, diligent, discerning, enduring, forgiving, faithful, generous, gentle, grateful, hospitable, self-controlled, disciplined, wise, etc.(see page 266-268 in the Intimate Encounters workbook if you have one) Don't have an Intimate Encounter book? Check out our Resource page to order one!
 
Think of 3 or 4 qualities and make a list.  Ask God to show you ways you may have missed communicating approval to your spouse.  What does he/she possess that you missed, that you have overlooked.  Now think of ways to communicate Approval to him/her by writing a letter, planning a date, or sitting together in a quiet time and place as you list his/her qualities and how you have seen them over the recent or many years of your relationship. 
 
Light Source #3:  Followers of Jesus are called the "Light of the World" (Matt 5:14)
Walking in the Light:  Experiencing God's Love and Giving It Away (Approval)
 
Let's Walk in the Light of Fellowship with Believers (especially our spouse, if he/she is a Christ-follower)
"Yet now he has brought you back as his friends. He has done this through his death on the cross in his own human body. As a result, he has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault." (Colossians 1:22)
 
Though your spouse is not perfect, nor blameless in daily living, he/she is worth loving and approving.  His/her qualities of character and life should be noticed and noted by someone.  Perhaps you are positioned in the best spot to speak into his/her life and communicate approval and that you value her/him.
 
1.  At a time when you are together and quiet, would you ask her how he/she was praised in her home of origin and for what? 
2.  Was there anyone who expressed that he/she was valued and brought joy into the home just by being a part of the family?
3.  Did praise come only after achievements of some kind or did your spouse's character and value spur an adult to communicate Approval?
 
Notice:  I did not ask, "Did your spouse's parent(s) approve and value him/her?"  We may not know if they did or didn't Approve, but that is the salient point.  My question is for your spouse and for you, "Did anyone communicate to you (your spouse) that you (he/she) were Approved?" 
 
Remember:  When a person is loved (and in this case Approved of), he/she should not have to guess.  This happens too often!  When Approval is not communicated effectively even when I approve of my wife, she will very often feel the Disapproval from me.  I must learn and practice Approving so my wife knows it and my kids and family see it.
 
Walk in the Light of Fellowship with Your Spouse:
1.  Go on a date - doesn't have to be an expensive outing but it could be!  On that date, regardless of the money invested, invest love and approval into your spouse's heart.
2.  Ask the questions above and allow your spouse to know that this is "not a set up" or a ploy to "end the evening in bed".  Via your verbal and non-verbal communication, take the Approval Jesus has given to you and surrender the time to Holy Spirit Who will guide you two into truth.  The truth is that Abba Father Approves of your spouse and see his/her value in your relationship.  Do you? Will you communicate it clearly and consistently? 
 
The next time you say something about your spouse and use the phrase, "Bless his/her heart", perhaps there will be no sarcasm or negativity.  "Bless his/her heart" may be the exact goal you have in mind!
 

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  • Melissa Haney
    Test9