Promoting Growth and Development
Let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. Romans 14:19
Edification means showing your excitement at being with your spouse, and it means affirming the growth you've seen in his or her life. It means removing any words of criticism or judgment and replacing them with words that build up and affirm character development. Edification means being glad to see your husband or wife. It means complimenting your spouse on a strength you see or noticing when he or she has made an effort to change. Edification means that you comment positively on progress made, thus giving further motivation for character development.
How do you respond when your spouse does something positive? For example, your spouse does something good that almost seems out of character. He asks you about your day, or she approaches you affectionately. He remembers to take out the trash, or she takes time to wash the car. How do you respond?
So often we respond to our spouse's attempts toward personal growth with sarcasm, skepticism, or suspicion. We think or say things such as, "That was nice, but not perfect," or "I would have done it this other way:'
Sharing edification with your spouse means looking at the positives. It means suspending the "half empty" mind-set and seeing your spouse's efforts as "half full." No, he hasn't often stopped to ask sincerely about your day, but he did today. Receive it! No, she doesn't wash the car as often as you would prefer, but she did today. Praise the effort she made this time.
I often ask couples we are working with to tell me about something positive they've noticed in their marriage since we were last together. I do that first of all because I hope to encourage the couple to develop a positive mind-set, to anticipate and look for positive interactions. I also want each partner to enjoy the edification in a spouse's good report.
Which of your spouse's efforts at change can you compliment today?
Lord, remove my “half empty” view of marriage.
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