Last Wednesday we talked about 7 things you need to minimize in your marriage, so today we're going to look at the opposite end of things and focus on things you need to maximize in your marriage.
1. Maximize Sharing
You need to share everything with your spouse. Your time, your energy, your stories, your sorrows...all of it needs to be shared. You got married to build a life together and that means you have to share that life with each other. If you don't already do this, learn to talk to each other about everything. Make a habit of talking about your day every evening, find out what happened at each other's work. Bring your sorrows and hurts to each other, and also bring your success' to each other. Make a habit of sharing everything and being open with your spouse.
2. Maximize Complementing
So many people are all about the negative, it seems like that's all that ever comes out of their mouth! Have you ever been around a person that says nothing but negative things? You want to get away from them as fast as you can right?! In your marriage, don't be that person! Find every possible opportunity to complement your spouse. Talk about the little things but also talk about the greatness in them. Don't ever be stingy with them, but learn to be free with your complements!
3. Maximize Encouragement
You need to be your spouse's biggest fan! In every area of their life you need to be there cheering them on. Sometimes that encouragement is what gets them through the day. Find little ways to build them up every chance you get.
4. Maximize Communication
When I first started talking about marriage I wrote about communication Here, Here, Here, Here and Here so go back and read these for a more in-depth discussion on this subject. But here's a couple quick points for now. Communication is so much more than just talking, it digs deep and gets down to the real you and what you really think, and how you really feel about things. It's important when you're trying to communicate with your spouse that you actually communicate, don't just spend all your time venting feelings. You also have to understand who you're talking to in order to maximize communication, understand that everyone communicates differently. Find out how your spouse communicates in order to communicate often and effectively.
5. Maximize forgiveness and mercy
This is a big one! Whatever you do in your marriage, do not hold a grudge against your spouse. Ephesians 4:26 says to not let the sun go down on your anger and that's a very important habit to form in your marriage. You and your spouse will hurt each other at some point, it's just part of life, but instead of holding onto that hurt, let it go and show forgiveness! Your spouse is the person you should be most forgiving and merciful with.
6. Maximize Act of Service and Kindness
Find ways to go out of your way to show kindness to your spouse and serve them. Look for little ways do serve them. When my husband does things around the house, that is HUGE for me! Him simply picking up the living room is one of the most wonderful things he can do. On the other hand, I spend most of my mornings each day finding ways to help him. I make his coffee and help gather up whatever he needs for the day. These are both just little ways of serving each other but they really go a very long way. Once you start looking for ways to serve your spouse, you'll be shocked at how many opportunities you find.
7. Maximize Intersession
One of the best things I ever heard was "Nagging is simply unbelief's substitute for prayer". That little line completely changed how I talked to my husband. Instead of trying to change and control your spouse, turn them over to God. If you would pray for your spouse every time the temptation to nag at them came into your mind, I think some people would be shocked how much of their day would be spent praying for their spouse! But take it even further than that, make a habit of getting on your knees just for your spouse. Pray over every area of their lives, their work, their role as a husband and father, their friendships, their temptations...the list is never ending. If you struggle in this area I highly recommend getting "The Power of a Praying Wife" or "The Power of a Praying Husband" by Stormie Omartain, those are excellent books!
8. Maximize Your Prayer Life
If you are struggling in your marriage, or any area really, I think the very best thing you can do is get before God. He already knows and sees everything going on in your life, but once you take it to Him and invite Him into the situation, He can actually begin to move and work. Spend time praying about everything though, this isn't just some magic formula that will change your spouse. This one is simply focusing on you! When you maximize your prayer life, you'll be shocked at what God will begin to do in you, through you and for you in every area of your life!