Our Responsibility as a Spouse

Our Responsibility as a Spouse

Our Responsibility as a Spouse
Photo by Stephen Durham

Our Responsibility as a Spouse

Our responsibility as a spouse as defined in the Book of Ephesians is to love the other as our own body and to show respect.

That is the ultimate ingredient for a happy marriage. But the Bible doesn't go into detail about what to do when your spouse wants to go off and pursue his dream or work on personal development and become a whole new person. But the bigger question is: does it really need to? Like we can't figure out from "love your spouse like your own body" that just because a spouse wants to better himself doesn't mean we should throw up the walls and forbid it.

Today's culture is so focused on the here and now and instant gratification that many of us are willing to drop something if it isn't working out. Today, we see married couples separating for a number of reasons. When life gets a little rough, they are quick to call it quits and move onto what they think are greener pastures.

Where is the commitment? What happened to the marriage vows they took at their wedding? They didn't list any conditions like I promise to love you and cherish you, provided you ______ [fill in the blank]. No, it was for better or worse.

But another problem is when we have unhealthy expectations of what the other half should be doing.

Unhealthy expectations are when household chores are lopsided even when both spouses work. Or when we expect our spouse to spend every available minute with us. Or when we think our spouse should be working toward something we care about even when they don't. It's when we expect them to fulfill our need for happiness or to feel complete.

Got an opinion? Well, so does everyone else. Some people are just better at keeping them to themselves. And still others are better at accepting cues and acknowledging the unique strengths and abilities in their spouse.

Everyone has a big dream. It may have gotten squashed during childhood or even in the adult years, but the big dreams are there, waiting to be unleashed. Most people don't believe they can ever achieve their dreams. For one reason or another, they've come to believe that it's useless to even try.

But the thing is, when we're neglecting our big dreams, we're sabotaging our future and our relationships. When we start to look at life like a meaningless event, when we are filled with frustration or anger, or when we lose our optimism and start to focus on the doldrums, we start to push people away. Positive people want to be around other positive people. They don't want to sit through yet another rendition of why life is so miserable or meaningless. They want confirmation that things are possible, that it does get better than this.

When we start believing in our spouse's dream, when we start offering encouragement and support, there's a three-fold benefit: not only are we helping our spouse to succeed, but we're also witnessing the possibilities and receiving encouragement in return. It's also a wonderful way to grow in your marriage and relationship.

Our responsibility as a spouse is to be supportive and encouraging. It's difficult to love and care about someone when we can't muster up the support and encouragement they need. That doesn't mean they'll always succeed, but at least they'll know we always have their back.

I challenge you to partner with your spouse today on his or her journey. How can you be encouraging? How can you offer support? When we start living the life God has planned for us, that's when things start to get interesting.

Jody Calkins
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