Special thanks to Cindy Beall for writing this blog post.
What I am about to share with you is top secret, a one-of-a-kind revelation, and the most-advanced marriage advice that I have learned over the course of 25 years of marriage and ministry.
In fact, you will have heard everything I’m about to tell you in some form or fashion. So, let’s just consider this a reminder session.
Before I present some handy tips, allow me to share two words that are key to the success of your marriage in ministry and life: intention and inclusion.
First of all, we must choose to invest in relationships with intention. To do that, we have to act and think deliberately and act with our purpose in mind. We must not expect great accomplishments or triumphs in life and work if we choose to neglect this aspect.
Secondly, we must choose to impact our relationships with inclusion. If we want a healthy, strong, dynamic, need-meeting, connected relationship with our spouse, we must include them in our lives. We must involve them and incorporate them by not only sharing our lives with them but also by pursuing them as well.
With intention and inclusion in mind, here are seven avenues to take that are sure to bring about a united marriage with two people who feel equally valuable to their spouse despite what their daily schedule suggests.
7 Ways to Make Your Spouse Feel Like #1 When Your Schedule Says Otherwise
1. Earn your PhD. Not in biology or literature but in your spouse. Study them. Know what makes them tick. Know their personality and probe into their hearts. Know how they are wired, the things that bring a smile to their face, the way they feel loved. Once you know them, you know how they feel loved. When you know how they feel loved and valued, you can incorporate little things into each day to express your devotion to them.
- Put into practice: Put down your mobile device and listen to your spouse. Ask questions and aim to learn something deeper about him/her.
2. Seek their counsel. When you do have something on your mind regarding work, bring them into your work by asking their advice – “Babe, what would you do if you were me?” This does not mean that you incorporate their advice because it may not be accurate for the situation. But maybe one day it will be. When you bring them into your dilemmas, you’ll be surprised at the lens they bring to the table and you’ll show that you value their input.
- Put into practice: A great general question to ask is, “If you were me, what’s the first thing you’d change about <insert topic>.” Prepare to get amazing insight.
3. Keep the unity. There will be people and situations in your life, including your spiritual enemy, that will wreak havoc on your unity. Do not let this happen. As much as you love your children, your family members, and your church, remember the special relationship God gifted you when you became husband and wife.
- Put into practice: Talk positively about your spouse: to their face and behind their back. Go brag on them to a mutual friend—or three!
4. Lead each other. Marriage is a mutual relationship. To think that one person in the marriage is always able and equipped to lead 100% of the time is unrealistic. Our humanity gets in the way of that. That’s why there are two. When one is struggling, chances are the other will rise to the occasion and lead effectively. You’re in this together.
- Put into practice: Have an honest conversation about where you need leading in your relationship and then identify who’s the best one to fill that need.
5. Share the calling. I have heard spouses often say, “Well, it’s his/her calling. I just support them.” Your support is wonderful but it is not just his or her calling. If one of you was called into full-time vocational ministry, then both of you were called because you are one. Pray that God will change your heart if you feel otherwise. The calling is for both even though the roles will be different. Look for ways to invest in each other’s callings, roles and jobs.
- Put into practice: Be involved in each other’s work. For a spouse not in a paid ministry role, visit church frequently and engage in the ministry. If you’re the spouse in pastoral leadership, do the same for your spouse!
6. Be their cheerleader. Be excited for your spouse’s opportunities to progress and refuel even if it doesn’t include you. Look for ways to serve your spouse by applauding and backing their desires and dreams.
- Put into practice: Look for wins and growth in your spouse, and let them know you notice them. Celebrate them privately and publicly for their achievements.
7. Display understanding. Living a life in full-time vocational ministry is a tremendous blessing. It also comes with burdens as well. Husbands and wives see things differently than you do. Recognize this. Employ empathy instead of thinking of your viewpoint first. If you are the one who has the full-time role and your spouse works somewhere else or stays home with children, please know this: your role is stressful and challenging amidst the amazing things God is doing but so is theirs. I bear my husband’s burden and have for 25 years even though I have served in different roles than him. Bearing burdens is an honor but can be equally taxing. While your spouse may not be working in the same capacity as you, they are carrying the load with you. This behind-the-scenes role often goes unthanked, unnoticed,and under-appreciated. Change that today by showing gratitude to them.
- Put into practice: Try hard to not react to new news from a negative perspective—instead leading with care, empathy, and flexibility.
None of these tips works without communication. Yet all of them work with communication. Don’t let time limitations prevent you from investing into your marriage. With intention and inclusion, you can make your spouse feel like a priority and connected to your mission.
You’ll be so glad you did.
Cindy Beall is a writer, speaker and mentor to women. She married Chris in 1993 and they have been in full-time ministry ever since. Chris serves as the Oklahoma City Campus Pastor at Life.Church, and also oversees nine other Life.Church locations in the Oklahoma City metro. Cindy serves alongside Chris and is a wife, mom and published author. She has written two books: Healing Your Marriage When Trust Is Broken, and Rebuilding a Marriage Better Than New. You can connect with Cindy on social media or visit cindybeall.com.
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