Husbands and wives are different.
Just being a male and a female ensures you won’t be alike. Physically that’s true. There are books written about how men and women think and process ideas differently. ( Books like: Men Are Like Waffles–Women Are Like Spaghetti: Understanding and Delighting in Your Differences .)
But uniqueness goes deeper than the physical and the mental ways husbands and wives connect. You know what I’m talking about – your spouse is not like anyone else in this universe and all eternity.
In what ways is your spouse unique?
Have you ever made a list of ways – a combination of qualities – your spouse is unlike anyone else you know? (Hey now – I’m talking about the good stuff! Stay with me…)
Robert and I are together most days – all day. We write and work from home unless we’re with clients or traveling to speak. (Though we even do that together sometimes.) I’ve known Robert since he was 17 years old. We know each other very well – so well that sometimes he just looks at the expression on my face and can “read” me. Conversely, I know what he’s feeling when his lips are held tight together and colorless. (Not a good sign, btw)
You’d think that with all this time together we’d run out of things to talk about or always agree because we’re so meshed together. Not true. At all.
Robert is unique – God has made this man special in every way. He usually comes at any task or challenge in a way that I would not have considered. And visa-versa. He knows me so well – yet he says I surprise him constantly. It’s deeper than just a male/female thing.
Our uniqueness is God-given. God designed. And ever-growing.
I’m guessing you realize that the person you married is not the same today as when you were first married. We all grow and change – that process alone makes us unique. Our walk with God – our depth of faith and experiences of faith cause us to grow. Sometimes it’s the hardships and challenges that develop our uniqueness especially quickly.
Do you know the unique person your spouse is today? Or are you only assuming he or she is the same…
Take time to consider your spouse’s unique qualities.
How? One way is to pull out all the photos.
I did this last week. I was looking for a specific photo of Robert taken on the day we were engaged 30 years ago. That led to a few hours of a photo safari. An emotional safari. So many good and happy moments are documented in pictures. There’s also sadness because people are no longer in our lives because of death or circumstance. There are even emotions of regret and longing because certain aspects will never be experienced again.
In those photos I saw Robert go from a teenager, to a young husband, move forward to a young father, then in business, back to University, serving God in many capacities, navigating a corporate career, and leading at home, at work and in faith.
Some qualities have remained the same – Robert’s dedication and pursuit of a relationship with Christ, his gentleness and his consistent optimism. Other qualities have shown up over the years like wisdom and focus and fortitude.
(And before you go and roll your eyes – yes… both Robert and I have faults. Ha. We show our uniqueness-es in our areas of weakness too. But this post is about encouragement while focusing on strengths.)
Before you can encourage your spouse’s uniqueness, you need to identify what it is about your spouse that is unique. Some of us don’t give this much thought.
Perhaps in a summer or spring season of marriage it’s not too hard to think about the positive uniqueness of your spouse. However, I’d imagine focusing on positive uniqueness-es is more difficult if you’re going through a winter season in your marriage – where there’s a lot of chilly moments, with emotional gales and blizzards. (Read Gary Chapman’s The 4 Seasons of Marriage: Secrets to a Lasting Marriage to delve into this concept.)
Are you struggling to put into words what is unique about your spouse?
Can you identify the values that are important to your spouse – qualities which are non-negotiables? Robert has been working with values for a number of years now. He’s defined over 400 values. If you’re struggling to identify your spouse’s unique qualities, download Robert’s free eBook – all the value words are there at the end of the book.
Go through the list of 423 words and mark off those values – qualities – that you identify as uniquely belonging to your spouse. There will be a collection.
And before you think that anyone can have the same collection – it’s not true.
Robert does an exercise in his presentations with groups of 50 – 80 and more than 100 people. He has them go through these 400+ words and choose their top 3 values. Then he requests one person to read their top 3 values. He asks the group if anyone else shares at least one of these values. A number of hands will rise. He then asks if these people share two of the same values as the chosen person. Many hands drop. Lastly he asks if any of the people with their hands still raised share all three of the values of the chosen person… In every exercise, not one hand remains raised. The chosen person who first read his top three values is unique in that room. No one shares his 3 values. (If it would happen that there was another person in the room with the same values, Robert would ask them what their 4th value was – it’s almost numerically impossible to match 4 values.)
Encouraging your spouse’s uniqueness.
Now that you know your spouse’s unique qualities or values – how can you encourage your spouse in that area?
Start small. Talk about what you believe are your spouse’s unique qualities. Your first goal is to be sure that she or he also feels those qualities are positive.
- Affirm your spouse’s uniqueness by noticing when they’re using that value. Encouragement is about being present and paying attention.
- Help along. Become invested in those areas of uniqueness in your spouse. Look for ways in which to complement (enhance & complete) those qualities in your spouse. God put you two together for reason!
- Pray for your spouse – ask God to use your spouse in His way to glorify Him. (after-all, it’s God that made your spouse unique)
- Accept with grace your spouse’s unique qualities. Stop kvetching. Remove the conditions and move toward embracing your spouse’s uniqueness. Love your spouse without the barrier of your own opinions.
- Look Forward – There will be ways in which God will open avenues and opportunities for your spouse. Our Great God is about possibility. There is nothing that can stand in the way of His will. (Unless it’s us humans who use the gift of free will to get in His way.)
God made your spouse unique – your husband or wife is special.
your spouse is unique.
In what ways is your spouse unique?
Leave a comment – let’s share the uniqueness of the wife or husband God has given us!
How has your spouse shown this uniqueness? How have you encouraged her or him?
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