“You need to be your husband’s biggest fan…” the speaker declared.
“But you haven’t met Mike!” I screamed in my head. “Half the time we talk, he shuts the conversation down before telling me what he thinks. And he’s clueless the other half of the time! When I share my feelings, it’s like it doesn’t even sink in. Then there’s the kids and the finances and the future—his priorities match mine as often as east meets west.”
“…because the rest of the world’s against him!” she continued. “Even when it’s not, that’s how he feels—everything’s a battle. Every time you bash him, every time you talk about his faults to him or to others, you show the worst side of him.”
That was then. Thankfully, today’s a lot different.
Another Bible Study speaker recently asked me: “Who’s your biggest encourager?” Without hesitation, I said “Mike!”, and I know he’d say the same about me.
So what’s changed? I’ll explain…
Most of the time, we actually are like peanut butter and jelly, skipping down the path hand-in-hand. Birds singing. Sun shining. The wind at our backs. A real Hallmark couple. It’s easy to love and encourage each other on those days!
But sometimes it’s hard, and we’re like oil and water. On bad days, we both feel alone—single parents living in different worlds. Usually it’s finances, drama, ‘kid issues’, and other outside forces that pit us against each other. But not always. There are times when we just get tired of each other. (After thirty years, that’s to be expected.) On those days, I used to spit venom in Mike’s face and shout from the roof tops “HE’S TERRIBLE!” And he’d do the same to me.
The difference now is that we’ve built a Relationship Savings Account—an ‘RSA’—that we draw from when issues surface. And as long as the RSA balance doesn’t go ‘negative’, we get through it without bashing each other personally or, more importantly, to others. You see, because we’ve invested day after day before we need to ‘make a withdrawal’, we now see each other as a friend who disagrees instead of an enemy who needs to be destroyed.
While it’s great if both of you begin making deposits at the same time, don’t wait until the other’s ready before investing! You can start building your Relationship Savings Account today by doing any of these simple things that have helped us…
· Leave encouraging or loving notes before you leave in the morning.
· Tell them how much you appreciate all they do.
· Go on a fun date. (my favorite!)
· Ask how you can pray for them.
· Actually say “I love you.”
· Ask “How can I help?”
· Show affection, but not just in the bedroom.
· Extend grace when they don’t respond or reciprocate.
· Offer to talk about priorities and the future (but don’t force the subject).
· Brag about them to others—they may not know you’re bragging, but it helps you.
· Pray for them and for your relationship. Again, they may not know you’re praying, but God listens.