Marriage Monday: The Power of Affirmation & a GIVEAWAY

178971544Jill says:
Yesterday I had a text conversation with a friend.  She has been frustrated with the lack of spiritual intimacy in their marriage.  From her perspective, they have not been attending church or engaging in any spiritual pursuit together.  She said that somehow her requests seem to be “making him feel inadequate, as if he can’t do it right.” I suggested that she take baby steps in her requests.  Maybe rather than talking with him about ALL they’re not doing that she wants to do, she could start with a request like “I love it when we go to church together. Do you think we could start that again?”

Then she said “Well I guess he has stepped up a little. We have gone to church three weeks in a row. That’s a record for us.”

“So,” I responded, “Have you thanked him for that? Have you said, ‘Honey, thank you so much for making church a priority the last 3 weeks. That means the world to me!'”

Her response: “No, I guess I haven’t.  Duh.”

Marriage-MondayMark says:
Affirmation is powerful in marriage. It’s a tool we all have in our toolbox but it is used far too infrequently.  We quickly focus on what IS NOT happening rather than celebrating, thanking, or affirming our spouse for what IS happening.

When my perspective became skewed and I headed down the road of infidelity, I could only see Jill’s faults and failures. I couldn’t see any good in our marriage, I only saw bad.  The truth is we see only what we choose to see.  When we start seeing only negative, we have to “take our thoughts captive” and move our focus to what is good and what can be affirmed.

Jill says:
This doesn’t mean we don’t address things that need to be addressed. It means that we take some intentional steps to move our focus from the bad to the good.  This helps us balance our perspective and even take steps to speak words of life, words of appreciation, and words of affirmation to our spouse.

Mark says:
During our separation, there was one interaction that we had that was very powerful for me. I asked Jill how to handle a certain situation. Jill paused before responding to me with these powerful words, “Mark, you are a man after God’s own heart who has lost his way. I will not tell you how to handle this situation because I believe you already know what to do.”

Why was that so powerful? She affirmed me! She believed in me. In fact, she believed in me enough to trust that I would make a right decision without her input.  That was powerful affirmation for me.

What about you? What is your spouse doing that you haven’t thanked him or her for? Where have you been focusing on the negative that you need to balance out with some positives? Where could some daily words of affirmation change the dynamic in your marriage? 

460060569In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, Hearts at Home is offering a huge giveaway for all who have joined us for the No More Perfect Marriages blog series and Marriage Mondays!  All you have to do to be entered into the drawing is to share a comment on this post with one takeaway from the No More Perfect Marriage blog series or the last two Marriage Mondays that has really caused you to think or has already made a difference in your marriage.  You can also share a thought/question about something you would love to see us address in a future Marriage Monday or in the upcoming No More Perfect Marriages book.  We will take comments until noon CST on Tuesday, Feb 10 and then draw 30 winners!  Ten winners will get Family Life’s Simply Romantic Nights Resource Pack, ten will win a Dr. Kevin Leman marriage book, and ten will win Hearts at Home Marriage Love Notes to help you encourage your spouse’s heart!  You can share your comment and enter the giveaway here!


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36 thoughts on “Marriage Monday: The Power of Affirmation & a GIVEAWAY

  1. My take away is that I have been seeing and focusing on so much negativity lately because my heart is so hurt… But I will take away this…take my thoughts captive and see positive

  2. Your post is so timely. My husband and I were just talking about affirming each other. We have found that it is so important to both of us. We realized that he would prefer to be affirmed with something written down (notes, cards, etc), whereas I would prefer to be affirmed verbally. A huge realization for us after 20 years of marriage!

  3. Thank you for the No More Perfect Marriages blog series. It was fabulous. It helped me to realize that there is always hope if we are willing to work at it. I appreciate how open and honest you are. It is truly inspirational to realize that all marriages have struggles. I look forward to more Marriage Monday posts!

  4. I have really appreciated your reminders to be intentional about moving toward your spouse- to make the effort to join them in their preferred activities, to respond truthfully to them rather than stuffing your emotions, to reach out to them physically and emotionally throughout the day.

  5. Thank you for this reminder in my own marriage. I find that affirmation is so important but also something that I know I tend to forget to do. I think most of us nag and complain instead of appreciating the little things that is done for us. I have really enjoyed the Marriage Mondays as I have learned and brought what has been said into my own marriage.

  6. I just had this affirmation moment yesterday. I noticed that my husband finally fixed something in the house that I’ve been asking him to do. I jumped up, gave him an excited hug, thanking him & planted a kiss on him! He was beaming! What happened next totally took me by surprise! He actually asked me to make him a list of things that needed to be done! Then I REALLY gave him a big hug & kiss! Thanks for reminding me. I still have to make him a list 😉

  7. This has been an excellent series with perfect timing for National Marriage Week and leading up to Valentine’s Day, too!
    I appreciate your emphasis on the healing power of the Holy Spirit, the reminder of our responsibilities as marriage partners to affirm and encourage one another, and the warning to be alert to the “slow fade.” (There have been so many “takeaways” that it’s difficult to name just one!)
    Thank you, Jill and Mark, for your willingness to share your story.

  8. I have been so encouraged, and challenged, by your NMPM posts. I have been dragging through these past couple of weeks, and my husband has been such a trooper and I really needed the reminders of how to minister to him. Thank you!!

  9. Thanks for your timely challenges and affirmations for my marriage and those of my friends. I’ve shared one and had three responses. I’m thankful at this time to be doing well in relating with my husband–always room for improvement though.

  10. I learned it’s the little things that can get on the way. Always affirm your hubby when he is doing what you like, even if it feels silly to thank him for taking out the trash 🙂

  11. Thank you for your reminder about affirmation. It is an area I am working on but have had trouble with due to a lot of negative thinking. The Lord has been working on me about my attitude toward my husband. Your “No More Perfect Marriages” blog was also very timely. Thanks again.

  12. Thank you so much for all the great affirmation tips
    Its a struggle to bring my marriage back around and this has given me some great ideas that really work for us. I pray every day for my husband

  13. First of all I want to thank you both for being so open and honest. I know it took courage! I think my biggest takeaway is to not just assume your marriage is safe. It takes work and lots and lots of communication. Sometimes you have to talk about the hard stuff that might make both of you uncomfortable. Intentionally safeguard your marriage. Thanks again, and thank you for the giveaway!

  14. I started reading this blog a couple weeks ago and it has helped me normalize so many of the feelings that I have been dealing with. Affirmation is something I struggle with. It was a good reminder that many times it is just saying “thank you”. My husband and I have limited face to face time with his long commute to work and it is hard to made the most of the minutes when I am ready to crash by the time he gets home. Thank you for your candid honestly and willingness to share your struggles. It definitely encourages and motivates me to do things now that will make out marriage stronger in the long run.

  15. The reminder that trouble in marriage often starts as a ‘slow fade’. That we have to truly be intentional at keeping our spouse as our partner and lover, and not let all the other junk get in the way. All goes back to where we spend our time and how we invest in our relationship.

  16. My takeaway is as cliched as they come. My wife sent me the invite to the series as we were (are) going through a challenging phase in our journey. It seemed like Jill and Mark wrote this for us, after 10 years of marriage I am learning to communicate with my wife!! Thank you for that

  17. Thank you for sharing this series. It has got me thinking about some aspects of marriage in new ways. My biggest takeaway was your comments on unconditional respect. I’d never thought about respect like that. Thank you!

  18. I think the thing that I take away most from your series is that we are not alone. Even when we go through trials in our marriages, and it feels like we are the only couple who has dealt with this particular situation, we aren’t. That is a lie that the enemy tells us to keep us defensive and closed up about what we are going through. I also know from experience that slow fade is true. We need to be intentional about being love to the ones we love. Grateful for your ministry!

  19. You both remind me that nobody is immune to satan, we all have to guard our marriage from his inevitable onslaught, and I printed every email in the 10 day set and my husband and I are reading them together and using it as a point of discussion on dates. I wanna make another 25 years together!

  20. I waited for my inbox notification everyday during the blog series. What caught me most was how similar my personality is to Jill’s and how much my husband is like Mark. We are opposite in many ways and although it can be a nice balance, it also causes tension and conflict. You both have opened my eyes to the ways I can be too critical and question his leadership. My dominant personality often makes our relationship seem more parent-child than husband – wife. We have been putting together our own plan for better communication and we are so thankful for your honesty and vulnerability. I truly believe you have helped and saved a lot of marriages. Blessings to you both!

  21. To me it was the minimizing. It spoke so much to me that after a few minutes of reading it, I initiated a heart to heart talk with my husband. It served us well. I feel so much better now. =)

  22. I have enjoyed the NMPM blog. It’s hard sometimes to see other peoples marriage through my eyes and compare it to mine. Like you said in your books “don’t compare your inside to someone’s outside.” The drive you showed to never give up and rely on God because He can heal and restore as long as we let Him in. I also learned today to never doubt the power of affirmation words 🙂 thanks for doing these blogs!

  23. Your story is so encouraging, thank you for sharing it! I loved reading the raw honesty. Marriage is hard and a lot of work. You both provided tools and ideas to increase love and friendship. That is were I am struggling. When a sprouse wounds the marriage it’s so hard to work thru it and see them with loving eyes especially if it was repeated and repeated. Forgiveness is hard. It causes you to look at them differently. So that would be my question. Jill, how did you look at Mark with a loving heart. A heart “in love” with him? Thank you again!!

  24. Good point on the power of affirming. I need to work on that too. I think it helps the one doing the affirming realize that the other person does do good things and keeps both people noticing the positive instead of just the wrong things.

  25. I think the biggest takeaway I have gotten (there have been many!) is just how important all the little things that we do can build and build into something not so good at all. I think about all the times I have gotten upset and withdrew, given the silent treatment, etc. and what that is doing to our marriage – it is a little scary! Thank you for the these great posts – they have really got me thinking!

  26. this post had been a reminder to me to thank my husband for small things he does and is challenging me to think about the good.

  27. Would like to know if you have any suggestions for how to draw a passive spouse in (he constantly pulls away and is not engaged in marriage or with the kids – no leadership but many demands). Besides prayer, how do you break down the barriers of selfish pride and ego that are destroying marriage and is so hurtful?

  28. I’m so thankful you guys are supporting marriages God’s way. Especially at a time when the news talks about the release of the movie 50 Shades of Grey and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. I’ve learned from your talks that loving your spouse is a choice & to focus your perspective on positive things about them instead of always dwelling on the negative.

  29. Im trying not to be as “motherly” when I speak to my hubby. I didn’t realize I was doing this until it was talked about in the blog.

  30. What a great series to shed light on how imperfect we all are, but how God wants to see us work together for Him and His works. Continuing affirmations daily with each other is so important, and this certainly helped me realize just that.