“Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Hebrews 3:13). This was not written as a suggestion; it is an imperative. But who is the ‘one another’ to which it refers? I think in context it is referring to the community of faith, but for this article, I would like to narrow that down to our spouses. Why would I need to encourage my spouse? ‘So that’ neither of us will slowly slip into sin and leave the faith. That’s life or death stuff! That’s why we cannot go a single day without encouraging our spouse. It is a two-way bond which admits that neither of us can fight the fight of faith alone. Our faith walk is THE most important focus in our marriages so it needs to be guarded and protected above all else. That calls for a daily priority.
When was the last time the two of you had an encouraging conversation about how you are each doing in your spiritual walk? Perhaps you’ve been married long enough that you assume everything is alright. Sin is called deceitful for a reason. Most of the time it hides, is subtle and obscure. Do we want to take the risk of assuming or take the role of encouraging? Perhaps we do not know how to begin such a habit of encouragement. Here are a few suggestions:
- If it is not possible to study together daily, read once a week and then have conversation daily about the passage. It gives time for thoughts, applications and insights. The Jesus talk time does not have to be lengthy; it has to be encouraging. The Word keeps sin away.
- Make sure each of you has prayers that you say on behalf of the other. Asking for requests daily keeps them personal as well as giving insight into what your spouse is dealing with that day. Praying together daily is necessary because it is encouraging. Prayer keeps the heart close to God and is a weapon against sin.
- Take time each day for conversation. It will show interest in each other’s lives and that is encouraging. Even if you have two to six children running around, encourage each other with talk time. Communication keeps us connected and allows less room for the deceitfulness of sin.
- Compliments, gratitude, and affirmations are necessary. We all have a need to know we are valued, and if it does not come from our spouse, it will come from somewhere else. Today (while it is called Today) share encouragement through affirmation.
If this is awkward, then it indicates there has been little encouragement done in your marriage. Change that starting today, because the risk is too high to ignore it.