Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Encouragement For New and Struggling Marriages

A couple days ago I ran into a grand idea on a marriage blog.

The wife there encourages other wives to send encouraging notes to newly married celebrity couples. She's sent cards to Beyonce and Jay-Z, Khoe and Lamar, Jessica Beil and Justin Timberlake. The cards congratulate them on their marriage, tout the joys of marriage and encourage them to stick with it.

At the bottom she writes a custom prayer for them.

I was impressed with this idea. I confess that I am a regular consumer of celeb news. (I blog about celebrity news here.) I also confess that I like to read about  celebrity weddings and relationships.

It is great that there is a ministry out there that encourages celebrity couples to stay together forever. But what about everyday couples? Who's encouraging them?

The truth is everyone needs encouragement in their marriage.

If you are a Christian you know that marriage is a relationship through which God matures us and shows his personalized love and affection. Marriage is truly a blessing, but every day is not a perfect day.

There are days when words and actions rub us the wrong way. There  are days when spouses second-guess each other and themselves. There are days when marriage seems too hard.

A word of encouragement and compassion may be the boost that a couple needs to forgive, to try again and to remember the blessing of marriage.

While it is worthwhile to encourage a perfect stranger, let us not forget the friend, coworker or pew mate that might be struggling in silence right under our noses. For them, encouragement from a close friend may be more powerful than that of a stranger.

So what's stopping us? 

Maybe its because we are waiting to reach our golden anniversary. Maybe because we feel that we are struggling too. After all, how do you encourage someone if you are struggling?

We don't have it all together to show love. Sometimes the best encouragement is tell someone, "Hey, you're not alone! I'm broken too." Just be careful not to create a despairing pity party for two. The idea is to share a sense of community and hope - for your friends and yourself.

Yes, encouragement can mutually beneficial. I've found it helps me find a wellspring of positivity for my own life. 

So add a special note of encouragement to your Christmas cards this season. You may be surprised who you help.

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