Blog Post by Rodney A. Wilson
Rodney Wilson is a regular guest post writer on Selma on Leadership. Rodney has been a marriage and family pastor/counselor for almost 20 years. Rodney and Selma have been married for 40 years and they have spoken and written on marriage and family issues for most of their married life.
It’s probably the most overlooked phrase in the whole wedding: “for better or for worse.” Weddings are happy occasions with white dresses, colorful flowers, promises, dancing and good thoughts. Those are wedding images. In marriage, however, some days will be better than others. You will enjoy the “better” but you will also endure the “worse.”
What happens when just one of you goes through a worse time? Whether it’s a death in the family, depression, job loss, illness or any other crises, how do you support your spouse when he/she faces difficult days? After all, you are your spouse’s helper, right? So how can you most effectively help in troubled times? Here are five guidelines:Feelings are not right or wrong, they just are. Click To Tweet
1. Give permission. Feelings are not right or wrong, they just are. Allow your spouse to feel anger, fear, insecurity, and guilt – whatever. Don’t preach to them for feeling a certain way. It’s a hard place. They need love and support rather than judgment or a lecture. Let them feel what they feel.
2. Clarify your role. Yes, you are your spouse’s helper. But what kind of helper is most helpful? That depends upon the situation. So ask her to define your role in a simple question: What do you need from me? Sometimes your spouse wants genuine feedback and sometimes she just needs you to listen. Don’t underestimate the power of the latter. Many times my wife has answered that she needs a listener, so I shut up. Then I’m complimented over how much I helped! Go figure, but sometimes it’s the optimal help we can provide.
3. Look around. Are there chores your spouse usually does that are not getting done? Taking on a couple extra responsibilities actually makes a huge difference as it lightens your spouse’s load. As Selma always says, it’s the little things that add up to a great marriage. Make your marriage a bit greater by filling up the car, making the bed, driving the kids to school, or picking up dinner.
Plus, if your spouse’s love language is acts of service, you’ve hit the daily double!It’s the little things that add up to a great marriage. Click To Tweet
4. Ask, “How can I pray for you?” Don’t press for an answer as they might not immediately know how you can pray. The question alone can imply you genuinely care. He will know you want to take his concerns to Almighty God on his behalf. That’s some serious spiritual support.
5. Monitor your spouse. No, I’m not talking about stalking her. Rather, if your spouse has been stressed for an extended length of time, an outside source might be helpful. Seeking a counselor, pastor or trusted friend could provide just the boost to get your spouse going in the right direction once again.
Finally, when you signed on as a helper to your spouse, it was a full-time assignment for better or for worse. Be there for your spouse and watch your marriage grow even in the challenging days.
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18