The need for significance is a big deal in marriage and for us as living breathing human beings. It is one of our basic core needs, and when we don't feel valued or have a sense that we matter, we usually live out of our shame.
Tim Kimmel, in the book Grace-filled Marriage says this; "If we made it our aim to use our words and actions to help our spouse add another layer to their inner sense of significance, we'd be doing more than smiling, we'd be doing the happy dance most of the time."
Kimmel defines significance; "a healthy view of who you are and what you have to offer as a person created by God and paid for by His son on the cross." David says in Psalm 139:14, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." This reality and the fact that we are created in the image of God, should give each and every one of us a tremendous sense of value.
The call to us in marriage is to build one another up, reinforce the significance our God has already given us and offers us daily. (1 Thess. 5:11) I love this from Tim Kimmel;
"Part of your love story is how you come alongside your spouse to help them find their sweet spot. When you view your spouse through the lens of God's grace, you help them hit their highest stride when it comes to their interests, passions, calling, and profession. Often their sweet spot is hidden or has been lying dormant. When you make it a priority to encourage your mate to their highest and best level of contribution, God smiles."
What are the practical steps towards building one another up in significance? We must begin by being aware of our old unhealthy ways of relating to each other. We must put off;
We must put on affirmation; using words of affirmation, approval and appreciation. We teach relational skills in our workshops to help you build significance into your relationship. Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are interested in a workshop and receive encouragement.
Acceptance is another basic need we wake up to every day. Our gracious loving God will meet this need every moment of every day if we trust in His love for us. His love for us is unearned.
We can't do anything to earn God's love. This truth is spelled out in many New Testament passages.
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die -- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:7-8 ESV
We, though, are going to love--love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.
1 John 4:19 The Message
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved-- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2: 1-7 ESV
We were created by the God of love, to be loved. We experience love when our need for acceptance is met. It has been met by God. With God, our acceptance is not based on our performance. His love for us is unconditional. In our marriages, if we love one another based on performance, we find ourselves keeping lists and unconsciously creating a conditional love that kills relationship and intimacy.
If we operate, in marriage, in a performance based relationship, we will experience rejection and at the root of all rebellion is rejection. (Bill Thrall - Trueface.org) We will comply, and try, and try, and try, because we so want to be accepted, but eventually we will lose hope. We realize we can never be enough.
This is a sad scenario that is being played out in many many marriages, Christian or not. The antidote is trusting that we are accepted and loved by the God of this universe and that He has given us everything (Jesus) we need to accept others and love others well. Will you take a step and trust in His unconditional love and acceptance today, for the sake of your marriage.
Jesus said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another." John 13:34 This statement by the Master, begs a question. How did he, Jesus, love us? He says here that we are to love others (our husbands and wives) as He loved us.
Our friends at TrueFace came up with this profound little statement;
Love is the process of meeting needs.
One of humankind's basic needs is the need for security. This is huge for the marriage relationship. Let's look at how Jesus meets this need for His followers. Jesus said; “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” The apostle Paul tells us in Romans 8:38-39; For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This security we have in His love one of the keys to this knowing; "so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:17-19
These are promises from God to us and we can trust them to be true in our relationship with Him. We are secure in His love for us. Our God is trustworthy! Jesus (God) met our need for security by His commitment to us and demonstrated commitment throughout His life, all the way to the cross at Calvary. . Now, how do we demonstrate a secure love to our spouse?
We experience being loved when our spouse demonstrates commitment to us through the ups and downs in our marriage journey. We learn, through simple acts of following through with the things we say we will do, being present in the prickly moments and moving towards our spouse, that we can be trusted. Trust is critical in demonstrating commitment, because without trust we cannot experience another's love, no matter how much love they have for us. Experiencing love takes us beyond feeling love and penetrates the depths of our hearts.
We'd love to hear from you. What are your thoughts regarding a secure love? Next week we will talk about Acceptance, another need that demonstrates our love.
Vic and Monique
We are all about helping your marriage thrive.