Care For Your Spouse
In marriage, we have a daily opportunity to bear one another's burdens, care for each other, and encourage each other with the gospel. If you're married, this is the first ministry that the Lord has given you! But how do we do this well?
A majority of the care we provide will consist of listening well and asking good questions. Rather than simply provide opinions, advice, or spiritual truth without application, we should seek to listen for what’s going on in our spouse’s heart, and then gently, faithfully, and lovingly point them to God as their Savior, Helper, and Redeemer. Here are four questions to ask on a consistent basis to help you care for your spouse’s heart.
How Are You Doing?
Ask this question in order to understand how your spouse is processing their world. You can always make this question more specific, but the big idea is to invite your spouse to honestly share what is going on in their hearts and minds. As you listen to them, you'll get to experience the privilege of bearing their burden, hearing their concerns, and grow in deeper love and empathy for your spouse.
What Are You Thinking And Feeling?
Ask this question to help your spouse process their thoughts. You're not trying to give advice or counsel at this stage. Rather, you're trying to let them minister to themselves by seeing how the truth of God's Word intersects with their current thoughts and feelings. You can help facilitate this process by asking good follow up questions. Sometimes, asking something simple like, "What does God's Word say about how you’re feeling?" can be all it takes to help your spouse process things rightly. Overall, by asking this question, you're seeking to care for your spouse's heart by shepherding her thoughts and feelings.
How Can I Help You?
Ask this question to discover specific ways that you can help your spouse. Whenever we ask this question, we need to be prepared to listen well and commit to providing our spouse with the help they’ve requested. But we also want to be aware that sometimes we can't provide a solution to the problem. Sometimes our ministry of presence, our prayers, our persistent love, and our encouragement to them is all we can do. But this is often what faithfulness looks like as we care for our spouses. We always want to remember that we are not our spouse's Savior and we can't fix their problems and struggles. Better yet, our role is to simply comfort, encourage, remind, and exhort them to run to the One who died for them.
How Can I Pray For You?
Ask this question frequently so that you can enjoy the blessing of praying for your spouse's spiritual health and growth. If you haven't yet, make a frequent and intentional effort to pray for your spouse. Overtime, it may lead to greater trust, vulnerability and authenticity in your relationship, which will grant you a greater opportunity to help your spouse love Jesus.
The Importance of Trust
At the root of caring for one another well is the concept of trust. If your spouse does not trust you, they will likely be skeptical and hesitant to your attempts at caring for them. Your ultimate goal is not to be their Savior, but to point them to the Savior, Jesus Christ. So, you want to do everything you can to ask all of these questions as a means of building trust and caring for each other.
Are you looking to build trust in your marriage? In this article, Paul Tripp provides a list of 22 questions that help cultivate an atmosphere of trust in your marriage. In addition, here are a few resources that we hope will encourage you as you care for your spouses!
How Can I Encourage My Struggling Spouse? by Paul Tripp
How Do I Care For My Depressed Wife? by John Piper