Opposites attract, enriching the marriage relationship. That is the way God has designed it. We see strengths in our spouse that are not in us, and so by uniting, we become strong where we once were weak, assuming we honor and draw upon those complementary gifts.
Some opposites which are commonly found between married couples:
- Analytical versus intuitive - thinker versus feeler
- Courageous versus cautious
- Leader versus follower
- Organizer versus laid back
- Adventurous versus the homebody
- Outgoing versus introvert
- Mentally gifted versus physically gifted
Plus many more…
Honor is our posture toward differences
Honor all people (1 Pet. 2:17). So now, the challenge is to accept, cherish, draw out, honor, and embrace these opposites, rather than trying to change my partner to make them more like me. The energy flows best when the opposites work together in harmony. For electrical current to flow you need two wires, a positive and a negative. Without BOTH being present and doing their job, there is no spark. The same is true in a good marriage. The opposites between you and your spouse are necessary, valuable, and have a job to do. If both are honored and encouraged to do their part, a vibrant marriage is experienced.
Journaling questions concerning honor
- Lord, what are the character traits and gifts present in my spouse?
- What is their value and function within my marriage?
- How can I honor them more fully and draw them out and encourage them?
- How can I express my appreciation more fully to my spouse for these amazing gifts?
- How can I protect and support my spouse in their uniqueness?
- Share with your spouse the journaling you received. Ask if they have additional thoughts. Write down what they suggest, and then journal about it.
- Ask the Lord to grant you the power to break out of the traditions of your past as it relates to marriage and to love your spouse as Christ loves His church, laying down His life for her.
- Take your spouse on weekly dates to kindle love, intimacy and companionship.
Fill Up Your Spouse’s Love Bank
The following format uses concepts from Willard Harley, the author of Love Busters, His Needs, Her Needs, and The Five Steps To Romantic Love. His theory is that couples’ relationships can be conceptualized as a love bank.
- When a spouse does something that harms or offends the other person, this represents a withdrawal from the love bank.
- Continued withdrawals result in an account that is at a deficit.
- When the relational account is at a deficit, couples are dissatisfied with their marriage and often considering divorce.
- When a spouse meets a need of their partner that represents making a deposit into the love bank.
- To have a happy marriage, couples must keep a healthy positive balance in their love bank.
Action Exercise # 1: Stop withdrawals from your “Marriage Love Bank”
The following exercises can be completed by a couple or a couple with a counselor.
- Write down the top three ways your spouse wounds you, what you need them to stop doing (withdrawals from your relational account). Be very detailed and specific. For example, she might say: "I need him to stop putting me down." Then she is asked to expound on what specifically that looks like - “I need him stop criticizing me and focusing only on what I do wrong or where I'm not good enough.” “I would like him to stop commenting poorly about me to me and to our family.” The explanation she offers is specific, so there is little room for confusion with respect to her request that he stop wounding her in this way.
- Share a written copy of your top three needs with your spouse.
- I commit in prayer to the Lord and to my spouse that by the power of the Spirit, I will change this behavior and stop making withdrawals from my “Marriage Love Bank.”
Action Exercise # 2: Make deposits into your “Marriage Love Bank”
- Write down the top three needs you have which you desire your spouse to meet. He might say, for example: “I need her to respect me” and then more specifically, he might share, “I need her to acknowledge how hard I work to support the family. I would like her to appreciate me; she could greet me when I come home from work, and consider me in the decisions for our family.”
- Share a written copy of your top three needs with your spouse.
- Each spouse commits to the Lord and one another that they will be a student of their spouse’s needs, and meet these needs. This is what LOVE does (1 Cor. 13).
- We will establish a weekly date night where we practice putting one another first and meeting their needs, thus making deposits in our “Marriage Love Bank.”
Spend many, many hours on Willard Harley’s amazing “Marriage Builders” website!
Willard Harley is a Christian and his website is www.marriagebuilders.com. It contains thousands of pages of free materials. He even has a short tour which explains what you will discover under each of the dozen tabs on his website. Take the tour (it’s free). He provides free downloads of ten of his Marriage Builders’ questionnaires, as well as a marriage coaching service over the phone. You will also find over 9000 archived radio segments ($49 gives you unlimited download access to all archived radio segments for 12 months).
According to the book, His Needs, Her Needs by Willard Harley, the first thing a wife can’t do without is affection and the first thing a man can’t do without is sexual fulfillment. In ten chapters he explains the five top needs of a wife and the five top needs of a husband, and how to fall in love again by caring for your spouse’s needs. These needs are so strong that, if they are not met in marriage, people are tempted to go outside the marriage to satisfy them. The mistake couples make is by assuming their needs are the same as their spouse’s, so they never take the time to discover what their spouse’s needs are and how to effectively meet them.
Willard has a free downloadable Emotional Needs Questionnaire where each spouse ranks their personal needs (out of the 10 listed) in order of importance, as well as how fully this need is being met in their marriage. From this starting point, Willard provides additional resources to help each spouse develop the skills necessary to meet their spouse’s top needs and thus restore romance to their marriage. Go to Willard’s website and learn what you need to learn!
Scriptures to meditate on and apply to my marriage
- Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Cor. 13:6-7).
- Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other (Eph. 4:32) bearing with one another (Col. 3:13) of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit (Phil. 2:2).
Resources for married couples
- Hear People’s Hearts – Going Beyond Words to What the Heart is REALLY Saying (Blog)
- His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage (2 million + copies of this book sold)
- Love Busters: Protecting Your Marriage from Habits That Destroy Romantic Love (Book)
- Five Steps to Romantic Love: A Workbook for Readers of Love Busters and His Needs, Her Needs
- Marriage Made Simple – A book written by a guy for guys
- 4 Keys to Hearing God’s Voice - Discover how easy it is to hear the voice of your Wonderful Counselor, and let Him counsel your marriage (DVD training course with book and workbook)
- Prayers That Heal the Heart - Get rid of the baggage you bring with you into the marriage. By starting with a clean slate, your marriage experiences much greater fulfillment (DVD training course with book and workbook)
- How to Deal Effectively With Your Sexuality – eBook exploring sexuality from Scripture
- The Treasure Chest – “Spirit-Led Prayer Organizer: Devotionals to Meet Your Specific Needs” containing 40 prayer approaches which provide tools for achieving spiritual victory.