Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Love is... Motivational

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

One of the best blessings that I have received being married to my wonderful hubby is that when I fall down, he lifts me up. He is consistently trying to help and encourage me in all that I do. (Of course there are always things he doesn't notice that I was hoping he would but when he does notice things, he is very encouraging and thoughtful)

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Ephesians 4:29

The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,    but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.

Proverbs 10:11

I could easily talk about this coming from the perspective of a lot of women and say that most of the time we end up having to motivate our husbands. Most often we do this by making them "Honey do" lists or by nagging. But instead of beating a dead horse, I am going to show you this from the perspective of the person being "motivated". 

I am not a good housekeeper. My house is a disaster most of the time. We live here and I often put the cleaning and organising at the bottom of the list because I would rather just be spending time with my family doing things. 

I am also a lot like my dad and I get super distracted while doing a task and I end up doing 8 other tasks at the same time so it takes me hours to fully finish cleaning a room. (But that's because I have also taken a stray sock to another room which led me to clean something there before heading to a different room and then back to the task at hand after about half an hour.  Its rather frustrating and takes a lot for me to just sit and do one thing)

This drives my husband crazy.  His mom was and is a stay at home mom. Hubby grew up on a farm and his mom was always there cooking and cleaning and helping when she was needed out in the yard.  Their house was always clean, at least from what hubby can remember. It was also always his moms job to clean and cook and his Dad was always working elsewhere.  His dad rarely helped clean because he had other things he had to do, and he only just recently started to put his dishes into the sink or dishwasher. (they have been off the farm for almost 6 years)

Over the years of our marriage we have talked argued about cleaning the house more times than I can count.  About a year into marriage, while both of us were working outside of the home, Hubby decided he needed to help me out. I think he caught onto the fact that if he wanted it done his way, in his time, he would have to help. We would work together and get the entire house fully cleaned each Saturday morning.  It was wonderful. Now that we have kids it doesn't always work out like that and normally one of us takes the kids and the other tries to clean. 

There have been a number of times in our marriage when Hubby has tried to motivate me to clean and organise the way he wants it. He has tried the male version of nagging (I would say its very different than how a woman would do it but it is still quite frustrating).  He has made little "jokes" or remarks about it to me or to our friends and family, that were funny to everyone but hurtful for me to hear. 

But honestly, best thing that he has done, that actually motivates me, was to encourage me when I was working at it and get excited when I finished something.  He has actually gotten really good at noticing when I have made a little change or effort to clean and organise. He tries to help me out however I need it and is always encouraging and understanding. (It helps that he has tried to watch the kids all day and clean the house and was unsuccessful) 

Iron sharpens iron,
    and one man sharpens another.

Proverbs 27:17

A joyful heart is good medicine,
    but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Proverbs 17:22

A soft answer turns away wrath,
    but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 15:1

I am sure that you have heard many times that "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar".  It is totally true with children, positive reinforcement will always produce better results than using negative reinforcement alone. It is also true with our spouses, they will feel more loved and respected if we celebrate their successes and kindly talk about our desires than if we nag them for it all the time and act like they never get anything right.  

How would you feel if your spouse only used negative reinforcement to motivate you?
Are we sharpening each other or are we cutting into each other?

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Hebrews 10:24-25

This is my challenge for us this week: 

Try to discover how to "stir up" or motive your spouse. You can do this by trying out different love languages or by having a real, honest and open discussion. 
Ask them what speaks to them to feel encouraged and lifted up.  Ask if there is anything you are doing that is not encouraging (and listen to their honest answer without biting their head off). 

Work at showing appreciation for the things that your spouse does do instead of getting angry about the things they don't do. 

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