March 22, 2017

How to Know if You are Cherishing Your Spouse

Gary Thomas — 

There’s a simple definition of cherishing that doesn’t fully encompass the word, but it’s an essential slice of it.

If you cherish someone, you seek to enhance their life.

If you cherish a diamond, you set it in gold and regularly shine it. If you cherish a car, it gets washes and waxes and you think about where to park it.

If you cherish a spouse, you think regularly about how you can enhance your spouse’s life.

It’s the little things. Lisa likes to read the local paper so I try to make sure she never has to go outside to retrieve it. She hates filling up the gas tank so I try to remember before trips to fill it up. She’s not a big fan of driving in general, so if there’s a shopping trip I can take her to on the weekend, I’ll do my best.

Lisa excels at this much more than I do. When I’m tired and my schedule is overwhelming me, Lisa’s service goes on overdrive. She won’t let me do anything. I off-handedly mention I should eat sometime soon and suddenly a meal is in front of me. I reach to pick up the plate afterwards and she’s already there, scooping it away. “I’ll let you get back to work,” she says.

As we’ve pursued a cherishing marriage, we both are more mindful of this. My wife takes a supplement right upon waking up so she needs a bottle of water nearby.  She asked me to bring a bottle up the night before and I knew upon waking she can be a little groggy so I broke the seal, making the bottle easy to open. Later the next morning Lisa came up and hugged me and told me about waking up and finding the bottle already opened. “I live with a very nice man,” she said. It took me all of one and a half seconds but it meant so much to her.

It just becomes fun trying to do this, asking yourself in little ways, “How can I enhance my spouse’s life?” It sets you thinking about them instead of yourself, and it almost becomes a contest as you seek to “outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:10).

This blog post is 99.9% about application, as the idea is so simple and needs little explanation: will you wake up in the morning and ask yourself, “How can I enhance my husband’s/wife’s life today?” If nothing comes to mind, ask your spouse for some ideas.

We’ve promised to cherish our spouse and this is one of the most practical ways to do it—regularly seeking to enhance their life.

This blog is not written for women in abusive marriages. The advice offered in these posts will challenge both husbands and wives, but the advice could be counter-productive if it is applied in an abusive relationship.

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16 responses to How to Know if You are Cherishing Your Spouse

  1. I am not Married yet….but I enjoy reading your posts. It is hard being in my thirties and still waiting but God is faithful. Thank you.

  2. Gary Thomas you are just amazing! God bless you immensely for positively affecting my life and marriage in a special way. I came across your name while reading a daily devotion that mentioned you and your book Sacred Marriage(I hope to buy this book soonest). One statement caught my attention that maybe we did not get married to be happy but to be Holy. I just had to google Gary Thomas and I landed on a daily devotion “Breath Spiritual Passion into your marriage” – A LIFELONG LOVE by Gary Thomas. I repeatedly did this devotion over and over. I was so excited that God was my father in-law. I had to share with my friends about you. I then read every marriage starts with a funeral. Oh my God….its hardly a month and my life and marriage has turned over. My husband, not so outspoken about God, is so happy that something good has happened to me. Am looking for more of your resources. I have to confess there is something special about you and your ministry. I bless God for you and your family. I know God is setting up my family for a great ministry. We have been through so much. Despite entry if another woman into my marriage because I could not get another baby for 16 years now, I refused to give up. I understood marriage was a covenant that I was not going yo break anyhow. God has been faithful. Reading from you changed everything. I see our marriage becoming Holy. I would go on and on…..GOD BLESS YOU GARY. Pray for my husband that God draws him to Himself. Ad for me I just do my part….I keep cherishing this Gods son. As I obey Him, God will do his part when my obedience is done. I love you and your family Gary Thomas.

  3. Sweet. I think you’re saying that cherishing is about the little things that amount to big ones. Thanks for sharing from the heart.

  4. Gary,
    Thank you for being so committed to marriage God’s intended way! I love to read these blogs and always look forward to seeing you speak!

    I’ve been married to my wife coming up on 26-years. For the first 19yrs, I thought I was doing things right in our marriage. After a huge upset on my part that almost cost me my marriage and children, Christ utilized our suffering and turned into the most wonderful marriage and love for my wife and children I could imagine. Most of all, for His great glory! Amen!

    I have learned in the last seven years through marriage classes, retreats, and a lot from you, how to love and cherish my wife and make her life just a little easier while showing how much she means to me. Next to Christ, she has been the most loving and supportive person in my life…especially the last two years as I have been battling terminal Stage 4 lung cancer. She had quit her job 2-years ago to care for me and we have grown closer to each other more than ever. Unfortunately, because of health insurance purposes, she had to go back to work. Therefore, I do my best to help make her day better. I do not want to boast about anything other than what Christ has and always is doing in me, but I regularly pray with my wife at bedtime each night and each morning before she heads off to work. I make her lunch to take so she can leave on time, and I always write on a post-it note one verse and a personal message to help her day along and wash her in the Word. She always tells me thank you and she keeps every note I write…side note – she has kept every note to put into a keepsake book for the 5-yrs (minus the 2 she was home with me) that I have been writing them. Again, this is not to boast, but maybe give some ideas to other men (and women) on how to cherish your spouse. I found that I have grown so much in my walk with Christ and doing this for my wife gives her a bright spot in her day.

    Thank you, again, Gary for your commitment to a God-filled marriage!

    • Randy, this is such an inspiring but also heartbreaking testimony. When you say “terminal Stage 4 cancer” our hearts particularly go out to you. What an account of how God can turn a marriage around, and help to make a heartbreaking season into a rich one. I don’t know what to say other than that I have prayed for a miracle here. May God seem especially close as you cherish His daughter during this time, and may He grant your wife great strength and comfort as she walks with you through this. Thank you for taking the time to share with us.

      Readers, let’s pray that this marriage miracle might be lengthened through a physical miracle as well, as a testimony to God’s grace.

    • Randy this is just so awesome! You are amazing indeed. You know what – I believe God is and will completely heal you. They tell us faith moves mountains, brings the dead back to life and yet Love is the greatest. What you talk about here is love and I tell you God will keep you long to minister to us and many others. God bless you and keep you to serve Him more. Amen.

  5. What may seem like a simple, yet thoughtful act speaks love and is well received by the one to whom it’s given.

  6. Thanks, Gary. I’ve been so encouraged and challenged by Cherish. Consistently looking for the small ways to value our marriage and enhance Kristen’s life. I’ve also loved being able to share this with my friends and leaders. Thanks for the reminder today.

  7. Oh Gary! I love, ” it’s so simple. ” it really is, isn’t it. Lord, help me practice this everyday!

  8. I am serious about being a more Godly wife, so I appreciate these posts. But I have a serious question: if only one of you is engaging in the relationship, leaving 90% of all the responsibility on the engaging partner, how does that person get refilled enough to keep going. I know how to keep recharged spiritually, but I’m referring to physical/ emotional recharging. Thanks again.

    • Margaret Ninsin March 23, 2017 at 2:22 am

      Yes l have tried to cherish my spouse over the our 18 years of marriage. three years ago he suffered a stroke. I took care of him until he has recovered. However l have found out that l am the only one trying to make our marriage better. He scarcely shows any gratitude. Sometimes l am discouraged because it seems like l am the only one interested in the relationship.How do l recharge myself emotionally in a one sided relationship like this? Thanks.

    • Trish, I would have mentioned the “spiritual refilling” first, but since you said you’ve got that covered, the next thing I’d recommend is growing in your biblical understanding of pleasure–which is one of God’s tools to replenish and strengthen us. I talk about how deprived people often need to focus more on pleasure rather than less in my book “Pure Pleasure.” For far too long, we’ve seen pleasure as the enemy of our faith when I believe the Bible presents it as a tool to build our faith (not to mention worship).

      The third thing I’d say is that, eventually, it’s appropriate to confront a spouse about this–through a pastor or with a counselor if he won’t listen to you alone. If your husband is at all open to God’s conviction, this is something that should concern him. I posted this recently on my author Facebook page (www.facebook.com/authorgarythomas):

      “When a man is close to Christ; when he has surrendered to the work of the Holy Spirit, one of the first evidences will be a new sensitivity toward his wife and empathy for her welfare. Callousness toward our wives is in fact callousness toward God, who adores our wives and wants us to love them sacrificially. The problem of marriage is the problem of spiritual immaturity—the same men who obey Christ only when it is convenient love their wives only when it is in their best interest to do so.”

      Calllousness toward you is callousness toward the God who wants you to experience an intimate, connected marriage. What I’m trying to say is that it’s not always the “holy” option to just put up with a disconnected marriage. It’s a good thing to seek resolution on this.

      • Gary, resolution for some may never come during this life-time…. If a spouse is not a Christian, the only hope of being cherished in the manner presented here (which is beautiful), and having resolution from a disconnected marriage is upon salvation of the lost as Randy presented above (Praise God for His miracle-working power!). That said, there is victory in Jesus! One may not experience marriage the way God intended, but He is still there encouraging and cheering us on by bring fellow Christians along side of us to strengthen us and encourage us to be steadfast – He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him!! Praise His holy name!