Giving your mate the BEST

Written by Carl & Yolanda Bennett
coupleholdinghands_5001 Peter 3:9-12
In our fallen world, it is often deemed acceptable by some to tear people down verbally or to get back at them if we feel hurt. Peter, remembering Jesus' teaching to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39), encourages his readers to pay back wrongs with a blessing, such as praying for the offenders. In God's Kingdom, revenge is unacceptable behavior, as is insulting a person, no matter how indirectly it is done. Rise above getting back at those who hurt you. Instead of reacting angrily to these people, pray for them. When you give someone your best that is the greatest gift you could ever give. God gave His best when He sent His only son to die for our sins. Those of us that are parents only want the best for our children whether they are young or old. Now let us share with you how to give your mate your best by giving the BEST.

Prescription for a Superb Marriage

The prescription involves a practical course of action for husband and wife that is both uncomplicated and effective. You will be able to remember it readily because it is called the B-E-S-T, an acronym representing the four positive elements that will transform any marriage. These are not steps to be tried one at a time, but four measures to be taken simultaneously and maintained consistently. If necessary, they can be implemented by either partner alone. In many cases, one of you will have to make the first move without any promise of cooperation from the other. So, if you want the best marriage possible with the mate you have chosen, then give your partner the BEST:
  • Blessing
  • Edifying
  • Sharing
  • Touching

Blessing

Perhaps you have never thought of blessing as a practical element to be introduced into marriage. The principle of blessing is a biblical one. And the Christian is commanded to practice it, most particularly in response to annoyance or provocation. Learning this important technique of response will carry you through the difficult moments that occur in any marriage and will bring peace to the troubled waters of your relationship.

The first way of blessing your marriage partner is speak well of him or her, and to respond with good words even when your partner's speech becomes harsh, critical, or insulting. The Lord Jesus gave us an example we are advised to follow: when He was despised, He did not despise in return, and when He suffered, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to His Father in heaven. In the same way, scripture says, we are to live as husbands and wives. The wife described in Proverbs 31 receives praise because she opens her mouth in wisdom and the law of kindness is on her tongue. James warns us about the inconsistency of sending forth both blessing and cursing from our mouth as if we were a fountain pouring out a mixture of fresh and bitter water. And Peter tells us that if we love life and want to see "good days," we will keep our tongue from speaking evil in any form.

To put this in the most practical terms, you have the power to bless your marriage by the words you speak to your partner. You can also bless by learning when to be silent.

You bless by simply doing kind things for another person. When is the last time you did something kind for your mate just to please, not as a duty, but as a gift of blessing? This should be a daily part of your marriage.

You also bless by showing thankfulness and appreciation. Whatever you can find to appreciate in your partner, make it known verbally, Thank your partner and thank- God too. Finally, you bless by calling God's favor down in prayer. How much are you praying for your partner? And on what basis? So things will be easier for you? O is it prayer for your partner's good and blessing?

To sum up, you bless your partner and your marriage in these four ways:
  • Through your good and loving words spoken to him and about him
  • Through your practical behavior, which shows loving kindness toward him in actions large and small
  • Through conveying your attitude of thankfulness and appreciation for him
  • Through your prayer to God on his behalf. Good words; kind actions; thankful appreciation and intercessory prayer for your partner
Blessing in its fullness will work wonders when applied to your marriage. No matter how your partner treats you, blessing should be your response.

If all of this helps a troubled marriage, think of how a good marriage can be enhanced when two people begin to bless each other!

Edifying

Edifying, a biblical term often used in the New Testament, refers to the building up of individuals. Although Christians can be edified spiritually by preaching, we do not recommend this means of edifying your marriage partner. The husband edifies his wife by praising her. The wife edifies her husband by her loving response to him. Edification builds up, never tears down. So love gives your partner freedom to grow and develop as a person without fear of failure and fear of hurtful criticism. Some husbands who manage to refrain from criticism still have not learned the art of praise for their wives. It is said, "The best way to compliment your wife is frequently." On the other hand, relationships die because of what you don't say. They simply dry up!

Edifying begins in the thought life where Philippians 4:8 is applied: "If there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things" (NASB). Practice about things you find attractive in your mate--every positive quality your partner possesses. Let the words of your lips be governed by this principle: Will these words build up or tear down? Then ask yourself: What can I say to my partner right now that will edify and build up, encourage, strengthen, and bring peace?

God has designed marriage so that a husband is dependent upon the affirmations of his wife, the appreciation she shows him for all that he gives her, and her demonstration of respect for his manhood. It is wounding when a husband criticizes his wife. It is equally wounding when the wife criticizes what her husband provides for her. Both husband and wife have a tremendous need for encouragement by word, by focused attention, by eye contact, and by loving touch to keep them alive as growing, confident individuals. While you are edifying and building each other up, you also are building a home together. Your home can never be what it should be until you have developed the practice of edifying. Let it begin with you!

Sharing

The more ways you can find to be in relationship with each other, the stronger your love will become. Sharing should touch all areas of life--your time, activities, interests and concerns, ideas and innermost thoughts, spiritual walk, family objectives and goals, etc.

Sharing demands giving of yourself, listening to your partner, and as you live life together, developing a sensitive awareness of moments that offer possibilities for deepening the love between you. Husband and wife are to become one flesh. The Book of Acts tells us that all the believers were one in heart and soul and, at that time, even had their possessions in common. If this sharing could happen within a group of people, how much more possible it is to develop oneness of heart and soul between two people who want to build love in their marriage!

Touching

You should already know how essential physical touching is to every human being. God created us with hundreds of thousands of microscopic nerve endings in our skin designed to sense and benefit from a loving touch. A tender touch tells us that we are cared for. It can calm our fears, soothe pain, bring us comfort, or give us the blessed satisfaction of emotional security. As adults, touching continues to be a primary means of communicating with those we love, whether we are conscious of it or not. Our need for a caring touch is normal and healthy and we will never out grow it.

But if touching is so valuable and pleasurable, why is it necessary to advise couples to do more of it? The answer lies in our culture. While our western civilization is highly sexual, it frowns on or ignores touching apart from sex. This is particularly true for men, for there are only three acceptable kinds of touching in today's world: the superficial handshake, aggressive contact sports, and the sexual encounter.

Men have been conditioned to turn to sex whenever they feel any need for loving closeness. No wonder experts believe that our extreme preoccupation with sex in this society is actually an expression of our deep, unsatisfied need for the warmth, reassurance, and intimacy of nonsexual touching. Snuggling and cuddling, sleeping close to each other, sharing affection through simple touch, will meet many emotional needs. At the same time, this pattern of affectionate closeness provides a delightful prelude to the entire sex relationship, preparing the way emotionally for wonderful times together. We must emphasize that even if you apply every principle we have given to you thus far, it will be of little avail unless you learn to touch each other often and joyfully in nonsexual ways. Physical contact is absolutely essential in building the emotion of love. You may take it as a sobering warning that most of the time marital infidelity is not so much a search for sex as it is for emotional intimacy.

Conclusion

Blessing; Edifying; Sharing; Touching. . A four-point prescription for a superb marriage! But prescriptions are useful only when taken as directed.

To be sure you are applying these principles correctly, we want to give you some additional help in each area. This time we will begin with the simplest of the four elements - touching- and conclude with the more challenging part of the prescription blessing.

Suggestion for Touching

Establish the cozy habit of staying in some sort of physical contact while you are going to sleep- a hand or a leg touching your partners, for instance.

Suggestion for Sharing

Common Ground. Think of all the things you actually share right now and how can you enjoy it more.

Suggestion for Edifying

Always exhibit the greatest courtesy to each other. You should be VIP's in your home.

Suggestion for Blessing

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

9. Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate when people say unkind things about you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God wants you to do, and he will bless you for it.

10. For the Scriptures say, "If you want a happy life and good days, keep your tongue from speaking evil, and keep your lips from telling lies.

11. Turn away from evil and do good. Work hard at living in peace with others.

12. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil."

Too often we see peace as merely the absence of conflict, and we think of peacemaking as a passive role. But an effective peacemaker actively pursues peace by building good relationships, knowing that peace is a by-product of commitment. The peacemaker anticipates problems and deals with them before they occur. When conflicts arise, they are brought into the open and dealt with before they grow unmanageable. Making peace can be harder work than waging war, but it results in life and happiness.