For the last two weeks, Bob has written about the importance of connecting with your spouse at a heart level. [Week 1: Why You Need Your Heart to Love, Week 2: Understanding What Makes Your Spouse Tick]. My job today is to give you an example of how it works. While our target audience has been you and your mate, the principle just works—with your kids, your co-workers, or the folks at church. This example involves a friend from church who spoke to my heart this morning.
At the end of last year, the leadership team for the marriage ministry at our church began planning a marriage retreat. After much looking, they found a location and set the date for a weekend in May. Because of the COVID crisis, they had to move the date to mid-July and re-advertise. When our governor closed the venue, they had to re-calculate everything and make it an “in-town marriage retreat,” bringing it home to our church. Then, the final straw: With four days left before the retreat, the governor closed churches. We now had to notify speakers, comedians, attendees and call it off. It was heartbreaking.
And then, my friend—one of the young wives in our marriage group—wrote a note and demonstrated the principles involved in connecting. The entire team put out a massive effort, but I was the blessed recipient of her note.
She Put Herself in Our Shoes
“I can’t imagine how disappointed you must feel. I know you have been working very hard.”
She used her head to size up the situation, and she used her heart to identify the feelings that were rampaging inside us. She empathized with what we’d been through. She made us feel understood.
She Offered Encouragement
She went on to encourage us: “We know how much you care about our marriages and want us all to thrive.”
We had been feeling so low, and her words lifted us up. They helped us realize that, even though we’d worked hard on the marriage retreat, marriage ministry isn’t just about a retreat. It’s about what goes on the entire rest of the year. She helped us to remember that.
She Re-focused Us on God
“I read Jeremiah 29:11 this morning: For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” She didn’t beat us over the head with the Bible. She chose a passage that was aimed at lifting us up and pointing us forward.
That’s the idea behind connecting with your spouse—or with anyone—at a heart level. Identify with them and show compassion. Seek to encourage. And lead them to the Lord.