I tell you what, I could go on and on with this series because I am truly rich with wise women in my life. Carrie has taught me about carrying my own backpack in marriage and not picking his up to try to carry.  Rebecca gave me a particularly good piece of advice for the intimate element of marriage.  Dannelle reminds me to pray for my husband and how truly important it is.  Judy told me a story about nagging that has stuck with me for years.  The list could go on!

I have thoroughly enjoyed this little mini series on some of the best marriage advice that I’ve been given by wise women.  And I have so appreciated your comments and seeing that we are all tracking together on this journey called marriage.  Even the not married jewels!  So much truth about marriage can be applied to any relationship that is important to us.  If you want to check out part one on letting each spouse play to his/her strengths, click here.  And for part two, on the realities of being on the same team, click here.   It was so much fun to give a pot of cookies to Samantha, a friend for many years!  I wish I could have given one to each of you – that’s how great they are.  Maybe next year…..ha!  When I’ve come into considerable money….

To wrap up this series, I wanted to share a piece of advice given to me by one of my mom’s dearest friends, just before I got married.  It comes back to me all of the time and has proven true repeatedly.

The Wise Woman: Rachel Samuelson

The Wise Woman’s piece of advice: You hold your husband in the palm of your hand.  Speak words of life to him, and you will be shocked by how much of an impact it makes on him.  

Rachel went on to elaborate and I will paraphrase what she said:

“Abi, I have been married for ten years now and I can tell you, without a shadow of a doubt, that Mike has absolutely blossomed since we got married.  I have chosen to speak into him with encouragement, affirmation and words of life instead of the opposite and it is astonishing to see how much he has grown since we got married.  YOU hold your husband in the palm of your hand.  You can crush him or you can watch him grow.”

Whoa.  You can crush him OR you can watch him grow.  I don’t think that she was saying to avoid confrontation so that you’d never say a hurtful thing to your spouse.  I think she was saying – ‘You have no idea how powerful your words to your husband are.  Don’t underestimate how much he feeds on the words of life. And not just anyone’s words….your words carry an impact that no one else’s have.’

(Let’s take a moment to discuss the above picture.  Weird.  Is it a jello heart?  Whatever.  I saw it and couldn’t pass it up 🙂

I was watching part of the IF: Conference this past weekend and I saw a part where Bob and Maria Goff were interviewed.  He said something so very striking.  He said, ‘Women, guys are the funniest people.  It’s basically like this: if you say it about us or to us, we will become it.  If you remark on our integrity, more integrity will come out.  If you praise our gentleness, we will become more gentle….etc.’

Again, I think the word whoa is the only appropriate response.  Whoa.

The instant Rachel’s words hit my ears I knew there was truth in them.  I have the capacity to do one of two things to Zion, as his wife.  One, I can stunt him and shut him down with my words.  Or two, I can breathe life into who he is destined to be and to the beauty and strength I see inside of him.  I have certainly missed the mark in this area on countless occasions.  Not one of us is perfect and thank you LORD that You have mercy over our humanity.  But I every time I have chosen to directly speak life into him, the fruit is there.  I mean, who wouldn’t grow from that?!

I think it should be noted that this isn’t meant to be utilized in a manipulative sense.  I.E. I want you to load the dishes so I tell you how much I love your dish loading expertise and overall dish loading sexiness.  That is self-serving.  Instead, this is a conscious choice to be the best that you can be to your teammate and to call out the best in him.  Imagine a track team.  One teammate heads out to do her individual part of the race.  Is the rest of the team sitting passively on the sidelines?  I’m thinking not.  I’m thinking they are on the sidelines narrowly watching the teammate’s run around the track and screaming out encouragements as she passes in front of them….”Go! Yes! Great corner! You’re almost there! Lean in!  You’ve got this.”  We are calling each other to run our races well.  And the more we focus on calling out the strength inside of our teammate, the stronger he becomes…every single time.

Here’s another running example.  Have you ever run a race that was hillier than you expected it to be?  By the time you see the finish line your muscles are quivering and you really feel like you may not be able to make it across that line.  Never mind running….walking seems to be the only feasible option.  But then your eyes fall on the crowd that has gathered at the finish line and by the grace of God, somehow you find the people that you know who have come to cheer you across that line.  They are waiving arms in the air and yelling as loud as they can, smiling and cheering you.  I tell you what, no matter how much quit your body is fighting off, there is something about hearing those specific voices break through the other cheerleaders.  Everything inside of you grabs on to the sight of them and to the sound of their voices and you breathe in oxygen and push.  Where the energy comes from is a mystery, but there is a sudden urge to run as if your legs are fresh and you find yourself sprinting to the finish line.  Only God knows how those cheering voices have the power to flood your body with desire to run across that finish line with everything you have left.  But they do.

It’s a holy thing to hold someone in the palm of your hand.  And as a wife, it is something to lean into the Lord for.  I want to partner with what the Lord thinks of Zion and let that fuel my words to him instead of offering words out of flattery.  Simple prayers like, ‘Lord give me your thoughts….help me to have your words…’ yield results that sometimes surprise even you.  And mercy, I don’t want to crush him.  I don’t think we should be obsessed over whether or not we are going to be the end of our spouse with our words.  After all, we don’t have ultimate power over anyone or anything – thank goodness.  But it is so right to acknowledge that our words have deep impact on our men.  And they do have the capacity to bring more life to them instead of more doubt to them.

Happy Valentine’s Day Weekend!!!!!!!!!  I love celebrating love!  And I have loved focusing on some of the great marriage advice that’s been given to me from very wise women over the years.  Thank you for reading! To those who are married and to those who aren’t – I appreciate your time more than you could know.

Happy weekending y’all,