Building Up Your Spouse

Mentoring Tips

Make one-to-one mentoring easier by learning what to do and what not to do.  Click to learn more.

Tip#1 – Find your PLACE

  • Pray: simple yet powerful act
  • Listen: people want to feel heard
  • Ask: good questions foster productive dialogue
  • Consider: think slowly and biblically
  • Encourage: uplift rather than beat down
Tip#2 – Avoid the common mistakes

  • Fixing: this is a person, not a project
  • Preaching: walk alongside, don’t talk at or down to them
  • Carrying: show concern but don’t carry too heavy a burden
  • Blaming: no condemnation in Christ Jesus
  • Rescuing: you are not their savior!
    • How did you meet one another?
    • Knowing that you are a mirror for your mate, what does he/she see? Do you know how he/she would answer that question? Are you willing to ask?
    • Have you found that early on in your relationship you built each other up, but over time you’ve grown apathetic or even critical toward one another?
    • Are you able to talk about how you really feel with your spouse? What do those conversations look and feel like?
    • What gets in the way of building each other up in your marriage?
    • Do you know what a healthy, biblically-balanced self-image looks like?  Would it be helpful to explore that topic together so you have a better handle on it?
    • Does your spouse have a healthy self-image? If not, tell me a little about that? What does that look like in his/her behavior?
    • When you face disappointment in your spouse or marriage, how do you express that?
    • What would your kids say about the way you treat one another?
    • What was your model for marriage growing up? Did your parents build each other up or tear one another down?
    • By God’s grace, what would you like to change about the way you relate to your spouse?
    • I believe the most important relationship in your life is with Jesus Christ. Can you tell me what that means to you personally?
    • What is one small step you can take today to begin building up your spouse?
    • How can I be an encouragement to you today?
Deeper Questions
Online Helps
Other Ministry Links
  • - Dennis and Barbara Rainey, The New Building Your Mate’s Self-Esteem, p. xvi

    “Far too many marriages consist of two people who are waiting for each other to reach out and meet their needs.”

  • - Dennis and Barbara Rainey, The New Building Your Mate’s Self-Esteem, p. 44

    “When truth is not ruling in your life, feelings are. Acting on negative feelings will not build your mate’s self-image or your marriage—it will only tear down what you’ve already built.”

  • - Dennis and Barbara Rainey, The New Building Your Mate’s Self-Esteem, p. 80

    “You don’t have to be a trained counselor to be of value in your mate’s life. You can give what your mate needs most—acceptance, love, and the freedom to fail. Your mate needs that from you more than from anyone else.”

  • - Dennis and Barbara Rainey, The New Building Your Mate’s Self-Esteem, p. 141

    “Giving your mate the freedom to fail communicates that you are on his team, regardless of the outcome. It tells him that even if he makes a mistake and fails, you will be there to help him up, dust him off, and encourage him to try again. The issue is not whether he will ever fail, but rather whether he will get back up and whether you will be at his side.”

  • - Dennis and Barbara Rainey, The New Building Your Mate’s Self-Esteem, p. 180

    “Your mate needs you to be a cheerleader, not a preacher. Praise and applaud your mate’s right choices; don’t just tell him what he does wrong. Most likely he already receives daily reminders of his failures from a host of other people.”

  • - Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, p. 65

    “If we have an impoverished view of God, we will become impoverished ourselves. If we have constructed in our minds a god who is weak and impotent and not in control of every detail of the universe, we will see ourselves as being helpless and will be overwhelmed by the storms and circumstances around us. If our god is worthless, we will see ourselves as being worthless.”

  • - Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus, Intimate Issues, p. 111

    “Faithfulness to our vows is more than the absence of an affair or the absence of a divorce document. Faithfulness is the presence of love, devotion, honor, loyalty, and encouragement. Faithfulness is positive and dynamic; it means we actively seek the welfare of our spouse.”

  • - Shaunti Feldhahn, For Women Only, p. 92-93

    “In a very deep way, your man feels isolated and burdened by secret feelings of inadequacy. Making love with you assures him that you find him desirable, salves a deep sense of loneliness, and gives him the strength and well-being necessary to face the world with confidence.”

  • - Robert Lewis, Rocking the Roles, p. 65

    “A servant-leader husband majors on what’s right and good about his wife. Yes, he’s aware of her weaknesses. But his focus is on her strengths and assets. He constantly affirms her, emphasizing her significance and importance to his life. He knows that encouragement gives her energy to grow and develop.”

  • - James Walker, Husbands Who Won’t Lead and Wives Who Won’t Follow, p. 37

    “The concept of self-esteem is often misunderstood by Christians. It has been painted with the brush of self-love … Self-love (or self-exaltation) is different from having self-esteem—which simply means to have a proper, balanced view of ourselves.”

  • - Dan Allender, The Wounded Heart, p. 168

    “The symptoms of a poor self-image are most often unseen and can only be inferred by observing a person as she relates to others. A common element, however, will be the presence of strong self-contempt. The person who undercuts, devalues, and sabotages her life and deeds is often a person who harbors a past that pollutes every pleasure and discolors every gift given to her.”

  • - Tim Kimmel, The High Cost of High Control, p. 54

    “Dialogue is a family treasure—the gold and silver that finances our hopes and underwrites our dreams. It may draw laughter, tears, or anger, but when tempered with grace, it gives individuals a sense of high value.”

  • - Tim Kimmel, The High Cost of High Control, p. 146

    “Love gives the other person space—room to breathe, to be unique, to have a dream or two that, though it may not be shared with the same intensity, still needs to be encouraged.”

  • - Robert Lewis, Rocking the Roles, p. 122

    “If, after marriage, a wife fails to share in her husband’s vision or participate in it, or if she becomes apathetic toward his work, or even resentful of it, then that marriage will fall into deep trouble within a surprisingly short time.”

  • - Dennis and Barbara Rainey, The New Building Your Mate’s Self-Esteem, p. 13

    “Often, couples instinctively turn on each other, rather than courageously turning to each other in order to build confidence and security. Instead of the marriage relationship being a haven in the storm, it becomes the storm itself.”

  • - Nancy Anderson, Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome, p. 69

    “Men and women have affairs for many different reasons, but a common complaint of both sexes is the lack of praise and the abundance of criticism from their spouses.”

  • - Emerson Eggerichs, Love and Respect, p. 47, 49, 50

    “Respect does something to the soul of a man. God made him that way … Women need to learn how to understand and use the word respect because, in truth, respect is a man’s deepest value … Respect is the key to motivating a husband.”

Next Steps
    • You should be commended for acknowledging the need to invest in your marriage by building up your spouse better
    • Well done also for battling against the normal slide toward criticism and isolation in marriage
    • Read any of the helpful Scriptures listed in this guide and let’s discuss.
    • Read one of the helpful articles listed in this guide and let’s discuss.
    • Make a list of the positive things about your spouse and find time to verbalize those (Philippians 4:6-8)
    • Remember that you are not alone in this. We all need to learn the skill of building up our spouse.
    • Pray every day together, even if it’s just for a moment or two
    • Love is action, not feelings (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
    • Do not give up or lose hope in the midst of what might feel like a real challenge
    • Consider taking a short TV fast, maybe even 48 hours, to invest in one another (Ephesians 5:16)
    • Don’t settle for the status quo, but do the hard work to move back toward one another
    • Remember that God has a plan for your marriage, and it includes love and respect for both spouses
    • Be the one to break the stalemate and move closer, to take the risk!
    • Get involved in a local, bible-believing church for spiritual growth and accountability
    • Consider attending a FamilyLife Weekend to Remember marriage getaway
    • Think of something (hobby, sport, recreational activity) you would like to pursue together.
    • Talk about one of your favorite dates.  What was it about that date that made it so memorable? Is this something you could do again?