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Choosing Words That Build Up Your Spouse - Crosswalk Couples Devotional - August 17

Choosing Words That Build Up Your Spouse
By Lynette Kittle

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” - James 1:5

Choosing a card for an anniversary, Valentine’s Day, birthday, or another special occasion can take time. For me, it’s usually hours, because I love cards.

These hours have included asking myself, should I choose a funny one to make my husband laugh? Or, do I go for a simple card with few but deep heartfelt words? Or maybe buy a lengthy one with a lot of loving sentiment?

In the past, I bought cards expressing my heartfelt thoughts towards my husband because I believed it was the most authentic. But in recent years my card selection has become more about finding words to encourage, assure, and inspire him.

Why the shift? While in the store looking through cards, God quietly spoke to my heart, pointing out how my choosing ones for my husband had become all about me. Rather than focusing on what words will uplift him, my thoughts were on what I wanted to say to him, rather than what he needed to hear.

Although my heart made me think I was being sincere in my card selections, I realized what Jeremiah 17:9 describes, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

I came to a deeper understanding of how my heart can’t be trusted. Of how it can lead me astray, deceive me in ways I may not be aware are happening. 

Likewise, Psalm 84:11 explains, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.”

I discovered, too, how my heart is capable of withholding words to my husband based on past experiences, disappointments, or current emotions. My choice of cards can be influenced by what my husband hasn’t been saying to me or on his behavior at the time.

Likewise, my heart is capable of having a selfish agenda towards my spouse, wanting to get my point across to him, over using the opportunity to speak life to him.

So, if I can’t trust my own heart, where do I find my source of inspiration in choosing a card for him? Proverbs 3:5 tells me, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

As well, James 1:5 explains, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

James 1:5 sq

Also, John 14:26 assures me I can rely on the Holy Spirit to teach me all things. 

So now my card hunting is focused on asking the Holy Spirit to help me choose words to speak to my husband’s heart, instead of relying on my own thoughts. It’s based on trusting His gentle leading in finding a card with words, to hearten and nourish my husband in ways God knows he needs to be encouraged. 

1 Thessalonians 5:11 urges me to “encourage one another and build each other up,” and that includes my husband. God has given me a place in my husband’s life where the words I choose to speak to him have the potential to build him up or tear him down.

Think about your marriage today. What words can you speak to your spouse that will build them up and encourage them in the season you find yourself in?

RELATED: Listen now to our FREE podcast, Intentional Living, available on You can listen to the first episode below - "Being Intentional with Our Words"

Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman,,,,,, and more. She has an M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as an associate producer for Soul Check TV.

You want a happy family who’s growing closer to God and each other every day. But how do you break down the barriers to a loving marriage? How can you connect with your kids and help them in their struggles? How does your faith make a real difference in your family’s life?

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