How to Build Strength in Your Marriage-Keep the Dirty Laundry out of Your Mouth

In my mother’s day, people could tell a lot about what went on in a house by the laundry that hung on the clothes line. Diapers meant a new baby was in the house. Swimsuits and towels meant the family had spent time at the beach. And a single set of twin sheets and pajamas meant someone was sick or had an accident in the night. But you never saw dirty laundry on the line. That was kept inside, saved for wash day. Only freshly cleaned laundry hung on the line for all to see.
Sunshine infused laundry is a great approach for our marital relationship. When we share with the world—including our friends and family—the best of our spouse, we strengthen our relationship. But when we share the dirty laundry of our spouse—their imperfections and failures—we weakened our relationship. (The exception to this is abuse which should never be hidden or tolerated.)
Words are important because:
·        Maintaining a focus on the positive keeps their imperfections in correct perspective.
It’s always easier to find fault with others instead of ourselves. None of us is perfect. 
·        Speaking well of your spouse, especially in front of them, builds their self-esteem.
A spouse with a healthy self-esteem is a much better life partner.
·        Critical words spoken about a partner become internalized by the children.
Anything you say derogatory about your spouse within earshot of the kids can, and will, be internalized by your children. They are, after all, half the parent being criticized.   
·        We get more of what we give attention to.
Whatever behavior is rewarded is what increases. Affirmation is an emotional reward. Use it freely.
·        They provide protection from the temptation of adultery.
The spouse that knows they are valued and appreciated is much less likely to fail into temptation.
·        Reputations, once tarnished, are difficult to restore.
There may be times when you need to talk about the challenges you face in your spouse. Before you turn to anyone else, go to God first. He’ll never judge them simply by your words. He judges them on their heart.  

Message for the Journey:
Dirty laundry doesn’t belong in our mouths anymore than it belongs on a clothes line. What we speak of is what we focus on and what we focus on is what we speak of. When we intentionally look for the positive traits of our partner, we find them. Don’t hang your spouse’s dirty laundry out to dry, instead affirm and lift them up. You’ll build strength into your marriage and a lifelong future together.

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”                                         
1 Thes. 5:11

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