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Thursday, July 28, 2011
I am sometimes astounded by what qualifies as news. But once in a while I come across an obscure news tidbit that speaks directly to something I feel strongly about.

Such is the case with this story.  Apparently, according to the story, during a NASCAR pre-race prayer a Nashville pastor raised some eyebrows when, a la Ricky Bobby and "Talladega Nights," he thanked God for his “smokin’ hot wife.”

I’m not going to argue the merits of making such a statement during a public prayer or whether using a quote from pop culture was the best choice of words, but I do want to commend the man for publicly praising his wife.

This leads me to ask a tough question. And it’s one that I hope you will consider honestly.
If I were to ask your friends, family and co-workers how you feel about your spouse, what would they say?

Does the thought make you cringe a bit? It shouldn’t.

Speaking Appreciation Behind Their Back

What do you say about your spouse when he or she isn’t around? Are you careful to always show him or her honor, respect and admiration or do you join in the complaints and criticisms that so many are prone to engage in?

Do you tend to complain to your family about your spouse’s habits or behaviors? Do you do so hoping to prove that you have a “right” to be unhappy about them? Are you looking for weapons to use against your spouse? “My mother agrees that you really should be doing the dishes more.” “My brother’s wife is always refusing to have sex too. We just don’t think that’s fair.” If you have issues in your marriage (and what marriage doesn’t) you owe it to your spouse to deal with them directly and not the court of public opinion. Complaining to others in an attempt to sooth your own conscience or make your case will only make the problems worse.

Even if you only sit quietly by during spouse-deriding banter at your office, you are doing your husband or wife a disservice. Are you willing to be the one to throw a wet blanket on the jesting and publicly make statements of appreciation about your spouse? Eyes may roll and you may endure some derision yourself, but realize that these responses only come from jealousy.

Let Them Hear You

You can probably pick a better moment than a public prayer at a car racing event, but I encourage you to watch for appropriate opportunities to praise your spouse when they are within earshot. It is important not only to speak positively about your spouse and marriage when your husband or wife is not around, but also make a point to praise your spouse to others when they can hear it.

Let your words of affirmation be genuine and appropriate for the context. Don’t be too over-the-top – even subtle statements can work wonders for making your spouse feel loved, and that’s really the point. It’s OK if your publicly expressed sentiments make your introverted or demurring spouse a little uncomfortable with the attention, but also be sensitive to his or her personality. Regardless of personality, I promise it will greatly bless your spouse to hear you sing their praises.

Of course you should also show appreciation to your spouse in private - the praises you offer in public certainly should come as no surprise. But in my opinion, private praises alone aren’t enough.  Let your love be known!


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