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Hi, we’re Ryan and Selena Frederick.
Fierce Marriage is our blog devoted to helping couples build better marriages. We believe that building a Christ-centered marriage requires a fierce tenacity that never gives up and never gives in; there is no Plan B. When we vowed “Till death do us part”, we meant it!
Here we hope you find lots of useful advice that can help your marriage! We encourage you to join our mailing list, find us on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, and please share your thoughts by commenting on posts. – Ryan & Selena
It’s funny, we get pretty personal on this site about our marital struggles and epiphanies, but on other things we tend to under-share. I think we assume that not many folks would be interested to hear the nitty-gritty details of our everyday lives, or perhaps we just don’t make time.
Either way, we see the FM community as a valuable extension of our family and friends – so I feel it appropriate and necessary to provide a very quick update on what’s going on in our lives, hearts, and minds.
Proverbs 21:19: “It is better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife.”
Lately God has been convicting me about being “that wife.” As most of you know, we try to keep things transparent and real here in the FM community, so here we go…
This is my favorite time of year: the time between Christmas and New Year’s day. It’s a perfect blend of the rest of and reassurance of Advent and the anticipation of a new start. We can reflect on the past year and be refreshed as we prepare for the next.
It’s a time to feel ambitious. Some start new diets or exercise regimes, others make career and financial goals. In all cases, we commit to change – to do new things in the name of self betterment and life improvement. We resolve to be different.
Words can be so unbelievable. They’re cheap, right? All you have to do is utter a few syllables in a semi-coherent manner and voila! – speech. We hear and read words all the time. You’re reading words now, and you followed words to arrive here. Just spend a few minutes acutely aware of words and you’ll quickly see what I mean.
We’ve even learned how to subconsciously filter out untruths and irrelevant “word noise” before we’re aware of them. We quickly pan through the proverbial rocks and dirt in order to pick out the gold–the trustworthy words.
Censoring your spouse
We can unwittingly censor our spouses by not believing what they tell us. Selena and I are constantly having to reassure each other because one (or both) of us doubts the truth of our words. Usually it’s a result of an insecurity, a riff in our relationship, or an overwhelming circumstance.
This can cause unbelief in the good and true things we tell each other as spouses. I tell Selena things that hold great weight to me, but sometimes she doesn’t believe me. I tell Selena I admire her deeply, but she sometimes thinks I’m just saying the things “a husband is supposed to say”, and not what I actually feel. Quite the contrary…
I don’t mean to make Selena sound like an emotionally unstable person, but sometimes I just want my words to carry their fullest weight… thus, this post!
5 phrases I tell my wife that I hope she believes.
I’m sharing this list because I know I’m not the only husband who feels this way. I hope to speak for other men who may not be able to find the words.
1: You’re beautiful.
I’ve seen my wife totally dolled up, makeup free, and everything in between. I honestly think she’s beautiful in whatever she’s wearing. She’s always beautiful to me, but there are those unique moments when her beauty punches me in the gut and leaves me breathless. Those moments are not caused by how fit she is, the clothes she’s wearing, or how her makeup looks.
Those breathtaking moments happen because I get a glimpse of who she is. For a moment, I clearly realize her full beauty as a woman, a daughter of God, the mother of our child– my wife.
Dear wife, please believe me when I say you’re beautiful; I sincerely mean it. Our years of marriage have only made you more beautiful to me, not less.
2: It’s all going to work out.
Change and hardship are two constants in life, I get that. While I can’t promise our circumstances will always be perfect, I can promise you two more constants:
- God will never leave or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)
- I won’t leave you.
Dear wife, please believe me when I say things will work out. I don’t always know how, but I know who. I know the God we trust promises to care for us according to his sovereignty and grace – if not now, in his perfect timing.
3: You can trust me.
Trust has been a growth area in our lives over the past year. We’ve been displaced and it’s taken it’s toll on Selena – it’s stretched her trust in my leadership. We’re in a season of growth and planting.
The funny thing about growth is that it is never visible from moment to moment. You only notice growth in retrospect. And when you plant seeds it may be months before you see anything poke through the topsoil. You sow in faith, trusting you’ll see growth.
Dear wife, you can trust me. I know we will go through seasons where harvest seems impossible, and I will probably make mistakes along the way. But please know this, I am seeking God and trusting his grace to guide and protect us.
4: I am grateful for you.
“Thank you” can easily become just a routine utterance. Unfortunately, our familiarity with the phrase degrades its meaning.
I’ll admit, I often say “thank you” just out of habit. So… sometimes it’s good to stop what you’re doing, square off with your spouse, stare into their eyes, and express your gratitude. I’ve done this, but not enough, and not always at the right time. Regardless… I feel it, I mean it, and it’s important she believes it.
Dear wife, I see you. I see the way you love our daughter, I see the way you love me, and I see the utter and complete blessing you are from God. Please know that I cherish you, I value you, and I wouldn’t want to spend the rest of my life with anyone but you.
5: I love you.
Even the most powerful phrases become cliche. “I love you” is perhaps one of them. For the important phrases, we must fight for their genuine meaning and strive for veracity of expression. This means we must be intentional.
Selena and I tell each other “I love you” many times a day, and we do mean it. But it’s good to refresh in our minds what love is – what the promise to love actually means. When we express love to our spouses, let it mean this: I promise to be patient, kind, gentle, self-sacrificing, and available. (See 1 Corinthians 13)
Dear wife, I truly do love you. I’m not perfect and I have yet to fully grasp what it means to love, but promise to learn how to love you diligently, the way Christ loved and gave himself for the church.
All through Christ
If you’re a wife reading this and thinking “my husband never says these things to me”, please take heart. Trust Christ and place your hope in him (in fact, we should all do this).
Each statement above is only possible in light of who Christ is and what he’s done. Husbands cannot even begin to love outside of the grace and love given so abundantly through Christ. May you never forget the same promises Christ has given to you, as one who believes in him:
- You’re beautiful in Christ
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
- It will all work out
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4
- You can trust him
“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26
- God cherishes you
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—” Ephesians 2:4-5
- God loves you
“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
What’s something you tell your spouse that you hope they believe more fully?
Please leave your response in the comments below.
Header image by Jeff Marsh.
We, like most of the country, have been freezing our tails off lately. Apparently there’s a polar vortex (among other things) blasting across North America. We’re getting a taste of the arctic, and it tastes like chattering teeth. Though I’ve not particularly enjoyed the cold, it did teach me something about marriage and biblical manhood.
The Thermostat Conundrum
This is an extremely serious issue all married couples face:
Nouns without verbs lose their meaning. Love without action is just a word. How can we best act out love in our marriages and lives?
A recent unexpected conversation taught me three timeless truths about love, family, and marriage. They’ve dramatically helped me, and I hope they do the same for you.
Ever got into an argument with your spouse about a good decision?
Post said decision, both of you come to the realization that you were both right in your motivation and approach, but you ended up butting heads anyways.
I recently re-injured my back/neck while carelessly picking Dela up this past week. If you’ve ever experienced not being able to turn your head, stand up straight or move without writhing in pain, it stinks!
Especially when you have a (very) busy 10.5 month old (walker, I might add).