Validation in Marriage: Why Love Does Not Brag in Marriage

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I know my little blessings are trying to show off when I hear the tell-tell sounds of “Look at me, mommy.  Watch this.  Mommy, did you see me?”  They are quick to brag about all the good they do, eager for the praise they know will follow. As adults, we call that validation and validation in marriage can get us into some trouble.
 

What Is Validation in Marriage?  

There are two questions we will answer today.  
  1. Is there room in our adult lives for the need for validation in marriage?
  2. Can or should we brag to get it? 
Before we get to those questions we need to understand validation because it comes into play as we examine the phrase ‘love does not brag’ in our passage today.  
 

Love Does Not Brag: 1 Corinthians 13

What is Emotional Validation?

Validation.  The approval of others that fills a need and says you are needed, wanted and valuable.  
 
I crave that approval or validation.  Since I was a little girl there has been a need for others to see how hard I work and give their approval.  That approval fills an emotional need for me.  

What Is Validation In A relationship? 

Emotional validation is the felt need for the approval of others.  When I got married I expected my husband to validate me, to see my contribution, to praise my successes. 
 
He didn’t know there was a need and failed to meet it. The effects of emotional invalidation in relationships are hard to face initially.  
 
The real need to be praised, admired, and appreciated requires us to walk a fine line.
 
And if that wasn’t enough to ponder, what role does the need for praise, admiration, and appreciation play in a biblical marriage? 
 
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What Does Love Does Not Brag Mean?

In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul is describing how love behaves and the first two verbs make perfect sense.  Love is patient.  Love is kind. Both fit what I understand about love.
 
Love does not brag feels so awkward.  What does Paul mean when he says love does not brag?

The way brag is used in the Greek here means:

Love does not excessively embellish to put itself on the center stage to make a point.
 
Showing love without bragging means I must let the facts speak for themselves. That doesn’t seem challenging… except that it is.  
 
If the facts have to speak for themselves I fear my husband will miss things I need to be appreciated and validated about.  Can you relate?
 
It’s not that my husband invalidates my feelings, he just doesn’t see them.  Invalidation in marriage can happen when your spouse dismisses your feelings or when they just miss them.  Both situations hurt.
 

If ‘love does not brag’ means I can not manipulate my husband into doing what I want or saying what I want to hear… what do I do with my need for validation?

Bragging Is Manipulation

In my search for validation and approval, I brag.  My husband does not see the need I have for praise – words of affirmation – so I manipulate him into giving me what I need.  

Guilty.  I feel that in such a real way as God reveals this phrase to me.

Bragging is a tool of Manipulation that I know and use well.

I know how to place tears to motivate compassion.  It is easy to embellish a story about my day to manipulate pity or praise.

Sometimes I feel like those are the only ways to get the words of appreciation or validation I need from him.

How Do You Love Without Bragging?

Showing love without bragging would mean speaking the truth as facts only and accepting the results they produce.

As I am learning to let go of the manipulation, God is shining a light on this need I have for approval/validation (I did not see that coming).

You see, I was seeking validation from my husband (and others) and keep myself busy to get it.  This cycle creates anxiety in my life that has been sabotaging my health.
 

How To Handle The Need for Validation In Marriage

To handle the need for validation in marriage we must deal with some hard truths.  

  1. The need for validation is real.
  2. God’s approval can meet the need for validation.
  3. My husband can’t read my mind.

We’ve talked about what validation is but I don’t want you to dismiss it as a feeling thing.  I need validation.  Many people seem to care less what others think about their work and that’s great, but if this is a need in you, don’t push it aside.  

Acknowledging that you need to been seen and noticed is a huge step forward.  

 

Live For An Audience of One

God has been reminding me that I need to live for Him, “an audience of one” and come to Him alone for approval.  

Ultimately, I need to be more concerned with what God thinks of me than what others think of me, even my husband.
 
In that way, there is no room in love to brag to get my husband to meet a need he doesn’t even realize I have.  I need to consistently put all my trust in God to fill my needs.  It is a great relief to my husband, as he could never meet all those needs anyway.
 
And I find that God meets these needs so much better than any person ever could.  I just had to let go of my expectation that hubby should meet it, to let God step in and be amazing!

No, Love Does Not Brag In Marriage

To move away from the habit of bragging to find validation in marriage I want to challenge you today. 

Talk To Your Husband About Your Needs

Yes, God can meet your needs, but can I ask you a question?  Have you ever talked to your husband about this need?  Chances are he’s been just as frustrated as you some days.  

Your husband can’t read your mind.  If you need validation about something, you need to tell him. 

Most of us spend most of our day thinking about our own needs.  Many men want to love their wives well, but they are not sure what to say.  Just tell him.  Instead of bragging or making the story bigger than it is, tell him what you need from him while listening. 

Hunny, I had a tough day with the kids and could use some support today.  Would you listen to this and tell me I am not failing as a mom?

Chances are you will be met with compassion and love. 

How To Show Compassion in a Relationship

One way to love your husband well is to set him up for success.  Give him a list of things to say to help you after a long day.  This might sound ridiculous, but it has helped our marriage so much.  

My husband used to ask two questions. 

How was your day?  Are you mad at me?

After several years of being aggravated with him I finally asked him what he wanted to hear from my answers.  He wanted to know the details of my day and how he could help.  And when I seemed frustrated he always assumed it was at him.  

Showing compassion to my husband meant giving him a better script.  He needed examples of validating statements and some better questions.  

Examples of Validating Statements

In learning how to validate a woman, some men just need a script.  This can set them up to succeed in marriage communication!  Even if the conversation seems strange, push through and suggest some things that make you feel validated. 

Instead of how was your day, ask “What was something that you enjoyed about today?”

Instead of, “What’s wrong?” ask, “What can I help you with today?”

Never ask, “Are you mad at me?” Instead ask, “How can I help releive some of your stress?”

Other validating statements are:

  • You are doing a wonderful job raising our children.
  • Thank you for being so compassionate.
  • It means a lot to me that you took care of…
  • When you do … I am so proud of you. 

Love Does Not Brag To Get Validation in Marriage 

The question I would love to answer is, “How do you validate person?” However, what I see in scripture is a need to seek validation from God first.  Changing the habit of taking my need to my husband has required so much work but it’s been worth the effort.  

My husband comes to me with an empty bucket and I could never fill it alone.  God is the one who can meet all our needs.  Taking my needs to God first allows me to love my husband – filling his bucket – from a full bucket.  

Seeking validation in marriage from an empty bucket ends badly.  When I take my need to God to meet, then I am better able to appreciate what my husband does.  As opposed to being angry that he didn’t do enough to meet my needs.

It’s a fine line to walk. 

Do You Need To Go Deeper?

This is part of the 9-week Marriage Bible Study –Finding Hope & Joy in Marriage.  Through this course, we will explore the 9 Biblical foundations of having a successful marriage in God’s way.  

This class will include:

  • 10 video lessons
    • You can watch live or when you have time
  • 9 weeks of personal study
    • 5 days each week that should take 10-15 minutes
  • A private Facebook Group to discuss the homework and talk through the weekly challenges
  • 45 Days of Prayer prompts

in HIM,

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Tiffany Montgomery

Tiffany of Hope Joy in Christ inspires Christian Women to grow in faith, live out Biblical Marriage Principles and raise Godly Children.  Join the Wives Only Facebook Group here or keep up with her through Pinterest.

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