I have never seen the show Fixer Upper until last month. (I know, I know. I'm way behind the times.) I sat in two different waiting rooms, and both were airing HGTV's Fixer Upper marathon. I finally realized what all the buzz was about! However, while I was drawn to Joanna's remodeling and decorating style, it was the way she related to her man that stood out to me.
I've seen the shirts that say: "love me like Chip loves Jo." After watching multiple episodes, I firmly believe Chip loves Jo the way he does because Jo loves Chip well. My belief was cemented when Chip boasted--on national TV--"I can conquer the world because Jo believes in me!”
As I was chewing on the why behind his exclamation, I narrowed it down to 4 ways Jo keeps Chip’s heart tethered to hers:
1. Joanna speaks to Chip with respect. The adage states "The key to a man’s heart is thru his stomach." That may be, but the key to keeping his heart tethered to ours is through our words. Jo builds Chip up with her words. She doesn’t mock or degrade him with her words or body language.
2. Joanna flirts with Chip. She laughs with him. She also laughs at him without degrading him. See #1. She keeps the romance alive. She keeps pursuing his heart like the fun ‘early in love’ days.
3. Joanna lets Chip be Chip. So many wives go into mothering mode trying to change their man. They forget he has a mother. And if he’s a believer, he has the Holy Spirit. Joanna lets Chip be himself without trying to change him. She treats him like her lover instead of being his mother.
4. Joanna is truly Chip’s partner. She has his back. She's a team player. She works with him thru thick and thin. She puts her shoulder to the wheel and helps him succeed!
The result? Chip feels like a superhero because Jo doesn’t undermine him, doesn’t humiliate him, doesn’t devalue him. She loves the Chip she fell in love with and cheers him on to be an even better Chip. She’s living out the truth found in Proverbs 31:11: Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.
Research backs this up!
1. Go for the Prize - Carnegie Mellon University did a study on couples. They presented each couple with two choices, complete an easy puzzle or compete for a prize by giving a speech. Their findings?
Questions for ourselves: Do I encourage and respect my man like Joanna does, whether he deserves it or not, so he can thrive? If not, what one baby step can I take to mimic Joanna's way of loving her man?
2. Go for Five - Dr. John Gottman at the University of Washington researched couples and their dynamics with one another. His conclusions?
Questions for ourselves: Do I strive for a 5:1 ratio in my marriage? If not, what do I need to do to increase to a 5 positives for every 1 negative?
Chip and Joanna. We envy their relationship. Now, it’s time to model their relationship. The saying, “Marriage is 50/50” is a lie. It’s both partners giving 100%. Why not let it start with you. My friend, love him like Jo loves Chip.
I don't know Joanna, but I'm sure she'd say about Chip, "This is my beloved, this is my friend." Song of Solomon 5:16
If you want to dive more into this topic on being an encouraging wife like Joanna, here are a couple of great how-to marriage books:
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, lively laughter, deep talks and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.