Firstly, here’s a few things we shouldn’t say to bring the best out of someone:
“I can’t believe you would say (or do) that!”
Don’t believe it then. Believe in them even if they get it wrong. Believe in them even if they fail to believe in themselves.
“We’re so different!”
That’s good. There are so many missed opportunities because we cannot see past our own biases or hurts to spot something so different, unique and precious.
“I told you so!”
They will know you did. The outcomes of life are crucially important for us to learn and develop and they can be robbed from us by some know-it-all-expert on everything.
The Apostle’s readers know that he is drawing on the Jewish marriage culture as he speaks of what Christ has done for His Church: Laying His life down, washing with the Rhema (spoken life-affirming words) …
“… and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. “ Ephesians 5 v 27
The Message says, “Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her …”
Paul’s readers are not seeing this through the filter of a woman dressed in white walking down the aisle to meet her husband.
Steeped in their cultural context is the system of presenting sacrifices to the gods/God. The priest had to present himself and then the sacrifices were to be offered without fault so that the gods/God would be pleased. Paul uses the word ekklesia (church), it means to be called out. The radiant called-out ones.
Their thoughts of marriage would be their Jewish customs where the groom prepares a place for His bride and the bride prepares herself for his return so that she can look her best.
The Apostle says that whilst the Church is waiting for Jesus, the Groom, through the Holy Spirit He brings the best out of us, dealing with the stains, wrinkles and blemishes by His Word.
Christ brings the best out of the Church.
Husbands bring the best out of their wives.
Let each one of us single or married bring the best out of one another.
That is success.