I’m an encourager, but I wasn’t always. I had to work at being an encourager, especially in my marriage. Germaine is an amazing husband, a man after God’s heart, but, he wasn’t always a great husband.
Early in our marriage when we were working to shed the baggage of what we believed our marriage should look like and conform to what God desired it to look like we struggled.
Whenever he’d mess up, fell short or drop the ball, I’d get frustrated and instead of encouraging him to keep at it, I’d dissect everything he’d done wrong.
Becoming a wife who encourages can be a challenge. It’s especially true when we keep our focus on our husband’s faults instead of on God during trying times. But what does keeping our focus on God mean when it comes down to deciding whether to encourage or complain?
It means a difference in our tone, and our body language when we talk to our husbands about the tough stuff in marriage. It’s the difference in the choice of words and so many other spoken and unspoken tools of communication.
I asked some of my girlfriends who have been married for as little as eleven months and as long as twenty years to share how they continue to encourage rather than complain.
When things are challenging, or I can see that frustrations are rising, I lower my voice, am conscience of softening my tone, and touch him. I might put my hand, his arm, or his leg. It’s just something to let him know that I’m here for him, and I’m on his side.
1. Takeaway: Be conscious of your anger, tone and body language.
I try to encourage my husband in every way possible in terms of his career, which is very demanding. I am alone a lot of the time and he only gets one day off a week. He works a salary position so those long hours don’t translate to extra money. I always want him to know that I am behind him cheering for him so I do little things for him that I know will fill his love tank… I also turn to my girlfriends when I need someone to talk to. Using discernment on when is a good time to talk to your husband is so important. Timing can affect the entire direction of the conversation. I wrote a post about how to support your husband this week!
2. Takeaway: Use wisdom when choosing a time to talk.
I choose to encourage through being happy and comical with my husband. Our senses of humor are very similar and I know how to create a positive and light environment for him. This helps him to open up and share the good, and not-so-good, parts of his day.
3. Takeaway: Choose to have a joyful attitude toward your spouse and about your marriage.
I’ve been working on this for the past six months. I have tried to stop blaming and start talking to my husband. Sometimes he says some things that make me want to flip, but I have learned to process what he’s saying, what I’m feeling, and what is being said and unsaid. So I have learned to stop fighting and listen more. Respect that his opinion is just as important and valid (even wrong,) as mine.
4. Takeaway: Be slow to get angry and fast to listen.
As an older wife, I do find that I get what I want by encouraging my husband. I tell him I am confident he will make good decisions, that I love him for his brains and not just his good looks. When he makes a decision I think is wrong, I encourage him to pray before acting. When he makes a decision that has a result, he did not want, I remind him that pencils have erasers and keyboards have backspace keys. I let him know that even if his decision is wrong, it is okay because he has fixed mistakes way worse than this one and we will get through it all.
I think a lot of being able to deal with frustrating situations, and still being an encourager instead of tearing him down comes from having my heart in the right place first. If I’m connected with The Lord, it’s easier to put into perspective all that my husband does, and the weight he carries as the leader of our family. I know that if I put my marriage first, and make sure he’s mentally and emotionally in the right place to live out his calling, everything else will fall into place. If I don’t connect with god the way I need to on any particular day, it seems easier to give Into the flesh and get irritated, etc.
6. Takeaway: A close relationship with the Lord often equals a better relationship with your husband.