This is what you might call a “sister-in-law” post to another I did recently. That’s because my sister-in-law Val made a comment about that post that got me thinking about this one.
Wives, do you encourage your husband?
Ladies, answer honestly – do you encourage your husband? You might think so… but is he really encouraged by you?
In my mind, there are two kinds of encouragement. Let’s take a look at both…
Here are some examples:
- You smell good. Did you put on cologne for a change?
- Thanks for not throwing your socks on the floor this time.
- I appreciate that you brushed your teeth before coming to bed.
I call this half-hearted encouragement. It hints at negatives on the way to the positive… and doesn’t quite get there in the end. In addition, it ‘s mainly about externals, not the heart. Your husband needs more than that. He needs your words to enrich his soul, to make him believe that God wants something greater from his life. He needs to know you believe in him and that you are FOR him. That takes us to a better way to encourage your husband…
Here are some examples of a better way to encourage your husband:
- I know that things are tough at work right now, but the LORD has done great things in you… you can do it!
- I appreciate the patience you showed with the kids today. I could see Jesus doing it exactly like that.
- Thanks for asking my opinion. When you do that I see Christ-like leadership in the way you are considering me.
What encouragement #2 does for your husband
I’ll let you in on a little man-secret ladies. Don’t tell your husband I told you. Here it is:
No matter how tough or together or on top of the world your husband tries to appear, he’s really a scared, insecure little boy inside.
He’s not as sure of himself as he wants you to believe. He’s not as secure as you might think. He’s got self-doubt, guilt, and hang-ups from his past that he carries with him everyplace he goes. He needs YOU to help him get past all that, so that he can be the man God has designed him to be. My guess is, that’s the man YOU are hoping he’ll become too. This second type of encouragement replaces his doubting, self-destructive ideas about himself with the truth of what God thinks of him as a redeemed child of God. Christian wife, YOU can be the primary agent through which the LORD brings about miraculous changes in your husband. But it’s not by nagging. It’s by encouragement #2. I’ve told Mindi at least a hundred times that when I know that she believes in me (and God’s work in me), I can conquer the world!
Here’s your assignment: (and if you’ve read this far, you really need to do it)
- Ask your husband if he feels encouragement from you. Be ready for his answer (and don’t let yourself get defensive).
- Ask him to give you 5 real things you could do to improve.
- Get Sam Crabtree’s book (below) and read it. It’s a short, easy read – and THE BEST book on this subject I’ve ever read.
(affiliate link follows)
|Practicing Affirmation by Sam Crabtree – How does affirmation fit into a Christian’s life? Isn’t that simply a humanistic, self-esteem, ego-boosting tool for getting along with others? In Practicing Affirmation, Sam Crabtree skillfully makes a case for and gives practical applications of biblical commendation of others. He states, “[W]e ought to praise God rather than man, while acknowledging that the praise of God does not forbid all praise of others. It only prohibits the praise of others in ways that diminish GodÂ’s glory” (p. 18).Right from the beginning, Crabtree understands the biases of Christian readers and uses Scripture to defend his thesis that affirmation is a required part of blessing one another. Some of the verses he quotes demonstrate the purpose of building each other up so that we will continue to love one another and do good for the LordÂ’s good name (see Heb. 10:24; 1 Cor. 14:26; Rom. 15:2; 1 Pet. 3:9).Along the way, Crabtree gives pointers on proper motivation, what to affirm, responding to compliments, affirming unbelievers, and balancing it with correction. The importance of exercising affirmation becomes clear as our relationships take on a refreshing rather than demanding tone. By becoming the advocate of our children, our spouses, neighbors, and friends, we gain permission to speak to their hearts. Crabtree tells the story of strengthening the relationship with his 11-year-old daughter, saying, “I became a student of her,” in order to find her God-honoring traits and communicate those to her (p. 57). He continues, “The aim is to glorify God by refreshing people as we help them to see God at work in their lives, moving them toward Christlikeness” (p. 69). And this is truly the point of the book.Much like a letter written by Paul, Crabtree begins his book with doctrine and follows it closely with practical living. The first half of the book covers the “why” and “how” to properly affirm one another, which should be read slowly and thoughtfully. The second half moves much quicker, as he goes through a list of “Mistakes I Have Made,” followed by anticipated questions and answers that further explain what godly affirmation looks like. He also wisely includes “100 Affirmation Ideas for Those Who Feel Stuck,” which provides a very specific list of ways to commend coworkers, family, and even missionaries.