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Be Your Spouse's Chief Encourager

Be Your Spouse's Chief Encourager

Tips for bringing out the best in the one you love
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My husband tapped me on the shoulder as I sat at my computer, engrossed in a writing assignment. "Will you listen to my speech? I'm on for Friday and I want to be really good."

I turned and smiled. "Sure. Give me a minute to close down and I'll be right with you."

I wasn't crazy about stopping my work just then, but Charles sounded urgent. He'd been a member of Toastmasters International for many years and he was eager to run his latest speech by me, the one he hoped would qualify him to compete in a regional contest. This was not the time to make him wait or to let out a big sigh! It was a time to put aside my desires and provide a listening ear and an affirming hug.

At that moment I thought about my friend Grace, now deceased, the woman who taught me everything I know about encouragement when I went to her for counsel as a new Christian and as a newlywed for the second time. Grace never saw the "down" side of anything. She kept her eyes on the Lord and always redirected my focus to him when I was worried or anxious. "Listen to my teaching," she often said, "but never put it ahead of the Holy Spirit's guidance. Talk things over with him, and he'll lead you." And she reminded me in words and by example of the importance of encouraging my spouse most of all.

As I watched Grace stand by her husband, Rob, and support him in his faith and as a husband and father and Christian, I knew that's what I wanted to do for my husband, Charles. Over the years of our marriage I've looked for opportunities to bring out the best in him and to encourage him in some way each day. I miss the mark sometimes, but when I do, I remember how Grace encouraged me and I turn things around as quickly as possible.

For this article I asked a few of my friends to share unique ways they encourage their mates. Here's what I learned:

1. Look for the good in your spouse—and you'll find it.

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other (Romans 12:10).

Lynn "sings" notes of encouragement to her husband, Michael. "It all started one day at church," she said. "As a professional soloist, I was mortified when my sustained high C-sharp collided with the organist's C-natural during a worship service. I had sung the wrong note."

After the service a woman lavished Lynn with praise but Lynn had a difficult time accepting the encouragement because of her mistake. "But Lynn, how many right notes did you sing?" the woman asked.

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Ellen Williams

February 28, 2014  10:57am

This is excellent...good reminder of what we should be doing as wife, because we expect them to encourage us and not find fault. It is great to now that when you remodel you do have differences of opinions.

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Kathy

February 28, 2014  4:51am

With a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, I read this article today. Sometimes, you read something that pierces right into your soul because you know it's exactly what you needed to hear. My husband and I have gone through a bit of a rocky patch the last few months. It started when we decided to redo the floors in our lounge. Several things went wrong and we blamed each other. Since then, the criticism has been rising to crescendo. I prayed in desperation this morning for God to show me what to do. Thank you! I am now armed with a directive from Him for the next step.

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