Five Ways to Encourage Your Husband Daily
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It was January. The beginning of our first year of marriage, and I set a goal for myself. “This year, cultivate a life-giving marriage.” I then listed some action steps that I could take daily, weekly, and monthly to make sure that I didn’t lose focus of this vital goal. I desired to truly create a life-giving marriage with my new husband.
When Steven and I got married, we both wanted to be sure that our marriage didn’t reflect the culture around us, but the God in us. It was important that our marriage was a reflection of how Christ loves His church. I set this goal with excitement and vigor; ready to create a fairytale marriage.
Well, of course, you can see a mile ahead how this story continues. Life happened as it does for all of us. My father suddenly passed away two months after he married us, and my Mom was left widowed and alone. Steven, my son, and I moved into her home with her so she wouldn’t be alone. So here we are, mourning my father, living with my mother, raising an eight-year-old, homeschooling, starting a new business, learning a new trade, and trying to be newlyweds. I could barely get through the day never mind “cultivate a life-giving marriage.”
Months and months went by, and I fell into this perpetual Groundhog Day of get up, work, homeschool, eat, exercise when possible, get through the day without my depression and anxiety affecting anyone else, and go to sleep. Start all over the next day.
In these dark days, I wasn’t necessarily unkind to my husband, but I didn’t go out of my way to make him feel loved. I wasn’t cultivating a life-giving marriage because I could barely get through life! I wasn’t following my goal or taking my own marriage advice that I so excitedly set out with at the beginning of this long year. I was a newlywed, but I certainly didn't feel like one.
I made three MAJOR mistakes as a newlywed wife.
1. I let everyday life take over our love life. The to-do list became more important than a quick dance in the kitchen or a stolen kiss before work.
2. I took our love for granted. He loved me. I loved him. We had a whole life to cultivate a life-giving marriage. We’ll get to it when life slows down, I told myself.
3. I forgot to put our marriage before life. If we were to cultivate this beautiful life together, we needed to spend time together. But our together included just getting through the day. Our together did not include the love and romance of newlywed marriage.
My husband and I needed to make a change in our marriage. Marriage is a partnership. You can’t have a healthy marriage with one person pulling 90% of the weight and the other 10%. If we were going to make this change, we each had to give 100%. We both had to stop allowing life to get in the way. We both had to put our marriage before anything else.
Our marriages need our utmost attention. You know it. I know it. I’m not going to take too much time talking about WHY they need to be first in our lives. Most of us know the "why." For Steven and I, the most important thing about our marriage is that it should be a reflection of Christ and His church.
John Piper said, “The divine reality hidden in the metaphor of marriage is that God ordained a permanent union between His Son and the church. Human marriage is the earthly image of this divine plan. As God willed for Christ and the church to become one body (Gal. 3:28; 1 Cor. 12:13), so He willed for marriage to reflect this pattern—that the husband and wife become one flesh.” (Gen. 2:24).
How do we make our marriage reflect Christ? How do we encourage our husbands daily when life is so busy? How do we become better wives in the middle of raising kids, working, and all the things on our lists?
I think for most wives, it’s the HOW that trips us up and not the WHY.
One of the easiest ways we can begin to change our marriages to be a reflection of Christ is to change how we speak. Jesus said in Matthew 12:34 that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.
What is in your heart for your husband? Think about that for a moment. How do you honestly feel in your heart about him? All of those wonderful things . . . Let’s learn to speak them, to let them out, and to cultivate a life-giving marriage.
Every marriage, husband, and wife is different. But these are five things that I learned to tell my husband each day to help create a life-giving marriage.
1. I AM PROUD OF YOU.
One of Steven’s love languages is Words of Affirmation. He loves to HEAR what I think of him, but as I mentioned earlier, I have neglected his love language.
Tell your husband you are proud of him, and that you respect him. When he gets home from work, listen to him tell about his day, then tell him you are proud of him. Tell him that you are proud to be his wife. Brag about him to others and let him hear it. He needs to know that you feel pleasure in his achievements and that no matter what, you are right by his side.
2. I AM PRAYING FOR YOU.
Steven and I have the luxury of working together, so we pretty much know what each other does day-to-day. Still, I tell him each day that I am praying for him. If you and your husband don’t work together, you may never know what your man is bombarded with each day. He needs to see that he has a praying wife holding him up in the heavens when work and activities get difficult. Tell him you are praying for him and ask him what he needs you to pray for.
3. I AM LISTENING.
When your husband tells you a story about something he is interested in that maybe you have no interest in, do you tune out? Guilty! The other day, Steven was talking about metaphysics and the different theories of reality and how they do or do not pertain to our experience.
You guys, I tuned out as soon as he said “metaphysics.” About fifteen minutes into this college-style lecture, I paused the to-do list in my brain and tuned into what he was saying. Not because I was interested, but because the idea fascinated him.
The point is, listen to him. Don't turn him off or push him away. Tell him you are listening, and then actually listen!
4. I APPRECIATE YOU AS A MAN.
Men and women are different. However, we live in a culture that is trying to make manliness feminine. We live in a culture that is continuously working to emasculate our men. It isn’t God’s design. He designed us MAN and WOMAN each with very different characteristics.
Tell your man that you appreciate him AS A MAN. Tell him you appreciate his strength, his mind, his thoughts, and his actions. Tell him that you appreciate something only he can do. Maybe it is his sense of humor or his honesty or the way he loves you. He needs to know he is appreciated. Tell him.
5. I WANT YOU. I NEED YOU.
Tell your man you want him, and you need him. Believe me. He is dying to hear that from you. Not only that you want him sexually or intimately (although that will help!) Tell him you want him in your life and that you need him in your life. Steven once said to me, “I not only want you as my wife, but I need you as my wife.” I melted.
Your husband wants to know that you need and want him as a part of your life. He wants to hear that you need him in your day-to-day. Steven once told me, “Just thinking that you wouldn’t need me anymore for love, comfort, or even fun would break my heart. A man needs to be needed, and a man wants to be wanted.”
Every couple is different, but these are five things that my husband loves to hear each day and maybe yours as well. I have found that if I am focused on sharing my love for him, it isn’t that difficult to do; even in the middle of our busy lives.
Here are some simple tips for you . . .
1. Write reminders in your planner. I know. How un-romantic! But many of us live in our planners. I started to write out a reminder to tell Steven these things each day.
2. Send your husband a random text message and let him know that you appreciate, are proud, need, or want him.
3. Put a post-it with a sweet note on the steering wheel of your man's car for him to see as he drives to work. Get clever hiding random notes in pants pockets, shoes, his wallet, or his lunch.
4. Before you go to bed each night, ask him how you can pray for him. When you wake up each morning, tell him how much you appreciate him.
5. At dinner, ask him to tell you a story about his day, and then listen to him when he speaks and engage in conversation with him.
Our lives are still as crazy as they were at the start of this year. We still live with my Mom. I started homeschooling third grade. We work together on two businesses. We are coming up on the one year anniversary of my Dad’s death. Not much has changed regarding the day-to-day, but I am happy to say that our marriage is stronger, and our love for each other is more vibrant and alive because we are taking the time, putting each other first, and finally cultivating a life-giving marriage.