In our home, I am the Chief Financial Officer. I pay the bills, buy the groceries and make sure we don’t run out of toilet paper. My husband trusts me in this role and rarely bothers to check on our accounts. So when we found out we were getting a chunk of change back from our tax return, I was a little put out when he asked for balances on our current debts and their regular monthly payments.
Uhmmmm, excuse me?! This is MY job and I am good at it – BACK OFF PAL!
(Okay, so I didn’t actually say that, but you can bet it was what was going through my head!)
The next night, he came back to me with a plan for our finances. It wasn’t a bad plan, but I was upset that he just took over. And it wasn’t a plan for JUST the tax return money. My husband had laid out our finances for the entire year and it was not the way I would have done it!
As I sat there on the couch listening to him, I had a choice to make.
- I could listen and then tell him my ideas to make his plan better. (Clearly the person who has been in charge of our budget for the past 9+ years was entitled to her opinion on this matter, right?)
- I could listen and say nothing, knowing that I would end up doing it my way anyway. (Because, seriously, what were the chances he would follow up all year to make sure I was sticking to the plan?)
- I could listen and follow through with his plan. (More importantly, trusting that my husband cared as much about our finances as I did.)
In my last post, How to turn a Critic into an Encourager, I share 3 circumstances to determine if YOU are a Critic that needs to change. If you have been married more than 5 minutes and have NOT criticized your husband OR questioned his plans (either out loud OR in your head), then you deserve a trophy. But, for the rest of us, I thought maybe we could all benefit from…
Encouraging Your Husband 101
Time to stop being a Critic and learn how to Effectively Encourage Your Husband!
Lesson 1: STOP WHINING.
It is easy to get caught up in the daily grind. It doesn’t matter which one of you works, who cooks dinner and who wrestles the kids into bed. When we are exhausted, stressed or overwhelmed, we allow our marriage to become a scorecard. “How was your day hun? Oh yeah? Let me tell you about mine!” Honestly, we don’t care how his day was. He needs to know all WE sacrificed and put up with that HE didn’t have to.
Even if your husband is compassionate, gives you a back rub and sends you to take a hot bath, this will eventually wear him out. Ironically, the first way to encourage your husband is to STOP complaining about what life is like being his wife!
Lesson 2: BE THANKFUL.
It is time to start shifting gears and start thanking our husband for what HE did all day.
Did your husband go to work today?
Before bed, tell him that you appreciate that he gets up day after day and works to provide for your family.
Did he mow the lawn on his day off?
When he comes back inside, tell him how nice it looks and thank him for using his free time to care for the yard.
Was he at your kid’s a baseball game? Did he watch tv or play with them? Did he step in and discipline them?
While your kids are listening, let him know you love watching him be a dad.
Even if he falls short every day, in 100 different ways, the second way to encourage your husband is to acknowledge the things he IS doing and say, “Thank you!”
Lesson 3: BE HIS CHEERLEADER in PUBLIC.
I am not suggesting you put on a miniskirt and grab a set of pompoms! But the third way you can encourage your husband to make it a habit of talking him UP, rather than tearing him down. When talking to others, are you more likely to say POSITIVE things about your husband or emphasize his NEGATIVE qualities?
POP QUIZ: Choose someone that doesn’t know your husband personally and ask them to describe what type of man he is, based solely on what you have said about him. Then, be prepared to own it if they have a negative opinion of him.
And I’m not saying you can’t share struggles with other married women. But are you genuinely looking for guidance to improve things? Or are you just looking for an audience to complain to?
Lesson 4: BE HIS CHEERLEADER at HOME.
The fourth way to encourage your husband is to create a home that he WANTS to come back too! Proverbs 14:1 says ” The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.”
Here are 2 very simple ways I apply the first half of this verse to my marriage:
- When my husband comes home from work, I stop what I am doing and kiss him hello. I tell him I am happy he is home and do NOT choose THAT moment to unload all that has happened while he was gone.
- I flirt with my husband!! I know, I know – what is this nonsense you speak of, Alison?! We aren’t dating anymore, there is no need or time for intimacy. But there IS! (For more on this, check out 4 Little Ways Every Wife Can Be INTIMATE with Her Husband)
All that being said, the 2nd half of the verse applies to me on occasion as well. Oh how quickly I can tear down my home, my husband, with just a few choice words!! It doesn’t matter what the topic is, but when I question him or accuse him in a way that makes him feel inadequate, he either gets angry or shuts down. That is the opposite of encouragement!
Lesson 5: PRAY FOR HIM.
The fifth way to encourage your husband through prayer. There are 2 GREAT ways to do this…
First, do NOT give God a list of character traits you would like to see changed. God knows your husband isn’t perfect and He knows YOU’RE not either. (Just keepin’ it real, ladies.)
Instead, ask God,
- “How do I respond to my impatient husband in a holy way?”
- “How do I dissipate my husband’s anger without becoming the target for his bad mood?”
- “How do I approach my husband when I disagree with him in a way that doesn’t start an argument?”
This becomes easier when you consider that HIS faults just may be God’s tool to convict YOU, change YOU, mold YOU. HIS faults point out YOUR weakness. You can’t change him, but you can change YOU!
Second, focus on the areas your husband may struggle with on any given day.
Ask God to help your husband…
- do his job with integrity
- love his family sacrificially
- honor Jesus faithfully
Ask God to give your husband strength to…
- fight sin
- resist temptation
- endure trials he is bound to face
Finally, you can always ask your husband specific ways he would like you to pray for him.
You have completed “Encouraging Your Husband 101.”
These lessons may be easy OR incredibly challenging for you to implement depending on the current strength of your marriage. (By the way, I decided to follow through with my husband’s plan for our finances and TRUST him. This was not easy for me. But it is easier now that our marriage is stronger because I have learned the beauty of Biblical Submission!)
It is important to remember…
You cannot change your husband, but you can influence him with your words & actions.
You should not manipulate your husband, but you should want him to be all that God has called him to be in your marriage.
As wives, the relationship God calls to focus on above all else (except Jesus, of course) is the one with our husband. So how do we do that?
With encouragement…massive doses of ENCOURAGEMENT.
If you liked this post or it helps you in some way, please share it! There are other women out there who need to read it too!