How often do you give your wife encouragement? Is it only when something big is upon her or do you make it a daily habit?
I have been married to my wife for over two decades and I can honestly admit that for the first decade of our marriage, I was lacking as an encourager. I can practically count the times on my hands when I gave her encouragement. For instance, when she wanted to go back to college to get her Master’s Degree, I offered plenty of encouragement, but if I am being honest, I would say that encouragement was for my own benefit. The more she worked on her career, the better off I would be financially. I know this makes me sound very shallow and worldly, but this is about as transparent as I can be.
When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior over a decade ago, He began to transform my heart and my thoughts. He grabbed a hold of me and went to work! See, I was deeply in love with my wife. Yet, I did not understand that many of the goals and ideas that I brought into our marriage were rooted in anything but Christ. Yes, I was a great provider; I went to work each day and helped with raising our children and with errands. Yet, when it came down to offering compassion and encouragement to my wife, I often failed. We were both busy in our careers and raising our sons and we were lucky to keep our heads above water. We allowed the busyness of life to take away our focus on each other and our marriage. My mindset was that as long as my wife and I had “teamwork” in our marriage, then we had a good enough marriage. Boy did meeting Jesus personally open my eyes to how much we both were fixated on the wrong things. And He told me to drop everything and follow Him. What? How?
Well, you see, Jesus has taught me a thing or two about encouragement. In scripture, we read how Jesus encouraged His disciples. Jesus even told His disciples to love sinners (Matthew 9:10-11). That’s right, a sinner just like me. We are all sinners. If Jesus can forgive our sins and encourage us to follow Him, then why can’t we encourage our wife when she is down and on hard times?
Sometimes I tend to believe that my wife should think identically to me. Yes, she often has the same issues as I do and we often have the same routine, but let me assure you, she does not think identically to me. Her needs are different. She is also called to a different role than I am, biblically. Thus, she will often see things differently than I. She won’t always agree with what I agree with. You see, sometimes, my wife is fragile, yet I want her to be as tough as I am. This is not what God wants, though. God created man in Genesis 1:26, but man was not yet complete. Man needed a help-mate, essentially an encourager, so we see in Genesis 2:21 that God created woman. Now, man was complete. He had his perfect help-mate. I know how thankful I am that God has given me my perfect complement, my encourager. She is a gracious gift from God. I am thankful for her, even though I wasn’t always the greatest encourager to her. This is how Jesus has transformed me. No longer do I take my wife for granted or view her as an inconvenience. I love to encourage my wife as often as I can to be a godly woman. I can say the simplest thing to her and her face will beam with joy.
So, men, I encourage you to start encouraging your wives as much as possible. Let the words you say to your wife be for building her up (Ephesians 4:29). Let her know that you really see her. Set aside all of your own pride, stubbornness and anger and openly encourage your wife. I promise you that even a small amount of positive encouragement towards your wife will not only bring her joy, but joy to you too.