Who do you believe in? Who is the man in your life who would turn to you and say, "Thank you for believing in me"?
As women, we can either encourage or discourage the man in our life. Think about the words and actions you use towards your man. Are they encouraging, laced in criticism, or just outright cruel? To be an encourager you need to have an attitude of optimism. The American Heritage Dictionary has one of the better definitions of the word. It's a tendency or disposition to expect the best possible outcome, or to dwell on the most hopeful aspect of a situation."
In our world, the negative is always pointed out. We need to be sure to point out the positive in our husbands. Even when we need to point out something that needs to change, we need to use the "sandwich" method, as my father puts it. We need to sandwich the negative between two positives.
Encouragement is freely given. It can involve noticing what others take for granted and affirming something others notice but never think of mentioning. Do you see the positives of what your husband is doing, but never say anything about it or overlook it? It is easy to overlook things because of our busyness during our day. But the same way we encourage and praise our children for accomplishing simple things, we need to encourage and praise our husbands. Whether they take out the trash, wash the dishes, play with the children, or just go to work in the morning, we need to encourage our husband, notice what they do, and affirm them for being who they are and doing what they do.
Encouragement is recognizing the other person as having worth and dignity. It means paying attention to them when they are sharing with you. We women are so good at multi-tasking. When our husbands are talking to us, how many times are we doing something else? We need to give our husbands the attention they need and deserve.
This is something I have really been working on.
Listening when Brian is talking without doing something else. I have to purposely think about stopping what I am doing to give Brian my full attention. Something else that Wright mentions is that when women are talking to each other, we always throw in comments that show that we are listening. We interact with each other throughout our conversation, and by our responses we know the other woman is listening. When our man is speaking to us, he prefers not to have comments thrown in because they distract his train of thought. He knows we are listening if we look at him. We need to listen with our eyes as well as our ears.
Encouraging a person means you honor and respect him because you believe in him. Do you believe in your man? I know my man is the best telephone technician in the world. Every time I tell him this he tells me about his day, what he did, and how he punched, terminated, cut over, and installed a system (most of which I don't understand!) or an emergency service call he had to make and took care of. When your man knows you believe in him, he will have a reason to strive to be the best he can be.
As you encourage your husband, ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I gentle especially with those sensitive areas?
- Am I treating him the way I would want to be treated?
- Am I building hope in his life?
- Does he feel safe around me with those sensitive areas?