Thursday, June 24, 2010

How to Encourage the Man in Your Life: Chapter 2- The Discouraged Man- He's Not a Pretty Sight

What happens when a man is not encouraged? A discouraged man ends up feeling hopeless, helpless, and handcuffed to his situation in life.

It is so easy to discourage the men that God has blessed us with.  Whether it be a casual criticism thrown, or a public humiliation, a man cannot live in confidence under these types of conditions.  I have seen men who look wilted, shriveled, and small because of the constant discouragement they are fed by the women who is supposed to build them up.  Faultfinding deeply wounds a man. Criticism is usually destructive, but it's interesting to hear critics say they're just trying to remold their partner or child into better persons by offering some constructive criticism.

Now there are times when our man will not be perfect (after all, he is human just like we are), but how we respond to him can either make or break him.  I am sure you are all aware of the Umpire who recently cost the ball player the perfect game because of a bad call.  But did you know that the following night, when that same pitcher walked the lineup list to the umpire, he shook hands with the umpire and didn't say any harsh words to him.  The umpire for two minutes broke down in tears.  He knew he had made a mistake (in fact, the world let him know he made a mistake), but the one who was affected most by his bad call overlooked his fault.  Within a week or two of that incident, that same umpire was voted (53%) the most liked umpire by 100 players in the MLB. (How is this for sports information?  Brian was pretty impressed!) What do you think that did to his self-esteem as a man and as an umpire? 

As I said, our husbands (bless their hearts) will make mistakes, but how we approach those times can either build him up as a husband, father, and man or tear him down.  Remember the Bible says that the wise woman builds her house, the foolish one tears it down with her own hands.

The power of praise cannot be underestimated. Encouragement means that we believe in the other person's potential to learn to do something adequately (perhaps not perfectly or your way.) Ladies, let's be honest. We have our way of doing things, our preferences, our likes, our brands, and our schedules.  But when we begin playing the violins about how hard things are for us and our husbands try to come to our rescue, do we complain to him that he didn't do something the right way (our way) or do we thank him for coming to our rescue?  Our response can either encourage or discourage him, and can determine whether he helps us ever again.  Brian and I shop differently.  But when he offers to run to the store for me and spends more than I might have or buys things I may not have gotten, I just smile and thank him.  He is lending me a hand, doing me a favor.  Often, when he offers to run to the store, he also takes Addie with him to give me some time to just chill by myself.  I would never want to discourage him from that. 

Sometimes a woman can discourage a man by her insensitivity.  He's excited about something, and you show no interest. He wants you to do something with him, and you're too preoccupied with your tasks. He asks you how his new shirt and tie look and the look on your face speaks volumes. If your husband suggests that you have devotions together you respond with, "Finally, after ten years you come around. Well, who suggested that to you?"  Sports is Brian's thing.  It is not always my thing.  However, I have been making a point of paying attention to things that he tells me that are sports related, whether they have to do with actual sports or his fantasy team.  If I want Brian to show interest in the things that interest me, how can I not show interest in the things that interest him?   


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