The Encouraging Wife
Non-examples, examples and six tips to help a wife be her husband’s full support, confidence and hope.
I am super guilty of desiring my husband to lead our family. I wish him to lead us as a couple. I wish him to lead our children. I find him ultra-attractive when he is given responsibilities that allow him to lead others. I want for him to find deep inspiration in Christ, and follow how Christ leads his Church.
So what is the guilty part? I am admitting that up until recently I wanted to lead him.
Dear reader- don’t be confused. He is a great leader. This post is about my role as his wife.
It is as if I were the one in the driver’s seat while he provides all the horsepower. It’s the delusion that I was a director just calling the shots from my fancy coordinated chair, letting him do all the hard work.
Early in our marriage I would actually correct him or even question him in front of our children. I then learned, as a mom of toddlers that I do not like to be corrected with an audience. I did not enjoy the feeling of being questioned in front of my children. Why should I have to explain my choices? I am the mom. So I realized the same should apply for my husband. He is the head of our family, he should be given that respect.
What is the fastest way to discourage your husband? Simply question him with an audience.
Another way – the way that slowly corrupts your relationship is to question him silently without allowing your marriage the benefit of a trusting conversation.
Even in silence, I was allowing disrespect to fester in my heart or under my breath – second thoughts about what he does, or questioning thoughts about the way he does things.
It’s those silent utterings that I did not have the courage to speak up about that did just as much damage. Those suppressed feelings did harm against our marriage. They built up over time and manifested themselves in unrelated unexpected moments.
My poor husband – it wasn’t fair to hold things against him that he wasn’t aware of. One time it was just a simple misunderstanding about a simple parking spot that easily turned into an all-out sob fest with a numbered list of unconnected issues. I wanted to lead, but I was a poor partner.
When I question my husband’s choices because I think my idea is best, what I am really saying is “I don’t trust you.” “I don’t think you know what you’re doing.” “I trust myself more than I trust you.”
To a man, saying “I don’t trust you” is the deepest kind of disrespect.
And wives are commanded to respect the authority of their husbands.
It is not a popular belief now, for a woman to say she wants her husband to lead her. But if we are going to be women who love our husbands, if we are going to have homes where God really truly dwells, if we want marriages that thrive and make it as long as until death do us part – then we’re not going to look like everyone else are we?
It is tough to be a Christian woman and more so a Christian wife today. People have been tampering with God’s design for marriage. They snicker when words and phrases like “submissive”, “learn in silence”, “authority”, “fruitful vine” and “precious rare gem” are read from the bible.
Maybe they don’t snicker aloud. Maybe they do it in that suppressed, silent uttering kind of way.
Those silent utters? God knows them and hears them. And if you’re like me? Your facial expressions and voice tones and choice of words barely cover up the truth inside of you. I couldn’t lie to my husband and say the conventional “fine” or placate a situation with an “everything’s fine.” (We’ve all seen and laughed out loud at the marriage memes about when a woman uses the word “fine.”)
No, everything was not fine. And my darling husband knew it too. And If I his wife was doubting in his ability to make solid choices, he would begin to doubt in himself – wondering what kind of leader was he. Two doubters probably don’t do many things right.
I may not always agree with my husband’s choices, but I learned to never harbor resentment. Once a decision for the family has been made, getting to a place of unity is the next step. It is difficult to offer sincere encouragement if I still fundamentally disagree with the decision.
I’m still learning and growing, but I’ve found 6 ways to be more encouraging of the man that is truly the leader in our marriage.
- A Supportive Wife Studies Her Husband.
An encouraging wife supplies her husband with his needs and wants
When we were dating, I studied him just so that I could happen to be in the same place at the same time. As his wife, I enjoy discovering what are his absolute favorites. What does he love to eat? Who are the men in his life that he gets inspired by? What makes him tick? How does he cool down? How long does he need to cool down? When does he hold his prayers? What hopes does He request of God?
Showing him this kind of support and understanding builds on our trust for each other and helps to assure him that I know him and love him for who he is. That security breeds a safe place to make stronger decisions.
- An Encouraging Wife Connects the Situation He is Facing to His Strengths
She reminds him of what he is built of and how God gifted him
Instead of rolling my eyes when he can’t see the big picture, I find great comfort in getting to point out the reasons why he is amazing: “Sweet heart, don’t you see? This is for us to face because God gave you these talents.”
Instead of losing patience when he is overwhelmed, a simple squeeze on the shoulders and wife pep talk boosts his confidence: “No one else can handle this situation, because no one else has what you have.”
Instead of telling him what he needs to do when it seems like he is not taking any action, I am fortunate to get to point out for him: “You were given x, y and z. That’s exactly what is needed to solve this problem”
- An Encouraging Wife Speaks Well of Her Husband
Encouraging words go a long way.
In your intimate moments you speak to build him up – admiring his strength and remarking on the attractive qualities. And if your husband happens to overhear you speaking well of him to others, you just boosted his confidence significantly.
An encouraging wife never speaks ill of her husband – to anyone. She always puts the situation in context, and demonstrates an understanding of him and his needs. If he made a mistake, he did not wake up that day planning to do wrong to anyone.
- An encouraging wife is slow to react
She takes her time to gain understanding
When anything upsetting happens, a mature adult can maintain composure and process the situation with experience, wisdom and understanding.
“Adulting” is serious business. A mature leader takes time to make the best decision for the family, and his best encourager understands this and slows her reaction to give the situation room to breath.
- An Encouraging Wife Fears the Lord.
She seeks to understand God’s design for marriage
An encouraging wife earns the trust of her husband and trusts in God’s design for marriage. She is not the leader, and doesn’t try to take that role away from her husband.
What does it mean to be an encouraging wife? It means to be a gentle reminder to your husband of God’s power and love. He needs inspiration and you can provide it by reminding him of the ultimate source of goodness and power and strength and mercy – our Heavenly Father.
And most importantly
- An Encouraging Wife Prays With and For Her Husband
Pray Together. Stay Together. Achieve Together.
An encouraging wife knows that in her prayers, she can also build her husband, and therefore her marriage up. In our family prayers, if it’s my turn to pray, I can’t help but express deep gratitude for my husband and the father of my children in front of his children and to our God in heaven. My husband hears the sincerity of my voice. My children hear their mother honoring their father. My God in heaven knows what’s in my heart. And He always provides for His faithful.
Stephanie Canete is a staff writer for INCMEDIA.ORG from Florida. She cherishes getting to encourage her husband of 11 years every day and is also a homeschooling mom of two . She is a firm believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and believes in Him so much that she also is a member of His Church.