Standing by your husband at all times and encouraging him isn’t as difficult as it might seem. Bill & Pam Farrel authors of “Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti” expound that men are like waffles because men process life in boxes while in contrast to men’s waffle-like approach, women process life more like a plate of spaghetti. A man’s thinking is divided up into boxes and he has room for one issue and one issue only at a time. The first issue of life goes in the first box, the second goes in the second box and so on. The typical man spends time in one box at a time and one box only. As a result of thinking through life in boxes, men are natural problem solvers. While most women are good at multi-tasking, they can do about 11 things at a time – talk on the phone, prepare a meal, make a shopping list, work on the planning for tomorrow’s business meeting, give instructions to their children as they are going out to play and close the door with their foot without skipping a beat!
Your husband may not be good at multi-tasking, the challenges he also deals with are heavy ones, too – starting with a wife to love and serve, a career at which to succeed, even children to nurture. And just like you, he can lose heart while carrying heavy responsibilities.
Every individual has a different love language that they both give and receive love in. You may be trying to encourage your husband in your own love language while he needs to receive it in his. Here are 6 ways to stand by your husband, encourage him at all times and make him feel he’s the greatest.
- Say “Thank you!”
If you find it hard to come up with ways to encourage your husband, saying “Thank you!” is a great place to start. If things are rocky and you don’t feel particularly thankful to your husband (believe me, this happens!), start small. Thank him for all his hard work and many sacrifices. Many women hold back grateful affirmations because they think, “Why should I thank him for things he should do anyway?” Your positive words pave the way for your husband to do more of the same.
- Know your man
What are his strong and weak points? Become an expert on your spouse. Maybe your husband is a wonderful father, or maybe he’s a good financial provider. Unless you are married to Mr. Perfect Guy, he probably struggles somewhere, too. Does your husband have a quick temper? Does he spend too much money – or time watching a football game on TV? While these are points for prayer, they are also areas in which encouragement can make a difference. Compliment him on his strengths and achievements and acknowledge his victories.
- Encourage him to dream big and find ways to support those dreams
Maybe your husband finds meaning in his job or career. Show some interest in what goes on at his workplace: What challenges does he face, what new projects is he involved in, what goals must he meet? As you understand the specifics, your encouragement can become more specific. You can enter into his enthusiasm over praise from a supervisor or a breakthrough with a difficult co-worker. Your support in listening to his dreams and even enabling a few to come true communicates your respect. Dreaming together is like marriage insurance. Dare to dream with him.
- Don’t ‘mother’ your man
Never ‘mother’ your man! When you act like a ‘mother’ you can’t encourage him. Have faith in him and let him lead. Treating your man like a child is demeaning and makes you a controller! If you have children, include your husband in parenting decisions (even if he defers most of the troubleshooting in this area to you). Stand by his discipline decisions. Model your respect for him in front of your kids, and he’ll really feel your encouragement! Nothing shows your love and respect more than backing off to give your husband’s plans and ideas some room to develop.
- Be available for physical intimacy
Physical intimacy in marriage should be an “unhindered access.” Identify his love language and speak it during physical intimacy. If you are coming together physically, it’s a good sign you work well as a team. It’s a signal (an encouragement!) to him that he’s doing fine at home.
- Don’t wait for your husband to “deserve it”
Maybe your husband takes you for granted. Maybe he never says “thank you”. Encourage and respect him anyway. It may seem doing this requires superhuman strength. Here’s the good news: There is superhuman power accessible to help you. Ask God to give you His love for your husband. Ask God to help you see one or two good aspects in your husband you can praise and respect. Jesus calls it doing “to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12).