Sometimes it was missing in our childhood. Sometimes we don’t receive it from our workplace. Our friendships and family relationships are often lacking it’s presence. Our marriages are commonly starving for it.
As defined, encouragement is the ability to: 1. inspire (someone) with the courage or confidence (to do something). 2. to stimulate (something or someone to do something) by approval or help; support.
Definitely something every spouse longs for. Learning how to be an encouraging spouse is a life long journey rather than a once and done sort of thing. However, learning how to inspire courage and confidence is not for the faint of heart. It takes time, dedication and trial and error to figure out what will most likely encourage your spouse. Here are a few things that you can do to offer what you can to your marriage in the area of encouragement.
1. Recognize your spouse’s vulnerabilities.
Observe and discern what brings your spouse down. Too much criticism at work? Regularly feeling like they don’t measure up? Can’t seem to be “enough” (pretty enough, successful enough, thin enough, smart enough)? By recognizing the areas your spouse is vulnerable in your are better able to…
2. Build up your spouse in areas that regularly tear them down.
For instance, if your spouse responds poorly to criticism from others, be a soft landing place. Even if you agree with the criticism, rather than rehash it, cover over that with the strength they possess in another area. Draw upon your intimate knowledge of their successes and regularly remind them how much you support them. Keep in mind the greatest achievements your spouse has in different areas and pull from that the ways you can encourage your spouse. In all areas, know that you have the ability to momentarily relieve the hurt, pain, confusion or stress your spouse is experiencing. While it is impossible to completely change the situations you can give them the courage to continue on and may even prompt them to believe what you are saying.
3. Make encouragement a habit rather than a default setting.
So often we don’t practice encouraging our spouse until we recognize they need it. By then their tank is already low and we are just playing catch-up. Building a culture of encouragement in your marriage is an incredibly beneficial habit. Don’t wait till your spouse needs your encouragement, start today! There is no better way to figure out what best encourages your spouse than to try a bit of everything you can think of. The encouragement your spouse may need can change from time to time so have a whole bunch of encouragement ideas to pull from and your marriage will be strengthened.
We would love to compile a list of practical ways to encourage your spouse. Take a moment to share with us in the comment section some of the most encouraging things your spouse has done for you.