When I married my sweet husband 10 years ago, I did not envision that I would be reliving my cheer leading days. I knew I would be many things to him but I never thought about it from the perspective of cheering him on. Okay so I am not standing beside him all day every day being his encouragement but what I have learned and what the Lord has showed me over the past couple of years is that I can make the most out of every opportunity I do have.
I have always been a pretty assertive (okay borderline aggressive) person and this has played out in my marriage as well. I am also very, very vocal. It would be no big deal for my best friend to receive a phone call after a disagreement with my hubby. Actually, I can remember many times calling my very best friend during the first year of marriage at 1 or 2 in the morning because I had worked myself into a frenzy! She didn’t always appreciate the late night calls but then again she wasn’t married at the time either. Now she may welcome them because she understands the dynamics of a marriage. I have never really been one to bad mouth my husband around groups of people so I thought it was okay to call a friend and vent. And maybe in some circumstances it is. But what the Lord has shown me over the last couple of years is that it is not necessary to involve others. I should take my frustrations to him because he is my best friend and the only one who can truly make any resolution to whatever issue is at hand.
One of the most impactful tools the Lord has used in teaching my spirit to be one of encouragement instead of nagging and disrespect is Nancy Leigh Demoss’ 30 Day Husband Encouragement Challenge. If you have never checked this out, I highly recommend it! I can not count the number of times I have used this over the last 5 years. I can remember the first time I got a copy of it and truly there were some concepts that had not occurred to me. I thought it was my right to be able to vent about my frustrations. But what the Lord showed me was that I was not doing anything but tearing my husband down instead of building him up. The Lord also showed me that I was the only one in my husband’s life that could fill this role as cheer leader. It would never mean as much coming from anyone else. So I began to do the small daily challenges of choosing to not say anything negative about my husband ever, to praise him publicly and to do it often. I have always seen a tremendous impact in our relationship when I am intentional about encouraging my husband and building him up.
I can remember not too long ago we were at church and I commented that he was being a slacker because he was standing around when there was work to be done. I immediately felt so much conviction that I had said this about him and as soon as we were alone I apologized to him. Of course to him it was no big deal. He hadn’t really noticed that these were my words but its likely those around us did and even though it was said in a very joking manner it still was not words of encouragement. By choosing to say things that are negative about my husband, I am crushing his spirit. I believe it also reveals the condition of my heart. You know that old adage that there is truth in everything you say.
As well as revealing the condition of your heart, when you choose to speak negatively about your spouse you are in many ways creating a cycle. Maybe those around you have always thought highly of your spouse but when you speak about all the negative aspects of them they begin to wonder if he really is all that great. They begin to think that if this is what his wife thinks about him he must really be bad. Not only do you damage his image in the eyes of others but you set yourself up to think less of him. If you constantly think and say negative things, it will color your perception. It will make you harbor resentment for the things that have been said and done. Take it to the Lord and let it go. Let God know you are mad and you don’t understand why things are they way they are and let him work. “He must increase; I must decrease”-John 3:30 Get out of the way of the Lord so that he can do the work that is necessary in you and in your relationship.
I am encouraging you today to make a commitment to yourself, to the Lord, and to your husband that you resolve to only speak loving , encouraging words about him and to him. Find things that you are proud of him for and lavish him with praise in private and in public. Let those around you see what a wonderful person you have in your life and your relationship will reap the rewards. He will ultimately feel respected by you and not burdened by the haunting negative words from the only one person whom he truly wants to please.