When you get married, you go to battle, and you need to be prepared to fight – not against your spouse, but for your spouse.
Marriage requires us to fight for our spouse, our family, and the mission of God. Why? Because there are many things that will try to sabotage your marriage, your family, and your pursuit of God’s kingdom – such as slothfulness, pornography, addiction, fear, anger, dishonesty, greed, and more.
Far too many people get married, coast, and expect things to be “smooth sailing.” They’re not intentional about fighting for their spouse, and the results can be devastating: infidelity, relational animosity, distrust, emotional distance, and sometimes even divorce.
Encouragement is one of the most effective ways to strengthen your spouse and intentionally fight for your marriage. It heals, strengthens, softens, and prevents the heart – both yours and your spouses – from becoming calloused and hardened.
Life gets tough, and we need to lift each other up, not tear each other down. Your spouse is your companion, your friend, your lover, and the one person on this planet you’ve committed to loving in a unique way.
Ladies, here are a few practical and effective ways to encourage your husband. (Men, you can apply these four actions towards your wives as well, but I also wrote this post specifically for you.)
1. Affirm him with your words
In Proverbs 12:18, King Solomon writes, “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” To put it another way, our words have the power to heal or wound.
Speak life to your husband and affirm him with your words – don’t attack him. Too many couples attack each other with their words, thrusting “swords” into each other and hurting the other. This is counterproductive, and only damages the marriage and the family. Affirmation and encouragement breathes life and hope into your spouse.
2. Remind him of the vision and previous victories
A husband and wife are a team, and they need to pick each other up when the other is struggling. Too often, we humans defeat ourselves with our own thoughts – we start thinking negative thoughts, discourage ourselves, and lose confidence that we can overcome the present difficulty and win. When this happens, it’s paramount that the other spouse remind their partner of the greater vision in life, and of previous victories: the times when they overcame challenges, achieved their goals, persevered and won, and didn’t quit.
When your husband is discouraged, remind him of his why – his vision and purpose in life – and of previous victories: past achievements and moments when God showed up and provided. This will give him perspective, hope, and encourage him to keep fighting.
And remember: the two of you are a team, not opponents. You are not fighting each other.
3. Know and speak his love language
Author Gary Chapman has written arguably one of the best books on relationships this century, called The Five Love Languages. In this article, Chapman gives an overview of the five love languages:
After 30 years as a marriage counselor, I am convinced that there are five basic love languages – five ways to express love emotionally. Each person has a primary love language that we must learn to speak if we want that person to feel loved.”
These five love languages are:
- Words of Affirmation: Praise and appreciation make your spouse feel loved.
- Acts of Service: Your spouse feels loved by simple acts of service.
- Receiving Gifts: Receiving gifts, whether small or large, makes your spouse feel loved.
- Quality Time: Giving your spouse undivided attention makes your spouse feel loved.
- Physical Touch: Your spouse feels loved when you reach out and take initiative to touch them.
What is your husband’s love language? Are you speaking it to him?
4. Respect and honor him
Respect is about showing honor and appreciation for another person. When we disrespect someone, we degrade them in our heart, and it subtly pollutes our affections and relationship.
The apostle Paul wrote a letter to Christians living in Ephesus (modern day Turkey). In it, he wrote: “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” (Ephesians 5:33) By respecting your husband, you will encourage him. He will feel loved by the honor and appreciation you show him. Plus, by respecting your husband, you will also be honoring the Lord in the process, as well. (For more on this topic, check out Dr. Emerson Eggerich’s book, Love and Respect:The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs)
Encouragement is a great way for you to fight for your spouse and strengthen your marriage. It’s not always easy to do, but it is effective and beneficial for you, your marriage, and your family. (If you’re a husband, be sure to check out this post on practical ways to love your wife.)
What is the #1 way your spouse feels loved and encouraged? Go ahead and share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below, we’d love to hear your input.