Marriage Monday: The Covering – Encouragement
I remember hearing my father tell us that the smartest woman he knew was our mother. He would say it often and it really made an impact on my life. My mother lacked a grand education and worked hard to prove herself in life, but my father saw through the world’s standards and brought out the treasure in my mother. I watched as my mom became more and more confident in her passion for cooking and loving on people. She did have a great business mind and she was very sharp at problem-solving, she was awesome!
Last week, we talked about Genesis 3:6-7 and how the curse came when Adam decided to bite the apple, not when Eve did it. Not that Eve lacked any spiritual power, but in the relationship God set up (marriage), Adam’s choice affected them both. This is a covering that only Adam could provide for Eve in this instance and this is what God intended in the marriage relationship. Last week we talked about the 3 areas (prayer, encouragement, and empowerment) we, as husbands, can cover our wives. We talked about prayer last time and this time we want to talk about encouragement.
Husbands Encourage Our Wives
Yesterday, our pastor preached on a New Year: New Mind (watch it here or listen here) and it was a great message that encouraged us. What you think about will build the tracks to your future, you are what you think. This is exactly what we wanted to talk about today, encouragement should never come from a lie or be contrived. So husbands, in order for your encouragement to be effective for your wife, it must be real not just words of flattery. What you truly think about your wife is the marriage you will build.
A lying tongue hates those it crushes, and a flattering mouth causes ruin. – Proverbs 26:28 (HCBS)
So what is encouragement? Is it me giving my wife a high-five every morning and telling her she is the best mom ever? Maybe, but these are only just words of encouragement. My wife will give an example on the live video today, but words lack power without belief. Husbands, we have to believe in our wives. My mom dreamed of owning her own catering business and her passion for cooking was met by our passion for eating her food. We acted on her dream by bragging about her food and eating it. The action did not truly encourage my mother, but it was my father believing in her and his willingness to help her see it happen that encouraged her. Now, if her food was bad and we continued to brag and push her to cater, this would not be encouragement, it would have been a lie. Encouragement is always rooted in the true potential of another person.
How Do We Encourage Our Wives?
Know her dreams! There is nothing worse than going through a marriage and not knowing what your wife dreams of doing or accomplishing.
Know her love language! Do you know what makes her encouraged? I tell everyone we bring counsel too about marriage to make sure they read The Five Love Languages and find out what those are in each spouse. If you feel like your wife loves gifts, but she is really begging for quality time, your working 60 hours a week to buy great gifts is actually hurting your marriage.
Are you willing to postpone your dream for hers? This is huge! It is when you are willing to put aside fulfilling your dream to make hers happen that a true ability to encourage rises up in you. This is the breeding ground for what I like to call the investment phase (empowerment), which we will talk about next week. Does this mean your dream is put completely to the side? No, in fact, your dream will be easier to accomplish if you cover your wife with encouragement as a lifestyle.
Make it a daily effort to encourage her! Write a note, do small things for her and talk about her openly with your children (if you have any). Your belief in your wife will be a catalyst for others to believe in her and this is what I like to call EXPONENTIAL ENCOURAGEMENT.
Plan it! Ok, so you daily give her words, notes or actions that spur her on, but monthly or more, sit with her and help her plan her dreams and desires.
Start small! My wife has some big dreams, but she also has some smaller ones as well. As I am talking about dreams, do not be overwhelmed by your wife having dreams of grandeur; instead, help her fulfill the smaller ones and eventually the bigger ones will not be so impossible any longer.
Real, authentic encouragement is the soil bed for true empowerment (we will cover that next week). Can your wife fulfill her own dreams? Yes, but it is more powerful and beautiful when the husband covers the wife in the process. You are one flesh and when one spouse has to fight by themselves for something it puts rips and tears in the bond that is your marriage. Eventually, it will cause you to become married singles that grow apart and not together. Husbands, you have to fight for the heart of your wife!
Here is a song for the teaching today: Antoine Bradford – Safe Have a listen and husbands, take on the lyrics for both your wife and Jesus.