Blog Post by Rodney A. Wilson
Rodney Wilson is a regular guest post writer on Selma on Leadership. Rodney has been a marriage and family pastor/counselor for almost 20 years. Rodney and Selma have been married for 40 years and they have spoken and written on marriage and family issues for most of their married life.
A significant part of the marital experience is to help each other through this life. The first specific reference to the woman is as a helper to the man (Genesis 2). Encouragement perfectly aligns within this dynamic. While differences need to be addressed from time to time, encouragement needs to be the steady diet of a marital relationship.Encouragement gives your mate confidence to face the world. Click To Tweet
Here are 7 rules to remember while encouraging your spouse:
1. Cultivate a positive attitude when thinking about your spouse. Ever hear of the 80/20 rule? Selma has taught the rule so much, she thinks she wrote it. It is so simple yet so practical. Here’s how it goes from a marital standpoint: 80% of your spouse is positive. She goes to work every day. He takes his family to church. She’s a great mom. He is a responsible, loving man. 20% of your spouse, however, gets on your last nerve. Those personality traits, irritating quirks, annoying habits will always grate on you. The key is to focus on the 80% and be thankful for the 80%. As you do, your attitude for your spouse will change. The 20% sometimes needs to be addressed but with a grateful heart for the 80%.
2. Be specific: “You’re a great mother” is nice, but add a specific example. “I like the way you handled that situation with the kids. You have a way with loving yet guiding our kids” is a lot more specific and will mean more. It shows you’re connected, you paid attention, and you appreciate.
3. Don’t add a manipulative “but” on the end of a compliment. “Thanks for going to the store, but you always forget something on the list.” Uh, no. Not any encouragement at all. “Thanks for going to the store for the family. It was a huge blessing to me.” The end.
4. Be spontaneous! Tell her when it comes to your mind (so you don’t forget it). Text, call out of the blue, write it on her/his wall. Be creative with how you encourage.
5. Be simple. Your encouragement doesn’t need to be over-the-top gushy or elaborate. Sometimes less is more. A quick text can be a powerful source of encouragement that lasts the entire day.
6. Be frequent. Observing and sharing positive things to your spouse about her tells her you are looking for the good in her.
7. Be proud! When appropriate, don’t be afraid to let your children or others hear your encouragement to your spouse. Be proud of the wonderful spouse you have!Your encouragement doesn't need to be over-the-top gushy or elaborate. Sometimes less is more. Click To Tweet
Here are a few benefits that encouragement gives to your marriage:
- It reinforces the team unity. Teammates should encourage each other a lot.
- It gives your mate confidence to face the world. I can face anything knowing that my wife is behind me.
- If there is stress and strain in your relationship, an encouraging word can lessen the tension between you two.
- It puts your relationship on a biblical basis. I Thessalonians 5:11 challenges us to “… encourage one another and build each other up…” Blessing your mate is biblical.
Look for the good in your mate. Be quick to encourage him/her and experience the benefits of doing so in your marriage.