“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down” (Proverbs 14:1).
My husband is a manly kind of guy. He follows every major sport, fixes anything in the house, and he hunts big game for fun. Everything about my man exudes strength and confidence.
Which is why it’s easy to forget he’s not superhuman. Deep down my husband still needs my encouragement and affirmation.
Wives have tremendous influence over their husbands whether they realize it or not. I want to use mine to build my husband up, don’t you? Here are some simple ways we can do that.
1. Let him lead. One of the fastest ways to emasculate a man is by controlling every decision and cutting off his voice. Give your husband space to express his opinions and to guide the family according to his convictions. As wives we certainly ought to offer counsel—we are not doormats by any means—yet there’s a clear line between counselor and commander. Encourage your husband to fulfill his God-given role of leader not by nagging or demanding but by actually giving him opportunities to practice.
2. Say thank you. Gratitude is one of the simplest ways to show your husband he’s valued. When he mows the lawn, cooks dinner, or comes home from a grueling day at work—don’t be afraid to tell him “thanks, honey” for all the big and little ways he supports your family.
3. Tell him he looks good. I’ll bet when you were first dating, both you and your husband fretted over what to wear, which cologne to choose, or how to hide those extra five pounds. As we grow closer and get more comfortable with a spouse’s physical presence, it can be easy to take each other for granted. Tell your hubby he’s still the sexy man you used to daydream about. Compliment his clothing or his new haircut. He just might stand a little taller knowing you think he’s still got it.
4. Tell him you’re proud of him. Does your husband work hard to provide for your family? Does he take steps to protect you and the kids? Maybe he’s chasing a goal or pursuing an interest and he wonders if he has what it takes to be successful. One word from you can give him the strength to keep going. Tell your husband you’re proud of his efforts, his ambition, or his character. And remind him often.
5. Be a safe place for him to share his emotions. Hold his confidence tightly between you. A husband needs to trust his wife not to blab about every argument or embarrassing incident with her friends (or her mother). Unless it’s necessary to share personal details about your relationship for your safety, your children’s safety or your husband’s well being, stop and think before you spill secrets about your husband to anyone who will listen.
6. Don’t criticize his mistakes. We all make them. How would you feel if your husband snapped at you every time you faltered? Or maybe he does—in which case you know how it feels. So don’t repay wrong with more wrong. Be a forgiving partner. Not only for your husband’s sake but for your own benefit as well.
7. Listen when he talks. Resist the urge to talk over him or to ignore what he’s saying because you’re too focused on formulating a response. A wise wife is one who studies her husband and seeks to understand him. That requires good listening.
8. List his admirable qualities. What do you like about your husband? What do you respect or admire about him? Consider making a list and tucking it in his briefcase or sock drawer. And make a copy for yourself for those times when you need a reminder.
9. Put him in charge of the kids. Often as moms we take on the bulk of the parenting duties. We know what homework has to get done, which pajamas still fit, who’s eating green beans this week and who’s not. Sometimes in our efforts to keep the household running smoothly, we can tend to alienate Dad from the picture. Give him opportunities to be in charge of the kids’ routine or to offer input (without squashing it!) so he is empowered to fulfill his role as co-parent.
10. Just do it. You know what I’m talking about. A satisfied man is a happy man. One of the very best ways you can build up your husband is by making intimacy a priority in your marriage. You’ll both be stronger because of it.
Today, choose at least one item from this list to encourage your man. Then do it again tomorrow, and the day after that, and so on. Soon you just may discover that encouragement—as a habit—is the key to a rock solid marriage.
For marriage encouragement, check out Pat and Ruth Schwenk’s book, For Better or For Kids: A Vow to Love Your Spouse With Kids in the House.