Monday, December 8

The Support Report

"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." Ephesians 4:29

Research demonstrates that a predominant characteristic of exciting, satisfying marriages, is encouragement from the husband and wife -toward another. This should come as no surprise; the necessity of encouragement is a repetitive theme in God's Word.

Our words are to build our husbands up. We should never use bad language, either verbally or through our body language. A message is delivered, good or bad, without the mouth ever opening. Don’t be fooled by the silence factor if your body language stinks.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, "Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” Comfort translated in Hebrew means to invite or invoke. Do I invite or invoke my husband through my words? Do I encourage him and raise him up to be everything he desires to be? Our husbands will believe of themselves what we manifest in ourselves and direct towards him in the form of encouragement. This support should come via means of words and kind deeds.

Our son Caleb encourages me daily. He is illuminating all that his father transfers to me each day and what we live by example in our own home, is the greatest training ground for our future encourager. We must walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

Hebrews 3:13 instructs, "But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." Day, after day, after day, after day – just keep encouraging! It doesn’t cost money, and we can all afford to encourage our husbands. It’s the only wealth exercise where there is no loss of income, and we do grow richer.

As a wife, I look for ways to encourage my husband every day. This world can be a very discouraging place. By ensuring that I place daily deposits into my husband’s emotional bank account, affords him the leverage to face some difficult days. Because I make these daily deposits, it allows him to draw from his bank account of accumulated encouragement. On really tough days, he can dig deep and still have a reserve – because the deposits never cease---I keep them coming!

Encouragement in marriage is simply expressing to one's spouse, "I believe in you." This is accomplished both verbally and non-verbally. While this sounds easy, for the most part, it does not come naturally.

Often, people find difficulty in describing what it means to encourage one's spouse. The following are some characteristics of encouragement that are helpful to consider.

Accepting One Another

A woman will either progress or regress as a result of her positive input and behavior towards her husband. If our husbands feel pressure from us to change in some way, they are far less likely to feel the security and motivation required to undertake positive changes. On the contrary, if our husbands feel that they are unconditionally loved and accepted by us (just as they are), the tendency to move forward in ways that will make the marriage better is significantly greater.

Communicating Confidence

In a successful marriage, each one trusts the other. They make the conscious choice to believe in each another even in the midst of challenging circumstances. When suspicion or doubt is vocalized or demonstrated, the recipient is less likely to respond in a positive way. This is partly a self-fulfilling expectation and to a degree, a reaction that is generated out of resentment and fatalism. However, when faith and trust are perceived to be extended, one generally responds by attempting to live up to that ideal.

When a husband feels the confidence and faith of his wife, he will tend to work towards reciprocating the same sentiment. On the other hand, pointing out the faults and limitations of our husband works to undermine confidence and trust.

Recognizing and Acknowledging Effort

When efforts to maintain or improve the happiness and satisfaction of a marriage go unnoticed it is unlikely that those efforts will continue. Even the smallest of gestures should be met with appreciation, gratitude, and a desire to return the effort. A major accomplishment in this area is not required for growth to occur. Small efforts, when consistently performed by us, will build each another and result in significant overall growth and happiness in our marriage.

Focusing on Strengths

Those who have successful, fulfilling marriages tend to focus on each other's strengths. This does not mean that a couple should ignore everything that is unhealthy in a marriage. However, when positive assets are identified, recognized, communicated, and valued, it is amazing how any undesirable qualities seem to fade away. No relationship is perfect all of the time. But when problems and weaknesses become the focus of a relationship, discouragement becomes the norm. As wives, when we find positive assets to build upon, the negative experiences become less and less significant.

I love encouragement in every form. As a woman of strength, I am often misunderstood as a strong woman. As a result, there can be periods of time where I do not feel the encouragement that I long for. Whilst I run to God for my encouragement, I do love the extra chocolate He drizzles on my heart, through the encouragement of my husband and the encouragement of other women.

Most recently, I received a card in the mail from a woman I have grown to love deeply. She has a powerful testimony and her life is a storybook of encouragement. She loves and cares for her disabled brother 24/7. I have never seen a man with a disability that was so well groomed, so well dressed, and so noticeable cared for, as my friend’s brother. He is a picture of encouragement! This single act of love encourages me at my core level. As my friend illuminates the love of Christ through her servant’s heart, I am greatly encouraged.

When I feel discouraged I become the encourager. Resolving to encourage and edify others encourages and edifies me. I don’t set out to encourage for self-gratification, but being encouraged by other’s responses – automatically encourages me!

Make no mistake, encouragement takes effort. It is an investment of our time and energy that we must willingly make. We are all self-centered and self-serving by nature. Surely this fact is among the most significant reasons for the high rate of marital failure in our society. But, if we are led of the Spirit and committed to our marriages per God's plan, we can and will pursue encouragement and edification. This pursuit will create an environment in which marriages will grow, thrive, and be blessed of the Lord.

Be an encourager today! If you feel discourged, I have a great antidote which is guaranteed. Encourage someone else - we all need it!

Our husband's need all the encouragement that you can graciously give, and our children need their mama to be an example of the greatest encourager of all - our Lord Jesus Christ! By our example, we are to magnify Christ's teachings and instructions for Christian Womanhood to rise to a knew level in this generation.

I Love You,

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