Whether we realize it or not, most husbands are actually very insecure. Many of our men have suffered deep emotional wounds in childhood. Some were teased incessantly at school. Many were physically abused by their dad or grandpa. Others were sexually abused by the neighbor man. Some were basically abandoned by one or both of their parents. The emotional wounds, though often never revealed openly, still exist.
Unintentionally, we sometimes take a knife to that open wound and rip it open a little further. When a man’s wife constantly points out his faults, the wound becomes larger. When a wife complains that he doesn’t make enough money, isn’t romantic enough, doesn’t play with the kids enough, doesn’t talk to her enough….his insecurity grows deeper. He feels like a failure once again. He feels unwanted, unappreciated. He feels like he’s just one big disappointment.
Ladies, let’s truly become our husband’s helper (Genesis 2:18) by being the one person in his life that always sees the best in him…who truly believes in him. Let’s consciously work to affirm anything and everything he does right. Think of yourself as your husband’s biggest cheerleader. He needs to know you’re on his team. This doesn’t mean you should never confront him if he’s way out of line, but even then, you can confront him lovingly and respectfully. Let’s become the soothing salve for the emotional wounds of our men!
Our words are SO powerful! If you frequently tell your husband how he’s falling short, he will likely close down emotionally and search for an escape door. He may turn to alcohol, porn, excessive recreational pursuits, or even other women.
However, if you choose to tell him about the good things you see in him, he will begin to grow in confidence. I believe this is why God instructs wives in Ephesians 5:33, “the wife must respect her husband“. Your respect and admiration means everything to your man. If you intentionally take note of his talents as well as the effort he puts forth, and then tell him you are proud of him, his feelings of inadequacy will fall away. He will start believing he can be successful in what he tries. He will gain courage to try tackling even bigger things.
If you notice his positive character qualities (and every man has at least one!), and tell him how much you respect him for those qualities, he will be built up on the inside. He will likely begin believing that he can become a man who makes a difference in his family and for God. A wife’s words of respect and encouragement can propel her husband forward to be an even greater man than he would ever have been without her!
Proverbs 18:21 says “the tongue has the power of life and death”. Oh my. Consider how many words a woman usually speaks in just one day, and you can see the potential for disaster!
It took me a couple decades to really understand this fact. The words spoken by a wife to her husband can either build him up and give him confidence to step up and be an even better man…or her words can tear him down to the point that he emotionally withdraws from her and doesn’t try to accomplish much of anything because he believes he’s a failure.
What kind of words are you speaking to your husband? Are you his biggest cheerleader? Do you intentionally encourage him every single day, or do you give in to the temptation to point out his many flaws on a regular basis? He NEEDS you to believe in him and encourage him. By the way, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hold him accountable or put boundaries in place if he is actively sinning against you. However, even then, you can address sinful behavior with an attitude that is loving and hopeful. You can still let your husband know that you see something good in him.
I teach women about the Bible instruction for wives to display a respectful attitude toward their husbands (Ephesians 5:33), but apparently I haven’t perfected this myself! The other day, I was in the process of texting back and forth with two different women about a need within the Squadron of Sisters wives’ ministry…when my husband came into the room and stood in front of me. I didn’t look up right away because I just wanted to finish my text and be done with that task. My husband turned around and left the room, obviously a bit irritated. My thought was…”huh? What just happened?”
Later, I asked my husband why he was upset. In a nutshell, it turns out that he felt as if he didn’t matter to me. He felt that other things came before him. He had wanted to talk with me about something important and I didn’t even look up when he stood in front of me. He felt disrespected. Oops.
I’ve been discussing this with God since that time, and I believe he’s showing me that respecting my husband means treating him with great honor. In fact the original Greek translation of that word “respect” in Ephesians 5:33 means “to have reverence for” or “to be in awe of”. Wow! Those words seem applicable to how a servant would treat a king! Hmmm. Maybe God wants me to treat my husband as if he is as important as a king. I’m going to try an experiment this week. I’m going to attempt to honor my husband, and pay attention to my husband, as if he were the president or a king (without making it too goofy or weird!!). Are you willing to try this “respect experiment” too? I can’t wait to see how my husband will be impacted and how our marriage may be changed for the better!
Did you know almost all men struggle with feeling inadequate on almost every level? It’s true. Since God designed men to be leaders in revealing the nature of God, it’s to be expected that Satan would try to destroy that mission by making men feel like they’re not up to that challenge! Satan is constantly whispering to your man that he is a failure, that he’s not good enough, that he’s not smart enough, and that he doesn’t have what it takes to be a godly leader, husband or father. These are all lies! Jesus tells us in John 8:44 that Satan is “the father of lies“.
Unfortunately, when a husband starts believing these lies, he often decides to either give up trying to be a good husband or he may numb out by using pornography, alcohol, or becoming a workaholic.
However, a man’s wife has the ability to counteract the voice of Satan! Ladies, why don’t you start telling your husband that you believe in him? Tell him that he CAN do it. Let him know that you see good qualities in him. Remind him about his unique talents and spiritual gifts. Show him the respect that God commands wives to display in Ephesians 5:33. As you affirm him and esteem him, you may likely find that your man becomes more confident and becomes an even better man than he is now.
I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. That’s the self-fulfilling prophecy repeated over and over again by the little train in the well-known children’s story. The train faced an up-hill battle, but it encouraged itself by stating positive thoughts out loud. In the end, the little engine’s encouraging words to itself spurred it on to successfully climb the hill.
Your husband and my husband are both like that little train. They face an uphill battle. The world tells our men they are failures, that they don’t measure up, that they’re not good enough. Satan constantly whispers words of discouragement to our guys. As a result, our men often stop attempting to grow spiritually. They often stop taking courageous steps forward in leading their families. Instead of boldly fighting for justice and integrity, many choose to check out through alcohol, drugs, video games, gambling or pornography. But WE can be that voice speaking encouragement to our men! We can say, “I think you can”. “I know you can”. “I believe in you”. “I’m behind you.” Hebrews 3:13 is a good reminder to us. It says “Encourage one another daily as long as it is called ‘Today’ so that no one is hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
We can help our husbands move from defeat and retreat to a place of exciting victory simply by our words of encouragement. Will you help your husband be the little engine that could? I think you can. I think you can. I think you can.
Normally, pride isn’t a very good thing. In fact, God tells us over and over again throughout His Word that we need to get rid of pride. I think we’ve all heard the Bible verse “Pride goeth before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
But here’s the thing. I believe God is talking about getting rid of pride in ourselves. He doesn’t want us to be puffed up and arrogant. God wants us to attract people to Him through our humility. However, I don’t see any place in Scripture where God tells us to avoid telling our loved ones that we are proud of them. That kind of “pride” isn’t arrogant. It’s extremely encouraging to the recipient!
In fact, telling your husband “I’m proud of you” can move your husband out of paralyzing insecurity into confident, positive action. When you say, “You’re a good man”, or “you have a good heart”, or I’m so proud to be your wife”, you are speaking words of life to your husband. He longs to hear those words. It’s time we stopped focusing only on what’s wrong with our husbands, and looked for some things that we can honestly affirm. Our men need our encouragement!
This hit home for me recently. My husband took the time to tell me that he feels tremendously encouraged when I occasionally pop into his home office and tell him I’m proud to be his wife. That tiny little statement builds him up. It helps him press back into the challenges that await him. It helps him feel like he can slay dragons. His wife is proud of him. She believes in him. He has the courage and confidence to keep moving forward. Your words are powerful! Have you told your man that you’re proud of him lately? Are you speaking those essential words to your husband?