“…This is my beloved, and this is my friend…”
Song of Solomon 5:16b
Friends can be completely honest with each other, but friendships are strained when truth is not spoken in love. How are you speaking to your beloved? Are you so “used” to him that you don’t appreciate the wonder of his friendship? That is your challenge today. Is your sweetheart your best friend? Does he know this? Have you told him, or do you assume he “just knows”?
Friendship is something that is cultivated through the good times and the bad. Friends can share their hearts, but they don’t step on each other’s hearts. The way to have and be a good friend is to cultivate and celebrate the relationship. As you end this “30-Day Encouragement Challenge,” celebrate your friendship with your husband. Get alone and reflect on your beloved friend. Write him a letter, listing the qualities you admire and appreciate about him. If you are creative with words, write and frame a poem about him.
Perhaps you can prepare a special meal, just for the two of you, and read the letter or poem to him. Ask if you can pray for him, and if he is willing, thank God for your love and friendship, asking for His blessing on your home. Encouragement, as you have seen these past 30 days, is a synonym for love in action.
“A prudent man foresees evil, and hides himself; the simple pass on, and are punished.”
As you near the end of your Encouragement Challenge, take time to think about your husband’s responses to the wickedness of the culture, the media, etc. Does your husband recognize and avoid evil? Does he regularly turn his back on pornography, sexual temptations, and the urge to lie and cheat? This is a valuable character trait. Like Joseph in the Old Testament, who fled from the wicked advances of Potiphar’s wife, this takes an understanding that these kinds of sins are first and foremost, sins against God (Gen. 39:9).
Praise your husband when he recognizes and turns his back on wickedness. If you can think of a circumstance where your husband stood for righteousness, remind him of that today-and express your gratitude.
“The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility.” Prov.
Sometimes, when we just “know” we are right and our husbands are wrong, it takes great humility to honor them. It is difficult to speak well of our husbands when our own hearts are puffed up with pride.
As part of your Encouragement Challenge today, pray that you will respond to the Lord in faith and humility before you react to your husband. Speak wisely and well, and leave the results to God.
The humility that comes from a right relationship with God – the humility that comes when a man is willing to listen to God and be taught from His Word – is indeed a beautiful quality. Jesus was an example of this kind of humility when he was willing to submit to His Father’s will (John 6:38; Matt. 26:39).
Does your husband have that kind of humility? Is he willing to learn from and submit to direction from the Lord? Let your husband know how precious this is to your marriage relationship.
“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the
LORD.” Ps. 31:24
You have almost completed the “30-Day Encouragement Challenge.” Perhaps it has taken you a tremendous amount of courage to speak words of encouragement consistently to your husband. Courage comes as we place our trust in God. Have faith that God will continue to work long after your encouraging words have been shared. There are lots of “tough guys” in the world, but true courage comes from the Lord. Does
your husband exhibit the courage to take an unpopular stand, perhaps even to stand alone against evil? Is he courageous in his faith? Does he work hard to change injustice? Is he a stickler for the truth? Does he protect you or your family from the attacks of the Enemy?
Psalm 27:14 says this kind of courage comes from “waiting” on the Lord for His strength. If your budget allows, “award” your husband with a medal, trophy, framed picture of a brave knight, or some other token that represents his courage as a man of God. Praise evidences of your husband’s courage in protecting you, your marriage, your family, or your home.
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Luke
If you have faithfully encouraged your husband, you will no doubt have seen some changes in his life…and your own life, as well. Encouragement is a wonderful habit that we hope you will continue for the rest of your life. The important thing is to keep growing in Christ and obeying the Word of God as you respond to your husband. As you consider today how to bless your husband and not tear him down, think of ways that you can encourage balance in your home.
Jesus led a balanced life. He grew mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially. As you see your husband branching out in these areas, is there a pattern of growth? Is your husband striving for balance in his life? If so, let him know you have noticed, and ask how you can further encourage that balance. If your husband is out of balance – focusing on one area to the exclusion of the others – consider whether there are things you can do to help restore or create balance in his life. Can you encourage times for sports or exercise? Keep the children quiet for a study time? Invite friends over for dinner? Stimulate his mind?
Be sure you are working toward balance in your own life, as well. Be an example!
“…seek peace, and pursue it.” Ps. 34:14b
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Is. 26:3
Before you consider whether these verses describe your husband, consider your own presence in the home. Do you promote an atmosphere of peace, or do critical words often flow from your mouth? Do you struggle with anger? If so, before you continue with your Encouragement Challenge, confess these sinful habits to the Lord, and determine to speak words of peace to your family today.
Does your husband bring an atmosphere of peace into your home? Is his presence a calming influence? Does he bring music, entertainment, books or people into your home that build a sense of serenity? Let him know how much you appreciate this wonderful quality, and support his choices.
If, on the other hand, he is quickly angered or he creates chaos rather than calm, ask God to give you an abundance of the kind of peace that will speak to his heart. Be patient and loving. Create an inviting atmosphere of peace, as much as possible.
“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the
training and admonition of the Lord.” Eph. 6:4
Children can be quite a challenge to the marriage relationship. A wise wife will support her husband’s leadership in the home as much as possible, and will praise him for his fathering skills. Negativity makes a man feel like a failure, and may make him to want to give up.
Does your husband discipline your children wisely? Does he show them love and encourage them? Does he take an interest in their activities and dreams? Does he spend time with them? Does he take part in developing their character? Praise him for these important life skills.
If you don’t have children – is your husband positive and encouraging around other people’s children? Let him know that you have noticed. If your husband does not experience positive relationships with children, you will need to figure out why. Perhaps he had negative experiences as a child with his own parents, and needs to learn how to respond. Perhaps you can lovingly and patiently show him how to parent – while still maintaining his authority in the home.
“Let your speech always be with grace…” Col. 4:6a
You’re moving toward the home stretch of your 30-day challenge! Just a reminder of what you’ve committed:
“You can’t say anything negative about your husband… to your husband…or to anyone else, about your husband. “Each day, say something that you admire or appreciate about your husband…to your husband…and to someone else, about your husband!
“In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works…” Titus 2:7a
Does the “30-Day Encouragement Challenge” seem like hard work? Or is it becoming a pleasant exercise in genuine Christ-likeness in your home? You are only scratching the surface of ways to encourage your mate.
Is your husband organized? Is he diligent? Is he persistent? These are all related to a pattern of personal disciplines that are worthy of your praise. Affirm him for one or more of these traits that you see in him.
Some men have not developed these qualities because they are naturally more spontaneous. You can praise his spontaneity! Perhaps God has called you alongside to help him with disciplines he has not yet developed – but this does not include nagging. You can keep him organized.
Whatever the need, you can be your husband’s cheerleader, encouraging him when he wants to give up.
“Let your speech always be with grace…” Col. 4:6a
Focus today on how you represent your husband in your home, your church, and your community. In this challenge to encourage, ask: “If all my family and friends knew about my husband came from a filter of what I’ve said about him, what would they think of my husband?” Do you need to change the filter?
Do you talk positively about your husband to others… or do you complain and criticize? Your speech should reflect 1 Cor. 13 love. Your words should be kind, and should never “rejoice in iniquity” (v. 6). Refrain from listing your husband’s faults to others. Satan likes to trick us in this area – be wary of sharing barbed “prayer requests.”Remember, “Love will cover a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8b). Present your husband before others today in a strong, positive manner. Slip in a “good word” for your spouse. Resist the urge to correct or belittle him in front of others. Some of what you say may come back to him – and you want your words to be sweet, building him up and never tearing him down.
Don’t forget: you are always criticizing – or encouraging – before an audience. God hears your conversations when you are alone with your husband in your own home. May your speech be always seasoned with grace.
While you are considering how your speech can reflect the grace of the Lord in your husband’s life, don’t forget that your words can also encourage others. When you share what God is doing in your life through this “30-Day Encouragement Challenge”, others will be blessed. Perhaps other wives will be moved to take up this challenge.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be
added to you.” Matt. 6:33
If we are living in light of eternity, everything we think, do or say is seen from an eternal perspective. We will someday give an account for our failure to speak words of love and encouragement. Determine today that your words will be sweet and helpful. Does your husband have an eternal perspective that allows him to reject materialism and temporal values? Express your gratefulness for his value system, and praise him for putting eternal things before riches and other things of this world. If this is a problem area for him, consider how you might alter your own value system and live for eternity in front of him, encouraging him to do the same. Only two things will go into eternity…the Word of God and people. Be sure that you are focusing on the right things.