Happy Friday friends! If you are visiting my blog today from the Proverbs 31 Encouragement For Today devotion, Crosswalk or Bible Gateway, I extend a special welcome to you!
If you are interested in receiving my free 62 page Ebook titled “14 Days To A Happier Marriage” which was offered in the devotion, just subscribe to my blog by entering your email address in the blue box on the right hand side bar. You may sign up for this great free giveaway until August 22nd, and the Ebook will be distributed on August 23rd.
You can also sign up for my quarterly newsletter as a bonus!
Today’s P31 devotion, called “I fully intended to….”, discussed some communication habits that most married couples find themselves falling into. Word habits, which if left unnoticed, can be fatal to a marriage.
In the devotion, I made reference to a book I read a couple years ago (The Man Whisperer, by Rick Johnson) which had a significant impact on my heart, and in turn, my husband and my marriage.
In this book, Rick talked about how all women think their men “need improvement”, in some area of their life or marriage relationship, but how most women go about trying to change their men in all the wrong ways.
Although his statement may sound a little abrupt, let’s be honest…..the odds of finding a woman who can honestly say that she does not wish to change one single thing about her husband would probably be slim to none! And just to be fair, I am sure there are husbands who would also like to change some things about their wives.
But regardless of who wants to see change in who, or what small or big changes are desired, there are certain ways that can help foster and promote change, and then there are ways that can not only stifle change, but destroy a relationship.
Wives have the power to bring out the best in their husband’s through the simple act of using encouraging words. Once we recognize the subtle power of persuasion that our words hold, we can help our man become the best he can be, and the best that God created him to be.
In my Ebook “14 Days To A Happier Marriage”, I share a personal experience that a sweet woman shared on my blog last year, when I was talking then about the power of encouraging words. Here is that excerpt below:
“She stated that her husband was not an emotional or affectionate man, and that their relationship was strained. She was hesitant to try to compliment him, because she did not think he would be responsive or appreciative. But she stated that as soon as she spoke those words of encouragement to him, he “melted like a marshmallow”. I just loved that analogy!
I am not saying that all men are like marshmallows, but all men do need encouragement, and need to believe that they are respected and admired. Men are born with the need to be admired, just as women are born with the need to be touched and loved.”
I’ll admit there are days (more days than I might want to admit) that I do not use encouraging words. Sometimes the enemy just seems to take my tongue hostage and I find myself falling back into the habit of saying things that are not building up my man.
I have found that this not only tears my husband down, but brings me down as well, because of two reasons. One – because I feel convicted by the Holy Spirit when I know my words have been discouraging; and two – because I am quickly aware that my words were also displeasing to God.
God’s Word encourages us, to encourage one another – especially when it comes to our husbands, the one whom we made a convenant of love with.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,….” (NIV) .
Hebrews 10:24 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,..”
Hebrews 10:22-25 in The Message Bible puts that verse this way: “So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.”
These verses gently instruct us to not only use our words to encourage others, but to be inventive and creative in doing so!
Friends, I want to encourage you today to ask yourself a few questions in the solitude of your prayer time. Ask yourself, if the words that you have been saying to your husband lately would fall into the category of encouraging, or discouraging. Have your words been building him up, or tearing down his self esteem? Is it possible that you need to seek God’s grace, asking Him to cleanse your heart of bitterness or resentment, allowing you to see your husband in a more positive light, and equipping you to be more loving with your words?
These are tough questions, and some of us may secretly be ashamed of our honest answers. Some of us may wonder if it is possible to ever break the habits that our mouths have formed, and if Jesus can free our tongues from being held hostage by the enemy.
Some of us may wonder, just like the woman who posted that comment on my blog last year, if your husband would be receptive to a change in you, as you strive to encourage him.
Yet, if you feel convicted by this challenge to begin changing your bad habits into good habits that can help bring sweet, refreshing changes into your marriage relationship through encouraging words, God can help you push past all those insecurities and fears.
Today is a great day to trust that God’s ways are always best, and to accept the challenge of becoming an encouragement guru.
I love the old prayer that says, “Lord, help me change the things I can, accept the things I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
We have no control to make other people change, but we have complete control over changing the pattern of words that leave our lips. Through controlling our own tongues and using loving words to our husbands, we open the door for God to begin doing great things in our marriage.
Faith has to precede any commitment to positive change, and when God gets involved, change is good.