- The Critical Eye
- Wrong Expectations
- Negative Friends
- Unresolved Hurt
- Bad Time Management
Today we'll start a focus on the positive, going through the same basic categories...
- The Encouraging Heart
- Uplifting Expectations
- Uplifting Friends
- Putting the Past Behind You
- Quality Time
We'll begin with the Encouraging Heart.
We all need encouragement, even though there are some who are to proud to admit it. We need the "attaboy", the "I know you can do it", the "I believe in you".
We particularly need them from our mates, the closest human relationship we'll ever have.
Encouragement means, literally, "to give courage". How do you do it in a meaningful way?
- It starts with understanding. You can't encourage what you don't know, so you have to start by being familiar with what's happening in your mate's life. Ask questions, and listen to the answers.
- Be specific in your praise. If you're married to an accountant, don't just say, "I'm so impressed how good you are with numbers". Focus on special jobs that your mate's been entrusted with, and say that it shows how valuable he or she is in the job. Praise the skills they're proud of.
- Use reasonable superlatives. Don't go overboard; it sounds false. It's better to express yourself by saying "I can see by what you're saying that you're really handling that situation well", rather than "What a terrific job!". Both have their place, but the first requires more thought - and gets more appreciation.
- Be gently complimentary to weaknesses. If your wife is self-conscious about her weight, tell her that what she's wearing looks good...often. Appreciate her for what she is. If your husband is upset about a developing bald spot...ladies, this is going to sound stupid, be warned...kiss it often. Make that bald spot something special for you, and do it without specific comment. Here, the action is the affirmation.
- Be careful offering encouragement in serious problem areas. Some praise can come across as false, even when it's not, and can wreck the open avenue of encouragement. Sometimes you've just got to sympathize.
There are few qualities more beloved in a spouse than the capacity for understanding encouragement. It can lift the recipient from a pit of despair to new hope, and to success undreamed of.
Be an encourager, and you can be the miracle in your marriage.
How about you? How do you encourage your husband or wife? What suggestions do you have for us?
This post is linked to Wedded Wednesday, a compendium of really cool posts on marriage. If you click on the logo below, you'll be taken to www.messymarriage.com, which is the springboard to a wealth of information.