Over the weekend, I was asked to write about encouraging your man when he’s going through a particularly difficult time, from a younger friend I truly admire and love. She is hands down, just ridiculously amazing! Her faith, her sweet optimism, her pure, beautiful spirit has always inspired me and encouraged me to be better myself. I have no doubt that she has touched the lives of many people with her optimism and encouraging spirit. Even when I used to work with her, I noticed that she had this power to make even the most grouchiest of people’s faces light up when she encountered them. She is gifted with such a beautiful spirit.
She’s been going through a series of trials recently, extremely painful trials and, ironically, some of the same ones I went through years ago. Because she remembered what I’d been through, I’ve been able to use my experiences for good in helping her overcome some of the extreme challenges she’s facing and has faced in her life as of yet. Unfortunately, her fiance has been going through his own trials as well as helping share the burden of hers, and so she asked if I could write a post on this topic of what (if anything) she can do for him?
Trials… everyone has them…
First off, everyone goes through hard times at some point. It is during these times that our faith is really tested, it’s during these times that God finds out what’s really in us, and if we obey when the going gets tough. I’m sure you’ve heard of the analogy that when you’re squeezed or under severe pressure, the world finds out what was really inside you all along because it comes out. Trials are opportunities to grow stronger in our faith, to grow more mature as we deal with emotions we’ve never had to deal with before, but not everyone makes it through trials to become better people. In fact, many people break under the pressure, choose to hold a grudge against others or God Himself, or choose the path of sin and become bitter and resentful due to their trials.
How can we as women help our men when they are going through a trial, or when we are in a trial together with them?
The main thing?
Men will almost never complain about their circumstances or their need to feel encouragement when going through a trial, but they absolutely love for their wife or girlfriend to encourage them, and it is probably one of the highest priorities in a relationship. When it’s lacking, men suffer or feel deprived of a basic need, even though they will usually not say anything about it. When we encourage our men, we inspire them to achieve things they may have never even tried. Because we believe in them, they find their strength and motivation… it’s a miraculous thing that our beautiful femininity, when used right, can arouse a man’s powerful masculinity.
Men always need this encouragement from their wife, but especially in hard or difficult times. It can be tricky though to know what to actually do. And to be sure, there are certain things men usually don’t want us to do when they are feeling especially low.
Men are not creatures who talk endlessly about the problems they are facing, so when your man brings something up, it means it’s probably weighing especially heavy on his shoulders, and he is in desperate need of relief. Showing him compassion and tenderness when he does show signs of stress are healing to his soul. It’s not even necessary to try to get him to talk about his feelings, just being with him, showing him physical affection, is comforting enough to be a real encouragement to a man.
When pressures build up from everything in their life – their job, their expectations of themselves, their burden of supporting the family (or the knowledge that they will be expected to in the future), all can become extremely overwhelming to them. The wise woman will build up her husband – and you do this through regularly letting him know how much you appreciate him, admire his abilities, and praise him in the day-to-day life together.
Something to avoid when trying to give your man encouragement is that men usually don’t want us to try to fix things for them, or to come up with a solution unless they’re actually asking us for one… those are ways other men tend to encourage each other, in fact. If a man’s wife takes on that role of telling him what should be done, acting like a male adviser, it can actually make him shut down or feel even more depressed with the situation.
He wants to have the solution, and when he doesn’t, he feels like a failure. It is the wife’s job to encourage him by letting him know that she believes he will be able to find the solution. That she knows without a doubt, that he is capable.
Many men grew up with fathers (and mothers) who didn’t give them proper encouragement. Many men have wounds from their past that make them constantly feel as though they just aren’t enough, or may never be. It’s our job as women to take these past wounds into account, and allow God to use our love and encouragement like a salve on a wound to assist healing in those places. Only God can heal, but He often uses wives and husbands to achieve the healing process.
Criticism Can Go Out With the Trash…
Because we understand a man’s need for respect and admiration, it’s not our job to come up with criticisms of ways he could be doing something better unless he actually asks for us to solve something that way. As his wife, it’s our job to inspire him to have the courage to find it himself, so that he can regain his confidence in himself through achieving success. He doesn’t go to us for criticism unless it’s specifically asked for constructive criticism; he goes to us for encouragement and inspiration.
We show him this encouragement when we remain confident in him and his ability.
My husband and I have been through many trials, some big some small, but through it all, I’ve been able to see God’s hand over everything – oftentimes, after the storm was over though. In the course of a marriage, there will more than likely be many times when your husband will feel defeated or broken. There were times when I couldn’t believe seeing how dark his emotions could go, and I had no idea of what to say or do. It was in these times though, that just being there with him, affectionately showing him my love and support were enough. My belief in him, the confidence that he was capable to get through whatever trial it happened to be, pulled him through emotionally.
You Create the Marriage You Eventually Have
It’s my belief that how a wife chooses to respond to things like hardships early on in their marriage, is critical to how the couple will fare later on. If a wife chooses to criticize her husband, or try to pull him up by his bootstraps instead of gently supporting him with her femininity, the husband may respond with resentment or built up anger, and the marriage overall will suffer going on. Relying on God’s strength when faced with trials, a wife can give her husband appreciation and value, gratitude and affection, even in the hard times.