When your husband is discouraged or feeling defeated, how can you encourage his spiritual life?
I couldn’t say when I first noticed.
We were in the midst of so many trials at the time that it’s hard to tell when it really began. Troubles in the church. Hardships at home. Challenges at work. So much was swirling about us that I didn’t notice how heavy it was on his soul.
But then one day I watched as he walked by with his shoulders slumped over and his stride too slow. As if burdened by some great weight and it was all he could do to carry it across the floor.
My heart went out to him. I was rather worried, and a little afraid.
I mean, what do you do when your own man is down? Discouraged? Defeated?
Maybe your husband is different than mine. But mine doesn’t necessarily want me to come in and deliver a powerful sermon or even a spiritual rah-rah. He doesn’t appreciate me stating the obvious or reminding him of one more way he’s failed.
Let’s face it, pointing out to him – Doesn’t seem like you’re walking in the Spirit, dear – isn’t all that helpful.
So what can a wife do to encourage her husband?
Call out to God on his behalf. This is not an ordinary “pray for him.” This is about true supplication: a crying out to God to work in his life. To minister, convict, or encourage him—depending on the need.
Don’t nag or badger him. I have yet to hear a husband testify that his wife “nagged him back to church” if you know what I mean? If anything this approach only makes things worse, so put your energies toward those things that will help.
Notice the good things that he does. Be grateful for the small steps such as saying grace around the table or sitting next to each other at church. Appreciate any kind word or thoughtful gesture he might make. Keep in mind that when a person is down, they are often down on themselves most of all. So point out the good you can see that he might not realize.
Get rid of the spiritual list. You know, the things you think he should or shouldn’t do to be spiritual. No one wants to live up to someone else’s personal list of what qualifies as “spiritual”. If it’s not spelled out in the Bible? Then ditch it. If it is? Then let the Holy Spirit do His job (not you).
Be mindful of who you admire. It’s wonderful if you look up to your pastor, worship leader, or that Christian author, but if you often rave about him in front of your husband? To everyone around you? You might want to consider how that sounds. This can be a very defeating message to your husband and some guys give up before they ever even start trying. They know they’ll never “measure up” to that great spiritual man you find so amazing.
Last of all, don’t underestimate the power of your own testimony. You can have a tremendous impact on your husband by quietly shining the love of Christ in your home. A soft smile, a gentle word and a song in your heart can have a stronger influence than might be immediately apparent.
So shine on, sister.
He’ll be encouraged. Truly.
How to encourage your husband?
Matt and I would like to invite you to the FAITHFUL LIFE podcast as we talk openly about our own experience with discouragement and how we worked through those difficult times together.
Please join us as we think you’ll find this a candid and encouraging conversation! Hopefully, a helpful one too.
In His grace,
Matt and Lisa Jacobson, authors of 100 Ways to Love Your Husband and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife, are the hosts of a weekly podcast to talk about what it means to be a biblical Christian in marriage, parenting, church, and culture. Matt and Lisa offer deep encouragement, along with practical steps and true-life stories, as we grow in walking the faithful life together.
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