(Originally published January 8th, 2021 on my former web-hosting platform.)
Encouragement is two-fold - we can encourage someone about goals and we can encourage someone as a person. Both are important. We can also do this through several direct support strategies (emotional, esteem, information, tangible, and network). I'd guess that some of these come more naturally to some people than others. We do not all have the same areas of strength. To that end, some of the following suggestions may be things you already do. Yeah! There may be other suggestions you struggle with. Well, that's where you should start! :-)
Encouraging our mate:
Consider stories your spouse tells you. Is he looking for help with decisions? Is he looking to be validated? The purpose of his story should be your first question. And sometimes that means asking questions. Even asking something like, "Are you looking to solve the problem?" or "Do you want to brainstorm solutions?" can help.
Everyone wants to be valued. We want to know that we have worth in someone's eyes - especially our spouse's eyes. So tell him when he does a great job! My husband recently took each of our sons to different activities, one-on-one. I've been trying to encourage their relationships, so I made a point to tell him how much the kids loved the outings. How can you reinforce what your spouse is doing well?
Maybe your spouse made a tough decision. It may not have been a perfect choice. Support what they were able to do - "Sounds like you made the best decision you could with the information you had."
Ask your husband how you can pray for him. We learn a lot about what's going on in his life from his answer. Remember not to judge or offer advice. The only questions might be to clarify your prayer. But let's face it, God knows the details so you probably don't have to ask any follow-up questions.
Sometimes encouragement is in the form of service. Can you bring your spouse a drink when he gets home from work? Can you take the kids to activities so your wife can stay home and (fill in the blank - rest, make dinner, take a bath...)? I love when my husband brings me a coffee from Starbucks or Trilogy. I feel like he understands that I'm working hard when he does that!
Finally, but certainly not the end of ideas, ladies, we need to take care of our guy. He will never feel more manly and encouraged then when we give him the physical affection he craves. I have never heard of a man that will feel discouraged after his wife takes good care of him privately. No, it may not be at the top of your list. But it's near (or at the very top) of his. Trust me on this one.
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I've prayed through this book multiple times and loved it.
This one is great for getting started praying WITH your spouse. While it's not always a comfortable experience, it's a great way to bond with each other.
A bit dated, but this book is a classic when it comes to understanding God's role for sex in marriage.