In Don’t Treat Your Husband Like a Child, I encouraged you to try respecting your husband instead of smothering him with your ooey-gooey loveness.
Reader vsg asked for some practical ways to encourage her husband without belittling him. She doesn’t want to look at him like she does her two-year old and say, “Good job, sweetie pie!!” And I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want her to do that, either.
Our role as wives has been such a hot topic, so I’m working on some ideas to keep addressing the issues that make us think we are from separate planets, rather than created from the same flesh.
But in the meantime, and probably all the time, I’ll be posting some practical encouragement tips, off the cuff style. As usual, I like to disclaim my tips by saying that these are NOT rules!!! Just because you do these, doesn’t mean you will have a happy marriage, and just because I say you should try these doesn’t mean they will work. My heart behind this is just to get you thinking in the right direction.
As you well know, I am a doer. I am always doing something. When Brad and I are together, like when he just gets home from work, or when Samuel is napping, instead of giving him the undivided attention that is present in my heart, there I am buzzing about the kitchen wiping counters, prepping food, loading the dishwasher, picking up toys, etc… Does this sound like you? Heh. I know it does. 🙂
But you’re not like me. Oh no, I am worse. Brad will be talking to me, and there is something that I just have to do right now or else – you know, like make sure the toilet paper roll is flipped exactly the right way. So as he’s talking, I find a break in the conversation, and, nodding my head, I will make some agreeing comment while walking out of the room to do said task.
Could I get any less respectful that this!? Does this show him that I love him and want to hear what he has to say? At best, he will think that I was bored by his conversation, and at worst, he will just stop talking to me altogether.
A very wise woman I knew told me that when her husband asked her to attend car shows with him (he loves cars), she always said yes – because she didn’t want him to hear all of those “No”s and one day quit asking.
So here’s the tip:
When he’s talking about work stuff or any accomplishments (like something he “fixed” around the house), be an intent listener. Really make eye contact and engage to let him know you think he’s a rock star. And afterwards, say something to empower him to continue doing things like that, such as, “That’s awesome! I’m impressed.” Or, “I really respect that you handled that. You make it easy to trust you.”
Caution!! If your marriage has a history of distrust and self-centeredness, this will backfire!! Your husband might look at you like you just poured hot coffee on your head and respond with something like, “I see what you think of me. You don’t think I can do anything, do you!?” If this happens to you, do not fight back. STOP THE PATTERN. Calmly, genuinely say, “Actually, I really am impressed. I mean that. Sincerely. I’m sorry I haven’t shown you that in the past.” Your marriage will change that very moment.
A challenge for you: Try this tip this week and post in the comments how it went for you.