Tuesday, October 14, 2008

30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband

My husband and I have a testimony we would be willing to share with a couple going through hard times. We've been there! Don't despair, there's hope for any marriage.

I knew after watching Fireproof I needed to share the 30- Day Encouragement Challenge in case someone needs it.
In the movie the husband does the 40 day Love Dare.

This 30 day idea is not original with me. Someone emailed something like this to me a few years ago and I want to share it with you. I may add my own comments and encouragements from time to time. It is now all being combined in one post, so it's gonna be a doosy!

You may be thinking you can't do this because you can't "act" nicely when you don't FEEL it. I disagree! You can, and it doesn't mean you are being fake, it means you are acting on what God has commanded you to do. I can't stress this enough : "RIGHT ACTIONS BRING ABOUT RIGHT FEELINGS" That was the key which saved my marriage. I am married to my very best friend now. We can all stand around and blame our spouses for what's going bad in our marriages, or we can take responsibility for OUR own actions. Those are the only actions we have total control over. You CAN make a difference in your marriage. I challenge you! Let me know how it goes.

 Also, do something new with your husband. Participate in something he loves to do. Go to a NASCAR race with him. Ride a motorcycle with him, (I'll tell my own story about that). Go to a car show. Go to a home improvement store with him. Ask if he'd like to drive to the mountains and take a hike. Go on a picnic lunch. If he goes hunting or fishing go with him and close your eyes at the appropriate time, if you're like me, a little squeamish.

30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge for Wives

Accept the "30-Day Encouragement Challenge" to encourage your husband! Your decision to do so means that you truly want to be a blessing in your home. This challenge will also result in spiritual growth in your own life.

I'd like to encourage you to keep track of what God does in your marriage over this next month. I hope you'll take time to share what God does in your home as you bless and encourage your spouse.

Day One:
"The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life." Prov. 31:11-12

Here's the 30-Day Encouragement Challenge...for the next 30 days:
* You can't say anything negative about your husband ...to your husband...or to anyone else, about your husband.
* Say something that you admire or appreciate about your husband...to your husband...and to someone else, about your husband! It's nice if you let him overhear, but don't be fake.

To help you get started, have you ever thanked your husband for "choosing you" above all other women? He found you attractive, and appreciated you. Though many circumstances in your marriage may have changed, let your husband know that you are glad God led you together, and that you want to be a blessing to him for the rest of your marriage. Let him know that he can trust you to be in his corner.

One of the best opportunities to express your gratitude is first thing in the morning, or as he comes through the door at night. How do you greet your husband each morning or evening? Is he confident in your love? Give him a "wake up call" that he'll never forget-a big "I love you" and an "I'm so glad I'm your wife!"

If you've never read The Five Love Languages it's a "must read".

I learned that one of my husband's love languages is "Acts of Service", That's how he showed love to me. I had ignored his hard work to please me, because I didn't recognize an oil change or new tires as love demonstrated. They are! If I don't have good tires I could slide off the road, or fail to stop.

Day Two:
"...through love serve one another." Gal. 5:13b

How did you do yesterday with your first day of blessing and encouraging your husband? Was it easy? Was it hard to hold your tongue when you wanted to say something negative? We hope you're off to a good start. (If you blew it, don't give up - start again today!) There are so many practical things you can praise, if you look for them.

Today, find some way that your husband is serving you or your family. Does he help around the house? Take care of the car? Fix things that are broken? If your budget allows, give him a new, small tool with a big bow attached. But make sure he doesn't think it's part of a "Honey Do" list!

Maybe your husband's not a handyman, but does he run errands for you? Let you go first? Take care of you when you are sick? Help you make decisions? Praise him for his willingness to serve others. Let him know that you see his unique service as a great strength.

I want to encourage you to stick with this. I need the reminders too, as does everyone, to bless and not curse my husband and my family. What does it mean to "curse" my husband? I don't literally curse him with four-letter words, or put a hex on him, but I can drag him down with my words, my actions or inaction.

A wonderful book every woman should read is The Power of a Woman's Words by Sharon Jaynes. She has a workbook-style study that you can purchase to go with the book.

Remember this verse: "The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands."-Proverbs 14:1
I usually dislike the NIV, but I like that it says: "But a foolish woman tears hers down with her own hands."

That's not talking about house construction, ladies, that's a woman destroying her own home. We can do it with our own mouths too.

Day Three:
"...love suffers long, and is kind..." 1 Cor. 13:4
"And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:19

Love indeed suffers long and is kind. As you consider your Encouragement Challenge, determine today that you will not say anything negative to or about your husband. Speak kindly to him with words of genuine encouragement.

If your husband is considerate of your needs, let him know that you have noticed. Thank him for his kindness and consideration. Thank the Lord that your husband knows how to be both tough and tender.

Sometimes it's difficult for a man to be gentle, kind or tender - especially if he hasn't had role models in these areas. If he's not a considerate person, appeal to him for help without complaining. Let him know that it's hard for you to handle some things alone. Then, when he moves in to help, don't insist that he do it your way. Be glad that he is responding, and express your gratitude.

Ultimately, you can't expect your husband to make you feel more secure, loved, etc. Remember that only God can meet the deepest needs of your heart.

Day Four:
"...let him labor, working with his hands what is good..." Eph. 4:28

We are all accountable for the things we say, both negative and positive words. Have you embraced the challenge to speak only positive things to your husband and to others about him? Here's a suggestion that touches the core of your husband's world.
Some women take their husband's career for granted, and they show it in many ways. Do you "dump" on your husband at the end of the workday, or do you strengthen and encourage him with your words? A wise wife will make her husband feel that she values and appreciates his work. Let him know that you are glad he is a hard worker. Take opportunities to praise his diligence and resourcefulness to others.

If your husband is out of work, unable to work, or refuses to work, you'll need to be more creative. Praise him for a character quality that you see in him that would be a vital part of a successful career - such as persistence, decisiveness, strength, an analytical mind, organizational skills, good with people, good listener, determination, etc.

I can't tell you how it perks me up at the end of a stressful day to see my husband come through the door and hear him say, "Hi pretty lady!" Sometimes I answer back, "Hi there, blind man."

Sometimes he's not so perky because he's had an awful day, but I still greet him when I'm home, or go to him as soon as I arrive home, for a kiss, an encouraging word, and a hug if he isn't too dirty. :)

I've told his mom and dad that I appreciate the son they raised.

Day Five:
"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers." Eph. 4:29

Another way to describe the positive side of this "30-Day Encouragement Challenge" is by using the word "edify," which means, "to build up." Negative comments only discourage and tear down. Positive comments encourage and build.

Do you edify your husband before others, adding to his value in their eyes? This is especially important to other family members. (Even, or especially children.)

Do you praise your husband to his relatives, and yours? Does your husband's mother know how much you love him? How about your dad? Perhaps you can drop a word of praise into a conversation or letter. Be creative in letting your relatives know that you respect your husband, love him, and support him - in spite of whatever flaws and weaknesses he may have.

My hunny made this beautiful blanket chest for our daughter a few years ago.

She was so touched.

Lately I've been encouraging him to think about a little side business because he was telling me that sometimes it's just the "same old, same old" at work. Never anything creative, or different. He loves working with wood, and he's very good at it. He built our home. He's made chests of drawers, an entertainment center, cabinets, a platform bed, shelves, and done trim work.
So who knows how God might bless in this area.

Day Six:
"...whatever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31b

Do you recognize and appreciate your husband's creativity? Or do you criticize and demean his efforts? Instead of negativity, determine to be positive. Perhaps you can help your husband see that his efforts are an opportunity to glorify God.

Is your husband the "creative" type? Does he have any artistic gifts? What is that special "knack" he has? Affirm him for his handiwork - a hobby, music, gardening, tinkering with cars, working with wood, etc. Remember: Even if he doesn't measure up to your standards, praise his efforts. If your budget allows, buy him a book or magazine that will continue to encourage his special skill or talent.

If you have a hard time finding his "creative side," understand that men's creativity sometimes is related to their work. Find something he does to make his job run more smoothly or something he does that adds value to his work...and let him know that you have noticed.

Make his day...Praise his accomplishments in public, while he is listening.

Whew! Did you make it through the week? I didn't. I nagged. Saturday's "crab" followed me into Sunday morning, something I rarely do because I take that verse about the sun not setting on an argument to heart. I usually can't stand not to make amends. I didn't rest well. I don't know about your house, but it's almost inevitable that at least one Sunday out of a month satan is on the attack to keep us from church. It makes me mad when I let him try to use me for that purpose. When the kids were little it was more often and more brutal.

"...a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping." -Proverbs 19:13 (Water torture, anyone?)

"A continual dripping on a very rainy day And a contentious woman are alike; " -Proverbs 27:15
(I can be a real drip!)

"Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife." -Proverbs 21:19
(At least he'd be dried up from all that dripping.)

"Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife." - Proverbs 21:9
(There are times I don't even want to be with me! Can I just take me off, and put on something better? YES! I can ask forgiveness and put on Jesus!)

There's nothing like Proverbs to convict you, is there? What satan meant for evil, the Lord used for my good.

Day seven is about finances, so I wanted to place a link here to Dave Ramsey's website.

Day Seven:
"Do not overwork to be rich; because of your own understanding, cease!...for riches certainly make themselves wings..." Prov. 23:4-5
"That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth, that I may fill their treasuries." Proverbs 8:21

Money is the root of much marital discord. Ask yourself, "Am I being negative toward my husband in the area of finances?" Determine not to speak evil of your husband in this area. Discover ways to encourage and help him instead.

Does your husband handle finances wisely? Does he make good financial investments, based on biblical principles? Does he have a budget? Does he make wise decisions about purchases - checking many sources before he buys? Is he a good steward of his money before the Lord? Let him know how much you appreciate his strengths in financial matters.

If he is weak in this area, encourage any good decisions that he does make. Perhaps you can help him, if he's open to the idea, by organizing financial files or providing other practical assistance. Or, if he wants you to handle the finances, ask for his input before you make decisions that will affect him.

Are you enjoying this Challenge? Have you learned something about your own relationship with the Lord as you seek to encourage your husband?

Why is it so important to speak blessings to and about our husbands? Why is it important to be faithful and show love even when we don't "feel" like it? Why should we energetically greet our husbands? Why should we try to look our best when we see them at the beginning and/or end of the day? Because ladies, there is a world full of women out there who will speak kind words, who do look their best, and satan is daily prowling about our marriages, ready to steal, kill and destroy.

Let's make it of utmost importance to speak more kindly to our families than we do to friends and strangers.

Day Eight:
How are you doing with the "30-Day Encouragement Challenge"? In case you've forgotten, here's the challenge:

* You can't say anything negative about your husband ...to your husband...or to anyone else, about your husband.
* Say something that you admire or appreciate about your husband...to your husband...and to someone else, about your husband!

"...but who can find a faithful man?" Prov. 20:6b

Faithfulness is a wonderful but rare quality today, especially in regard to marriage. Do you understand how important this quality is? Your challenge is to continue to root out all negative speaking, and plant seeds of encouragement instead. You may be amazed at what will grow.

Contemporary culture often entices men to be unfaithful to their wedding vows and spiritual commitments. Appreciate your husband's faithfulness - how he is loyal to you. Let him know that you are glad he has "stick-to-it-iveness" in your marriage. Appreciate his faithfulness to God. (If you have an unfaithful husband, this is a difficult area for you. Pray, speak the truth in love, remain faithful yourself, and discover ways to encourage faithfulness in your mate. The Bible says that husbands may "...be won by the conduct of their wives" [1 Pet. 3:1]. You may also want to seek counsel from a mature, godly individual or couple.)

I thought about putting a photo of duct tape here, because there are days I feel I need it for my mouth.

Sometimes I can really relate Paul's words in Romans 7:14-25, part of which says: " For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice."

I could restate that for my mouth: "The things I want to say, I don't, but the things I don't want to say, that I say!"

Day Nine:

"...be swift to hear, slow to speak..." James 1:19b

We are often so busy speaking that we don't take time to listen. We are so quick to offer a comment - negative or positive - that we don't really "hear" our husband's heart. Remember: we have two ears and only one mouth. We need to listen more!

As you continue in your 30-day challenge, not speaking negatively and focusing on positive encouragement, hear the Lord's admonition today: "Be swift to hear."

If listening is a real problem for you, play a game with yourself. See if you can listen to your husband for one whole day, only speaking when asked a question. If your husband notices the difference, explain that you are learning to listen more-not only to God, but also to him.

One easy way to express admiration for your husband is to ask a question about something he enjoys, and then listen to his response. If it's an area of personal familiarity, keep asking questions until you learn something you didn't know, then tell him, "Wow, I didn't know that!"


Day Ten:
"Behold you are handsome, my beloved! Yes, pleasant!..." Song of Solomon 1:16a

We all crave appreciation. We want to know that we are valued and loved. Early love letters probably reflected our admiration, but if we're not careful, our spouse will forget why we were drawn to him. If you still have any of your old love letters, re-read them for clues to deepen your current level of appreciation for your spouse.

When we spend time criticizing our husbands, we lose time that could be spent admiring them. As you consider various ways to encourage your husband, ask, "How can I admire him?"

Does your husband know that you think he is attractive? What was one of the characteristics in your husband that first drew you to him? Was it a physical characteristic, or something else?

Was it his gentle, compassionate eyes? Kindness or concern for others? An easy-going confidence? A steadiness that comes from trusting in the Lord? Strength of character in a culture that lacks integrity? Do you see at least a glimpse of that characteristic in him today? Whatever it is, tell him! Tell him to his face, write him a love note, send him a text...

Oh, how we women dislike that "submit" word. I think we can blame that attitude these things:
  • Our own sinful desire to be the head of the home.
  • Ignorance of what "submit" really means.

Here are some things to remember:
  • Adam was created first, and Eve was created to be a "helper" for Adam.
  • We need to submit to God, which is the only way we can truly obey Him (James 1:21 and James 4:7).
  • The husband is to submit to Christ as Christ did to God. Then the wife should follow his example and submit to her husband. 1 Corinthians 11:2-3
To Submit:
  1. To yield or surrender oneself to the will or authority of another.
  2. To subject to a condition or process.
  3. To commit (something) to the consideration or judgment of another.
  4. To give in to the authority, power, or desires of another
  5. To conform to the will or judgment of another, especially out of respect or courtesy.
  6. To yield, defer, give ground, follow
The Opposite of Submit:
  1. defy
  2. disobey
  3. fight
  4. resist

Submission should be natural response to loving leadership. When a husband loves his wife as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25-33), then submission should be easy! Sometimes it isn't so easy, but "right actions bring about right feelings".
Submitting to God, and our husbands is not a one-time decision. It's continually doing and thinking correctly, which becomes a pattern of behavior. The submission in Ephesians 5 is not talking about one-sided bowing down to a selfish-domineering person. Biblical submission is designed to be between two believers who are surrendering to each other and to God. Submission is a position of honor and completeness in a marriage. These verses are saying that the wife is to submit to her husband in everything that is right and lawful. The wife is not asked to submit to disobey the law or neglect her relationship to God.

In days gone by powerful knights submitted to the lord or king. They swore their faithfulness, or their allegiance to a greater cause. What is our greater cause? Do we honor the Lord with our attitudes about submission?

A word here: An abusive man, a man that wants you to do something illegal, or against God, who treats you as a doormat and a punching bag is not safe. You must get professional help in abusive situations.

Day Eleven:
"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord." Ephesians 5:22

Women who are constantly negative toward their husbands - especially by speaking evil of them to others - show great disrespect. Determine not to do that today (or ever!). This challenge to encourage is closely connected to submission.

Men respond to women who respect them. What do you respect about your husband? Part of that respect includes submission to his authority. Let your husband know how respecting him makes it easier to submit to his leadership. Show your respect in public by listening to him and smiling at him when he speaks. Place your hand in his as you walk together.

If you feel there is nothing to respect, search harder ...nearly every man has some core characteristic that can be nurtured and respected. In any case, you must still cultivate a submissive spirit to his position of leadership..."as to the Lord."

Day Twelve:
"With all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love." Eph. 4:2

Part of the difficulty you may face as you continue in this 30-day challenge to encourage your husband is that you really are struggling to find positive things to praise. Perhaps the problem is not with your husband. Have you checked your own heart?

Sometimes we get disillusioned because of our own unreasonable or unrealistic expectations (Prov. 13:12). It may not be that our mates are doing something wrong; it's simply that we expect too much in some areas.

Our expectations must be met in God alone, and then we will have the right perspective to ask God for the healing and grace we need to respond to others.

How sad that we give more grace to others than to those in our own homes. Today, try to look at your husband through eyes of grace. Verbally thank your husband for what he is already doing.

Getting a little personal today, but it's what we need to hear.
I encourage you ladies to buy the book The Act of Marriage by Tim and Beverly LaHaye if you don't own it. I took the lead from a wise woman and now give this book as a gift to newly married couples in my family. It is very helpful for all married folks. Also, this book by Dr. Kevin Lehman is a good one. It's not as racy as it looks. The premise is that if you show love at all times, in all rooms of the house your love life and your marriage will be better.

Clean out your bedroom. Make it a place of refuge and comfort. No kids in your bedroom, no ironing board full of clothes, no distractions. Turn on the washing machine or a large fan, if they will still be awake teach your kids that these alone times for mom and dad are times they are not allowed to knock on the bedroom door. Kids need to learn from the very beginning that mom and dad's relationship comes before them. That's right, BEFORE them. Part of the reason we have a country full of spoiled adults is that they were never taught the weren't the center of the universe!

"She makes coverings for her bed;
 she is clothed in fine linen and purple." Proverbs 31:22

Day Thirteen:
"I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me." Song of Solomon 7:10

The sexual relationship. It's one of those elements - along with money and children - that can derail a marriage through negative comments. Negativity destroys intimacy, but encouragement builds and strengthens the marriage bond.

Let's get practical here. Is your husband a "good lover?" Have you told him so? Be specific. Let him know when he pleases you. Most husbands genuinely want to please their wives, especially in this important area of marriage.

In moments of intimacy, do you find your mind wandering? This can change as you focus on something wonderful about your husband. Realize that your husband wants intimacy with you...his desire is toward you.

Does this area of your marriage need some work? Remember that this is a sensitive area for men. Be sure to encourage his lovemaking and masculinity in positive ways.

Day Fourteen:
"The righteous man walks in his integrity..." Proverbs 20:7a

Every week there are news reports about men who gave in to temptations and compromised what they said they believed. We hear countless reports about dishonest business dealings, hidden infidelity, and hypocritical leaders. It's so easy to focus on these things and ignore those who are being honest, faithful and genuine. As you continue in this Challenge," determine to look for ways that your husband stands against the culture.

Is your spouse a man of integrity? Is he fair in his dealings with people? Does he understand the meaning of justice? Is he honest in business? Unhypocritical in his faith? Consider all the ways a man can live in integrity, and praise your husband for one of them.

As you have the opportunity - as it is appropriate - share examples of your husband's honesty and integrity with others.

I would love to have you share your encouragement journey with us. What has God been doing in your heart as you have set out to encourage your husband? In your husband's heart? Have others noticed a change?
Years ago I begged, cried, nagged, and connived to get my husband to go to church with me. It didn't work. I was trying to be his personal holy spirit, and I'm not!

When I finally gave up and started praying for him things improved. He didn't start showing an interest in church and God right away. I didn't give up, but I kept my negative thoughts and words squelched, and poured out my heart to God. I spoke to my husband of all the positive people I'd met in church. I told him funny or encouraging stories about the children, families and the pastor.

Maybe you have a husband who will never become the godly man you want him to be, but that doesn't negate your responsibility to pray for him and be the godly wife God has called you to be. "Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives..." 1 Peter 3:1

The dear older lady, who teaches our son music, told me that her husband of 50+ years had been saved and baptized recently. She had been the only one who took their children to church over the years.

I heard about an older couple of whom the wife had served her husband in love and humility through the years even though he remained unsaved. She was asked after all those years how he treated her. She replied, "He adores me."

Day Fifteen:
"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ..." 2 Pet. 3:18a

Sometimes we live so close to our spouse that we fail to see him as others do; we only see our husband's faults. But take a step back. Perhaps he is growing spiritually in ways you have failed to appreciate. How can you encourage his growth in a fresh, new way? Remember - your husband is accountable to God for his spiritual development. You are accountable to God to encourage and not hinder that growth.

Can you identify an area of spiritual strength in your husband? Does he pray or read his Bible regularly? Does he like to read about or discuss spiritual matters? Does he go to church with you? Is he a spiritual leader? What do others say about him? If you can identify a specific area, praise him for that.

If not, pray earnestly that God will work in his heart, and watch for signs of spiritual growth in the future.
I want to add to today's husband encouragement to say; look for ways to be his helper. It's a perfect time to spend time with him and appreciate what he does for the family.

Is he working on something that you could hand him the tools as he needs them? Working on bills at the computer? Bring him a glass of water or a snack. Work together on projects whenever possible. Go on walks together.
I wrote the above a few days ago. After I wrote about being my husband's helper I had the opportunity to really put my hands to work for him. :) Don't you love how that worked out?!

I was on a cold roof for 2 days helping cut shingles to hand to my hunny as he nailed them on. If you've never done this you should know that gritty shingles eat up your hands, wear gloves! I was frozen and sore by evening of the second day. I told him that I am a girly-girl, and that I am SO glad that I don't have to do a man's work in the cold. It made me appreciate that he does work out in the weather much of the time. Made me appreciate my hot shower, and warm, soft bed too! So I didn't have to get on the roof the next day! I cut shingles from the ground. It was much warmer. It also made me think of people I should pray for.

Day Sixteen:
"The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." -Genesis 2:18

God says that it is not good for man to be alone. But the way some women criticize their mates, the husbands may long for solitude. Be careful today not to criticize your mate, but look for ways to encourage him personally and publicly.

Speaking of communication, does your husband communicate with you? God has made you a companion and helper for your husband, and part of being "one flesh" with him is the privilege of sharing and discussing personal needs and concerns. Thank God for that wonderful gift. Thank your husband for communicating with you.

If your spouse does not communicate as you wish, look for ways that he communicates that are normal for him - smiling at you, nodding his head, even a pleasant "grunt!" - and then thank him for letting you know that he cares. Perhaps he needs to be lovingly taught how to communicate. Be patient with him...and listen when he does speak.
Day Seventeen:
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." Proverbs 9:10

Are you a wise woman? Do you open your mouth with wisdom, as Proverbs 31:26 suggests? As you continue in your 30-day challenge, remember that a wise woman encourages her husband. Also remember that to "open your mouth in wisdom" it must have been shut at some point.

Is your husband a "wise man?" Does he have a godly perspective that comes from knowing God and walking with Him in obedience? Does he have a sense of purpose for his life and vision for your home? Tell him how much this means to you.

If you are not sure about your husband's vision for your home, ask him, "Honey, what do you want to accomplish with our marriage and home in the years to come?" and "How can I help you accomplish that?" If he does not have a vision, your questions may inspire him to develop one.

If your husband is not walking with God - or perhaps, does not know the Lord - you have the opportunity and responsibility to practice your faith and create a thirst for God. Thank God for giving your husband a place in his heart that only He can fill, and keep praying that he will turn to the Lord to fill that vacuum!
Day Eighteen:
"You will show me the path of life. In your presence is fullness of joy...Happy are the people whose God is the LORD!" Ps. 16:11a; 144:15b
"A merry heart does good like medicine..." Prov. 17:22a

It's hard to criticize others when we are enjoying their company. Instead of speaking negatively to your husband today, enjoy him! Encourage him! As you experience fullness of joy with God, share some of that joy with your husband.

Does your husband have a playful side? A great sense of humor? Is there a "little boy" that wants to escape from time to time, reflecting the joy in his heart?

This is a wonderful part of who he is, and a great strength. Let him know that you appreciate his joyfulness and his playful spirit. Find opportunities to join him in positive play times.

If your husband can sometimes be overly serious, coax him out occasionally for some play times. It will help him relieve stress and relax.
Day Nineteen:
Read this description of a wife's description of her beloved - Song of Solomon 5:10-16

Criticism leaves scars; but encouragement can bring healing. Remember that today as you focus on your "30-Day Encouragement Challenge."

Almost nothing is as devastating to a man as the belief that his wife finds him repulsive. Sadly, many women unwisely criticize their husbands' bodies.

Have you ever considered how wonderfully God designed men and women? No matter how a man looks - by the standards of the world - a loving God designed them all, and they are all "beautiful" in His sight. Encourage your husband today by praising his uniqueness.

As you look over your husband's body, from the tip of his toes to his bald or bushy head, thank God that your husband is "wonderfully made," then admire your husband verbally. (Strong arms? Hairy chest? Firm hands? Big feet? Rugged chin? Wide shoulders? Compassionate eyes? Broad smile?)
Day Twenty:
"And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you." Eph. 4:32

It's time for some heart examination. As you continue in this 30-day challenge, have you found any roots of bitterness that are contaminating your relationship with your husband? Do you understand that as long as you are unwilling to forgive your husband - by God's grace and in His power - you will not be able to encourage him? Your own resentment will keep getting in the way. Now is the time to deal with any unforgiving attitudes. Forgive him, even as God has forgiven you.

Is your husband a forgiving man? Does he keep short accounts of your problems? Express your thankfulness for such a man.

Does your husband - rightly or wrongly - harbor grudges against you? Again, are there things you need to change, or do you need to ask for his forgiveness for an offense? Help your husband be more forgiving by quickly forgiving him for his mistakes.

Day Twenty-one:
"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Matt. 6:33

If we are living in light of eternity, everything we think, do or say is seen from an eternal perspective. We will someday give an account for our failure to speak words of love and encouragement. Determine today that your words will be sweet and helpful.

Does your husband have an eternal perspective that allows him to reject materialism and temporal values? Express your gratefulness for his value system, and praise him for putting eternal things before riches and other things of this world.

If this is a problem area for him, consider how you might alter your own value system and live for eternity in front of him, encouraging him to do the same. Only two things will go into eternity...the Word of God and people. Be sure that you are focusing on the right things.

I would be so hurt if I ever learned my husband said complaining, or personal things about our marriage to others. Why should he expect any less of me?

Day Twenty-two:
“Teach me, and I will hold my tongue; Cause me to understand wherein I have erred."-Job 6:24

Focus today on how you represent your husband in your home, your church, and your community. In this challenge to encourage, ask: "If all my family and friends knew about my husband came from a filter of what I've said about him, what would they think of my husband?" Do you need to change the filter?

Do you talk positively about your husband to others... or do you complain and criticize? Your speech should reflect 1 Cor. 13 love. Your words should be kind, and should never "rejoice in iniquity" (v. 6). Refrain from listing your husband's faults to others. Satan likes to trick us in this area - be wary of sharing barbed "prayer requests."

Remember, "Love will cover a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8b). Present your husband before others today in a strong, positive manner. Slip in a "good word" for your spouse. Resist the urge to correct or belittle him in front of others. Some of what you say may come back to him - and you want your words to be sweet, building him up and never tearing him down.

Don't forget: you are always criticizing - or encouraging - before an audience. God hears your conversations when you are alone with your husband in your own home. May your speech be always seasoned with grace.

While you are considering how your speech can reflect the grace of the Lord in your husband's life, don't forget that your words can also encourage others. When you share what God is doing in your life through this "30-Day Challenge", others will be blessed. Perhaps other wives will be moved to take up the challenge.


Day Twenty-three:
" Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. " Col. 4:6

You're moving toward the home stretch of your 30-day challenge! Just a reminder of what you've committed:

"You can't say anything negative about your husband... to your husband...or to anyone else, about your husband. "Each day, say something that you admire or appreciate about your husband...to your husband...and to someone else, about your husband!

"In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works..." Titus 2:7a

Does the "30-Day Encouragement Challenge" seem like hard work? Or is it becoming a pleasant exercise in genuine Christ-likeness in your home? You are only scratching the surface of ways to encourage your mate.

Is your husband organized? Is he diligent? Is he persistent? These are all related to a pattern of personal disciplines that are worthy of your praise. Affirm him for one or more of these traits that you see in him.

Some men have not developed these qualities because they are naturally more spontaneous. You can praise his spontaneity! Perhaps God has called you alongside to help him with disciplines he has not yet developed - but this does not include nagging. You can keep him organized.

Whatever the need, you can be your husband's cheerleader, encouraging him when he wants to give up.


Day Twenty-four:
"And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4

Children can be quite a challenge to the marriage relationship. A wise wife will support her husband's leadership in the home as much as possible, and will praise him for his fathering skills. Negativity makes a man feel like a failure, and may make him to want to give up.

Does your husband discipline your children wisely? Does he show them love and encourage them? Does he take an interest in their activities and dreams? Does he spend time with them? Does he take part in developing their character? Praise him for these important life skills.

If you don't have children - is your husband positive and encouraging around other people's children? Let him know that you have noticed.

If your husband does not experience positive relationships with children, you will need to figure out why. Perhaps he had negative experiences as a child with his own parents, and needs to learn how to respond. Perhaps you can lovingly and patiently show him how to parent - while still maintaining his authority in the home.
I definitely have had an anger problem myself. Not that I am totally calm and unruffled at all times, but for the most part I can keep it together with the Lord's help. It's amazing how many things I say that about. Forgiveness- I can't forgive without His help. Anger- I can't keep it together all on my own. Love- Can't love unconditionally without His reminders in the Word of how much He has loved me...The list could go on awhile.

Day Twenty-five:
"...seek peace, and pursue it." Psalm 34:14b
"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You." Isaiah 26:3

Before you consider whether these verses describe your husband, consider your own presence in the home. Do you promote an atmosphere of peace, or do critical words often flow from your mouth? Do you struggle with anger? If so, before you continue with your Encouragement Challenge, confess these sinful habits to the Lord, and determine to speak words of peace to your family today.

Does your husband bring an atmosphere of peace into your home? Is his presence a calming influence? Does he bring music, entertainment, books or people into your home that build a sense of serenity? Let him know how much you appreciate this wonderful quality, and support his choices.

If, on the other hand, he is quickly angered or he creates chaos rather than calm, ask God to give you an abundance of the kind of peace that will speak to his heart. Be patient and loving. Create an inviting atmosphere of peace, as much as possible.

Day Twenty-six:
"And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." Luke 2:52

If you have faithfully encouraged your husband, you will no doubt have seen some changes in his life...and your own life, as well. Encouragement is a wonderful habit that we hope you will continue for the rest of your life.

The important thing is to keep growing in Christ and obeying the Word of God as you respond to your husband. As you consider today how to bless your husband and not tear him down, think of ways that you can encourage balance in your home.

Jesus led a balanced life. He grew mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially. As you see your husband branching out in these areas, is there a pattern of growth? Is your husband striving for balance in his life? If so, let him know you have noticed, and ask how you can further encourage that balance.

If your husband is out of balance - focusing on one area to the exclusion of the others - consider whether there are things you can do to help restore or create balance in his life. Can you encourage times for sports or exercise? Keep the children quiet for a study time? Invite friends over for dinner? Stimulate his mind?
I love to leave good books and magazines in the bathroom and on a side table. This encourages reading of good things.
Be sure you are working toward balance in your own life, as well. Be an example!

A reminder:
 Do something new with your husband. Participate in something he loves to do. Go to a NASCAR race with him. Ride a motorcycle with him, (I'll tell my own story about that). Go to a car show. Go to a home improvement store with him. Ask if he'd like to drive to the mountains and take a hike and a picnic lunch. If he goes hunting go with him and close your eyes at the appropriate time, if you're like me, a little squeamish.


Day Twenty-seven:
"Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD." Ps. 31:24

You have almost completed the "30-Day Encouragement Challenge." Perhaps it has taken you a tremendous amount of courage to speak words of encouragement consistently to your husband. Courage comes as we place our trust in God. Have faith that God will continue to work long after your encouraging words have been shared.

There are lots of "tough guys" in the world, but true courage comes from the Lord. Does your husband exhibit the courage to take an unpopular stand, perhaps even to stand alone against evil? Is he courageous in his faith? Does he work hard to change injustice? Is he a stickler for the truth? Does he protect you or your family from the attacks of the Enemy?

Psalm 27:14 says this kind of courage comes from "waiting" on the Lord for His strength. If your budget allows, "award" your husband with a medal, trophy, framed picture of a brave knight, or some other token that represents his courage as a man of God. Praise evidences of your husband's courage in protecting you, your marriage, your family, or your home.


Day Twenty-eight:
"The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility." Prov. 15:33

Sometimes, when we just "know" we are right and our husbands are wrong, it takes great humility to honor them. It is difficult to speak well of our husbands when our own hearts are puffed up with pride.

As part of your Encouragement Challenge today, pray that you will respond to the Lord in faith and humility before you react to your husband. Speak wisely and well, and leave the results to God.

The humility that comes from a right relationship with God - the humility that comes when a man is willing to listen to God and be taught from His Word - is indeed a beautiful quality. Jesus was an example of this kind of humility when he was willing to submit to His Father's will (John 6:38; Matt. 26:39).

Does your husband have that kind of humility? Is he willing to learn from and submit to direction from the Lord? Let your husband know how precious this is to your marriage relationship.


Day Twenty-nine:
"A prudent man foresees evil, and hides himself; the simple pass on, and are punished." Proverbs 27:12

As you near the end of your Encouragement Challenge, take time to think about your husband's responses to the wickedness of the culture, the media, etc. Does your husband recognize and avoid evil? Does he regularly turn his back on pornography, sexual temptations, and the urge to lie and cheat?

This is a valuable character trait. Like Joseph in the Old Testament, who fled from the wicked advances of Potiphar's wife, this takes an understanding that these kinds of sins are first and foremost, sins against God (Gen. 39:9).

Praise your husband when he recognizes and turns his back on wickedness. If you can think of a circumstance where your husband stood for righteousness, remind him of that today-and express your gratitude.
If you made it this far, and stuck with it, I'm so proud of you! If you backslid and talked trash to and about your man, don't beat yourself up about it. Apologize to him and God, and start over. There's always a new day!

Day Thirty:
"...This is my beloved, and this is my friend..."
Song of Solomon 5:16b

Friends can be completely honest with each other, but friendships are strained when truth is not spoken in love. How are you speaking to your beloved? Are you so "used" to him that you don't appreciate the wonder of his friendship? That is your challenge today.

Is your sweetheart your best friend? Does he know this? Have you told him, or do you assume he "just knows"?

Friendship is something that is cultivated through the good times and the bad. Friends can share their hearts, but they don't step on each other's hearts.

The way to have and be a good friend is to cultivate and celebrate the relationship. As you end this "30-Day Encouragement Challenge," celebrate your friendship with your husband. Get alone and reflect on your beloved friend. Write him a letter, listing the qualities you admire and appreciate about him. If you are creative with words, write and frame a poem about him.

Perhaps you can prepare a special meal, just for the two of you, and read the letter or poem to him. Ask if you can pray for him, and if he is willing, thank God for your love and friendship, asking for His blessing on your home.

Encouragement, as you have seen these past 30 days, is a synonym for love in action.


How has this challenge changed your heart and life, dear friend? Did God encourage you as you planned ways to encourage your husband? Were there difficult days where you simply needed to trust that God was working? Days when it was hard to leave the results to God? Remember that God is faithful, and He will bless you for your willingness to obey Him. His ways are not our ways, and perhaps He will honor you in ways you do not expect, but one thing is sure - you will never be the same because of your commitment to be more like Christ!

What kinds of victories have you experienced in your home since you started the "30-Day Encouragement Challenge"? Would you take a moment to share these victories with me?

1 comment:

Renna said...

I haven't gotten to see the Fireproof movie yet, but I did read a little about the 40 day love dare on another blog. I'm very intrigued about this 30 day challenge.

Deep breath...big sigh...I'm going for it. Count me in!

I think I'll approach my pastor's wife about us doing this at our weekly ladies night meeting. Just think, if all the ladies in our group strived to do that, how it would have a ripple effect and bless our entire church body.

Thanks, Cha! :-)