As we raised our three children there were numerous times when they needed a boost of confidence from us. They trusted what we said because we knew them the best. Our encouragement often gave them the gumption to press ahead whether it was:
- Learning to ride a bike
- Trying out for a team
- Auditioning for a play or musical
- Struggling in a class at school
- Working through a relationship struggle
- Applying for a job
- Or simply a word of affirmation
Our children drew strength from our belief in them.
It’s the same in marriage, isn’t it? We have observed far too many couples where one or both have lapsed into beating the other down verbally. It may not be outright abuse, but little demeaning digs which wear down the other’s spirit. Statements like:
- “You can try it, but I don’ think you can do it.”
- “Do you really believe you’d even get the opportunity/job/promotion?”
- “Don’t even try.”
- “Just give up.”
Will eventually kill the spirit and keep our spouse from achieving their potential. And when our spouse doesn’t reach their potential they lose and we lose.
Compare those comments with these nuggets of wisdom from Proverbs:
“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” (12:25)
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (16:24)
“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” (25:11)
Here are three things you can communicate to your spouse that over time will lift you both to a higher level:
1. You have character
What do you see in your spouse’s character that you admire and respect? Character is the heart and soul of who a person is. When you acknowledge their character, you bless them at the deepest level.
Give careful thought and write down the character traits that come to mind. We found a very helpful list here (click the link and scroll down) if you need some creative help.
Make a conscious decision to affirm one of those traits in your spouse every day. You are the closest person to them. You see your spouse and know them intimately. What you say matters to them. God has placed you in their life to be the one to cheer them on!
2. You have strengths
There are all kinds of books out today to help people discover their personal strengths and how they are wired. The tools and ideas in many of these books are helpful, yet the greatest strength-finder your spouse has is YOU.
What do they do well? Where are they gifted and specially suited to excel? Tell them what you see in them. Talk about ways they might lean into and develop those strengths. Brainstorm ways you can support and encourage their next steps in exercising their strengths.
Do you know their dreams? Ask—and listen. Then follow up with, “You can do it!”
3. You have…my heart.
The ongoing confidence of unconditional love and commitment regardless of success or failure is vital for you spouse in knowing you believe they can do whatever they set their mind to do.
Practice saying, “You can do it!” and watch how your spouse responds as you build your marriage!