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Courage to Encourage

By:  Donna Martin

Mother’s Day is bitter sweet for me.  I love being a mother and my kids always make me feel special on Mother’s Day.  However, my mother died when I was only 33 and since that time, Mother’s Day has always given me a twinge of sadness.

My sweet husband is empathic to my Mother’s Day blues, so on Sunday morning when he was giving the announcements at our Bible Fellowship class at church; he surprised me by reading a poem in my honor and expressing his gratitude for all I had done as the mother of our children.  My heart melted with love for him. 

This is only one example of the many times Mike has encouraged me during the past 43 years of our marriage.  Some wives might not have appreciated that kind of encouragement, but Mike knew I would.

It is easy during our busy lives to get in the habit of criticizing our mate.  When things go wrong often the first person we blame is our spouse. However, we are called by God to respect and love our spouse, and acts of encouragement do so much to strengthen marriages.  We need to be our spouse’s biggest supporter and cheerleader.  So many times my heart is broken when I listen to women complaining to their friends about their husbands, or when I hear husbands and wives humiliating each other in public or in front of family, friends, or children.

The Bible instructs us to encourage others.  1 Thessalonians 5:11 states, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up…”

Here are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to encouraging our spouse.

Bark orders to your spouse.
Complain about your spouse’s downfalls to your friends, parents, or in-laws
Reprimand your spouse in front of others.
Constantly nag
Demand that you have your own way
Spend more than your budget allows
Compare your spouse to others
Be discontent with what you have
Belittle your spouse’s job or income

Speak words of encouragement to your spouse
Leave encouraging messages to your spouse in places where he will find them
Send encouraging texts to your spouse
Call your spouse during the day just to let her know you are thinking about her
Always build your spouse up in public
Live within your budget
Thank your spouse for working hard
Compliment your spouse often
Post encouraging words on Facebook
Anything else you know to do that would encourage your spouse

Your spouse might not want you to read a poem in public, but you should know several different ways to encourage your spouse.  You may feel awkward at first, but the more you do it the better both of you will feel.  A few years ago I typed the 7 traits listed in Philippians 4:8 on a sheet of paper and wrote beside each one the way Mike exhibited those traits.  He still has that sheet of paper taped above his desk.

Life is hectic, hard, harrowing and sometimes even hilarious.  Instead of being your spouse’s biggest critic, try being your spouse’s biggest encourager.  Both of you will be a lot happier and less hassled.

Verses to read about encouraging others
Ephesians 4:29
Hebrews 10:24-25
Proverbs 12:25
Philippians 4:8
1 Thessalonians 4:18
Matthew 12:34-37

The Martins currently present “Happy Together” Marriage Enrichment Events for churches and organizations.  To schedule an event call Michael at 940-735-1515. They are certified “Prepare/Enrich” Facilitators and are available to work with couples on an individual basis using the “Prepare/Enrich Assessment.”  They publish a weekly “Happy Together” Blog about family and marriage issues.  You can order copies of their new books Dancing With Death and 366 Tidbits We Have Learned in 14,610 Days of Marriage, read, and subscribe to their “Happy Together” Blog by logging onto the Martin’s website at

Here's a link to an article that a husband wrote about his wife that you might enjoy.  It is an example of an encouraging spouse.


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