What is encouragement, and why is it so essential for maintaining healthy marriages?
"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."
1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV
ENCOUR'AGE, v.t. enkur'rage. To give courage to; to give or increase confidence of success; to inspire with courage, spirit, or strength of mind; to embolden; to animate; to incite; to inspirit. KJV Dictionary Definition
Encouragement represents positive influence, to literally give courage to someone; not waiting until it's deserved or asked for, but taking initiative when things are difficult and uncertain.
"There are many synonyms one could use: to give support, confidence or hope to another; to hearten, cheer, uplift, inspire, motivate, vitalize, embolden, or rally. The impact can be far reaching and often makes a difference when relationships begin to falter. Even the neuroscience gives credence to this dynamic. Criticism and negativity release harmful stress hormones, inhibit concentration, diminish the brain's executive functioning, and tend to create knee-jerk reactions vs. calm and rational thinking." Dr James Dobson Family Talk
Ask yourself, "How can I encourage my husband/wife?" Think about what would mean the most to them. Know what speaks love. Be a student of your husband/wife. Write down positive things about them. Be generous with your encouragement.
Think about the times in your own life when you needed someone to be there for you. Be that person for your husband/wife. It is said that timing is everything. In our busy, fast-paced, typically chaotic lives, we often need encouragement now. Make yourself as available as possible. God is our best comforter, but He gives us to each other as a wonderful gift. Be available to listen and to serve each other.
An encourager is patient.
There are times when loving someone means standing with him or her in the middle of major mistakes and shortcomings. The first descriptor of love is that it is patient (1 Cor. 13). Encourage each other through your unwavering, persistent, and steadfast support. Believe in, advocate for, hope for God's best; speak truth.
Be each other's Biggest Fan and Encourager! Our words and actions create memories that can propel us through the next bad moment, day, or experience. Fill up each other's emotional bank with encouragement DAILY. Let your encouragement today be practical. A hug, a helping hand, or an arm around the shoulder that says, "I love you and I am for you".
Questions for Deeper Conversations:
How do you like to be encouraged?
When was the last time you felt encouraged by me?