Everyone needs encouragement. Some of us crave it, and all of us thrive on it. However, it’s all too easy to tear one down with our words rather than build them up in the day-to-day routine of marriage. We tend to be ourselves with our husbands, say what’s on our minds, air our feelings, and expect them to understand. But our husbands need encouraging words just like we do to feel respected, loved, and accepted for who they are.
Ephesians 4:29 gives us a command for how to talk to one another. It serves as an excellent guideline for marriage: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Corrupting talk is often the result of not being careful with how we speak to our husbands. Speaking in a way that builds up others must be deliberate, focused on grace, and talking to him like we’d want him to talk to us.
Whether your husband displays a tough exterior or wears his heart on his sleeve, there are certain words of encouragement he is craving to hear from you. Here are some encouraging phrases your husband needs to hear.
“You’re my hero.”
Your husband wants to be your leading man and your hero. He wants you to not only notice the risks or sacrifices he makes for his family, but he wants you to admire him for it, too. Letting him know you are proud of him for certain things that he does, or simply for who he is, is not stroking his pride, building his ego, or making him vain.
Instead, it is assuring him that his wife notices the efforts he has been making and appreciates him for it. More than just a “thank you” or “I appreciate you,” try saying, “You’re my hero.” That tells him he is a hero in your eyes, not just for what he does, but for who he is. Say it in front of your children, and it will build him up even more.
“How can I help?”
Even if your husband doesn’t ask for your help, he often needs it. God anticipated husbands would need the help of their wives, and that’s why he created Eve for Adam (Genesis 2:18). It’s possible that God even knew how your husband would need help, so He specifically provided you as his wife. If you can’t anticipate your husband’s needs without him asking, ask him how you can help or ask if you can do something specific for him. When you do that, you are coming alongside him and being his helper, which is what God designed you, as his wife, to be.
“I’ll take care of it.”
Once your husband opens up and lets you know what he needs, your gift of an answer to him is “I’ll take care of it.” While it might be easier for you to give him a rundown of your schedule and all the reasons you can’t get to it, but would like to, remember that he needs your help, and you and I were created to be our husband’s helper. You can encourage his heart by simply helping him with things he can’t get to right away. And you can perk up his ears when you give him the encouraging words: “I’ll take care of it” or “I’ll try to get to it right away.” By telling your husband, “I’ll take care of it,” even if he doesn’t ask, you reassure him that what is important to him is essential to you. That builds him up and makes him feel important to you.
“I’ve got your back.”
Men are warriors at heart. They understand the concept of a band of brothers, fellow soldiers, and teammates on the court or field. You can speak his language – and let him know you love him enough to protect him in the ways that only a wife can – through your insights, spiritual discernment, and keen sense of the appropriate way to handle a situation. Let him know you’re watching his back (in a good way), being his eyes and ears, and giving him the insights you possess with his best interest in mind. When he knows you desire his success, he is more likely to see your input as helpful, not controlling.
Your husband especially needs to hear that you’ve got his back when he tells you about something that he’s struggling with. Encourage your husband to be open and honest with you by letting him know that regardless of what he struggles with, how he thinks he doesn’t measure up, how much he believes he’s failing or is going to fail, what he needs to say but isn’t sure how, you are going through this with him, and you’ve got his back.
“You’re still the one.”
It’s effortless for a wife to think, or worse yet, say, “My husband is no longer the man I married.” And many times, that has a negative connotation to it. Still, hopefully, your husband is not the same as he was years ago.Prayerfully he is wiser and more seasoned and mature in his understanding of you and himself. Focus on those things you love about him and tell him verbally that you would still choose him today as the one you want to spend the rest of your life with.
You made that promise when you married him, right? “As long as we both shall live.” Have the mindset of 1 Corinthians 13:7 toward your husband and be a wife who “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” for God’s glory in your marriage. Your promise as you practice that kind of love and acceptance is found in verse 8: “love never fails.” When you can tell – and show – your husband that your love and acceptance of him will never change, you are encouraging his heart because you love him as God loves both of you.