By Katie T. Kennedy, Crosswalk.com
Words are powerful. They can encourage and motivate or tear down and be harmful. We all need encouragement at times.
Ephesians 4:29 says, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."
Women appreciate their husband's support through words of encouragement. It is a blessing to be supported by a spouse. In the busyness of life, I can see how it would be easy for a husband to forget to give his wife encouraging words. Here are a few reasons why you might keep the kind words coming.
Why Does My Wife Need to Be Affirmed?
Women and men are different in many ways. Men want to be respected; women desire to be loved. Men can compartmentalize things; women are like a bowl of spaghetti – all areas of life bleed into the others.
Women are hard on themselves. They put a lot of pressure to do their family right. Sometimes too much pressure. A biblical wife will strive to support and respect her husband, raise her children, and run a household. These are no easy tasks.
Most of a women's job will be thankless yet important tasks: changing the diapers, cleaning the house, cooking dinner, and reading to the children. While we don't need to be thanked for every task, a wife and mom can go about her day, never getting thanked or appreciated for anything. That is fine because our job is to glorify God in every task. However, it goes a long way when your husband recognizes your hard work.
The dog can't thank you for letting it out and feeding it. The children are learning to be appreciative, but it takes a lifetime for that one. The husband has the consistent job of noticing and affirming his wife's efforts. His words mean the most when he tells her how beautiful she is at the end of a long day, even if she's a mess.
A well-run household is a blessing to a family. Women are tough on themselves. They don't see the twenty things they accomplished today; they focus on the three they didn't get done. When a husband takes a moment to praise his wife for her efforts, it is very appreciated.
Knowing your wife's love language is a great way to give her targeted affirmation. Gary Chapman has a book called the 5 Love Languages. Chapman shares that everyone expresses love the way they desire to receive it. The five love languages are physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, and quality time. His book and quiz are extremely helpful in knowing how to show your spouse appreciation.
The point is to show your spouse appreciation in the way they prefer, so it fills up their "love bucket." Otherwise, you are spinning your wheels, and their bucket is still empty.
If your wife's love language is words of affirmation, then you really need to keep the positive words flowing. However, if her love language is acts of service, then taking out the trash might be a better way to show your appreciation. If she prefers gifts, stopping at the store and grabbing some flowers or a box of chocolates would be well worth it. Spending quality time doesn't have to mean a weekend away; it can be setting aside fifteen minutes each day to connect with her. If your wife is positive touch, then hugs, kisses, a gentle touch on the shoulder, and intimacy are your keys to her being affirmed.
Encouraging your wife doesn't always have to be about praising her every time she does something. It's letting her know you take notice of her efforts and being thoughtful about how you show appreciation. Let your efforts get the best bang by learning how your wife likes to be appreciated.
Seasons of Change
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens." (Ecclesiastes 3:1) Every family and person have seasons they will go through, similar to Christian's journey in the Pilgrim's Progress. Some seasons you are being poured into, and in others, you are giving everything you have. Certain seasons will be tougher than others. During the challenging seasons, your wife may need some extra encouragement. It won't last forever, but thoughtful comments during a rough period will go a long way.
Last year we started homeschooling our kids, which was a huge change for our family. I often looked to my husband for affirmation that we had done the right thing and that I was doing an okay job. This was a season of transition where I needed some extra assertion. His affirmation gave me the courage to keep going.
Women tend to be more emotional than men. When the world around us changes, we may rely on our husband's stability and confidence. Like a boat settling down after a storm, we will settle into a new routine in time. Until then, keep the affirmations coming.
There are various ways you could offer gestures of kindness and support—a simple kiss at bedtime and a few kind words. You could write your wife a little note or card. Shoot her a brief text during the day, so she knows you are thinking of her and are on her side. Send her an email with an encouraging phrase or bible verse. These might seem like simple gestures, and they are, but they go a long way with your wife.
Does My Wife Deserve Affirmation?
None of us deserve anything. We are all sinners and deserve death. Sorry, but that's the harsh truth. Your wife is a blessing to you, and you are a blessing to her. Together you make a wonderful team that God crafted. You can create a family and provide a loving and safe place to raise children who fear the Lord.
Giving affirmation is not a chore; it's a way we pour ourselves into our spouse. Husbands, as the spiritual leaders of your home, you set the example. You are the role model. When you show appreciation to your wife and praise her, your kids see this example. If it becomes a regular part of their childhood, they might look for a supportive and affirming spouse. You get to set the tone of the house.
Hopefully, your wife will catch on to your praise and return the kind words. It would be great if she thanked you for working hard and supporting your family. If she is not returning the affirmations, then still keep it coming. Maybe she will catch on later. Set the course; she will take notice eventually. Do it because it's the right thing to do, not because you are looking for affirmation in return.
The gospel calls us to sacrifice and service. Doesn't that sound glamorous? It's not. Jesus washed the feet of a man who would betray Him. Jesus knew Judas would double-cross Him, and He washed his feet anyway. That's our model. Don't praise your wife because she deserves it; she doesn't. Neither do you. (John 13:3-17)
Knowing Our Identity in Christ
I want to address my sisters in Christ for a moment. Satan floods our minds with doubts. Doubts about our worth and family tell us we are not good enough. We must fight against these lies our entire lives. Don't let these doubts grow and fester. We all enjoy hearing affirming words to combat Satan's untruths. It's reassuring for our husbands to tell us how much they love us and that our best efforts are enough. However, don't put all your reliance on your husband to fill a job he's not capable of filling.
Wives, ultimately, need to get their affirmation from the Lord. You have a permanent, loving, and gracious Father who reigns over everything. He is always present and will never disappoint you. He will never leave you or forsake you. (1 Chronicles 28:20) He made this promise to Moses and our forefathers, and this promise extends to you. The Bible is filled with examples of God fulfilling his promises. You can trust Him.
Seek out the words in the Bible. The sweet words our husband say are icing on the cake. The cake is found in the Bible. The words of your loving Father are in there. Everything you need to hear on a rough day is there for your consumption.
We will be disappointed if we rely solely on our husband's affirmations. They are human and sinners like us. If we seek to find our identity in Christ, we will be in a better place to serve our families and husband.
Husbands, affirmation goes a long way with your wife. Your wife may need words of affirmation more often than you do. Try to remember how much it means to her.
Pray for your wife. Pray she will seek the Lord and learn His word. God's word is the best affirmation. The Holy Spirit and God's word can fill us with love, joy, peace, and all the fruits of the spirit.
Katie T. Kennedy lives in Richmond, VA. She is married to a wonderful husband Jonathan and they have three girls. She is a writer, blogger, and employee of the family business. After a mid-life spiritual transformation, she discovered her love of writing. She loves to travel, read, be in nature, cook, and dream. She would love to connect with you online at www.katietkennedy.com, Instagram or Facebook.