Don't do for your husband what he can do for himself. Stop doing tasks for your husband that he's capable of doing, or learning to do, on his own. Don't rescue him from the consequences of his own poor decisions. Respect him enough to make his own choices and learn from the results. Encourage him to grow by expressing trust and confidence in his abilities.

Seek to understand him. Get to know how best you can communicate encouraging words and actions to your husband, given his unique personality and the differences between male and female communication styles. Encourage him in ways that he's most likely to receive well.

Ask him for feedback. Ask your husband to make a list for you of the various pressures he faces, and how you can help by encouraging him in specific ways as he faces those pressures. Also ask your husband to share his preferences for various encouraging gifts you can give him, from a certain way of making love to a particular meal he would enjoy.

Pray for him. Every day, ask God to encourage your husband and help you encourage him by giving you the right perspective on your husband and guiding you toward specific ways of building up your marriage.

Keep up the good work. Consistently encourage your husband whenever and wherever you can. See yourself as a prospector who's always looking for hidden treasure in your husband. As you discover pockets of underdeveloped resources within him, work to expand them through your encouraging words and actions.

July 20, 2010

Adapted from Bringing Out the Best in Your Husband: Encourage Your Spouse and Experience the Relationship You've Always Wanted, copyright 2010 by H. Norman Wright. Published by Regal Books, a division of Gospel Light, Ventura, Ca., www.regalbooks.com.

H. Norman Wright is a licensed Marriage, Family and Child Therapist and he has taught in the Grad. Department of Biola University. He was former director of the Graduate Department of Marriage, Family and Child Counseling at Biola University, as well as an Associate Professor of Psychology. He was also Associate Professor of Christian Education and Director of the Graduate Department of Christian Education at the Talbot School of Theology. At the present time he is Research Professor of Christian Education at this same institution. He was in private practice for more than 30 years. Dr. Wright is a graduate of Westmont College, Fuller Theological Seminary (M.R.E.), Pepperdine University (M.A.). He has received two honorary doctorates, D.D. and D.LIT, from the Western Conservative Baptist Seminary and Biola University respectively. He is the author of more than 70 books, including Experiencing Grief, The New Guide to Crisis and Trauma Counseling, Recovering From the Losses of Life, Quiet Times for Couples, and Before You Say I Do, and has twice received the Gold Medallion Award. Dr. Wright has pioneered premarital counseling programs throughout the country. He conducts seminars on Parenting, Recovering from the Losses of Life, Trauma and Crisis Counseling, and Marriage Enrichment. His current focus is in grief and trauma counseling and critical incident debriefings. He and his wife Joyce were married for 48 years, and he lives in Bakersfield, California.