Here’s a nugget of truth for you: Your spouse needs your encouragement. You may be saying, “Yeah, Gary and Barb, I knew that,” but are you doing something about it? Are you encouraging your spouse daily? Are you the one your spouse knows he or she can come to for encouragement in tough times?

Do you know what can happen if you don’t encourage your mate? Wives: If your husband doesn’t hear you cheering him on, he’ll feel continually discouraged and defeated – and then he’ll seek the applause somewhere else. Husbands: If you don’t appreciate and encourage your wife, she will turn elsewhere to get her needs met. If encouragement isn’t a steady part of your wife’s diet, she’s starving for it.

Here’s the reality:

For wives:

-- Men need the strong support of other Christian men – but the voice of affirmation they long to hear the most is that of their wife.

-- Many men feel neglected and in need of their wife’s attention, affirmation and encouragement.

For husbands:

-- A woman has a larger than life need for her husband to whisper, declare, and shout to the world that she is the most important person in his life.

-- It’s not enough to appreciate your wife – you have to tell her!

-- Understanding your wife’s personality and character will help you tailor encouragement specifically to her.

So what does encouragement look like for your spouse? It’s different for every person, but generally husbands and wives see encouragement differently. If you want to grow in your ability to encourage your spouse, practice several of these suggestions:

How to Encourage Your Husband

Encourage him to hear the applause. For the Christian man, the applause from heaven – God’s approval – is essential. But heavenly applause is sometimes tough to hear. We need to train our ears to hear the voice of Jesus. You can encourage your husband to do that. God has strategically placed you in your husband’s life to be his live-in encourager.

Encourage him by reminding him of God’s work in his life. When you see your husband take a stand for what is right, affirm him by telling him you see God’s character in him. Bless your husband with encouragement from God’s Word when he is discouraged. Affirm your husband’s expression of the gifts of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) when you see him act in any of these ways.

Encourage him to be accountable. You, as your husband’s wife, must be his main encourager in making God-focused changes in his life, but godly men can also be a strong support for him in the process. Strong Christian friends will encourage your husband to be accountable. Encourage your husband to step close to other godly guys. He needs this kind of connection in his life.

Encourage him to connect with his children. A father needs his children as much as they need him. When your husband gets preoccupied, be there to encourage him to spend him with his children. Remind him to make the most of his time because your kids won’t be under your roof forever.

Encourage him to reach out and grow. Be tuned in to your husband’s need to continue to develop as a man. Encourage him to participate in events that will stretch him or help him grow. It’s true that you can’t force, whine, or nag your husband to be spiritually and relationally thirsty (and you shouldn’t try). But you must make a conscious, daily choice to root for your man. He is thirsty for your encouragement.