Be a responsive listener.
I realize whenever Cheryl says something there is usually a deeper meaning, so I try to listen for the deeper meaning. I try to understand her thought process.(Girls, guys really do talk in simpler facts, which makes it more difficult for us to understand subtleties sometimes.) Instead of dismissing what Cheryl said, because it wasn’t clear or assuming I know what she’s saying, I ask questions for clarification when needed.
Give her details.
OK, I know, this one can hurt—and, I’m not the best at it. Again, I’m not the perfect husband here. (Do I need to write that again?) I try allowing Cheryl to ask me questions and I try to tell her when I’ve told her everything I know. I realize details are more important to her than to me. (This may be opposite for you and your spouse.) Cheryl is very accommodating here—knowing I don’t like details. We plan times together where she knows I’m more likely to talk—such as our morning or evening walks. I have to remember though—just because details aren’t important to me doesn’t mean they aren’t to her.
Listen without fixing.
This is my toughest, but just in the last couple of weeks I did this. I hope she caught it. She had a list of things on her mind she was struggling with and I didn’t say a word until she got through all of them. And, it was hard. I am a fixer. I fix problems every day. Give me a problem and I’ll be quick to race to a solution. I realize many times, however, Cheryl simply wants my ear and not my expert insight.
Brag to others about her.
Let your wife hear you bragging about her to other people. She’s wonderful, right? Let her know you recognize it. Of course, this should be genuine, but I know Cheryl appreciates hearing me affirm her to others. And Cheryl is wonderful. You heard it here first. It’s funny sometimes, because people who haven’t picked Cheryl out in the crowd on Sunday or met her yet, will ask—“Are you ‘the Cheryl’?” They’ve heard me talk about her enough they want to know who she is.
Guys, your list will be different from mine, because your wife is different. Some of them will be the same. The point of this post is to encourage you to think strategically about how you can encourage your wife.
Ladies, feel free to help us men. Most of us really do want you to feel encouraged. So, anything you would add to my list that would encourage you?