10% of our worries are over minor and trivial issues
Only 8% of our worries are real, legitimate issues
As convicting as these numbers are (92% of items we worry about aren’t worth our time to worry over) worrying and anxiety is a big topic. There are 206,743 items under the tag “worry” if you look on Amazon.
One blog post isn’t going to solve a life-long habit.** Nor will it address the serious medical disorder of anxiety.
Even so – consider this:
Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.
Learning more about the ingredients of encouragement could add some ammunition to your arsenal against the delibitating condition of worry. Regardless if what you’re both worrying about is part of the 8% of legitimate worries, or not, we still need address the issue(s).
Here’s how to begin through the 5 ingredients of encouragement:
1. Use HOPE to encourage your spouse to stop worrying:
Often worry leads us down the road imagining all the negatives. We worry about things that might happen, or could happen. Rarely can the focus be on a positive outcome to a situation if you’re busy worrying. This iswhere making a list will be useful. *Go through this process with your spouse on paper:
What is the problem?
What is the cause of the problem?
What are all the possible solutions? (really delve deep – be thorough)
What is the best solution to the problem?
Once you’ve decided on the best solution to what you and/or your spouse are worrying about, then it’s time to talk about how the outcome to the solution will feel.
Deciding on the best solution will create a sense of hope and inspire you both to stop worrying.
*This, and many other insights on how to deal with worry are found in this older book by Dale Carnegie: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living You won’t find any new or radical ideas here – it’s mostly common sense. (When you’re both overcome with worry, common-sense might be hard to find.)
3. LOVE your spouse – without condition or prerequisite.
Love makes a difference in every situation in marriage.
YOU are the other part of this relationship. If the encouragement of love doesn’t come from you… then from where is it supposed to come? Sometimes worry and anxiety have their roots in fear, so remind your spouse how much you love her/him… and how much GOD loves…
…nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—…
4. To encourage your spouse to stop worrying, PRAY with and for him/her.
Prayer changes things. Robert and I cannot stress enough the power of prayer in and for every situation. If you’re hesitant to pray, then begin small. Take a look at this post and this one on prayer. Reach out to ask someone to pray with you. In prayer you’re seeking help from the Creator of all things, and the One who knows every hair on your heads. Prayer makes a difference.
5. Take ACTION to encourage your spouse to stop worrying.
Here’s where the rubber-meets-the-road: in supportive action. Make a difference by:
seeking wise counsel: be supportive by talking with an expert on the topics you and your spouse are worrying about. Sometimes an expert will have new insights you and your spouse can’t imagine right now.
reading on the topic of worry: be supportive by reading this book – or this one – or ask for recommendations at the library to learn more about how to overcome worry.
**speaking to a trained counselor: if worry and anxiety have overtaken your life as husband and wife, then be supportive by going with your spouse to a trained counselor. Keep looking until you find one you both can trust. Ask for recommendations of trained therapists from those you respect. If your spouse is hesitant, then pave the way by going to speak with a therapist yourself.
Your action will encourage your spouse. Start. Begin.
Encourage your spouse to stop worrying through the power of HOPE, FAITH, LOVE, PRAYER, and supportive ACTION. Your entire family will benefit if you and your spouse learn proactive ways to deal with worry.
** There are times when worry and anxiety are so great that nothing you can do will change your spouse’s heart/mind. Seek professional help immediately.
If you’d like to download a PDF to print the Scriptures — click here!
Encouraging your spouse when everything is too much – how do you do that?
Too much? What’s too much? Do you ever feel like your life is filled with white-water rivers, mine fields, lava flows, rising flood water, hurricane winds, rotted floorboards, bottomless pits, shark-infested seas… Everything is beyond what you or your spouse can control.
Where do you go from that spot?
Unity matters when everything is too much.
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
~ Genesis 2:24 NIV
Remember – you’re not alone. Husband & Wife. Together. As husband and wife – “one flesh” – you can leave everything else behind to be united against an outside threat . Individual control no longer matters or makes sense.
There’s strength in unity. Are you tapping into that strength?
Encouraging your spouse when everything is too much starts with focusing on unity between you and he/she, and inviting your loving Heavenly Father – who wants what’s good for you both – to take control.
Invite God to take over. (Yes. We know how difficult letting go of control is…)
Remind your spouse that he or she doesn’t need all the answers.
Have faith in God when everything is too much.
Unbelief puts our circumstances between us and God – Faith puts God between us and our circumstances
During the greatest trials and most trying circumstances is when we’ll see the power of God working for and in us -provided we look at our circumstances with the perspective of faith.
3 Actions – Encouraging your spouse when everything is too much:
1 – Listen to each other. Be attentive when your spouse speaks.
Two ears. One mouth. Listen twice as much as you talk. And if your spouse isn’t one to chat easily, perhaps it’s time to cultivate some meaningful questions? Try this Pinterest board for ideas on questions to ask.
… be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…
For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,
~ 1Timothy 4:4
We know – it’s hard to be thankful when everything feels like it’s too much. But try. Begin small. Start with the easy stuff:
you have each other, even if neither of you are perfect
Jesus knew the pain He’d endure, and He still decided you and your spouse were worth it.
God loves you, even when it’s all too much. He’ll never leave you. He’s always with you.
3 – Pray together. Invite God into your “too much”.
“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
What if you don’t know where to start to pray?
Prayer can be a simple “thank you”. The prayer that Jesus taught His disciples (and us) is found here. If you want to go deeper, listen as other people pray and develop your own prayer life. Sometimes resources can help…
Rob and I have been reading and putting into practice what’s in the book The Hour the Changes the World. It’s a prayer plan that divides an hour into twelve 5-minute sections. Each section focuses on a different point of prayer. If an hour seems like too much, you can use the idea for 12 minutes – focusing on each of the 12 sections for one minute at a time.
Here are 31 videos if you want to go deeper into exploring prayer with your spouse. They’re less than 5 minutes each. They’re hosted by Dick Eastman, President of Every Home for Christ. and author of the above book. Watch them together with your spouse and do one a day for a month… It’s something to unite the two of you and most days it’ll take less than 5 minutes…
Everything for a time.
Nothing is so constant as change. This “too much” time will shift and change. Encouraging your spouse when everything is too much will only be for a time… Learn to work together through it all and leverage the blessing the Lord has given you both: each other!
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Date Night Memories. Do you take the time to date your spouse?
Just because you’re in the middle of marriage
and things are fine
– busy and challenging –
but basically fine,
doesn’t mean your date night times together can’t be exciting and fun.
Encourage each other to have fun.
Play. Learn. Grow.
Where to go from here…
You’re here. (Wherever here is.) Maybe it’s been a while since you played together. Try it. Again. Here are some suggestions:
Date Night Memories – Play Together
Lori at The Generous Wife has a super list of games! Take one of those games with you and play it in a new spot: a cafe, on a bench in the park, drop in at a friend’s house & play it with them, at a museum (who says you can’t play a game at a museum or art gallery?), at the airport, in a mall food-court, at a scenic overlook… (you get the idea – don’t be dull! Have fun!)
All kinds of little date night memories build a life together that’s rich and full – don’t forget the fun. A life filled with meaning needs to have moments of fun. Your marriage is a huge part of your life – build fun into your time together.
Don’t always default to the tried and true – put some effort into doing something new to build unique date night memories in 2017.
What have you and your spouse never done that seems like it would be fun?
Quick! List three things you’ve dreamt about, but have never done…
Who do you know that’s done these three things? Phone those people, make a time to talk with them! (If you don’t personally know someone, then use the internet as a resource. Check out Instagram using hashtags, read blog posts, etc. and introduce yourself to these people… or, if you’re hesitant, at least you’ll have silent mentors that don’t know they’re encouraging you.)
What resources do you need to do these three things? Make a list – including links. Make a budget. Decide how much you’ll need to save to make this happen, and find a big container to create a “save for..” bank. Set it in a prominent spot in your home.
When will you do these three things? Look at your calendar. Mark the month – perhaps even the exact date when you’ll DO these!
Memories can come from sponanteous events… but you can also plan to make fun date night memories.
Ready, Set… Start now!
Need something in writing? Download a PDF to PRINT – print two, one for you and one for your spouse, and compare ideas!
Making Date Night Memories worksheet – Click to Download
Unique. That’s a word which describes all of us, right? Your husband is unique. Your wife is unique. Each of your children and grandchildren are unique also, I’m sure! Nobody is the same – not even twins.
So what works to encourage one person may not work for another. I’m guessing what encourages your spouse may not encourage you. (That’s true for Robert and me too!)
What one couple determines as a meaning filled life, won’t be the same as another couple. If you dig deeply, every couple will have unique goals for their life, even if on the outside it might look the same. We’re all uncommon in comparison to the other.
There’s nothing common about any of us.
With Christmas around the corner, I am searching for unique gifts for the special people in my life. I start with Rob, of course. And because we’re living a very minimalistic life in our little house-on-wheels, whenever something comes into the space, another item needs to leave.
So whatever we gift each other needs to have both form and function – and, of course, it needs to fit our lifestyle on-the-road! (Even though we’re pretty tethered to North Carolina because of the grandboy…)
I needed to find unique gifts which would have meaning for the two of us – be resilient for travel – and meet both form and function. Guess what? Something caught my eye on this Twitter post from Lindsay Rutland
Do you see it? The cheese platter in the shape of the USA? I went over to UncommonGoods.com and found it listed on their unique gifts for Christmas list. Yup. It’s unique. Just like Rob and me. It fits our lifestyle, because cheese and nibbles are a favorite lunch, and the form – it’s a piece of slate you can write on – is so cool! I ordered one. (I have to admit, that I have another couple in mind that I think this would fit as a gift also.)
Then I had a lovely adventure!
I did a bit of digging to find out more about UncommonGoods. I always do that. It’s part of our Value of Discovery – maybe you’re also insatiably curious like I am? Here are a few facts about this unique company:
As an independently-owned business, they have the freedom to support causes which impact the world in a positive way. With every purchase we make, they donate $1. If you’re interested in the non-profits they support, take a look at the list at Better to Give. As you might imagine, the literacy non-profit was my choice!
The company began when the founder visited a Smithsonian Museum craft show and was captivated by the variety of unique handmade goods and the talented people behind them. That’s where the vision began… I can SO relate. The idea just caught my imagination! Read more about their story – they’ve had some bumps along the way like every entrepreneurial venture. I wonder if he’s married? Did his spouse encourage his vision? Hmmm. More research, huh?
I was smitten and reached out to connect! You understand, don’t you? When you find a new source that you feel an affinity for, you just want to share… right? The folks at UncommonGoods responded. They so kindly and generously gifted me a few more items on thespecially curated gift lists for men and Christmas items for women. They sent me a big box and it was just like… Christmas! 😉 (And my original purchased slate cheese board arrived the same day.)
Uncommon Gifts for Unique People
Who is on your list to give gifts to? My list includes our adult children, and grandboy – and finding special things for them meets my heart’s desire.
Want to see which items I chose to review (with my children and husbands and wives in mind)? It’s OK to tell our daughter, ’cause I roped her in to take some photos. She has a photography site – but it’s for people, not products. Don’t mention anything to our son and daughter-in-love though… OK? 😉
Slate State Boards
These are the State slate cheese boards that first caught my eye – you can order them in the shape of any US State, or of the entire USA. Can you identify the State shape of the top board?
They’re uniquiely crafted by Steven Chavez and Justin English from Colorado.
Which States do you and your spouse have special memories from? Were your children born in different States? What about trips… Serve some goodies on your next date night, and talk about those memories.
These chalkboard placemats caught my attention, because you could write all kinds of interesting notes or questions. Of course, there’s the obvious if you’re having a dinner party and want to display different buffet items with their ingredients – but what about with your spouse or children?
In one of the reviews of this item a lady said, “I love these placemats! What a fun way to write a daily personal message to each member in my family. My kids are seniors in high school. My only regret is that I didn’t discover these darling placemats when my kids were 3!!!!!!”
This card game made our daughter’s eyes light up! She always has her phone in her hands – so I thought… why not make it a positive! She and her friends are going to have a blast with this “Game of Phones”. It has players using their smart phones to take photos, find stuff on Pinterest, send texts, etc.
Do you and your spouse keep your smartphones in your hand? Maybe this game will make them into a positive experience on a date night! There are other unique games available that I’ve never seen before – like “Rememory” and “Music IQ” for music lovers and more. Lots of ideas for unique date-nights in 2017!
Can you see the sword campfire roaster? (Yeah – it’s resting on our son’s backyard firepit, with his dog investigating what I’m doing. This item came separately from the others in a long box. (Although the handle does detach.)
Zacharay Neff from Utah makes these (there are two to choose from – a marshmallow sword and a hotdog roaster). He makes these cool items in his family’s metal shop!
Of course, these blocks are for the grandboy. We’re teaching him American Sign Language, so these will support his learning.
Maybe these blocks won’t be for Christmas… our grandboy, Theo is turning ONE in just 10 days…
But think about this language… Imagine if you and your spouse could use ASL to sign to each other… what would you say? From across the room you could tell your spouse you love him/her! You could make eye contact in a crowded room and have a private conversation… Can you sign?
So many unique gift options for your spouse…
The website, UncommonGoods.com is like a treasure chest of uniquely perfect gifts for everybody on your list. Check it out!
Framework. We believe skills and knowledge can’t replace character and integrity. Leading like Jesus involves the alignment of our Heart, Head, Hands and Habits.
Definition. We believe leadership happens anytime we influence the thinking, behavior or development of another. If you have influence, you are a leader.
Model. We believe Jesus is the greatest leadership role model of all time. So our leadership philosophy is simple: Follow the Leader.
If you’re interested in learning more, reach out to Robert via email…
The Lead Like Jesus program originated from an endeavor with Ken Blanchard (1-Minute Manager author) and Phil Hodges. They’ve revisited their program and updated the original book, along with the President of LLJ, Phyllis Hendry.