Encourage your spouse to stop worrying – and encourage the other members of your family (including yourself) to also let go of anxiety and worry.
Well, we don’t want to be like the elderly man on his death-bed who couldn’t stop talking about all the troubles in his life… few of which actually happened.
Worry – or anxiety – contributes to many health challenges. It impacts physical, mental and spiritual health. However, most things we worry about are irrelevant. Here are some statistics on worry from a 2006 study by Dr. Walter Calvert:
- 30% of our worries are about events in the past
- 40% of the things we worry about never happen
- 12% of our worries are unfounded health concerns
- 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.
An encouraging word will cheer someone… but what IS an encouraging word? And as wonderful as an encouraging word might be, maybe talking isn’t going to make a difference in every instance.
It’s good that encouragement is much more than words. Be compassionate as you encourage…
Encourage Your Spouse to Stop Worrying
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 is where 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.)
2. Your FAITH in God will remind you of His past care in your life.
Turn over that page where you’ve written down the best solution to the problem, (or start another page) and make a second list.
This time it’s a list of all the times God has helped you in the past. Your God is faithful. He is always with you. He has always been with you. Remind your spouse (and yourself).
Delve a bit into Scripture to remind yourself of all His promises and deepen your faith.
(see below to download a pdf of this photo)
Listen to and sing praise and worship songs to build your FAITH in God…
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—…
~ Romans 8:38
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.
Have courage. Encourage.
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!