How can a “dis” word be an encouraging word?

We would never use the word “dis-courage”.  And yet, this word – dissuade –  is a synonym of discourage!

When would you not encourage your spouse?


Two companions, while walking arm-in-arm down a road chatting and laughing, come to a fork in the road.

Their path to this point has had some challenges – fallen logs, swamps, uphill climbs, and uneven spots. They’ve helped each other through the uncomfortable spots. They’ve given thanks for the easy, wide areas.

Now they’re at a fork.

A choice must be made.  Which is the best direction?


As husband and wife, we share a bond of trust.  We’ve made it through some rocky times. We’ve shared some pinnacles.  There’s history.

Because we share life together and help each other over the hurdles and celebrate the wins, we are in a position to influence our spouse’s decisions one way – or another.

Most times encouragement is what is needed.

With a little push to move forward, an extra hand to help, or the belief and validation that our spouse is on the right course, we affirm a choice of direction.  We put courage into our spouse.


There are times when we have the responsibility to dissuade our spouse from going in a particular direction.

Dissuade = to deter by persuasion or advise against.

Do Not

Deterrence starts with paying attention to the ‘do nots’.  There are a lot of “do nots” in God’s word:

  • do not lie
  • do not kill
  • do not want what others have
  • do not worship other gods
  • do not withhold good
  • do not love sleep (really!  Proverbs 20:13)

Read Proverbs – you’ll get a bucket-load full of ‘do nots’!

(Note:  As I searched through for the term “do not”,  I found lots of good “do nots” also.  Many of them began with “Do not be afraid…“.)

How do you decide when to dissuade your spouse from a direction?

  1. It goes against God’s Word.  This is pretty easy to discern if you’re living your faith and you have a working knowledge of scripture. Of course, seeking input from other believing Christians will hone your understanding of scripture and what God desires from His children.  You’re still fortifying your spouse with faith – but in this case you’re dissuading her or him from a direction that you’ve  learned God may not bless.
  2. You’ve prayed about it.  This one is a bit trickier.  It starts with your heart and focus being right.  Praying for God’s will to reign is key.  Not what you believe or wish for – but for God to show direction according to His will.  No more than God’s will.  No less than God’s will.  God’s will no matter the cost.  You’re still uplifting your spouse with prayer, but the focus is on God’s will for the decision.  (Oh, it’s so easy to be self-centered.  This one has tripped me up – major big time.)

When else would you know to dissuade your spouse from a direction?

When is it right to advise against a direction?