Plan to Encourage? Have you heard the old adage, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail…”?
Planning to encourage takes effort – it demands a conscious choice – and it’s an indicator of a proactive person working toward a desired outcome.
If we want to encourage our spouse – to inspire hope in the future, strengthen faith, demonstrate unconditional love, lift her/him up in prayer, and support with extra effort, then we need to design a plan to encourage them.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.”
Planning, unlike wishing, provides results.
Make a list of everything that’s going on in your spouse’s life right now – in your relationship, as a family, at work, in friendships, and in life in general.
Do you know? You may see your spouse every day, but when was the last time you sat down and just listened?
Design a time to chat. This time is for your spouse to talk and share – you’re there to:
- Ask kind, gently probing, open-ended questions.
- Listen to their answers. Be quiet and just listen. (This isn’t time to share your opinions.)
- Watch their eyes – the eyes are the windows to the soul.
- Pay attention to their body language as they talk about each topic.
- Notice – through vocal inflection – what they’re excited about or fearful over.
- Really hear them. Hear the feelings and emotions lying under the words.
Now that you know some of what’s going on in your spouse’s heart, mind, and soul, you can build your plan.
Your Plan to Encourage your Spouse
Ask yourself the questions below – brainstorm a bit:
- How can I inspire my spouse with hope for the future? For our future together?
- How can I bring my faith as a Christian into focus to provide strength – to fortify her/him?
- How can I notice my spouse – the person she/he is, not their behavior – and share my unconditional love for them?
- What can I pray for in his or her life? Can I pray with them to uplift them? When can it happen? (Here’s a list of ideas on how to build prayer into your day.)
- What action can I take today to show my over-the-top support?
- What can I share that’ll provide a new way to think about a situation?
- How can I use my specific, intimate knowledge of my spouse to validate them– to let them know what a unique and special person they are?
Be specific, diligent, creative and thoughtful as you answer these questions.
Using your plan to encourage.
Building on small words, ideas and gestures will make your spouse feel wrapped in encouragement, and transform your relationship.
Your plan to encourage will make you a light in your spouse’s life, and a voice of possibility in their ear. You’ll be an encourager. And yes, being an Encourager is a good thing to be!