It’s been a fairly typical day at work. The usual projects that needed to get done and emails answered, nothing too pressing. When you get home you immediately notice the kids shoes are in a muddy heap by the front door. The kitchen sink is filled with dishes and the kitchen table is covered with bags of groceries. You put down the mail and go over to the family room for a moment of relaxation. Grabbing the remote to catch up on the news you see the sofa covered with three baskets of laundry. Your wife is just coming down the hall and the first thing you say is, “What have you been doing all day? The place is a mess.” No warm “Hello” or “How has your day been?” or “Can I help you with anything?” Nope. Just go for the jugular. Assume the worst and point out the obvious.
Pause for a moment and picture the same getting home from work scenario. But this time the house is neatly kept, the shoes are put away, the floor is clean, the groceries are put away and the sink has no dishes piled up. Your wife comes down the hall and you ask the same question that every man asks when he gets home, “What are we having for dinner?” Not a word about how neat and clean the house is, or how wonderful and beautiful your wife looks. Nope. First things first. What are we going to eat?
If we are honest, this sounds all too familiar. Why is it that we are so quick to see the flaws and blurt out a rebuke or a harsh word, but we hardly ever notice when things are good and deliver a compliment? We can be so quick to harshly remind him that his socks are on the floor AGAIN but do we remember to encourage him when he remembers where the hamper is?
There’s an old story about a wife who said that she wished that her husband would say more often that he loved her. He replied, “When we got married I told you that I loved you. If I change my mind, I’ll let you know.” Hey Guys: Let her know… and let her know often!! Encourage her every day. Look for things that you appreciate and verbalize it to your spouse. Shower her with words of love and affirmation. Your words will be like the cool water that a plant needs every day to flourish and stay green and beautiful.
In Hebrews 3:13 it says, “But encourage one another daily”. In Ephesians 4:29 it says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building each other up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Encouraging words are helpful and they build us up and they are just what we need. Use them often.
Personal Growth item: Work every day on being quick to compliment and slow to be critical.