In my April LOVE Project goals I mentioned my plan to find some resources of encouragement for ways to better serve Steven.
Ever heard of Time Warp Wife? (You can visit her website here.)
I started following this blog back close to the beginning of the year. It's the only blog I have push straight through to my email because that way I see it every day. The writer, Darlene Schacht (and other guest bloggers) writes about marriage, encouraging your husband and many other related topics. I appreciate her writing style (though I will admit that sometimes the posts are a bit long) and she brings up a lot of really great topics.
Yesterday in my email was a post titled "Using Your Words To Build Up Your Marriage."
If you know anything about me it's that I'm opinionated, I say what I think, and I have no trouble letting my feelings show. There are some serious life-skill benefits to these qualities but they can also get you in a lot of trouble, especially, as I've come to find in the last 16 months, in marriage. I say what I think/feel/want often with no consideration to how my words sound/feel. Let's just say it's often not very pretty.
When I read through her post yesterday, I knew she had written it just for me.
Especially the part about using your words to build encouragement.
I use my words to discourage my husband more than I do to encourage him.
Yes, I said it.
Steven is in school. He has been since about 6 months into our dating relationship. He will be for probably 5 more years. He's finishing a bachelors degree with plans to go on medical school.
Steven is smart. He works hard. He's a good husband. He somehow manages to balance working full time and taking a full course load and taking care of me all at the same time.
I couldn't do it. I can't even pretend that I could come close to doing it. In fact, I can hardly work full time and keep up with the responsibilities around the house.
And yet, more often than not I focus on what I do not like about our lives right now.
I don't like that I have to "share" him with his textbooks. I don't like that we only have Tuesday and Friday nights together, maybe. I don't like that he has homework on the weekends. I don't like that school always comes first. I don't like the uncertainty of where we'll be in 1.5 years based on where he gets into med school.
And you better believe I let him know it.
When I choose to focus on the things I don't like the words I use to communicate my displeasure cut deep. He's a strong man, but I can see the hurt in his eyes. He's loving and he listens, but it still hurts.
Why can't I focus on the A he got on his Math test, or the perfect score he got on his last speech? Why don't I focus on how hard he's working for our future? Why can't I recognize all the good he's does while "making it all work?" Why can't I encourage instead of discourage?
The answer is simple. I choose to focus on myself rather than God.
God has given me an amazing gift in my husband. God has chosen this path for our lives. God has put us right where He wants us. God brought us together so that I could walk next to Steven and support through this journey.
That's what I have to look to if I want to find those words to encourage. That has to be my only focus.