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We moved to Sri Lanka 6 months after we got married to help with a post-tsunami development project.

As a brand-new-wife (at the ripe age of 20) I had no clue how to love this man of mine.  Knowing that I needed all the help I could get for this new “wife” gig, I dove head-first into all the marriage books and teachings I was able to fit into my suitcase.


One hot afternoon I listened to a teaching on being a great wife that I’ve never forgotten.  

With the windows open in the one-room flat overlooking the Indian Ocean where we lived (with lizards carefully watching on the wall, monkeys playing in the trees outside, and water buffalo roaming in the street below), the booming voice of a confident woman quoted this proverb that shook my soul:

 “A wise woman builds her house, a foolish woman tears it down with her hands.”  (proverbs 14:1)

I didn’t know exactly what this meant, but deep in my soul I knew it was true.  One of the most powerful ways the speaker said we could “build our house” is through the power of encouragement.  

Even when things are less than awesome.

Even if we feel like things could be done differently or better.

It didn’t take me long to realize that as a wife, I have this innate ability to offer “helpful suggestions” as I see all the many ways my husband could do things better.  An “ability” that leaves me quick to correct, critique and criticize.

But every time I do this, I can see how my “helpful suggestion” actually shuts him down rather than builds him up.  And I hate that.

I want to be wise like this Proverbs 14:1 woman.  I want my “house” to be strong, and my man to feel cherished.  I want him to know that I am a safe place, a strong support and his biggest fan.

So, I’ve been working on building him up with my words by using these three phrases:

  • You are great at…..being a dad, solving problems, encouraging people…
  • Thank you for….working so hard to provide for us (even if he’d been out late several nights working), helping me do the dishes (even if he loaded them “wrong”), helping me get the kids in bed (even if he didn’t bother to put them in PJs)…
  • I’m proud of you for….excelling at your work-out plan, following up on your goals, winning that award at work.

Our men crave our affection and respect.  And we can give them this gift with the words we choose.

Our words of affirmation fill them up in a way they desperately need as they live and work in a world that thoughtlessly tears them down.

As a wife, maybe you are like me?  Finding it easier to see the holes rather than the help?  To see the broken rather than the brave?

Choosing to bite my tongue, to be thankful, to encourage and to build with my words (rather than tear down) has helped shift my perspective and strengthen my marriage.

And we are all the better for it.


3 compliments to give your man everyday –> click to tweet

the wise woman builds her house – and these words can help. –> click to tweet