Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Thirty-one: Do Good

(This is the 4th in a 10-post series)

"She does him good and not evil
all the days of her life."  Proverbs 31:12 NKJV

I'm not sure what "doing him good" looks like at your house, for your husband.  But for me, sometimes it looks like egg sandwiches.  Let me explain. This is something I do just for him. I don't eat eggs.  I actually despise all manner of eggs except the Benedict kind, drenched in lemony Hollandaise so I can't taste the eggs.  But my husband loves them, made just about any way, so several mornings a week I scramble, fry or poach his breakfast, or make his egg sandwich.  It says "you're important to me" and "I love you".  I'm pretty sure the writer of Proverbs was talking about "doing him good" in much more important ways, but I don't want to miss even a small opportunity to lighten his load or make his day better.  

There are thousands of ways a wife can do her husband good, but the one I want to focus on today is doing good with our words. It costs nothing, and you already possess all the skills you need to powerfully impact your husband's life. In my role as a pastor's wife, I see lots of couples "up close".  Time and again, I'm amazed how many women speak ill of their husbands, sometimes right in front of them!  "Durwood here is just useless with cars." "We'll never own a home, Bobby can't seem to keep a job..." Words are very powerful, and we can choose to build our husband up or drag him down by the words we speak to him, and about him.  

If you've been reading Chick Food for a while, you already know I'm no expert.  I frequently confess my mistakes and shortcomings in these pages.  But after thirty-three years of marriage, I do have a LOT of experience, and maybe I've learned a thing or two that will help you.

*If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.  Did your Mother teach you this, too? It was practically a mantra in our house, usually directed at squabbling sisters.  My husband talks about a 3 way test before speaking: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? If you can't answer 'yes' to all three questions,  don't say it!

*Avoid the complaining game with your friends.  Sometimes a conversation with girlfriends can devolve into a gripe session about the husbands. Refuse to participate! When a friend begins criticizing and complaining about her guy, redirect the conversation: "Neither one of our husbands is perfect, but they're good guys- they both work so hard. We have a lot to be grateful for." We can always find something good to say about even the most wayward husband. Complaints lead to resentment; compliments lead to thankfulness.

*Speak faith in the face of fear.  This one I've learned by doing it all wrong.  When faced with difficulty, like the loss of a job or a sudden move, choose to encourage him.  "This was so unexpected, but I believe in you, and I know we'll be ok."  Instead of going all Chicken Little ("The sky is falling!"), you can give him strength with your words.  

*Don't say it.  This is so important.  I say it to my kids all the time: You don't have to say everything you think! Knowing what not to say is a very important life skill.  "I told you so." "You always..." "You never ..." "You sound just like your Dad."  My best example is not about what not to say, but when not to say it.  Conversation first thing in the morning is always a bad idea around here. My guy needs time to seize the day. What should you not say, or when should you not say it?

*Say it out loud.  Maybe it's just me, but I think my husband's praises more often than I say them.   Most husbands need encouraging words like they need air, so instead of just thinking what a lucky girl you are to have a man who can fix anything, say it! Instead of thinking how much you love being with him, say it! Get in the habit of saying "I love you" every day, you'll be amazed how it builds you both up!

So let's do good in the little things and the big ones.  But don't overlook the power of your words to "do him good and not evil all the days of your life."

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, would you reveal to me where my words have torn down my husband? Please help me to build him up and do him good with my words. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

To read the other posts in this Proverbs 31 series, go here and scroll back to "One A Day" on March 15th. Then just read the posts in date sequence til today's date!  

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