I’m a novice when it comes to marriage or relationship advice. I hardly have any experience. So, I’m not going to give you any advice. Sure, I could tell you about a few things I’ve learned since Holly and I married in 2014, but I am primarily looking for advice, not giving it.
Holly and I like to spend time with older couples at our church who’ve been married 20, 30, or even 40 years. Those people can give advice. When you talk to those folks they’ve usually experienced each situation that we have a question about. So when Chelsea asked me about a guest post, my first thought was “what can I say with such limited experience? I’m a rookie.”
As I thought about my relationship with Holly, I kept coming back to times when I realized how thankful I am for her. In place of advice, I want to offer a part of our story from my point of view. During our short, going-on-three-years marriage, I’ve realized that I’m blessed with a woman who encourages me well. I want to tell you about her—about how her consistent encouragement makes our marriage better.
I’m aware of three things that my wife does well. She does more than these three I can assure you, but I feel the impact of these three more than others: she prays for me, she says, “I love you” every day, and she’s my biggest fan.
She Prays for Me
The most important thing my wife does is to pray for me. I know she does this not only because she tells me she prays for me, but because she stops me in my tracks and prays for me when she sees I need it.
I can get like those characters in a Snickers commercial when things are not going the way I want them. I recently had a frustrating week with a lot of tasks to finish and not enough time to finish them. You know how it goes. Those weeks wear me down. I end up giving in and getting irritable about unrelated things. Holly takes the brunt of those little frustration outbursts even though she plays no part in creating my problems.
One morning during that week, Holly saw I was in a mood, as every little thing seemed to irritate me that morning. “Should’ve packed that last night, I don’t have time to get that together this morn—.” She put her hand on my hand—in mid-complaint—while I was about to dip my spoon into my cereal and said she wanted to pray for me. I knew she was right, so I let her.
The frustration I harbored against my week melted away as I listened to my wife’s voice pray over me. I was embarrassed that I let those circumstances get the best of me. I’m thankful she had the courage to offer a simple prayer for her husband.
She Says, “I love you”
Another simple thing my wife does is tell me she loves me every day. I used to think saying, “I love you” was best saved for meaningful moments, or that actions showing love were more important than just saying the words. Growing up, I was conditioned by society to think that actions spoke louder than words, and that words didn’t have the same power compared to what a person did.
When I was single, I viewed young married couples saying, “I love you” as silly. The cynical side of me thought that repeating a phrase so often diluted its meaning. Who says I love you before running to the grocery store when a simple “bye” will suffice?
As a man, I rarely felt the need to state something that I thought was obvious. I assumed my wife knew that I loved her because we’re married and I showed affection for her, etc.
Marriage gave me a new perspective on the power of words and the phrase: “I love you.” Believing that words are less powerful than actions is not true of life; words affect us. Holly uses those words to remind me of her support for me. Whether it is leaving for work in the morning or right before we hang up a phone call, she professes her commitment to our marriage and me by saying, “I love you” whenever she can.
Yes, my wife knows I love her, and I know she loves me. But reminding each other of this truth keeps us in continual contact with each other. Now, I make it a point to initiate this communication because I see how saying “I love you” fills Holly with the encouragement she needs each day. Her consistent encouragement with her words changed our relationship.
She’s My Biggest Fan
Whether it is in my job or a side project, Holly throws her support behind me no matter the challenges I face—we face. The real world can be a tough place. Jobs require effort and time, and those commitments can tax a marriage relationship.
At times in our marriage, we’ve had a lot on our plate—maybe you’ve been there. I’ve taken on extra work as we try to save money for our family goals, finding myself away from home longer than I like. Sometimes extra work involves quietly working on a side projects after work when we are at home together. I know those times aren’t easy for Holly.
I’m thankful that she supports me in those busier times; I’m thankful for her patience with me. It’s easy for me to get discouraged and lose sight of the bigger picture in those moments. Holly’s little reminders like, “it takes time,” “we’re doing the right thing,” or “we knew it wouldn’t be easy,” are timely words for me when I’m fatigued.
When those busy times pay off, Holly is the first to pour on the praise. She enjoys keeping our friends and family updated with our successes and accolades—even if it’s stuff that’s not a big deal. Like when she got ahold of pictures of me from work and sent them to all of the family with the message: “Isn’t he so handsome.”
My wife’s prayers, loving words, and support are a sweet encouragement for me to reflect on in our third year of marriage. Her daily commitment to perform these simple tasks has slowly taught me that I can encourage her better by repeating her steps. The truth is Holly and I both married an imperfect person, so I don’t think we’ll ever grow out of needing reminders and a little support from one another.