My husband is at his best when he knows
I believe in him and am supportive of him.
You've heard variations of the saying, "Behind every good man is a good woman." There is a lot of truth there, but I think an equally accurate statement would be, "Behind every successful man is a supportive woman."
Men have varying levels of self-esteem and confidence, but I don't know of any man who wouldn't thrive a little more with the affirmation of the woman he loves. One of the sad losses that has resulted from the women's lib movement (as well as the Hollywood influence) is that the ideas, dreams, and goals of men are no longer respected. In many instances, they are ridiculed. In some homes, it is simply the case that the wife forces her husband into the dreams and roles she wants for
him, rather than allowing him to follow his calling or his natural bent.
During the earliest years of our marriage, I succumbed to the temtation to think that my "work' was more important than that of my husband. I had endured 4 years of college while working several different jobs, planning a wedding, serving as assistant dorm dean my junior year, and then during my senior year, being a wife. My job followed my degree path, and I was working in ministry. Sounds noble enough, right? And I'm ashamed to say that wasn't emotionally supportive of my husband in ways that I could have been during those first few years of his getting up before dawn, and often getting home well after most had finished their workday. I underestimated the importance of his blue collar job and the powerful way it would serve our family for these many years.
Greg spent a few semesters at Bible college, and he jokes about his GPA, which he says resembles Cheerios. After he decided that college wasn't for him, he went back to his home state and worked until we met and married. We had been married for two or three years,when he decided to take some classes at our community college. These classes benefitted him in various ways and he did very well, but as we had several kids in a short period of time, he decided that it was time for him to focus on his job and our family. I supported him in that, because I no longer had an agenda for him. He was not me, and I was not him. Our personal fulfillment hinged on differing criteria, and he needed to do what benefitted him, and ultimately the good of the family.
Through the years, it has been important for me to learn how to support my husband. To help him strengthen his strengths and eliminate his weaknesses, not through nagging and mothering, but with careful, thoughtful wisdom, and actions that allow him room to learn and grow in his unique role. I haven't arrived in this role of supporting, and there's lots more work to be done, but we've come a long way, baby!
Oh, and the guy with the "cheerio" GPA? He's a hard workin' man who is into his 15th year at the good job that God blessed him with. When he's ready for a different challenge, I want to be there to provide just the right amount of support and encouragement that will propel him into his next level of success.
Three ways to support your mate:
- Encourage the dream - It's easy to shoot down another's dreams by deeming them unrealistic. Maybe jealousy kicks in and we are afraid for them to accomplish more. By remembering that we are a team (i.e. he wins, she wins, we both win), success becomes mutually fulfilling. And any success begins with a dream.
- Communicate your desire to share their needs - Many times we don't know how to meet the needs of our spouse because we don't even know what the needs are. As we trust one another with our most intimate thoughts, we should then be listening for signals that indicate need. If you aren't getting anywhere through observation, make it clear that you want to be supportive and ask for help in identifying areas where your support is needed.
- Adopt a sacrificial attitude - When we choose to focus on the needs of another person, our life will become less about us and more about them. This is God's plan, but self-centeredness often keeps us from reaping the rewards of sacrifice.
Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate,
but through being the right mate.
~Barnett R. Brickner