In last week’s post, I let you in on my struggles with being a submissive wife, and how God answered my prayers for wisdom about how to be a better wife with an acronym: Y.E.S. Honey, which stands for Yield, Elevate and Supplicate. Today I wanted to talk a little bit about the second part of the acronym: what it means to elevate our husbands. But before we talk about what it means, I think it would be helpful to talk about what it doesn’t mean…
Antonyms: disgrace, disdain, put down
What Elevate Doesn’t Mean
As I started looking at the antonyms for elevate, I realized that if I’m honest, I’m guilty of those things in my marriage. I don’t know that I “disgrace” my husband, but in our interactions, sometimes I think I express an undertone of disdain or contempt for him; we have three children, and our life is crazy-busy. In the hustle and bustle of life, my kids get most of my energy and patience and time, and he gets the leftovers.
I rarely consider how I speak to him, or weigh how my words come across. I’m often in survival mode, going from one project or activity or obligation to another, so what I say to my husband and how I say it just comes out, and I’m sure at times it comes out all wrong.
The words “put down” also struck a chord. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t go around bad mouthing my husband. But if I could gather up all of the words I’ve spoken about him over the years and sort them into barrels, would there be more positive than negative (this includes nagging!)? I honestly don’t think to generate positive words to acknowledge his strengths and the blessing he is to our family, unless it is through a prayer exercise of thanksgiving, or a birthday or anniversary. It’s just not a habit.
So if I’m not routinely building him up, I have a feeling that many of the rest of the words serve to put him down. Our thoughts count, too. Yikes! We may be really careful about not tearing our husbands down to others, but what does your thought life about your husband look like? Luke 6:45 tells us that from the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. When our thoughts about our husband are negative, our words and the tone of those words is going to convey that inner attitude.
Elevate: to uplift, uphold, raise up
3 Ways to Elevate Your Husband
So after confessing to you just how rotten I’ve been at elevating my own husband, I’d like to shift gears and get positive, so I’ve put together three ways you can elevate your husband.
1.) Elevate him in your mind.
Elevating your husband must begin with training your mind to think about him in a God-honoring way. This may take some practice; old habits die hard! Our human nature seeks out fault, and keeps track of ways we’ve been wronged. But 1 Corinthians 13:5 tells us that love keeps no record of wrongs. We must practice taking the negative thoughts captive, and replacing them with positive thoughts about our husbands. Another practical way to do this is to offer prayers of thanksgiving for your husband, listing the things you are thankful for, to get into the habit of being aware of those good things.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)
2.) Elevate him in front of him.
Once you’ve become aware of the positive qualities your husband possesses, it should be a natural transition to begin verbalizing those thoughts in his presence. It may seem kind of forced at first, or even embarrassing, but I think it will end up being a blessing to both you and your husband! You may already be a pro at this, but for those of us who need practice, don’t give up or be discouraged if it doesn’t pan out the way you’d hoped, or if your husband doesn’t seem to notice.
Some husbands may not be directly reached by words of affirmation, and that’s okay. Remember, we are doing this to honor the Lord, not for the results it will yield! But no matter what your husband’s immediate outward response, you can bet that the inner transformation that takes place in you is going to have a huge long-term impact on your relationship.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…”– 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)
3.) Elevate him in front of others.
If you have children, they might be the safest testing grounds for speaking positive things about your husband to others. If it was a little intimidating for you to elevate him in front of just him, elevating him in front of others may be even more so! But don’t let fear keep you from speaking life into your husband and into your marriage.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
“The tongue has the power of life and death…” – Proverbs 18:21a (NIV)
If you have young children, you can start off by saying things like “Didn’t Daddy do a good job washing the car?” or “Doesn’t your father look handsome in that suit?” while he is within earshot. You can elevate him when he isn’t around too; speaking well of your husband to your children can be a powerful way to positively shape their view of their father, and of a marriage relationship. When you’re in a group of friends, when conversations turn to complaining about spouses, be extra-vigilant not to take part, and try to use the conversation as a springboard for changing the topic to something positive, like, “but you know what, I think all of our guys do a great job at…”
A Little Honesty…
Let me be clear: I don’t do any of these things well. Not yet. But I really, truly want to begin! So, if you’ll join me in committing to elevate our husbands for the next week, I’d love for us to begin a conversation in the comments about our success stories, as well as our disappointments and failures. This is what Candidly Christian is all about – sharing our struggles, and then linking arms as we move forward together to become more and more like Jesus!