November 8, 2012

learning to encourage.

This week I've had a glimpse of what life was like with a brain--before this pregnancy, that is. The feeling of being able to think clearly and get things done is one that's been sorely missed these past few months. I'm hoping it's here to stay for a little longer.

And so here I sit, using this brain to try to think of something to say. Coming out of a writing rut is hard. Words never flow as easily as before. But, here is my attempt nonetheless. Because I have been learning a lot these past few weeks. Especially in the way of communication, expectations, my heart and my way-overzealous emotions.

With so much busyness, sickness and pregnancy hormones in the air, it's been pretty chaotic around here. And that has lent itself to heightened, messy conversation and communication in our home. Which is not something we're used to. It's been emotional, and it's been hard.

And as the weeks have gone by, I've started to realize that it is mostly my fault.

My selfishness has become much bigger to me. Somewhere along the way, selfishness began to take a bigger part in shaping my attitude towards life, and my words towards my family. What I felt I deserved started to become paramount in any situation. And feeling loved and appreciated was at the forefront of my interactions.

At some point, it hit me--how I felt became more important to me than the people I love most in this world.

In general, I have a tendency to talk too much. In a effort to fully convey my thoughts, motives and emotions, I over talk the situation. I beat the horse until it's glue. And at the end of it, I usually don't even know what I was trying to say in the first place. So I just cry. And, being pregnant makes times like these exponentially bigger. Like everything else.

Nick, on the other hand, does not. He prefers to think before he speaks. And tries to help me do the same. Though, we have come to the conclusion that "Baby, just calm down," doesn't do much good in the heat of my emotional throws.

Feel free to pray for my husband.

He's right though. I am only serving myself when I feel the need to hotly express every shred of emotion and thought process that I'm going through in order to make him understand. I say too much, and I say it badly. I'm learning that it is at this moment that I need to pause. To collect my thoughts and grasp for those too-big emotions to come back down.

Oh, how hard it is to tame this tongue of mine.

The funny thing is, I would consider myself the encourager in our relationship. Being the far more vocal one in our marriage, I say plenty of encouraging things on a pretty regular basis. I'm quick to thank him for his hard work, acknowledge him for what he's done and just tell him nice things whenever they come to mind. That sounds good, right?

Communication is a funny, though. I'm starting to learn that to be an effective encourager, in my situation at least, what I don't say is more important than what I do.

Because even though I express my thankfulness and appreciation to him, and while I maintain that it is an important thing to do, I also bombard him with everything else that's going on in my mind and heart. Yes, pretty much all of it. While I don't want to start throwing out blanket statements, I think that this is something that women in general tend towards. And something that men don't.

And so no matter how many nice things I say, they are overshadowed by the multitude of my struggles and frustrations that I feel so strongly that I need to "share" with him on any given day. My encouraging words are lost when my attitude implies that I am not content in my circumstances.

When my husband comes home from working hard all day, after getting not enough sleep for countless nights, I'm learning that "I'm so tired," isn't what blesses him to hear. Yes, I know. Profound.

And really, despite my sin, that's what my heart wants. To make him feel supported, loved and encouraged. To serve him selflessly, without the desire of recognition or reward getting in the way. I want our children to grow up in a home where they see sacrificial love and selfless service as a means of grace and joy in their parents' lives.

We are I am definitely not there yet. But by God's grace, I'm getting closer. And my prayer is for the continual growth in disciplining my tongue, of thinking before I speak, so that when I can express my love and encouragement to my husband that works so hard for us, he'll be able to hear it.



  1. i'm with you! i think that blanket statement covers me too. prayers all around!

    1. It's nice to know that it's not just me, you know? Though prayers all around, for sure. haha.

  2. Wow, what timing you have! This is exactly what I needed to hear right now. Not that I want to make it about me ;)

    Thank you <3

  3. You have described the dynamic between my husband and I in a nutshell. I have the same struggles with oversharing (encouragement AND everything else)and overtalking stuff. Thank you for so eloquently expressing my thoughts exactly!!!

    1. Absolutely! It's funny how God pairs us with people that are so different than us, isn't it? Here's hoping we all learn how to compliment each other. :)


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