6 Ways to Lift Up Your Husband When He’s Down

I couldn’t say when I first noticed.

We were in the midst of so many trials at the time that it’s hard to tell when it really began. Troubles in the church. Hardships at home. Challenges at work. So much was swirling about us that I didn’t notice how heavy it was on his soul.

But then one day I watched as he walked by with his shoulders slumped over and his stride too slow. As if burdened by some great weight and it was all he could do to carry it across the floor.

My heart went out to him. I was rather worried. and a little afraid.

I mean, what do you do when your own man is down? Discouraged? Defeated?

Maybe your husband is different than mine. But mine doesn’t necessarily want me come in and deliver a powerful sermon or even a spiritual rah-rah. He doesn’t appreciate me stating the obvious or reminding him of one more way he’s failed.

Let’s face it, pointing out to him – Doesn’t seem like you’re walking in the Spirit, dear – isn’t all that helpful.

So what can a wife do to encourage her husband?

Call out to God on his behalf. This is not an ordinary “pray for him.” This is about true supplication: a crying out to God to work in his life. To minister, convict, or encourage him—depending on the need.

Don’t nag or badger him. I have yet to hear a husband testify that his wife “nagged him back to church”, if you know what I mean? If anything this approach only makes things worse, so put your energies toward those things that will help.

Such as….

Notice the good things that he does. Be grateful for the small steps such as saying grace around the table or sitting next to each other at church. Appreciate any kind word or thoughtful gesture he might make. Keep in mind that when a person is down, they are often down on themselves most of all. So point out the good you can see that he might not realize.

Get rid of the spiritual list. You know, the things you think he should or shouldn’t do to be spiritual. No one one wants to live up to someone else’s personal list of what qualifies as “spiritual”. If it’s not spelled out in the Bible? Then ditch it. If it is? Then let the Holy Spirit do His job (not you).

Be mindful of who you admire. It’s wonderful if you look up to your pastor, worship leader, or that Christian author, but if you often rave about him in front of your husband? To everyone around you? You might want to consider how that sounds. This can be a very defeating message to your husband and some guys give up before they ever even start trying. They know they’ll never “measure up” to that great spiritual man you find so amazing.

Last of all, don’t underestimate the power of your own testimony. You can have a tremendous impact on your husband by quietly shining the love of Christ in your home. A soft smile, a gentle word and a song in your heart can have a stronger influence than might be immediately apparent.

So shine on, sister.

He’ll be encouraged. Truly.

So what are some of the things you find that encourage your husband? I’d love to hear!

In His grace,

Lisa Jacobson, Club31Women

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  • Bethany M

    Listening with an open heart seems to really lift my husband up… Taking time to ask specific open-ended questions about things he has been worried about or even just mentioned. It lets him know you are listening and care about what he cares about. These are the moments that lift each other up and draw us closer to each other in our marriage. Great article!!

  • Dara Harvey

    I would also add, physical touch. Especially if that’s one of your husband’s love languages. When my husband was down due to issues at work, he was bringing them home with a terrible mood every single day. It put me in a tailspin. I kept trying to think of things to say that would help his perspective. But he didn’t want to hear, “It’s all going to be okay,” or “It’ll get better,” or even, “God has a reason for having you here right now.” He was miserable and he already knew those things. What he did say to me was, “I just need your touch.” It was the last thing I felt like giving, because for me physical touch is something I give when I’m feeling good already, not when I’m aggravated or impatient over my husband’s attitude. But I prayed over it, and knew it was what he needed. So I went to him and gave him a kiss – not a short peck on the cheek, but a kiss like you would give at your wedding, with concentration and purpose. He immediately started to feel better, and act better. It made a huge difference. I still consider that a turning point in my understanding of being a wife – giving your husband what he asks for even if it’s not what I feel like giving at that moment. When his attitude got better after that kiss, I started to feel better too.

  • Bonnie L

    I loved your article about lifting up your husband. You nailed it…it is supplication on his behalf.
    I think that one of the easiest ways to lift up your husband is simply with a big smile and hug. I try to remind him how proud I am that he is my husband and that I would never ever want to change that. I also try to make reference to things he has done or said that impacted me personally. Most of all, just let him know you unconditionally love him for who he is.

  • Beverly Wright

    Exactly what I needed today! My husband prayed for us this morning before he left for work. It was the sweetest thing as we try to grow closer to God and one another through life’s trials. He truly is a praying, Godly husband and I am so thankful God gave him to me. This reminded me to thank him for all the big and little things he does. We are to be each others biggest encouragers. The Lord is always faithful!

  • JD

    This is a really good post. My husband has been down since January due to a circumstance that reminded him of a past sin. He’s been shamed. I was scared at first too. He’s gotten better little by little, but still has so far to go. I’ve been doing some of things you mentioned. I think probably the biggest thing is not nagging or pointing out his failures. Just trying to be more positive and pointing out or thanking him for even the smallest things. Also, at first I was preaching at him about certain Biblical truths that he knows are true in his head but cant accept them for himself.

    He was really growing in his spiritual walk before this happened so its so sad to seem him retreat like he has. I know the enemy wanted this for him. He finally went to church with me on Easter, first time since Christmas Eve. I asked about going this past week and he told me “too much too soon.” I didn’t pressure him and just let it go.
    I’m praying he will come back to the Lord and come out of this depression.

    • Lisa Jacobson (Club31Women)

      Oh, I’m so sorry. That is really tough. I’m totally with you though, the Lord can (and I believe will!) bring him back to Him. It sounds like you are doing just the right things as a faithful, loving, praying wife. He’s blessed to have you!

  • Sharon Mavis

    My husband and I have been greatly influenced by John and Stasi Eldredge. (In fact, we lead marriage seminars based on their book, Love and War!) They talk about realizing that when they are caught in a downward spiral, they recognize that there is someone else in the room.

    It has been very helpful for us to come to that realization, stop and stand in front of the other, take their hands, and pray seriously against the enemy. It is amazing the relief that can follow.

    We’ve known this all our lives, but the practice of doing battle like this directly for one another rand our marriage is relatively new. We love it!

  • Loresa

    My husband too feels loved and comforted with touch. When he is upset or irritated I can gently approach and start rubbing his shoulder of his back and he immediately shows sign of relaxing. My husband and I have been married for 42 years (right out of high school) and I just recently discovered that both of us have- touch- as a love language, although for me, words of affirmation scored 2 points higher. I can’t help but wonder how much that may have contributed to the success of our marriage. We are both born again believers, and my husband was won over by my testimony alone and my not just praying for his salvation, but I actually visualized it happening as I prayed. God gave me that idea right before he was saved. We serve an amazing and loving God.

  • Donna

    Great article! Thanks for encouraging me to be a good wife to my husband today. Here are my additions:
    1. Smile. It lights up our faces which, in turn, can light up their world.
    2. Brag about him to others – in front of him. Something he did, something he is good at, something you appreciate. Communicating “I think my husband is awesome!” to others where he can hear you say it really boosts his confidence (and his love and affection for you!). It’s a sign of your loyalty to him and it means a LOT to him. If his wife is proud of him, a husband can take a lot more crap from the world.
    3. A companion to #2, do not criticize him to others (especially your parents & family). It is disloyal to cut him down to others. We should only praise our husbands to others (ok, it’s ok to vent to ONE – and I mean only one – closest girlfriend. (But not your sister, your mama or his female relatives). Do not vent about your husband in your ladies bible study. Not, it’s not “sharing a prayer request” if you expose his flaws to a flock of women.
    4. Sex. Men “feel” love with their wives through the physical act of coming together. Remember that women talk and men “do” to bond with their friends. Well, to “bond” with you, his wife, there is this one, special, sacred, “only you” thing that you two “do” together that means you love him, accept him, and are with him body and soul.
    5. Respect. Think of 5 things you respect your husband for and tell him one each day the next 5 days. His willingness to x, his commitment to y, his strength, his loyalty, his honesty, etc. He knows you love him, but he is not sure you respect him.