There are different ways to encourage your partner. One way is verbally through praise, affirmation, validation, and encouraging words. Another way, which I have found helpful, is by way of taking action on behalf of my partner. Let me paint you the context. Daniel is different from me in that he does not actively seek to grow on a daily basis. It’s not #1 on his mind, which I wouldn’t expect it to be, especially since he is a guy. Since it’s something I think about all the time, I have opportunities to think about him and for him in regards to his growth opportunities. Also, Daniel is the type of person who needs a bit of an action-oriented encouragement. Meaning, he may think about doing a personal growth opportunity, but is hesitant to take action because of fear, inadequacy, etc. Knowing him, and wanting to encourage him to grow, over the years I have signed him up for a few things. 😉 Example 1: Mentoring a high school student. Example 2: Volunteering in the our church’s youth group for middle and high school male students. Example 3: Joining a men’s bible study that currently meets bi-monthly. And Example 4: Joining our first bible study when he was agnostic. Some may view my approach negatively by thinking I am taking control of his life, discounting his own initiatives, disrespecting him, and the like. However, I view it more positively, in that I know my husband and want to encourage him in a manner that has proven successful to him. I know that if I don’t sign him up, and encourage him after the fact (because of course he justifies against what I did), he will never do it himself, and therefore will miss the opportunities. And now, after taking this approach for several years, he is signing himself up for similar growth opportunities without me even suggesting it! The transition has been beautiful to watch. He now has the courage, confidence, and self-awareness to take plunges that in the past he wouldn’t have done. I definitely do not credit myself for it wholly, but I do believe my past action-oriented encouragement has contributed to it.
So ask yourself (and your partner) if this would benefit him/her. I never asked Daniel, I just did it and saw that it worked. 😉 If you think this may work for your partner, give it a try!