I find it interesting when I hear a husband or wife telling me the trouble with his or her spouse. If I listen to him, I believe I have the story correct. Then I talk to her and think I know the facts. When I get them together and we have a discussion about the troubling matter surely everything must be on the table, right? Apparently not.
The whole story has baggage, history, resentments, accomplishments, secrets, embarrassments, pride, and success. The elements are all there and no one can sort them or separate them into any form of logical explanation. You cannot summarize thirty or forty years in a few sentences. How does one couple survive the loss of two children and still manage to go on, while another couple fights over which of two almost identical schools their one child must go to? And, I do mean fight.
We cannot look at everyone through the same eyes. Who they are, the way they stand, hand and arm language, their words, their eyes, and the set of their mouth all paint a picture. Does color come into their cheeks from fear, embarrassment, or laughter? The tone of their voice can make you think they are kidding when they are dead serious and vice versa. If they stay in the room that is different than when they walk out in disgust.
Watching successful people, you will notice they come in two types. There is the husband who encourages his wife because she is good. Then there is the husband who nurtures his wife even when she makes mistakes. Praise always motivates people to do better. If you can move someone from a nine to a ten you have improved them and likely yourself by a small measure. If you can move them from a two to a three you have improved them by 50%. That is a far greater accomplishment. The world will find plenty of faults in a person and let them know about it. Those who love them should find their strengths and tell them.
I have heard it said the best lesson a father can teach a son is the way he honors his wife. The best lesson a mother can give her daughter is the respect and inspiration she gives to her husband.
Frankly, there is way too much depression in our tremendously successful society. Virtually all of us are way ahead of almost everyone else in the world. Unfulfilled, and unrealistic expectations lead to misery when we are comparing others to ourselves. One can always find a person better off and another worse off. When we compare those we know, especially those in our family, to another person, we are on thin ice.
How difficult it must be to minister and to counsel folks. Incomplete knowledge and one-sided facts can lead to horrible advice. All of this should modify what we are going to say to others. The situation should as well. Any idiot can find fault. Finding ways to inspire is a gift. Encouragement givers are a rare treasure.
By Bob Bekins
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