Washing Others with Our Words

For men and women alike, praise has a profound effect on people’s feeling of love and appreciation. Ephesians 5:25-27 states: 
 
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 
 
This tells us that a husband is to love his wife the same way Christ loves the church. According to this Scripture, one of the ways Christ loves the church is by cleansing her with His Word, which removes the church’s spots and wrinkles and causes her to become glorious. From this, we know that a husband must also have the same ability to “wash” his wife with his words of kindness to help remove “spots” from her personality. 
 
One of the best illustrations we have of this happened in our own life some years ago. I had been very busy for several weeks and had let the laundry (which is one of the things I choose to do in the home) pile up extremely high. When Shaun got home one night, I apologized for having hardly any clean clothes. I told him I was tired and had been so busy lately that I hadn’t been keeping up with this chore. He could tell I felt very overworked, overwhelmed, and didn’t have a good attitude about the task ahead of me.
 
When a husband sees his wife with a bad attitude about something, they can do one of several things. First, they can be hard on their wife about her attitude or her negligence in getting the task done. Second, they can be indifferent to the situation, say that’s fine, and go on to another topic. Third, they can respond the way Shaun did with me that night, by washing their wife with their words. 
 
Shaun gave me a big smile and said, “Oh honey, I understand you’ve had a lot on your plate. You work so hard for us, and I appreciate the things you do for our family so much. I don’t know what I would do without you. You make our home such a peaceful place to live. That laundry isn’t a big deal. I’ll help you with it this weekend. You do a great job as a wife, and I’m so thankful for you.” My attitude changed instantly from overwhelmed to optimistic! I no longer felt inadequate. I was so inspired by his appreciation that I cheerfully went and completed the task of doing all the laundry. His words of praise washed my attitude of its wrinkles and made me feel loved and appreciated.
 
A wife’s words have a similar impact on her husband because words of praise, admiration, and thankfulness are all part of showing respect. Ephesians 5:33 tells us, 
 
…Let each one of you in particular so love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. 
 
It is important to remember, however, that praise and respect are not something we only give when we want something done. We should show respect and praise consistently, on a daily basis, because it is the right thing to do and because we love our spouse. Everyone likes to feel appreciated. Even God enjoys appreciation, and we are made in His image. It is not much fun doing things for someone who is ungrateful, but it is inspiring when someone gives us praise because it’s a motivating force! 
 
When a husband does something around the house, whether big or small, a wife should always take note of it, verbally praising and appreciating him. When a woman focuses on the things her husband does, rather than what he doesn’t do, the wife will find that he enjoys helping much more. For example, a wife may ask her husband to do something like paint a room. If he doesn’t do it immediately, a wife may often resort to nagging. However, the wise thing for her to do would be to simply make a lifestyle of praising him for everything he does do. She could thank him for going to work for the family, taking out the trash, washing the car, taking the family out to eat, or anything else you can think of. When a husband feels appreciated, he is much more likely to be helpful because of the wife showing respect.
 
God intended for a wife to be her husband’s biggest encourager and vice versa. There are times when a husband knows he is called to do something, but it’s the wife’s encouragement and belief in him and his God-given abilities that give him the needed push to fulfill his God-given destiny. 
 
We once heard a man tell how he had started a ministry under the direction of God, but a few years into it things became very tough. He wanted to give up but asked his wife what she thought. She reminded him of everything the Lord had previously shown them regarding their ministry. She spoke confidently of attaining a successful future and cheered him on, knowing it was God’s plan to persevere. Her words brought new stamina and endurance to him for running the race, and with God’s help the ministry was a success. This wife understood the importance of honoring and encouraging her husband and lived like the woman in Proverbs 31:26: “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.
 
Whether it’s encouraging our spouse regarding their calling in life, or being appreciative to our family for the little things they do around the house, it’s important we remember to be someone who lavishes praise on others. When we are consistent with our praise, we build an atmosphere of peace in our home and also bring out the best in those around us. Criticism destroys a relationship, but sincere praise brings life and health. As we freely give praise and appreciation to our spouse and family, we are being a wise “house builder” and will see the fruit from our words being “sweet to their soul and health to their bones!”
 
We hope that you are encouraged and motivated to start (or continue living) a life full of praise and appreciation. 
 
In love, 
Pastors Shaun & Amy