Have you been thinking about the people in your balcony (encouragers/affirmers) and those in your basement (critics/complainers)? I have. And even more so, I’ve really been thinking about the people who I want to be a balcony person for. I want my children and grandchildren to be assured of my love and support, and to know that I’m in their corner. I want to pour lavishly into the lives of young women; to be an encourager for them in their marriages and in their relationships with God. I want friends and co-workers to see me as a balcony person, not a basement person.
However, most of all, I want to be a balcony person for my husband. I want to be his number one encourager and affirmer. But I’ve noticed something. With the children, grandchildren, young wives, friends, and co-workers . . . it’s almost natural, second nature. It’s easy to find the words of encouragement and support for them. I wish that were true with the hubby–but it’s not. It doesn’t feel natural. It goes against the grain (Gen. 3:16). And unfortunately, what feels natural is to point out his missteps, to withhold encouragement, or even just to assume that he already knows the good stuff about himself, but needs me to point out the not-so-good stuff.
I have to work at it . . . remind myself to be encouraging, to hug more, to smile more, and to remove the pesky frown that easily becomes the ”face of choice.” I don’t want to be like the women King Solomon spoke of so often in Proverbs:
It is better to live in a corner of the housetop
than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife (Proverbs 21:9).
It is better to live in a desert land
than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman (Proverbs 21:19).
A continual dripping on a rainy day
and a quarrelsome wife are alike; to restrain her is to restrain the wind
or to grasp oil in one’s right hand (Proverbs 27:15-16).
Solomon paints a pretty ugly picture, doesn’t he? It’s hard to imagine anyone being able to restrain the wind, or hold onto oil in their hand . . . it’s a fruitless and discouraging effort. I don’t want my husband to feel that way about me.
I don’t think that I’m a nag . . . but the only way to know is to ask. If you’ve never asked your husband that question, I’d encourage you to do it today. If he says yes, commit to laying that habit at the Lord’s feet and trusting Him with the issues that you’re prone to nag about. If he says no, be grateful and remain steadfast in your determination not to nag. I asked. And I’m relieved that my hubby said, “No, honey, you’re not a nag. And I’m so thankful for that.” It would have been really embarrassing to write this post if he had said something else!
Even though he was gracious and merciful in his assessment, I know my own inner struggle to be a balcony person for him. He is sensitive to those changes in my voice inflection and tone that indicate that I’m thinking negative thoughts, even if I don’t verbalize them. So I continue to lean on the Lord for His sufficiency, and plead with Him to make me that excellent wife that Solomon describes as one who does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life (Prov. 31:12).
I want my husband to have a mental image of me in a cheerleader’s uniform, with pom-poms and all, cheering him on. “You can do it! You’re the man! Yoo-hoo, honey! Yep, it’s me–up here in the balcony!”. . . I never much cared for basements anyway.