June 18, 2015 | Faith

Cheer Photo*This post’s intended audience is Pastor’s Wives, but I think it actually applies to everyone!

I’ll never forget one summer night having dinner with a pastor and his wife. Andy and I were newly married and navigating the world of working with teenagers. I don’t doubt for one minute that this pastor’s wife loved Jesus and meant well, but something didn’t feel great about the vibe between the two of them. I remember her telling us that she always felt it was her role to keep her husband humble. What with all the people praising and complementing him all the time…  He chuckled a little bit uncomfortably. She was pretty proud of her success.

In spite of my complete inexperience and floundering to figure out what being a ministry wife meant, that one thing failed to ring true for me. I decided to do the exact opposite. My goal became “be his greatest cheerleader.” I don’t always get it right, but that’s the bull’s-eye on the target. Even when busy with ministry and family and whatever else, my top priority apart from my personal relationship with Christ is Andy. There are lots of people affirming him and admiring him. Why would that EVER make me do it less?

So, for what it’s worth, here’s my advice. Never assume the role of keeping your husband humble. Don’t let anyone else “out cheer” you. I don’t mean loudly and publicly and obnoxiously. I simply mean in HIS heart and mind, you’re his greatest fan.

A few ideas to get you thinking… I’m so proud of you. I love what God is doing through you. I love life with you. I love parenting with you. I’d marry you again in a minute! Thank you for your sweet text, it made my day. That shirt looks really good on you.  Have you been working out? Okay, okay, maybe I’m getting carried away, but you get the point.

I’m convinced that this approach is a win for your ministry, a win for your husband, and a win for YOU!

A note to the guys: Men, how would you like to hear this? “Honey, I wish everyone who hears you speak could know how well you live what you teach. You’re the real deal.” Hey, give her some stuff to compliment. Live up to what you teach. You potentially have the best cheerleader in the world right next to you.


Ellen Gee - June 19, 2015 at 07:47 am

Three years ago, I lost my husband of 38 years to cancer. Where I did praise his ability to build the most awesome cabinetry. Some of which sits in prestigious places on capital hill, I failed to fawn all over his character in the same way. You and Andy are such good examples to others. I listen to all his sermons and I pray against the enemy who would seek to destroy you. Never stop what you guys are doing. It’s making a big difference in our lives.

A failed husband - June 19, 2015 at 12:15 pm

I’m a husband who has been married for 19 years, and I would give almost anything to hear just a little of that kind of encouragement from my wife. Most days, for the past several years, my wife tells me how horrible I am, how I ruined her life, she’s stuck with me, and so on. It is a very difficult way to live. But, don’t feel sorry for me, because I earned it. For the first 12 years of marriage I was a not a good husband at all. I was selfish, arrogant, entitled, critical, and I’m ashamed to say sometimes emotionally abusive toward her. I don’t have any excuse, I don’t really have a good explanation as to what was wrong with me. It wasn’t like I didn’t know how to behave either. I have great parents and grew up in a great church. In fact, I was in Andy’s youth group. I had some incredible teachers and mentors around me from a young age. Anyway, long story short, I chose my own path as an adult and basically ran my marriage into the ground. Thankfully, about seven years ago I had a complete turn around. Over time I began to see how I had ignored my responsibility as a man and a husband, and I changed my life. Our marriage experienced nothing short of a miracle in how great it became. I never knew what I was missing. Unfortunately about three years into this restored marriage things came crashing down again. I confessed that I had an affair earlier in our marriage during “the bad years” and it broke my wife. Almost four years later it’s like she just found out every day. Of all the ways I have failed, there is nothing I regret more than having betrayed her. Unfortunately no amount of apologies, counseling, sermons, or support groups can take away the pain for her. I’m not ready to give up on our relationship but right now I don’t ever expect to be forgiven.

So, all that to say to the men who are reading this, pay attention to Sandra’s last paragraph. Make sure you are being the man, the husband, the father that God calls you to be. That you are loving, supporting and protecting your wife. Grace and forgiveness are real, but so are consequences. While I wish I had an encouraging wife, I took it too far. No matter how good I am now I may not ever get it. To wives, I would say if you have a “bad” husband, don’t give up on him. The man you married is probably still in there and your encouragement may help him change. It will likely require more, he may have to be broken like I was, but you are crucial to helping him become the man he is meant to be. (btw when I say “bad” I’m not talking about someone dangerous or abusive, if that’s the case take steps to protect yourself).

    Sharon thomas - June 19, 2015 at 09:35 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I know it was painful to share. Keep praying and loving your wife!

    Tracy - June 22, 2015 at 07:00 pm

    I will be praying for you and your wife, sir.

    Many years ago, I suffered an incredible hurt. As I dealt with the life-changing ramifications of it, I sought God’s wisdom on how to live through it. I was angry, hurt, frustrated. As I prayed, God gave me peace. He pointed me to several verses in the Bible, and then He reminded me that Jesus had died for that person’s sins the same as He had died for mine. I was forgiven of all my sins – entirely too many – so how could I not forgive this other person’s sins? Jesus died so that I could be forgiven – what right do I have to withhold forgiveness from anyone?

    Praying for God to restore all the locusts have eaten in your relationship. May He soften your wife’s heart, and may you both serve as living testimonies of His love, mercy, and grace.

      A failed husband - June 24, 2015 at 01:26 pm

      Thank you so much

    Don't give up on your wife:):):) - July 01, 2015 at 07:51 am

    You are not alone. You keep loving(as a verb) your wife and keep seeking seeking seeking God’s word and applying it. Adultery is like a “death” in a marriage. Try to find the margin of time for counseling for both of you, and with that know that the counselor doesn’t have the key to her heart, and the counselor can’t love her. ONLY you have the key to her heart and can love her like no other person. God will bless you and your wife and family by showing her your amazing love. Keep that broken heart of yours so humble and full of humility. Your love and adoration to her will help heal her heart. I don’t know if you have watched these series from Pastor Andy,,,,,but they all are just so incredible and will help help help help you in so so many ways(they are series to watch over and over) It’s worth every minute you make to watch these series and soak it all in, and apply it all in your marriage and family. Keep feeding your soul with God’s wisdom and apply apply apply. Don’t give up.

    It comes from within(also Enemies of the heart book)
    Killin’ it
    Staying in love
    Love, sex and dating
    Starting point
    Ask it(book with this series too)
    Right in the eye
    Breathing room
    Taking responsibility for your life
    The Grace of God book
    You’ll be glad you did
    Seven(by John Woodall)
    Principal of the path(book)

Tifani Thompson - June 19, 2015 at 12:25 pm

This so much applies to all of us. To me:) Thank you. The daddy is especially my big hero when he pulls up the driveway from work.:):):):) Love the screaming of our girls that daddy is home.

Thank you for posting “Every conversation can teach you something.” Really touching. That precious boy Wake had a really special dad. What an everlasting investment our children are.

So thankful for all the studying pastor Andy spends to teach and share with all of us. A heart of humility is always pouring out of Pastor Andy. We can’t hear enough of his relevant awesome Godly wisdom. Life only becomes better. Thank you and Thank you.

Marlene Chapman - June 19, 2015 at 05:14 pm

Thank you for this powerful explanation on our role as wives…. what a privilege!

Mrs T - June 19, 2015 at 09:43 pm

Thank you! Every wife needs this reminder! There’s always another women out there willing to be my your husbands cheer leader! It needs to be his wife! And I also think many women unfortunately, make it their challenge to get the attention of the “Pastor.” It makes them feel better about themselves.

Samantha - June 20, 2015 at 10:28 am

This is great advice. It breaks my heart when I see women take verbal blows at her husband. My husband and I frequently listen to Staying in Love, and its always my go-to when I feel like I’ve been nagging. I have a question though. My husband and I have been married 4 years and we have a 1 year old. I am a stay at home mom currently. Whenever I have to leave to go do something and my husband stays home with our son, I feel like I’m overseeing him and tend to say things like “he eats this for breakfast..do this at nap time..he likes this..” And I know it makes my husband think “do you think I’m not capable to take care of our son?” How do you let go of control and be hands off when you’re a stay at home mom and an expert on your child…how do you just get out of the way and show your husband that you trust him and know he’s capable? Any advice? Thanks Sandra! We admire you and Andy!

    Jessica R - July 06, 2015 at 01:10 pm

    I totally get this. I was like this too. Mine are 1 and 3 now, and eventually I just started heading out the door without a word of instructions. I figured, he’s a good father, he will either figure it out or call me. And that’s what happened. And our kids are always fine. That’s what I’d recommend to you too: just go. If he is a loving, attentive father (if somewhat uninformed about meals and routines), he will figure it out fast!

Natacha Ramos - June 30, 2015 at 06:12 pm

Love this! Thank you so much for the reminder and the ideas.
I’m not a wife yet but my boyfriend is the youth leader at my church.
Sure it applies for me too in the meantime! Thank youuu!

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