On Affirming & Building Up Your Man

I was in Target’s parking lot a few months ago and noticed a good-looking couple walking towards the store as my husband Jeremiah and I headed out to our car. I noticed they had wedding rings on. The woman was talking loudly in her husband’s face and waving her hands around. She eventually started chewing him out. It was evident, just in what little I heard, that this husband didn’t do what his wife had wanted him to do. She had no shame letting everyone else hear about her disappointment. As she yelled, this poor guy just kept walking and looking down at the pavement like a poor, pitiful puppy dog. I felt so sorry for him.

Jeremiah and I got into our car and I told him how I couldn’t believe how that wife had treated her husband. She made him look like a wimp who couldn’t stand up for himself. And the crazy thing is that it made her look even worse.

Loving your husband for who he is

That story had me thinking about the times I had regretfully embarrassed my husband, said inappropriate words, and didn’t build him up in private or in public. I could recall several times. In observing that wife’s behavior, God showed me how serious it is to respect and honor my husband. Building him up is a big deal that contributes to his self-image, masculinity, pride, confidence, what he believes he can accomplish in life, and so much more. And if he doesn’t receive that affirmation, he will look for it elsewhere.

Early in our marriage, there were things Jeremiah did that drove me nuts and there were quirks in his personality that I wanted to change. But over time, I realized and am still realizing, that God has made Jeremiah the way he is for a reason and a purpose. I needed to appreciate our differences, not just our similarities. Besides, how unbalanced would it be if my spontaneous, intellectual, adventurous, visionary husband were just like his structured, relational, cautious, realistic wife?

Discovering and appreciating differences

I noticed that at times I wouldn’t build him up or respect him because he wasn’t thinking or doing things the way I would. It took several hard and painful conversations to see that the world doesn’t revolve around me and my opinion isn’t always spot on. Besides, he is the leader in our marriage. I started out on a journey to discover who Jeremiah really was and to appreciate him for those things. Most of all, I prayed that God would help me get my eyes off myself and my “wants.”

Last year in my seminary wives Bible study, we read through the book Creative Counterpart by Linda Dillow and had the privilege of hearing Linda speak at a conference on campus recently. She challenged us as wives to answer the following questions about our husbands, which are included in her book:

  • Do you really know your husband?
  • What is the happiest thing that has ever happened to your husband?
  • What has been the hardest experience of his life?
  • What are his secret ambitions, his goals for life?
  • What are his deep fears?
  • What about you does he appreciate the most?
  • What traits of you would he like to see changed?
  • What man or men does he most admire?

Your husband’s number one fan

I wrote down my answers and one night before bed I let Jeremiah read through my responses. He absolutely loved that I was on target for every question! He was impressed that I could put into words the deepest desires of his heart. He said several times, “I didn’t know you remembered that.” Of course I felt proud that I did.

Discussing those questions and answers made him feel affirmed in how much I loved, respected, and cared for him. It encouraged both of us to keep at it with our communication. Soon, he plans on answering the same questions about me. Affirming and building up my husband doesn’t always come naturally and I’m imperfect at times. But I’m so encouraged that through Christ’s strength, it is possible to be the wife God wants me to be and to show my husband that I am most definitely his number one fan.


Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife, mom, writer and editor in rural Colorado. Through story, personal experience, and biblical insight she is passionate about helping others live out their faith in everyday life and relationships. She has been writing for leading Christian books and magazines for over 12 years and holds a BA in English and Master’s in Religion. Samantha and her husband, Jeremiah, have been married for a decade and have four young children. Samantha writes candidly about marriage, motherhood, and faith at samanthakrieger.com

  • Julie

    Thanks for the reminder, sadly I’m not sure if I would know all the answers about my husband 🙁 Your words have helped me to realize that I focus way to much on myself.Thank you!

    • It’s everyday battle for me to get my eyes of my self too. Thankfully, God gives lots of grace. I’m glad you were encouraged.

  • Toni

    Beautiful! Life can get you to the point of noticing on the negative. There was a reason you/I said “I do” and that reason is what we need to hold on to. I will do more to show my husband how much I do appreciate him, and show him that I am his number one fan also!
    Again, thank you!

  • Toni- very good insight: “There was a reason you/I said “I do” and that reason is what we need to hold on to” – so true. Especially as the years pass by 🙂

  • Julia Wells

    That was a wonderful reminder!! Thank you for your vulnerability Samantha 🙂

  • Chey

    Love reading your work. Awesome job it seems as if your topics are always on time. Keep up the great work.

  • Great post – I’m answering the questions now and going to see how close I am to getting them right. I think I know but will know for sure when I show my hubs my answers. What a great tool as a simple tool in this area of affirmation. How cool that you got to hear Linda Dillow in person. That’s awesome.

    • love that you did it too! So glad it was tool you wanted to use too.

  • i d like to know how it is God allowed you to know who your husband was and how early it was in the relationship before you knew what ticked you off about the things he said or did that you didn’t like if i may ask. i a a young woman and i am a single parent and to be honest i d like to beleive God has the man who is going to eventually be the love of my life out there but in terms of timing we cant predict God other wise he wouldnt be God , i dont have much family support or even church support , there is more to say but would have to say it off air , is there an e-mail adress that persons can correspond with you by may i ask??

  • Nice post, respecting your partner is vey important in a relationship, how would they feel if they did the same thing to you

  • After reading this article, I texted my husband and told him how I was his #1 fan, that I believed in him, and that I appreciated his differences. Building up your husband is such an important part of respecting him, and his #1 need is respect from his wife. I really liked the questions you included in this post too – I’m planning to answer them and ask my husband. It’s always good to have a get-to-know you lunch or dinner for two.

  • Love that Hannah. Thanks so much for sharing.

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