How to Encourage the Man in Your Life: Encourage Him at Work

How to Encourage the Man in Your Life: Encourage Him at Work

how to encourage your man in his workWhen I was a newlywed, I had a front-row seat to the tough career decisions couples I knew were making.

One friend had a tough decision to make. After a long job hunt, she and her husband had narrowed it down to two options:  her hometown, or his.  Each desperately wanted to settle near their own family and long-time friends, but the two cities were 3000 miles apart.

They chose his. “Here’s the thing,” she said.  “My husband’s entering his profession on the bottom rung.  In my hometown, the field is saturated, and he’ll have to beg for work.  In his hometown, it’s wide open, and clients will be begging him to take them on. A man who’s happy in his work is easier to live with–so we’re moving.”

It’s been 7 years: he’s thriving, and so is she.  I think it’s largely because my friend has been chosen to encourage her husband in his work.  Whether your man is in his dream job or just punching the clock to pay the bills, you can give him the encouragement he needs.  And you’ll both be the better for it.  Here’s what to do:

support men in their work


1.  Show your man you’re interested in his work.

Ask him questions about his job–get to know the characters in his daily stories and become familiar with what his days at work look like.   An older, wiser friend of mine, who has a Ph.D. in education, told me once she never thought she’d be interested in the roofing business–but since she’s married to a roofer, she has to be interested!  Whatever it is your man spends his days doing, it’s your job to be interested.  You can’t offer him genuine encouragement if you don’t understand what he does all day. Knowing what’s going on in his workplace has another benefit–you’ll know when he’s under a lot of stress at work, or when he’s riding high.  You’ll know when he’s in a busy season, or when his schedule’s a little freer.  And you can use this information to better calibrate your relationship.

2. Show your man respect.

Your man wants to know that you, his woman, thinks he can handle it–no matter what “it” is.  Obviously, this applies to his work.  Show him that you respect his ability to perform in the workplace.  He wants to be seen as capable and competent–especially by you.

3.  Be your man’s sounding board.

Ask him how his day went, and listen to the answer.  Be supportive and understanding.  Try and set aside some time every day to have this end-of-the-day conversation.  Encourage him by giving him the opportunity to feel truly heard and understood.

3.  Take his side.

If your man trusts you to be his sounding board, then you’re going to hear the bad as well as the good.  You’ve got to show him you are on his side.  This is not the time to criticize or question him.  Let him know he has your support, that you believe in him, and that you’re on his team.

4.  Don’t give unsolicited advice.

If he wants your help, he’ll ask for it. Don’t try and solve his problems for him.  This means you don’t email him “helpful” articles or otherwise make him feel like a “project.” Don’t micro-manage him or try to make his workplace decisions for him.  If he asks for your advice, it’s because he wants your advice–go ahead and tell him what you think.  But ultimately, give him the freedom to be in control of his own job.

5.  How to encourage your man when he’s not at work.

MMD ranks high on google search terms for variations on phrases like “how to encourage a man.”  Lots of women want to know how to best offer encouragement to their husbands and boyfriends.  My keywords are showing lots of hits right now for phrases “how to encourage my husband when he’s unemployed” and “how to encourage frustrated husband can’t find a job.”

Here’s how to do it:  Show him you’re interested in how he spends his days.  (Does he want to talk about his job prospects? Potential interviews? Be interested.  Know what he has on the horizon.)  Let him know you think he’s capable, competent, and employable. Be on his side. Don’t give unsolicited advice.

Recommended Reading: 

The Magic 5 Hours for a Successful Marriage

How to Encourage the Man in Your Life:  Don’t Shoot Down His Ideas

How to Encourage the Man in Your life:  Ignite His Adventurous Spirit

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  1. Amber @ says:

    Great advice! I would also add that it is important to give him space if he doesn’t want to talk about a particular bad day, or situation at work. I tend to need to “talk things out”, and my husband doesn’t need that much “vent” time. So I have to respect that while I may want to know more about a situation, he may not want to over discuss it.

  2. Hannah says:

    You can be a great help if your hubby is one of the few ‘honest’ employees, like mine is. He never cheats on company time and always puts his all in. Sometimes it gets really frustrating when the higher-ups don’t notice. It helps him not to get discouraged if YOU at least notice. These things pay off eventually, but sometimes he needs a boost until they do!

  3. So true, our hubbies need our support when they are not home as much as when they are. I really appreciated Amber’s comment. My guy is quiet like that too, and if I push him to talk when he doesn’t want to, it will not help the situation. Being quiet and listening to the little comments he makes is important in order to know what’s going on in his life. He’s not going to write me a book, but he might make one statement about how his day was rough. That needs to be enough to know that I can encourage him and let him know he is appreciated!

  4. Mandi says:

    This is very timely advice for me! My husband will graduate with his Ph.D. in May and has already begun the job hunt. His Ph.D. is in a very technical scientific field and I have a very hard time understanding his research with my basic science knowledge. Reading this made me realize that maybe I haven’t put enough effort into supporting him and understanding the pressure he is under (we are expecting a baby later this year, so there is pressure for him to find a good job right away after he graduates). I’m going to bookmark this post and refer to it often!

    • Jana says:

      I thought I was the only one! Husband’s finishing his Ph.D. November next year, and I also have an extremely limited knowledge & understanding of science… I can relate to stress about finding a job, because except for being an academic, there’s not a lot of work for physicists! I really appreciated Hannah’s comment as well – it’s a great encouragement to realize that SOMEONE notices hard/honest work… Thank you for the post!

    • lmb says:

      Christian wives?!!! give me a friggin break. Why are the husbands considered as anything above all else in earning power than their wives?!!! There are plenty of women who have full time jobs and no-job husbands! how is the bible going to help?!!! You obviously think that only men earn livings. More to your detriment. Females, do not depend on men!!!!

  5. Georgia says:

    Very nice post!!!! i need encouragment in building my husband up and being respectful. my big mouth always gets me in trouble and i always need a nice reminder of how to be a better wife. thanks for the reminder :0)

  6. Caley says:

    These were really great ideas and reminders! One of the best words of advice I heard when I got married was to “be loyal to him in every thought, word, and action”. Encouraging him to be and do his best is right up that alley! Thanks so much for sharing this!

  7. simply heidi says:

    Great advice. One thing I try to do is ask myself – how would I respond to one of my friends in this situation. If husband is supposed to be my best friend (and he really is), I’d better be sure to treat him like one.

  8. 'Becca says:

    This is great advice for anybody who wants to encourage a working person! In my family, I’m the one who’s been most consistently employed–same job for over 12 years, while he’s had some long periods of unemployment–and every one of these tips applies to encouraging me, too. Amber’s advice is also great.

    Something that’s probably worth mentioning: Avoid interrupting him at work to demand that he listen to (or read in e-mail or text) what’s going on at home, and when he gets home avoid greeting him with, “Everything is horrible here! You have to take over right away so I can rest!” I hate that as a working mom, and I used to supervise a man whose wife called him about 4 times a day for various trivial reasons and distracted him badly. Try to reserve workday interruptions and “crisis mode” greetings for genuine emergencies.

    “Be on his side” really is a crucial tip not just for spouses but for anyone who knows anyone who works in a different field. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve explained a problem at work to one friend or another, only to have her tell me some solution that’s totally infeasible given the technical details of my work. Even if you think you can see a great solution that the worker is missing, the best approach is to ask gentle questions like, “Is it possible to do those calculations in Excel?” And you should never, ever say, “I wouldn’t put up with that!”–it can never make a person feel anything other than offended–instead, say something like, “It’s awful that they treat you that way; you deserve better.”

  9. Shanda Oakley says:

    Thank you for all these ideas. I have to admit, after 25 years of of marriage, that I have gotten lazy in encouraging my husband at work. Will have to wor kon that.

  10. Kasey says:

    I find that trying to give my husband and minute when he gets home shows him that I realize how hard he’s been working all day. It doesn’t have to be a long minute, just a minute.

  11. Heather says:

    Found this through Women Living Well Wednesday. This is great advice. I was not very good at this in the beginning, but I am getting better about it now. He decided to get unlimited texting on our phones; and while I don’t like the extra expense, I do like that we can ‘talk’ all day long and I can encourage him while he’s gone. Thanks!

  12. As always, you hit it out of the park with this one! This is an area where I struggle greatly, since my husband is self employed, in real estate. The stress of a job that is unpredictable makes me a little crazy, but it’s my leap of faith. I have to trust that God will guide him, and that my husband will be successful.

  13. faith says:

    hey loved the 3 articles on how to
    encourage your husband …..made alot of sense even out here in Africa my husband being pastor and all . faith kenya

  14. Brittany says:

    This is such great advice but my situation is different. My husband owns a booming plumbing and septic company. He has all the advertisements and customers calling on my phone. I’m not so good with talking to people (especially when it comes to septic tanks, etc) and I don’t know what to say to them. I want to be the best wife I can be. We’ve been married 11 days now:) I try. I just need to get more involved and learn how to do this. My husband asks for my help a lot. Any advice?

    • Anne says:

      11 days? Goodness, Brittany, congratulations!!

      Well, it’s only been 11 days. And that’s great that business is booming! I’m sure there’s a learning curve and you’re on the tough end of it right now, but it will get better with time–especially if you’re actively trying to help. When your husband asks for your help, does he say what kind of help he’s looking for? Because right now, even without knowing much about plumbing, you could likely manage to take a friendly message and have your husband call back to discuss details. And you’ll certainly learn more about plumbing with time.

      I think the fact that you’re trying means you’re on the right track. Good luck, and congrats again on the marriage!

  15. Catherine says:

    I have a boyfriend who is having money problems and I don’t know what to say to encourage him in his time of need. He calls me and doesn’t have much to say on the phone. I try to say things to make him laugh but that only lasts for a second, then he’s back to being sad. I wish I could help him with his money problems but I’m having money problems myself. I wish I could say the right words to make him feel better.

  16. Kristen says:

    While this is all well and good and solid relationship advice… the main question for me at the end is does he reciprocate for *your* job? Such as encouraging you to be happy and successful at work, asking about your day, being your sounding board etc? Or is this expected to be one sided?

    • Anne says:

      GREAT question. This should be a two-way street, no doubt about it. I wrote this early on in response to a very specific reader question, which I probably should have stated. (I’ve learned a lot in 2 years of blogging!)

  17. AC says:

    I just came across this blog just when I need to give some encouragement to my new boyfriend. He hasn’t been in touch in the last few days – He is having a hard time at work and has made a few employees redundant. What a huge toll on him. I have reached out to him showing that no matter what I will be here and support what he thinks is best but it felt like we are drifting away – since obviously, we are new in the relationship. What should I do?

  18. Lukonde Kapambwe says:

    Number 4 really helped me out because I found myself giving unsolicited advise and did not understand why it was not welcome. Thank you for sharing this.

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