What Wives Can Learn from George Bailey (on how to love discouraged husbands)

Every Christmas Wyatt and I cuddle up in front of the laptop and watch It’s A Wonderful Life.  And everytime, this opening scene about George Bailey hits my heart.  Right at about minute 1:25, you overhear a conversation between angels about George…

“A lot of people asking for help for a man named George Bailey…”

“…What’s the matter with him?  Is he sick?”

“… No worse.  He’s discouraged.”



From the wisdom of these angels, discouragement is worse than sickness.

And as wives, we have an incredible window into the hearts of our men that no one else access to.  With that window, we have the ability to speak life to the most vulnerable places.

The Bible is clear on the power of encouragement.

Encourage one another while it’s called today….(Hebrews 3:13)

A wise woman builds her house, but a foolish woman tears it down with her hands. (Proverbs 14:1)

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)


I cannot get away from this truth: Words are incredibly powerful.

They define our realities.

They destroy.  They build.  They cut.  They heal.




I don’t always get it right.  In fact, because I failed with my words recently, I’ve committed to memorize Proverbs 12:18 to remind myself of what kind of woman/wife I want to be.  A wise woman who brings healing with her words.

The Lord has been training me lately to practice words of gratitude and blessing in unlikely moments in my home.  When it’s easier to complain or point out weakness, God is teaching me to meditate on what is good and true and excellent.  To be a blessing generator for my family, especially my husband, with my words.

So what does that look like?

When my husband is discouraged about finances…I’m going to try my best not to talk about all the things I wish we had for our house or our kids.  I’m going to tell him how great of a provider he is, how hard he works, how thankful I am.

When my husband is discouraged about work…I’m going to try hard not pressure him about being more quiet than normal after work.  I’m going to do what I can to be a support at home, a safe place, a place he looks forward to coming.  I’m going to try to make him a nutritious meal and offer to give him some “down” time or an hour to work-out.

When my husband is insecure about his strength as a man/husband/father…I’m not going to compare him to other men or fathers.  I’m going to make a point to use my words to build up what is good, highlight what is worthy, and bless what God is doing in him.  I may even make a list of all the ways I respect and admire him, and read it to him before bed.

In all these moments, I’m going to make a distinct effort to ask the Lord for the power to harness my tongue.  I’m going to get my heart before God and ask for HIS EYES to see our situation, so that I speak life, not death over what He is growing in our home.  I’m going to ask God for specific encouragements and words that would form COURAGE and STRENGTH in the heart of my husband.

As I mediate on the power of words to build and form and bless, I’m asking God to change my own heart, that I may become a woman who uses words to prophesy life where there appear to be dry bones; and a women who trusts fully in a God who is powerful enough to do the impossible.