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Strengthening Your Husband's Self-Esteem

No matter what type of man you are married to, God wants you to set your sights on building his self-esteem.
By Barbara Rainey

Our children and I once watched a new shopping center go up near our home. Initially, progress was rapid; the lot was cleared and the concrete pads were poured in one week. Then the walls went up, quickly followed by the framing for the roof.

But one day, we turned the corner and slowed our van in disbelief. The entire structure had collapsed! The wooden roof trusses lay flat in neat rows, surrounded by the remains of the crumbled brick walls. It appeared that there had been an explosion.

Puzzled, we asked what had happened and learned that the carpenters had failed to secure and brace the new structure properly. The building's roof, held in place only by two boards, had collapsed under the weight of two carpenters.

As I reflected with amazement on the need for support in the building's structure, I saw a parallel in my marriage: The roof is like my husband's self-esteem.

Ephesians 5:23 teaches that the husband is "the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church." When we first married, I committed to being under the roof of Dennis's protection. He had all the structural basics, but he was brand-new at being my protector. Like that roof, he appeared to be solidly in place, but he needed me to help secure him—to brace him by believing in him.

Fortunately, I did come alongside him. Through the years, the weight of life's pressures has sometimes shaken him, but he has remained solidly over me as my roof, my protector. Today, although still not perfectly secure, my husband's structural integrity is much more stable. He tells me that I have had a major part in helping him to feel more sure of himself as a man and as a husband.

Likewise, you can strengthen your husband's self-esteem. But first you must recognize where he needs bolstering. Many women today are so caught up in finding their own identity that they, like the carpenters who were building the shopping center, make assumptions about their husband's self-confidence and security. Your mate may be full-grown on the outside, but inside he undoubtedly feels some insecurity. He's not so sure how to be a man in this world where roles are constantly evolving and society is changing the traditional rules of relationships.

How does a wife build her husband's self-esteem? Basically, by making her responsibility as wife her number-one focus after her relationship with God. By developing the right attitudes, a wife can meet some of her husband's needs—needs to be believed in, supported, and encouraged.

It has been said, "Behind every great man is a great woman." There is a story of one woman who believed that literally. She and her husband, the mayor of a large city, were walking down a street one day when a construction worker on a nearby scaffolding leaned over and shouted, "Hello, Peggy." She turned to look and recognized the carpenter as an old boyfriend from high school. She returned his greeting, and they had a brief conversation before she and her husband continued their walk. The mayor chuckled and said to his wife, "See there, if you had married him, you'd be the wife of a construction worker."

She looked at him and said, "No, dear, if I'd married him, he would be the mayor of this city."

No matter what type of man you are married to, God wants you to set your sights on building his self-esteem.


Excerpted from Building Your Mate's Self-Esteem by Dennis and Barbara Rainey. Copyright © 1995 by Dennis Rainey. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Publishers. All rights reserved.


Meet the Author: Barbara Rainey

Barbara Rainey is a wife, mother of six adult children (plus three sons-in-law and two daughters-in-law), and "Mimi" to nineteen grandchildren.

After graduating from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, Barbara joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ in 1971. Her husband, Dennis, whom she married in 1972, is the President of FamilyLife, a ministry of Cru that is headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Barbara has published articles on family-related topics and is the author of Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember and When Christmas Came.  She speaks at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage conferences and is a frequent guest on FamilyLife Today®, a nationally syndicated, daily radio program.  She and Dennis are the coauthors of several books, including Growing a Spiritually Strong Family, Starting Your Marriage Right, Moments Together for Couples, The New Building Your Mate’s Self-Esteem, Parenting Today’s Adolescent, Rekindling the Romance, and Moments with You. She co-authored A Mother’s Legacy with her daughter, Ashley Rainey Escue and joined Dennis and their children Rebecca and Samuel on the book So You’re About To Be A Teenager. Barbara has also co-authored Barbara and Susan’s Guide to the Empty Nest, with close friend Susan Yates, and A Symphony in the Dark, written with her daughter, Rebecca Rainey Mutz. And Barbara has written a series focusing on character traits for families, including the titles Growing Together in Gratitude, Growing Together in Courage, Growing Together in Forgiveness, and Growing Together in Truth.

Having faithfully served alongside Dennis for more than 30 years, both in ministry and at home, Barbara has recently launched a new endeavor called Ever Thine Home™.  This new line of products, including Christ centered ornaments for Christmas, teaching tools for Lent and Easter, and beautiful additions for your home for thanksgiving and year round makes it easy to express faith at home in a way that is both biblical and beautiful.  Her heart for Ever Thine Home is based on the familiar Old Testament instruction:

“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:9, ESV)

You can read more about Barbara’s work at

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