Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble.
—Isaiah 35:3

When I was doing the laundry one Saturday morning, a long time ago, I pulled out a small black comb, some loose change, and a neatly folded piece of paper that had been tucked away in my husband’s pants’ pocket.

When I unfolded the paper, I was surprised to discover that it was a note that I had written Jim earlier in the week. It said something like, “I’m really proud of you, and I’ll be praying for you today.”

Simple note. Not much to it, if you ask me. But somehow, as Jim later said, it had really encouraged him and he decided not to immediately throw it away.

I confess that I did a better job of encouraging our school-aged kids than I did encouraging my dear husband. I made sure that the children had special notes in their lunchboxes and yummy treats waiting for them on especially hectic school days.

But I don’t remember hiding little notes for Jim in his pockets back then. At the time, it just seemed to me that he didn’t need as much encouragement as growing children. But I was wrong.

It was just a few years ago when I realized that my husband needs my encouragement during the workday just as much, if not more, than our kids needed encouragement when they were growing up. And do you know what? I need encouragement, too!

I hope that one or two of the ideas* below will help you and your mate encourage one another during the workday—so you can be “together” even when you are really apart.

What could your family do with 500 Hours? Take the challenge.

Ten Ideas to Encourage Your Spouse

1. Leave little slips of paper in packed lunches, purses, pants pockets, etc., that begin “I love you because …”

2. Instead of sending your wife a dozen roses, send her an e-mail with a dozen “I love yous.” (Of course, you could always send her those roses, too.)

3. Buy a “friendship ball” (these hollow balls are available at gift shops and online). You and your spouse can pass the ball back and forth, filling it with notes and surprises for one another. You may even want to leave the first clue to a scavenger hunt that will end in a special date.

4. Remind your spouse that you’ll be praying for his/her day. Then ask about the results of that important meeting or event.

5. Send text messages. Fun or spicy, sending and receiving text messages is like having a secret pocket transmitter to your spouse.

6. Sneak into your spouse’s office and hide a note. If he/she has a Bible at work, write on sticky notes and attach them to especially meaningful passages.

7. Stop by your spouse’s office and put a love letter in the front seat of his/her car.

8. Draw a quick picture that represents an inside joke between you and your spouse. Then scan it and send it to him or her in an e-mail.

9. Send a message (by voicemail, e-mail, or text messaging) praising a particular character trait that you love about your husband/wife.

10. Give your mate a unique survival gift for the office. Fill a large jar or tin with some of his/her favorite office treats (i.e., jelly beans, gumdrops, peppermints, nuts, dried fruit, granola bars, instant beverages, etc.). Hide a few special notes of encouragement under the treats and in some of the individual packets of coffee/tea/hot chocolate.

*Many thanks to the following people who contributed ideas for this article: Ann and David Newell, Carol Moore, Carole Geckle, Cindy Landes, Howard and Aileen Ostendorff, Janet Logan, Jayna Richardson, Jim and Judy Burrows, Kathy Harrill, Mary Donovan, and Sabrina Beasley.

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