Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
I ride a BMW R1200C motorcycle. The ‘C’ stands for cruiser because I have, ahem, slowed down a bit. But a few years back I rode a Kawasaki ZG 1000 Concours (Connie for short), sport-touring bike based on Kawasaki’s famed Ninja sport bike. I ran the Connie on synthetic oil because it reduces friction, compared to regular oil. The engine on the Connie is a finely balanced piece of machinery: a four-cylinder, double overhead cam, four-carburetor,1000cc wonder producing over 100 horse power, and mated to a six-speed transmission. It loves to run at 4000 rpm, screams from there to redline at 9000, and the gears are tightly packed. Synthetic oil noticeably reduced friction, making the gear changes smoother, and increasing the efficiency and life of the engine.
Just as all motorcycle engines have friction, all relationships experience friction. All churches, businesses, sports teams, and especially, all marriages have friction, problems, disagreements, and conflict. What Mobile One was to my engine, encouragement is to your relationships, it lubricates the machinery, making every interaction run a bit more smoothly.
Of all the relational skills out there like listening, good manners, giving flowers and chocolate, etc., encouragement is one of the most important and least practiced. We prefer to help each other a little more specifically, like the industrial engineer who concluded a lecture on efficiency with this note of caution to his students:
"You don't want to try these techniques at home."
"Why not?" asked someone from the back of the audience.
"I watched my wife's routine at breakfast for years," the expert explained. "She made lots of trips to the refrigerator, stove, table, and cabinets, often carrying just a single item at a time. “Honey,” I suggested, 'Why don't you try carrying several things at once?'"
The person in the audience asked, "Did it save time?"
The expert replied, "Actually, yes. It used to take her 20 minutes to get breakfast ready. Now I do it in seven."
If you want to reduce friction in your relationships, if you want to make all of your marital “gear changes” go a little more smoothly, look for things your friends or you mate are doing right and encourage them in it. Watch for effort instead of efficiency, good will instead of perfect execution, and give them a verbal pat on the back. They will appreciate it and you will be blessed.