By Eric Giesow, Crosswalk.com
Husbands, do you ever wish that your wife came with an instruction manual of how to make her happy? Ever find yourself wishing there was a YouTube video explaining step by step how to love and cherish your wife well?
Come on fellas, let’s be honest. As husbands, we’ve probably all had those “I just don’t understand my wife” moments. And no matter how great your marriage is right now, the truth is we can always improve how we show love and affection to our wives.
Many times you may be asking the question: “What did I do wrong?” But what if the problem isn’t something you did, but something you didn’t do? Sometimes it is what is lacking that causes the biggest issues.
This one is for all the husbands who want to have a better marriage. So whether this is a good refresher for some of you, or totally new news for others, here are five things you’re not doing for your wife (and should be):
1. Continuing to pursue her
After the wedding day has come and gone, the honeymoon is in the books, and you have settled into “real life” together, remember to keep pursuing your wife. It is helpful to realize that men are more achievement focused whereas women are more relationship focused. As husbands, we can’t view marrying our bride as the crowning achievement of the dating season and then just stop wooing her. The last thing you want to convey to your wife is that your romantic efforts during dating were solely to get her to marry you.
Your wife desires for you to be captivated by her and pursue her for life. She wants to know that she is a beauty worth pursuing, not someone who has been pursued, “conquered,” and is now common and ordinary. This means you must do the things that won her heart to keep her heart. Be intentional to make sure the little romantic gestures continue long after the altar. Plan surprise date nights. Buy her “just because” flowers. Write tender and loving notes/cards. If we want our marriage to be healthy and growing, then we must continue to date and pursue our wife.
2. Really listening to her
You might be like: “Sweet, I definitely do this one!” But what I mean when I say really listen is to actively listen to your wife. There is a difference between acknowledging that your wife is talking and actually hearing and understanding. To actively listen means to repeat back to her what you hear her saying. Empathize and validate her feelings. Be patient to let her finish sharing her feelings before you butt in. Usually, your wife doesn’t want you to fix a problem (like husbands are quick to do), she just wants to be heard and understood.
To actively listen better, I’ve found it helpful to eliminate as distractions as possible. To do this, put your phone out of sight, turn off the TV, face each other, and lean into the conversation. Truly listening to your wife is a way to value and respect her.
3. Really talking to her
Yes, that’s right, I said talk to her. The kind of “talking” I am referring to is more than just the exchange of information with your wife. It’s way deeper than that. Husband's, whether we like it or not, our wives desire for us to talk and share things from the heart with them. And since this kind of communication doesn’t normally come naturally to men, it takes some time and intentional effort to get good at this kind of talking.
I’ve found that my wife doesn’t just want to know what I’m doing but she is more interested in how I’m doing. So instead of just always reporting the facts to your wife and leaving it at that, strive for deeper conversation. Open up to your wife and let her know how you are feeling, what you are happy about, what is frustrating you, etc. Don’t forget to ask your wife the same questions in return and watch your conversation go to a whole new level.
4. Praying for her
If you aren’t praying for your wife, then who is? As the husband, we can’t leave praying for our wives up to anyone else, because it most likely won’t happen. We are called to love, cherish and protect our wives and praying for them is one of the greatest ways to do that.
After that deep, intimate conversation that we mentioned in point #3, offer to pray with her in person about whatever is on her heart. When you’re not together, pray for her on your commute to work, on your lunch break, when you’re at the gym, or every morning or evening. Pray for grace in the busy seasons, wisdom when she doesn’t know what to do, and patience when the kids are about to drive her crazy. It’s amazing the level of intimacy praying for wife adds to your marriage.
5. Telling her you love her and that she’s beautiful
Your wife needs to hear you say “I love you” often. I mean a lot. Providing for her, protecting her, and doing nice things for her are kind and a way to say “I love you”, but nothing cherishes your wife like you saying it (and meaning it). And to add to that, she really loves when you tell her she’s beautiful. Your wife desires to know that you are thinking about her during your day and it’s those unexpected, sincere “I love you's” and “you’re so beautiful” that mean the most.
In the morning when you wake up or before you head out the door for work, say “I love you.” When she gets dressed in the morning, say “You’re beautiful.” In the middle of your day, give your wife a call or text her to let her know that you were thinking of her and that you love her. Leave a card for her in a special spot saying “I love you.” Before you go to bed, lean over, give her a kiss, and tell her you that’s she’s gorgeous and that you love her. It’s really quite simple, yet can have profound results in your relationship.
You can really become a better husband if you work at it and focus on the right things. It often comes down to doing a few things you weren’t already doing (or doing them better) that makes the biggest difference. So have fun stepping up and being the best husband you can be.
Eric Giesow empowers millennials to live well for Christ at ericanderica.org. He is also an executive pastor and co-director of EPIC Commission College-age Discipleship Program at Valley Family Church in Kalamazoo, Mich. He is husband to Erica and dad to Ella and Eli. You can follow him on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.
Publication date: May 10, 2016