Husbands Love Your Wives
Growing a healthy marriage involves many challenges and much hard work. Let’s face it, we men all too often leave the hard work of relationship building to our wives. We easily assume that they know more about such things and we simply lack confidence in our own relational ability. But we need to give ourselves more credit. Studies show that the best relationships thrive when both partners are involved in nurturing the marriage.
The apostle Paul recognized the importance of both husband and wife to the marriage when in the fifth chapter of Ephesians, he challenged both partners to care for the marriage. He specifically challenged husbands “to go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church-a love marked by giving, not getting.” (Ephesians 5:25 The Message) Paul recognized that both husband and wife have responsibility to making the relationships work. He addressed instructions to both. (In this blog we give husbands some tools to help them build a solid marriage. We discuss helpful strategies for wives here.)
Husbands naturally love their wives but not all husbands are good at showing that love. Most can use some help. The following suggestions are not intended to be an exhaustive manual on loving our wife. However, these practical suggestions will enrich and strengthen any marriage and help the partners have the stability and stamina to be effective mates and eventually parents. These suggestions are not original with me but are techniques I have seen work for many families and I am trying with more or less success to apply to my own marriage.
- As a top priority, schedule time for you and your wife to be together. Women, indeed, spell love T-I-M-E. Just as you did when you were dating, make time to focus on each other. If you are parents get a sitter now and then and spend some time just with each other. This may be nothing more than an evening out to dinner or a movie, it may be an occasional weekend to the mountains. It could be something as quaint as a walk around the block after dinner.
- Affirm your wife’s personhood. Learn to accept her for who she is. We can easily drift into a pattern in which we only tell our wife the things we are unhappy about while taking for granted those things we like and appreciate.”I like you because you are you” is a message we should send often in actions as well as words.
- Never tire of celebrating your relationship. Remember anniversaries, birthdays and other special events. Talk about your relationship and the things you like about it. Establish some rituals you share together. A candlelight dinner on her birthday. A lunch date once a week or even once a month. Find some hobby or sport you can share together. This could be tennis on Saturdays, square dancing. hiking or teaching a Bible study class together.
- Learn the special needs and concerns of women. Dr. James Dobson in his book, What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women, discusses the most prominent concerns of women as outlined in a survey he conducted a few years ago. At the top of the list of concerns were things like low self-esteem, fatigue and tine pressure, loneliness-isolation-boredom, lessening of romantic love in the marriage, etc. Another perennially favorite resource is His Needs, Her Needs by Willard Harley. Being sensitive to the other partner’s needs, acknowledging them and meeting them will greatly enhance your relationship.
- Surprise your wife. Nothing spices up a marriage like a change of pace, a surprise, regardless of how simple. A note of appreciation on your office stationary mailed to her has unlimited potential. A little gift will always be welcomed. Reservations for a favorite concert would be a big hit. And there is the faithful standby, flowers, when nothing else seems appropriate.
- Laugh a lot with her; but never laugh at her.
- Be free with your compliments. Is her dress attractive? Say so. Is the meat loaf extra tasty? Thank her. Is her smile welcoming? Give her a hug.
- Plan and pray with your wife together. Dream together about what you want to be and do. Don’t let the excitement of working together to accomplish some of these dreams die.
- Encourage her to discover and develop her own creative talents. Because she may be engaged in the most important job of a mother does not mean she cannot pursue other interests.
- Learn to read your wife’s non-verbal, body language. Respond to the look that says ” I need you, or the smile that says I am glad you are home. Or moodiness that says I need reassurance or “I’m tired.”
- Above all, say “I love you” often and spontaneously.