I wrote the post "10 Ways You Might Be Disrespecting Your Husband," to help us, as women, see some of our common (and demeaning) behaviors from the husband's perspective. Rather than taking a negative approach, this time I want to challenge us to consider how we can love our husbands well.
1. Be kind.
Throwing out those two words conjures up all kinds of ideas. I'm not saying put on a frilly apron, paste on a fake smile, and ignore your husband's bad habits. I mean what the apostle Paul is talking about when he says:
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Eph. 4:32).
The charge to "be kind" is an action that is a blend of goodness and usefulness. How can you be "good" to your husband and "useful" in helping your husband pursue godliness? Are you his good and useful friend? Are you good and useful when it comes to helping him fulfill his hopes and dreams?
2. Give space.
It took me a long time to understand that I can easily suffocate my husband. No, really. Without intending to, I can flood him with a barrage of thoughts, passions, plans, and intensity that can leave him gasping for air. Finally, after several years of drowning him, I learned that it is good to give him space. He needs time to process my ideas or plans. He needs time to think before answering my line of questioning. He needs space to rest from my intensity. He needs the opportunity to be alone without feeling guilty for getting time away. Most men need some space.
3. Study him.
In order to know what conveys love to your spouse, you must enter his world and become a student of your man. Watch what he gets excited about, and learn enough to be able to talk with him about his passion. Find out what communicates "love" to him—is it affirming words, physical touch, acts of service (kindness in action), gifts, little love notes on the dash of his car, or maybe quality time? Know what communicates love to your man so you can love him well.
4. Let go.
Hanging on to hurt poisons a relationship. In the same verse where Paul charges us to "be kind," he also tells us to forgive each another with this as the criteria: "As God in Christ forgave you." That is significant forgiveness. And just a friendly warning—holding on to an offense will cause bitterness to begin shaping your perspective and actions (Heb. 12:15). There is much we can "let go" that we tend to hang on to—hurt from misunderstanding, disappointment over dashed expectations, little frustrations that build into blow-ups! One thing we don't need to "let go" or overlook is habitual sin. So another way of loving your husband well is by humbly confronting him.
5. Humbly confront.
If you are ignoring your husband's sin, you are not being a true friend to him. Galatians 6:1–2 charges us with the responsibility of loving others through humble confrontation. The easy thing is to turn your back on your man when he is struggling in sin or to vent in anger. The harder thing is to lovingly and humbly reach for biblical restoration.
Restoration is a beautiful process that begins with coming alongside your husband when he is in sin and having a "salty grace talk." Share your heart and express your concerns in an honest but gracious manner—not accusing or placing blame. Let him know that you're giving him time to consider what you've shared, but if he's practicing a habitual sinful lifestyle and unwilling to repent, you'll need to appeal to your church leadership for help (Matt. 18:15–18).
6. Be his safe place.
Your husband needs to know you're there for him, and you can be trusted. If he doesn't open up to you, it could be an indication that your husband is intimidated by you or even fears you. If your husband has retreated to a cave of isolation, don't demand for him to come out; just pray for him and encourage him. Look for opportunities to affirm him verbally. Be patient with him.
7. Laugh freely.
Be creative in finding ways to laugh with your man. Laughter truly is a "medicine" for the soul. It releases the body's "feel good" chemicals (endorphins) and bonds you and your husband together by creating happy memories. Is there a funny movie you enjoy together? Private jokes between only you? If you don't have any, find some. Talk about funny episodes or remind him of crazy moments you've shared in the past, and take time to laugh.
Husbands thrive on their wives' appreciation. Letting your man know that you're grateful for him, that you respect him, that you notice his efforts and affirm him for those is fuel for his manhood! I wrote a book filled with practical content for this point, so I won't elaborate here, but if you want input on a variety of ways you can show appreciation, check it out.
9. Kneel often.
Love your husband well by going to battle for him in prayer! Find Scripture passages that speak to your husband's specific areas of need, and regularly apply these to your intercession for him. Ask him what specific challenges he is facing at work, or in other areas, and how you can be praying for him. Don't come across as "spiritually superior" when you ask him, but let him know that you struggle as well, so you understand the need for prayer support.
10. Intentionally snuggle.
Most men (not all) would say that physical touch is one of their love languages. Be intentional in taking time to hug your man and lay on the kisses before he heads out to the battlefield. Repeat that process when you see each other again at the end of a long hard day. Ask him what pleases him physically, and be intentional in providing time to love him well through sexual intimacy.
Sacred enjoyment in the marriage bed isn't meant to go only one way. Let your husband know how he can please you, and never demean his efforts in this area. Physical intimacy should be a tender dance of one giving and providing for the other—where both are expressing and receiving mutual enjoyment.
Reading this list is the easy part, but doing it is the proof of our love. Let's intentionally love our husbands well!
Anyone want to add to my list? Send your suggestions our way!