After years of working alongside my husband to counsel and mentor couples in distress, I’ve noticed a common issue. Even though many of the husbands have greatly disappointed or frustrated their wives, the wives come across as condemning and arrogant. Ouch!
When a wife is perceived as being arrogant and self-righteous, the husband usually avoids her, becomes passive aggressive, and self-medicates his pain through destructive choices such as alcohol, pornography, or even other women.
What if you were to choose to deal with your frustration and disappointment in a different way? What if you were to display humility, kindness and love…even when confronting destructive behavior? One quality that will really endear you to your husband is humility, and it’s Biblical! Philippians 2:3-4 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interest, but the interest of others.”
Catch yourself if you start talking down to your husband or start treating him like he is disgusting or inferior to you. In that moment, ask God to give you His perspective on your husband. Ask God to remind you that you’re not perfect either and that you’re both a work in progress…in the master’s hands.
I thought the title of this devotional would get your attention!! 🙂 However, I’m not talking about guys lusting after scantily-clad Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders. Instead, I’m talking about how men are naturally drawn to women who are cheerleaders in the sense of being their supporters and encouragers. So let me ask you this question. Does your husband sense that you are his cheerleader?
Most men struggle with feeling inadequate. Most men wrestle with feeling like a failure. Many men may never put effort into being a better father, husband, employee, or disciple of Jesus because they fear failure. In other words, they’d rather not try at all if it means they could risk the embarrassment of people noticing them failing in their endeavor. Perhaps this is why God instructed Joshua over and over again to “be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:9). Joshua’s natural bent was to fear failure instead of stepping out with courage.
This is where a wife can make a huge difference! By speaking words of encouragement and affirmation and respect, your husband may find the courage to move forward. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 instructs us to “encourage one another and build each other up”. By becoming your husband’s cheerleader, your man may risk failure to step out and seek to be become a stronger, and more godly, leader of your family. Wouldn’t that be awesome?!
Want to improve your communication interactions with your husband? Well, maybe it would help if you understood three things that really matter to most men when it comes to communication. Here they are:
1) Most husbands prefer that their wife be direct in stating what they want or need. They don’t respond to hints. They don’t want to have to read between the lines or try to read your mind. They just want you to come right out and state what you want or need…and it helps if you can state your needs calmly, without a lot of drama or intense emotion.
2) Most husbands want you to keep it simple and short. They don’t want long explanations or fascinating details. Their minds begin to wander after about 30 seconds! So get to the point quickly. Ecclesiastes 5:3 is a good reminder. It says “Many words mark the speech of a fool“.
3) All husbands need their wives to be respectful, both while talking and while listening. This is Biblical. Ephesians 5:33 says “the wife must respect her husband“. This means speaking to your husband in a respectful tone and making sure your body language and facial expressions show honor. No eye-rolling! It also means that you listen attentively when your husband is speaking to you, and you refrain from interrupting him, finishing his sentences, or correcting him. Oh, and one more thing. It means you let him have a few moments to unwind when he comes in the door at the end of the day before you launch into a big discussion!
Did you know most men really like to be needed? I know. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like it. Sometimes, it seems like it’s hard to get them to follow through on a task you asked them to handle. But you know what? Sometimes we pick inopportune times to ask. Often we don’t have their full attention, or we mention the task along with five other things we discussed. Remember, men don’t think the same way women do! They usually focus on only one thing at a time.
Anyway, back to the “being needed” thing. 🙂 Surveys show most men really do want to be your hero. I believe it’s a way they feel respected, and we know that respect is so important for a man that God actually commands wives to respect their husbands in Ephesians 5:33!
This means our men want to lift a box that is kind of heavy for us. They want to fix the leaky faucet and impress you with their “fix-it” skills. They want to figure out a solution to your overloaded schedule problem. They want to be our heroes. The problem is this. We often try to tackle everything ourselves….or when we do ask them to help with something, we either ask at a bad time, or we throw in the request amid a whole bunch of other “talk”.
Let’s try this week to ask for our husband’s help with something…at a convenient time, very clearly, and simply. Then let’s show appreciation when he follows through. I bet he will love being your hero.
99.9 percent of my Bible-based insights are designed to help women personally and in their marriages. But I know that many husbands also read these messages, so I want to take a moment to give you an important insight about the woman in your life!
God tells husbands in Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” And later, in verses 28-29, God says “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church”.
So, God is calling you to love your wife in a self-sacrificing way…and to cherish her. Please allow me to explain 3 key things that virtually every wife needs from you to feel loved and cherished:
She longs to feel beautiful. That means she needs you to notice her hair, her make-up, her outfit and tell her how beautiful she is…that she looks amazing today. It also means that if she finds out you’ve been looking at pornography, she is deeply scarred. The unspoken message she receives is that she is NOT attractive enough, that she doesn’t measure up, that every time you want to make love, you’re envisioning being with another woman who you view as more beautiful than her. That’s why I’m begging you to get help if you’re addicted to pornography. Every time you look at porn, you’re slicing your wife’s heart.
Every woman craves security. We’re just wired that way. She longs to feel financially secure and relationally-secure. That’s why she gets freaked out when you talk about quitting your job or spending money on a new S-U-V. She desperately needs to feel secure.
She needs you to be loving and gentle and involved with her children (whether those kids are your bio kids or step kids). Nothing will break a wife’s heart quicker than to witness her husband being harsh or disrespectful or critical with her children. That doesn’t mean that you need to be a push-over who doesn’t discipline the children, but she needs you to do so with love. She needs to know that you deeply care about her children.
You’ve probably heard of the “Five Love Languages”. It’s something Christian author and psychologist Gary Chapman figured out about how people are wired in terms of receiving love. The love languages are: words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, quality time, and gifts. Well, here’s something I’ve learned after talking with many wives whose husbands have completed the love language assessment. Almost all men have “physical touch” as one of their top 2 love languages.
Ladies, this means your husband craves not just sex, but little signs of physical affection throughout the day. When you do these small things, he feels loved by you. So, why wouldn’t you give him the physical affection that you know would bless him? By withholding what he needs to feel loved, we’re actually sinning! James 4:17 says, “If anyone knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
Here are several ideas on how you can communicate love through physical touch. Reach out to hold his hand as you walk through the store. Give him a 20 second neck and shoulder rub as you’re walking by. Pinch his tush as he walks through the kitchen. Lean over his shoulder while he’s on the computer and give him a kiss. Rest your hand on his leg while you’re sitting together on the couch watching TV. These small acts of physical touch are totally easy and yet they mean so much to most husbands. Try it!
The perfect gift for your husband…whether it’s Christmas, father’s day, his birthday or your anniversary….is super inexpensive. Give him the gift of respect! The Bible makes it clear that a wife is to respect her husband. This instruction is found in Ephesians 5:33 which simply says “the wife must respect her husband”, and most wives know that a man craves his wife’s respect. However, sometimes it’s hard to figure out how to communicate that respect. It’s especially difficult if your husband isn’t perfect! We naturally gravitate to focusing on what’s wrong with our men as opposed to what’s right.
I’m not saying we should ignore a husband’s blatant sin or destructive patterns. We definitely need to pray about confronting disrespectful, destructive, or immoral patterns of behavior. However, we can’t ONLY focus on his areas of weakness. Our men need to know that we believe in them. They need to know that we notice their strengths too!
A simple way to communicate respect is to voice appreciation for the big and small things your husband does for you and your family. Does he go to work each day? Tell him how much you appreciate his hard work. Does he set aside some time each day to play with the kids? Let him know how much you appreciate that. Does he refrain from stopping at the bar on the way home from work? Tell him how much you appreciate that he comes straight home to his family. A great gift you can give to your husband is your daily appreciation for all he does, and to affirm things that he actually does right! It’s a sign of respect.
We all know women are pretty obsessed with their appearance, but men care about how they appear as well. Specifically, they want to appear strong. Your guy probably isn’t going to tell you this, but most husbands want you to appreciate their strength. They want you to notice and be in awe of their muscles!
It’s in a man’s DNA to want to exude physical strength. When God first created man, the Bible says in Genesis 2:15, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” Those instructions to cultivate the garden involve strength and power. So, affirm your husband’s strength. The next time he lifts something heavy, notice his strength and let him know it! If you actually see a bulging bicep, treat it like eye-candy and tell him his biceps are sexy. I bet you’ll see your husband’s eyes light up a little bit, and more importantly, I believe you’ll also see him grow in confidence. He wants to be your hero. He needs to be your hero.
You want a quick and easy way to show respect to your husband and improve your marriage? Just notice a few small things your husband seems to appreciate and then…..do them! What a concept! I mean, why wouldn’t we want to please our husbands? Why wouldn’t we want to be kind and thoughtful? Colossians 3:12 tells us “as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” So, if we could do just a couple things differently, in a way that our husbands prefer, why wouldn’t we extend that kindness to them?
Let me give you some examples. My husband insists that if we load the dishwasher in a certain way, it cleans the silverware better. (I don’t think it makes any difference!). But, I do it the way he likes…because it pleases him. I know my husband loves it when I leave a little note of encouragement for him on the kitchen counter at least once a week. So I intentionally do that every week. I know my husband really appreciates a clean kitchen counter, so I try to keep the counters tidy. Why wouldn’t I want to please him in such a small way? I’m not saying a wife should have no opinion and should simply be a doormat for her husband. But I think God would be pleased if I stopped only thinking of myself and started thinking a little more about blessing my husband!
How about you? Could you intentionally take note of a few things your husband really appreciates, and then actually do some of those things? It would make him feel respected. It would draw his heart to you. It would likely improve your marriage. Sometimes, it’s the little things…
Many powerful and influential male leaders have attributed much of the reason for their success to their wives. Billy Graham is one of those leaders. When his wife died in 2007, he told reporters “My work through the years would have been impossible without her encouragement and support.”
Our husbands need our encouragement and esteem in order to have the boldness and confidence to accomplish great things. In Genesis 2:18, God makes it clear that women were created because men need help. God said “It is not good for man to be alone. I will create a helper suitable for him.” That helper is us, and one of the biggest ways we can help our husbands is by encouraging them with our words.
With that in mind, here are some words that your man longs to hear from you: