Editor’s Note: Rodney, the husband of contributing writer Beverly Stauffer, joins us today to write about six practical tips to love your wife. To read more from Beverly, check out www.alivenliving.com.
Last year, my wife wrote a post: 6 Ways To Love Your Husband This Valentine’s Day, which listed six ways to show respect to your husband. Just as wives need love, husbands need respect. Her post also gave some great background information such as Scripture and the different marriage cycles, so I encourage you to read her post if your haven’t already, before reading this one.
The tips I want to talk about today are from Dr. Emerson Eggerich’s book, Love & Respect. If this subject interests you, I would highly recommend picking up a copy to get the full picture. My wife and I watched his teachings on DVD for premarital counseling and I know it helped us start off on the right foot, learning to communicate with each other.
Wives want connectivity. Women confront to connect. The typical response for us as men is to think that she is confronting to control. At these moments we may feel that she is being critical and disrespectful, but what she really wants is to connect. She wants our love. When she feels true love coming toward her, she immediately and respectfully aligns herself with the spirit of her husband. Her goal of connecting is accomplished!
These 6 tips are based on foundational biblical passages related to husbands in marriage. They will help us love our wives in our tone, words, and face, even in the middle of a conflict that would normally send us into some state of stonewalling or irritation. We cannot go wrong trusting and obeying God’s revelation. Love does not come naturally to us, but over time it becomes easier as we see our wife being energized by it.
Here are 6 practical tips to love your wife.
1. Closeness – She Wants You To Be Close
Genesis 2:24 gives us the living definition of the meaning of closeness:
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Cleaving means to cling, hold, or keep close, however, it is more than sexual. Cleaving also means spiritual and emotional closeness. Your wife will feel loved when you move toward her and let her know you want to be close with a look, a touch, or a smile.
Your wife tends to look for your desire to “dwell” with her for a short period to discover where her heart is, to sense that you authentically want to connect. For your wife, face-to-face time is heart-to-heart time.
It’s been said that sexual intimacy often begins at breakfast. Hug her, hold her hand, tell her that you love her, tell her how beautiful she is. Be affectionate but not sexually aggressive. Touching and kissing her only when you want sex is usually a turn-off to your wife. She builds up to sex much slower than you do, so through the day keep your advances in the affectionate zone only. When you set the right tone with the little encounters during the day or evening, it leads much more naturally and easily to sexual intimacy later. Of course we need to be affectionate and attentive every day, not just on days we want sex.
Your wife feels close to you when…
- you hold her hand, hug her, are affectionate without sexual intentions
- you are with her alone so you can focus on each other and laugh together
- you go out of your way to do something for her, like run an errand
- you make it a priority to spend time with her
- you are aware of her as a person with a mind and opinions… let her know that you enjoy discussing things with her and getting her insights
- you pillow talk after sex, sharing feelings and intimate ideas
2. Openness – She Wants You To Open Up To Her
Our wives have integrated personalities. Meaning her mind, body, and soul are connected and her entire system reacts to feelings of hurt. If a serious martial conflict exists this affects her whole being and she shuts down totally. If we make one small, unkind remark that feels unloving to her, she will be totally upset with us until things are repaired.
Some wives like to talk about martial problems frequently to keep any major problems from developing. This is a way for them to connect with us and feel an openness and closeness to us. We must remember that, so when we feel they are asking a lot of unnecessary questions, we know they are not trying to interrogate us but get closer to us.
Your wife feels you are open to her when…
- you share your feelings, telling about your day and difficulties
- you say, “Let’s talk,” ask her what she is feeling, and ask for her opinions
- you pray with her
- you give her your full attention
- you discuss financial concerns, possible job changes, or ideas for your future
3. Understanding – Don’t Try To “Fix” Her; Just Listen
As you draw close to your wife and are open with her, she will sense that you understand or at least you are trying to. When she comes to you for understanding, it is a compliment. This is a big part of what love is all about. But when you shut her out, close her down, or don’t seem to hear what she is trying to say; it devastates her spirit.
How can we be understanding husbands? Use our ears! Just listen to our wives, and she is much more likely to feel understood. This usually isn’t one of our strong points, as we’d rather analyze, give answers, and “fix” the situation. As a husband, if you grasp that you don’t always have to solve your wife’s problems, you will take a giant step toward showing her empathy and understanding. You don’t need to be a mind readers, instead just ask your wife, “Do you need a solution or do you just want me to listen?”
We also need to talk with our wives daily. When you let her share her small talk, which builds up throughout the day, you give her a chance to release her emotions and she will feel good and connected to you. We must realize that our wives need to process their feelings, to realize how they are feeling. As she talks to you, it clarifies things for her; then she feels understood.
She’ll feel you’re trying to understand her when…
- you listen and can repeat back what she said
- you don’t try to “fix her problems” unless she specifically asks for a solution
- you try to identify with her feelings
- you never dismiss her feelings
- you don’t interrupt her when she’s trying to tell you how she feels
- you express appreciation for all she does
4. Peacemaking – She Wants You To Say, “I’m Sorry”
Without peace in our marriage relationship our wives do not feel close, she doesn’t feel we’re open, and she certainly thinks we don’t understand. It is a very powerful thing for your wife when she knows that the two of you are at peace.
Ephesians 5:21 says,
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
We should not act independently from our wife, and our wife should not act independently of us. We should act together. At times there will be tension in our marriage, but it is our choice to allow it to deepen our relationship or destroy it. If we utter sincere words of apology, forgiveness, and love, she will trust those words and trust you.
She’ll feel at peace with you when…
- you admit you are wrong and apologize by saying, “I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?”
- you let her vent her frustrations and hurts and don’t get angry and close her off
- you try to keep you relationship “up-to-date,” resolving the unresolved and never saying, “Forget it”
- you forgive her of any wrong she confesses
- you never nurse bitterness and always assure her of your love
5. Loyalty – She Needs To Know You’re Committed
When your wife asks if you love her, she isn’t asking for information; she is asking for reassurance.
She is assured of your loyalty when…
- you speak highly of her in front of others
- you are involved in things that are important to her
- you help her make decision, such as ones regarding the children
- you make her and your marriage a priority
- you include her in social gatherings when others may leave their spouses home
- you call and let her know your plans
- you keep commitments
6. Esteem – She Wants You To Honor And Cherish Her
Your wife wants to know that you have her on your mind first and foremost, that she is esteemed in your mind.
God designed your wife to be touched by things that symbolize your love and show that you treasure her. She wants to know you think about her and she wants that to come from your heart without any prompting.
Esteem your wife for what she does, but don’t overlook cherishing her simply for who she is.
Your wife will feel esteemed when…
- you open the door for her
- you try something new with her
- you give her encouragement or praise with kindness and enthusiasm
- you notice something different about her hair or clothes
- you are physically affectionate in public
- you teach the children to show her and others respect
- you make her feel first in importance
- you are proud of her and all she does
Men, In What Ways Have You Used These Tips To Love Your Wife? Ladies, Which Point Is Most Important To You?
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