I’m in a series of blogs entitled “Better!” I’m touching base on a few things we can be better at this coming year. None of us are perfect, but we all can make improvements. Setting perfection as our goal can be defeating but being a bit better is doable for all of us.
Today I’m looking at marriage from a guy’s perspective. It was Sigmund Freud who said, “Despite my 30 years of research into the feminine soul, I have not yet been able to answer the great question, ‘What does a woman want?’”
The good news, guys, we can know what our wives want and need! During the past 25 years, Dr. Willard Harley, a marriage counselor, interviewed thousands of couples and discovered the most important needs of husbands and wives. They are described in his book, His Needs, Her Needs (Revell, 1986)
Here are four needs I need to meet in my wife’s life in order to be a better husband.
Our wives need to know that they are valued by us. If they do not feel affirmed and loved, they will become closed and bitter toward us. As a young pastor, I made the terrible mistake of putting ministry above my marriage. If you asked Linda she would tell you that I was constantly making sacrifices for the church and very little for her and the family. It took me a while to come to my senses, but when I truly valued and affirmed my wife, it dramatically improved our marriage.
The bottom line, if your wife doesn’t feel valued by you, you are in trouble as a husband. Affirmation represents security, comfort, and appreciation. So husbands, when you give your wife affirmation, you are sending her a powerful message… “I love, You are important to me, I’ll take care of you, I’m concerned about your needs…”
“The love a man gives his wife is the extending of his love for himself to enfold her.” Ephesians 5:28b (Ph)
Women speak 12,000 more words a day than men do. To put it simply, they are better conversationalists than we are. We better learn from them and understand how to communicate verbally. That is why Proverbs 13:17 says, “Reliable communication permits progress.” If you want to have marital progress you need to talk more to your spouse!
“Reliable communications permits progress…” Proverbs 13:17 (LB)
When I first courted my wife we spent all kinds of time talking. For some reason that dropped off after our marriage. It was like I went deaf and dumb! To be a better husband, I need to remember the importance of intentional conversation. It allows my wife to voice troubles or concerns, clearing up misunderstandings before they become major issues. It creates a venue for sharing emotions and thereby strengthening the emotional connection between us. It provides a space for encouragement, goal setting, conflict resolution, and prayer.
“Just like any hobby, skill, job, or relationship your fluency develops, and continues to develop over time, as you invest in it. Your marital relationship is no different. If you desire a thriving marriage, it’s important to spend time cultivating that relationship each and every day. It doesn’t matter if you have been married for 1 year or 50 years.” – Daniel Passini
#3 HONESTY AND OPENNESS
Your wife wants to know your life. She wants to know the details of what is going on in your head and your heart. And she has a right to those things. She ought to know you better than anyone else in the world. However, let me caution pastors from “dumping” church problems onto your wife. Yes, it may be helpful to get it off your chest, but she doesn’t have anywhere to go with those issues. To be honest, many time church problems are best worked through with another pastor or a coach.
She wants to know you, not all your church problems. So be honest and open. If she doesn’t know you, she can’t trust you. It’s difficult to build any kind of lasting relationship without trust.
“Insincere talk hides what you are really thinking…it brings nothing but ruin.” Prov. 26:23,28
Truth may even be painful at times, but when a husband tells his wife the truth, he builds in her emotional stability. The truth doesn’t drive a woman crazy, dishonesty and secrecy do.
#4 FINANCIAL SECURITY
“The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.” Proverbs 21:20 (LB)
You need to provide for your family’s future. I think there are some practical things here: that means life insurance and that means wills because if something tragic happened to you or to me we want our wives to be well taken care of. It also means working hard. The Bible talks about work. God built this desire for work in each of us. He has woven it into the framework of our personhood.
BEFORE YOU GO…
“Marriage is being the right person. Quit looking for the right person and start being the right person.” -John Maxwell.
So, what are some practical ways you have become a better husband or wife? I’d love to hear from you!