You want your husband to understand you, love you, and be there for you when you need him. You want to be able to be proud of him, and to feel cared about and cared for. You want him to bring excitement into your life, and help you experience adventure. The husband you want provides for you and protects you without smothering you and stands up for you against the big bad world out there.
On the other hand, you don’t want him to control you or tell you what to do. You want him to desire you sexually but not demand it when you’re tired or not interested. You want him to be strong and reliable, but not too predictable or domineering. You want him to help you be your best and believe in you, but not criticize you or point out your flaws. You want him to be competitive and successful in the world, but not too much at home.
Is that too much to ask? If you’re still reading and you’re a women you may be saying, “Of course not. And that’s just the beginning of what I want and need in a man.” You want him to be strong and capable, but not scary.
Wow! If you’re still reading and you’re a man you may feel as though you’re being asked to do the impossible. How could any man be expected to live up to all that, even if they did understand the line between “too much and too little.” Sure, you want to be your lady’s hero, but come on! If I’m too strong I get criticized. If I’m too tender I get blamed for being weak. What am I supposed to do?
As women, we too often make things more difficult for our men than they need to be. If we follow the advice of some and “submit more, love more, forgive more, pray more,” it may simply reinforce their destructive behavior. (That doesn’t mean don’t pray!) Or if we take the other road and become strong, independent, controlling woman, men may easily withdraw and abdicate their role feeling they’ll never win anyway.
God created us as women to be a help to the men in our lives. (Genesis 1:18) That’s not a Junior Holy Spirit role, nor is it a doormat. That kind of help is the same kind of support God Himself provides for each one of us. (The same word is used of God in places such as Exodus 18:4.)
You are tremendously influential in your husband’s life. Here are 5 ways in which you can help your husband be the man you need and that God needs him to be:
- Become a Queen. Not in the sense of pride, but in the sense of beauty, competence, and joy. Get your soul filled from God Himself, and then be unashamed to display the beauty God built into you. Nothing makes you more attractive to your man than inner joy and wisdom complemented by a pleasing (not perfect) outward appearance. It makes him, as Jack Nicholson said to Helen Hunt in As Good As It Gets, “want to be a better man.”
- Don’t accept his bad behavior. If his behavior includes addiction, abuse, or infidelity, you can demonstrate that it’s not OK with you, and still not punish him. Forgiveness is critically important in any relationship, but that does not mean remaining in a situation where he is continuing to cause harm. Don’t own the task of changing him: keep putting the responsibility monkey back on HIS back.
- Encourage what you want more of. A man who cares anything about you will almost certainly do more of whatever makes you happy. Notice whatever is positive in his character or behavior, and be generous with your praise. Your approval means more to him that that of his boss, his buddies, or anyone else. Become his biggest cheerleader.
- Allow him to be a man. Testing his strength, enjoying adventure, moving obstacles, creating something of value – those are some of the things that nurture his masculine soul. Affirming his masculinity also includes welcoming and affirming him sexually, not on demand but stretching yourself to do so when possible. If you want him to be strong for you, don’t criticize him when he is so. Follow his lead when you can.
- Be a safe and loving place for his heart. If you want to know him, make your heart a safe place for him to be himself. Look for ways to respect and honor who he is. Don’t make him have to perform in order to receive your love. Make your heart and your home the place he would most prefer to be over anywhere else. Make sure he knows you’re on his side.
If your husband is not the man you want him to be, don’t blame yourself. He’s completely responsible before God for his own thoughts, words, and actions.
But that doesn’t mean your help is unimportant. There are many men who have stepped up to the plate and become someone simply because of the woman they love.
Be that woman today.
Your Turn: How good do you think your husband would say you are at being the kind of help he needs? Leave a comment below.
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