So many people look at marriage as a way to get their own needs met. In a godly healthy marriage you will have many needs met. But as an adult, as a believer, and as a wife, you will be much happier, more satisfied, and find more success in your marriage if you focus more of your efforts on what your husband needs from you rather than first seeking to get your own needs met.
Yes, you have legitimate needs too. But looking to your husband to fill your deepest needs will always leave you empty. And if your husband tries to demand these things from you it will never work; that can quickly become a toxic marriage. If your husband is behaving badly it’s his fault. Always.
But as his wife you have much more influence and “power” in your relationship than you probably realize. God has given you a role and responsibility in your husband’s life that is unique. No one else can meet these needs to the degree that you as his wife can. You won’t do any of this perfectly; that’s not the point. The point is that you offer these things as a gift, not as payment for something he does.
If you proactively seek to understand and meet these needs in your husband you can be the catalyst God uses support him in becoming the man God created him to be.
Honor and Respect
A man thrives on honor and respect. He will gravitate to the place where he is most honored and respected, whether at work or at home. This does not mean you refuse to see his faults, but it means you look for the best in him and affirm all that is good. Just as you don’t want him to give you conditional love, don’t give him conditional respect. Offer it as a gift, generously. He is likely to do more of any behavior you appreciate and affirm.
You show him respect by honoring his opinion, following his leadership, and allowing him to fail. You are free to – and should – speak up when you see him going in a “wrong” or dangerous direction, but allow God to be the enforcer. Speak well of him in front of others. Be his biggest cheerleader. Magnify his good qualities. Treat him at a level above what you may think he deserves, and he is likely to do all he can to live up to that.
(If there is abuse going on, take it seriously. Get some help, perhaps privately, but get it! You can do that even while respecting your husband.)
Affirm his sexual nature
No, you don’t have to say Yes every time your husband wants sex. This is about so much more than frequency. His sexuality is one of the primary ways your husband experiences and expresses his masculinity. He needs you to embrace and affirm his sexual nature; that’s the way God made him. He needs you to accept your role as the object of his sexual desires. Simply “doing your duty” sexually doesn’t cut it; your husband feels successful when you are satisfied, when you enjoy yourself, when you show that you desire him. Actively pursue intimacy with him.
A man’s sexual nature often get a bad reputation because of how often this has been distorted and abused. Remember, your husband is always responsible for his own behavior. But under God you, as his wife, can support and affirm who God made him to be, including sexually. Stretch yourself. Take a mental step toward your husband, and follow it up. This may mean being more sexual than you feel, or dealing with some old sexual baggage still affecting you. Have fun. Enjoy yourself. It will keep drawing your husband back to you.
Create a home
This has nothing to do with whether or not you work outside the home, or what level of gifting and desire you have in cooking, cleaning, or decorating. It’s not about who does what; your husband should be an equal partner in home responsibilities. But your husband needs you to be the architect of the home environment. He needs to have a place to come home to, regardless of how humble the physical surroundings.
Think through what your husband’s experience is like when he comes home. Is it a place he wants to be? Is he safe there? Is the fragrance of your attitude and demeanor appealing? Does he feel as though home is where he belongs? Although the physical environment has an influence, much more important is the sense of rest, of being welcomed, of safety, of being loved, valued, and understood.
Be his friend
You’re not your husband’s mother or his child. He needs you to be his helpmeet, his partner, his friend. If you find yourself criticizing, micro-managing, belittling, controlling, begging, demanding, or expecting him to “fix” you, quit it! He will end up resenting you if you play his mother, and he will not respect or desire you if you play his child.
Enter his world. Show interest in what interests him. Stretch yourself to understand things he does or values. Ask questions, join him in some activity he enjoys, and choose to find joy in doing things together. Many men will feel much more motivated to communicate from their heart when they are engaging in some enjoyable activity with their best friend – you.
Pray for him
Your influence on your husband is never greater than when you are on your knees. Countless men have been drawn to God through a praying wife. More than your words to your husband, your words to God about him and for him will make a difference.
Don’t only pray that God changes him, although you are free to do that. Also pray for God to show you who He needs you to be to your husband at this season of your marriage. Ask Him to create such an inviting fragrance through you that your husband can’t help but respond. Your sensitivity to the Spirit’s work in your life, your husband’s life, and your marriage can make you an indispensable partner in what God is seeking to do.
Husbands, your wife needs things from you too! This article talks about your role in her life.
Your Turn: How well are you doing as a wife in offering these 5 gifts to your husband? Which are you going to focus on next? Leave your comment below.
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