The wedding ends with vows, but the marriage is built on keeping them. And a happy marriage is so much more than promises made at the altar. It’s a combination of little, daily moments, thoughts and actions that result in a healthy, growing relationship.
The Bible reminds husbands in Ephesians 5:25 to “love your wives as Christ loved the church”. Jesus love was sacrificial and not self-serving. So too must we have an attitude of putting our wives first in the marriage. As a husband, here are a few practical ways you can show your wife that you love her.
Speak with respect. Never make her feel like she is less worthy or important. Never yell. Nor talk down to her. Or be dismissive of her thoughts or opinion. She is your peer and deserves to be treated as such.
Listen intently. Put down the phone or the paper, maintain eye contact, and listen not only to her words but to how she is feeling. Remember that a greater percentage of her communication is nonverbal. Listen to what she is saying—and what she is not saying.
Give her physical enjoyment. Sex is a part of a healthy marriage, but all physical enjoyment doesn’t happen in the bedroom. A quick back massage after a long day, a habit of kissing each other as you separate in the morning and come together in the evening, and attention when she is not feeling well, like fixing a cold compress, an ice pack, or retrieving medicine, all show your wife her physical well-being is meaningful to you.
Engage in common interests. Don’t assume your wife likes the same things you like. Dating is filled with compromise as we court each other. We often do things for the other person out of love and desire to grow closer. But as we marry and begin years together we let our guard down and begin to love the person we married, who may be slightly different in interests than the person we dated. Ask and find out what she likes and find common ground to enjoy spending time together. And realize that sometimes you will have to engage in uncommon interests—things she just loves but you do not. She wants to feel like she is the most important person on earth in your heart and mind. This is part of a healthy marriage.
Compliment regularly. There is no one in your wife’s life that will give her a greater sense of accomplishment and self-esteem than you. Take time to compliment your wife on who she is, how she looks, what she does, how she thinks. Be specific.
Set goals together. Don’t assume your preferred direction is the default. Remind her in your decision making that her opinion and input is always important. Decisions are sometimes for one spouse or the other, but goals concern where you are headed together, and those take both heads to determine.
Be supportive. Find out what has great meaning to her and give her your full support. And don’t have to be told to pick up around the house, or take out the garbage, or fix the broken faucet, or replace the burned-out lightbulb. Show her that you invest in your home together and also invest your heart in her passions.
Be forgiving. Never hold a grudge. When you argue, being a man means being the first to bring the relationship back into balance. Ephesians 6:26 says to not let the sun go down without settling our disagreements.
Have her back. Family situations, work disagreements and issues with friends can sometimes create difficult choices. If it comes between choosing your wife and choosing something or someone else, always choose her. Let your wife know by your actions that your relationship with her is first among all others in your life, except for Christ.
Effort your appearance. Take time to look good for your life. Esteem her by giving your very best. Get her input as to your appearance. Whatever attracts her to you physically, do it. You may love that ratty old shirt, or that long beard. If she doesn’t like either, consider who you are trying to impress with the way you look. Put on some deodorant, ask what kind of after shave and skin products she likes.