As husbands, we often find ourselves pursuing superficial methods of encouraging our wives. The flowers, the candlelight dinners, meticulously planning surprise birthday proposals over the course of a year…there’s no end to the number of possibilities when it comes to putting smiles on the faces of the women we love.
It’s when we attempt to venture into the deeper waters of the heart that we tend to come up short. You know the clichés:
As a husband, I am prone to avoiding these things. It’s easier for me to plan a date than it is to meet the spiritual and emotional needs of my wife.
It’s for this reason that the Bible is so crucial for those of us who want to take our husband game to the next level. Take a look at these simple Biblical principles that you can focus on if you want to know how to be a better husband.
1) Think through her needs
One of the things that encourages my wife the most is when I take some time to think through what she has on her plate. What’s on her schedule this week? What are the appointments she’s most anxious about? Does she have enough time to rest and recover? What is something she’s trying to grow in or improve on in her life? How is her health, and what can I do to make sure that she is set up for success this week (diet and supplements, exercise, etc)? How are her relationships, and who would she love to spend time with this week?
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)
This is a challenging Scripture to obey because it challenges us to think beyond ourselves. I tend to max out my headspace with work stress, hobbies and interests, and other things that involve me. Think about how you can encourage your wife by considering her needs and being proactive about helping her through them.
2) Take a genuine interest in her affairs
It’s one thing to know what’s on your wife’s plate. It’s another thing to take a genuine interest in what she’s working on or going through.
Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.Philippians 2:4 (NLT)
This Scripture can be applied in a number of ways. Is your wife into a particular hobby, show or activity? Try doing it together, and making it something you can even make your own.
Does your wife struggle with a certain physical, mental or emotional health challenge? Make a decision to make it your struggle as well. Read the blogs, study the books, go to the therapy sessions or doctor’s appointments…go all out in helping your wife feel like she’s not alone in the battle. This was advice that was given to me when I first got married, and it’s meant the world to my wife knowing that I genuinely wanted to be a part of the healing process for what she was going through.
3) Stop trying to fix her
You’ve probably heard this one before, and you’ll probably hear it again: our wives don’t want to be “fixed.” I come across as condescending and aloof when my wife tells me about her problems and I decide to immediately respond with solutions.
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.James 1:19 (NLT)
One of they best relationship tips the Bible gives us is to focus more of our energy into listening than speaking.
One of my first jobs out of college was in sales, making 40 plus outbound calls a day to prospective customers who weren’t always excited about hearing what I had to say. During a period where I was struggling to reach my sales goals for the period, my manager came by my desk and gave me a chess clock. One timer was labeled “you,” and the other was labeled “them.” He told me that for the next few days, he wanted me to hit my timer every time I was done speaking, and then hit the customer’s time when they were done. The goal was to make sure that on every call, the customer’s timer had elapsed more time than mine, ensuring that I was doing more listening than speaking.
It was a pretty cool lesson than I never forgot, and I still have the clock to this day. It’s a helpful reminder to me that I should be spending more time trying to understand the needs of the people I’m speaking to before I feel the need to blurt out the first idea that springs to my mind. This principle is one that has saved me in marriage, but at the same time is something I’m constantly needing to remind myself to obey when I’m working on how to be a better husband.
4) Ask her for help in specific areas
Few things make my wife as happy as allowing her to influence me in important areas of my life. In most marriages, there are some key areas in which the husband is weak and the wife is strong, and vice versa. This balancing out of talent, experience and character is what makes for great teamwork. However, as husbands we need to decide that we actually want to let our wives help us, and this requires us admitting that do indeed need help.
And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.Ephesians 5:21 (NLT)
Pride is a sin that often leads to a breakdown in marriage. Pride as defined by Merriam-Webster is “a feeling that you are more important or better than other people.” As husbands, when we let pride go unchecked, we start thinking that our ideas and perspectives are more important than our wives’. The Bible says this is not the way to go.
What, exactly, does it mean to submit? Back to Merriam-Webster: “to defer to or consent to abide by the opinion or authority of another.” This means that your wife’s thoughts as to how to approach a situation could be better than yours.
Here’s a helpful tip for how to be a better husband: set aside some time with your wife to talk through each of your weaknesses and strengths. Then, talk about how you can start allowing yourselves to be influenced by each other in the areas that your strengths and weaknesses complement each other. Watch your happiness (and productivity) go through the roof!