If you were to have a camera crew in your home for a few months and every moment of your life played on television, what would people honestly see? Once the newness and extra efforts for the audience wore off, would they see you putting most of your effort toward success and/or your own individual hobbies? Or would they see you loving your wife and family well?
As a husband and man of the home, if you were honest with yourself, would the care, time and energy put toward your marriage be seen as above average, needing work, or completely neglected?
While it is crucial that a woman’s worth, joy and fulfillment are found in Christ alone and not by means of her husband, God is also passionate about the covenant of marriage. When you said ‘I Do’, you were committing to take care of your bride as your own body for the rest of your life.
Most of the time, the problems that we see in our marriages are not specifically due to our marriage itself. The problems lie in our hearts and in our relationships with Jesus. Marriage is a representation of God’s covenant and His love for His people. It’s crucial that we take it seriously while working daily to protect it.
I have written many posts to women and wives, such as Dear Wife: Why Your Husband Really Needs You and 10 Ways a Wife Disrespects Her Husband (Without Even Realizing It), but I felt it heavy on my heart to gain some insight from my husband and share this as well.
So how do you know if you’re loving your wife well?
1. Love Her As You Love Yourself
Does your wife feel as if you are interested in her as a person? Does she feel important and seen every time you walk through the door? Does she feel known as your best friend and companion? Does she feel truly taken care of?
I encourage you to ask her those questions today.
Whether or not you feel as if your wife deserves it or has “earned” it, you are called to love her as your own body and as your own life. You take good care of yourself, right? You take care of your needs and desires — in the same way, care for your wife’s financial, emotional and physical needs and desires. Loving your wife above your work, your hobbies, your other family members (including your mom!) — choose her.
Choose her when you have the choice to choose other things. Every single day.
Discover the way that she feels the most loved (see “The Five Love Languages“) and love her with intention. Remember that although you may feel like you are continuously loving your wife, she may not feel loved in the same way that you are giving that love.
2. Take Notes
To “take notes” on your wife means to be considerate of her during the time that she is yours. Whether it be a mental note or literally writing notes down on your phone to keep them in mind, actively show her that you care about her hopes, dreams, concerns, fears and likes and dislikes with intentional listening and genuine engagement.
Ask real questions daily and take time to really hear her answers. If she feels loved by Gifts, take notes of something she mentions in passing and go back for it. If she feels loved by Acts of Service, take note of her least favorite tasks at home and serve her by doing those duties for her.
When you choose daily to care about what your bride cares about, whether it be asking about the best/worst part of her day or something as simple as her favorite show that month, she will feel special, heard and cared for.
3. Give Yourself Up For Her, that is loving your wife
Not only are you called to purity because you belong to Jesus, [but] your wife is also intended to be the only woman in your life for your whole life.
Here are two of the things that my husband has done to give me security in his faithfulness and in our marriage:
1. Giving Up Your Privacy for Her Peace: We both have access to one another’s phones at all times and we don’t become defensive or angry when our spouse picks up the other’s phone for any reason. We have access to all of one another’s passwords and we set this up for peace of mind and accountability — this includes our email, phone and social media accounts. Pornography, social media or “innocent” conversations with any other woman apart from your wife are not God-honoring.
You might think this seems a little extreme. But maybe it’s time we get a little extreme in order to love our spouses. Jesus was very extreme in His love for us.
2. Setting Aside Your Pride for the Sake of Your Relationship:
Colossians 3:19 says, “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.”
Oftentimes setting aside your pride or frustration is more important than making a point. We are called to be peacemakers. It is so important to remember that you and your wife are on the same team, running the same race, with the exact same goal in mind.
When you care more about being right than you care about looking like Christ, you will both eventually lose. In moments when you have the option to choose peace over anger or pride — peace should always win out.
4. Date Her Weekly
Men — quality time is crucial. Call up a babysitter or family member once a week and take her out or create date nights at home. Pursue her, cherish her, see her. Whatever you do, board games, coffee shop dates or fun activities like rock climbing, use it as a time to reconnect. (Quick Tip: Taking her to a movie every time you have a date likely won’t give you the opportunity to sit face-to-face to get to know her on a deeper level.)
5. Tell Her How You Feel
I often hear women telling their husbands that they wish they could read their minds so that they would understand what they are thinking and how they are feeling. My husband used to always tell me that he just assumed I knew how he felt because of his actions. Although he serves and loves me well, there were many times where I just needed to hear out of his mouth that he loved and cherished me. Proverbs 31: 28-29 says, “Her husband also [rises up and calls her blessed] and he praises her, saying, “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.
6. Pursue Jesus and point your wife to Him.
This goes above all other practical advice a husband could ever receive. If you do this, everything else will follow. Your marriage should be an overflow of your closeness and relationship with Jesus. Loving your wife is leading her in the Word, walk her through her struggles and point her to Truth.
When your eyes are set on eternity and the Kingdom, rather than on worldly issues, your marriage can actually be something beautiful — it can be the gift that it was designed to be. Come together as one and agree that God is the foundation of your marriage and that He deserves to reign over all decisions, actions and thoughts in your marriage.