I felt far more confident about my list for husbands for 2014. I felt incredibly incompetent to offer advice for wives (although I suppose I do offer advice to wives all the time). I didn’t want this to be advice for MY wife or just based on MY experience. So I asked the City Pres women to offer their suggestions. Wow. What an amazing group of women, and what great help they’re offering – much if it has to do with loving their and your husbands well! This isn’t from me. This is from the women of City Pres. I’ll make my suggestions and additions in the [brackets]:
– Plan time just with your husband. If you have kids, let him know he is a priority over the children. Don’t make them the topic of every conversation.
– Enter his world. What does he enjoy doing? How can you join him in what he likes to do? Don’t check out when he talks about the car, or sports, or whatever he might be interested in that you might not be.
– Praise him in front of the children and others. [He often feels like he’s failing in family, faith and finances. Realize that. Help him.]
– Focus on his strengths. Verbalize what you appreciate about him and what attracted you to him. Slip love notes into his work bag.
– Let him dream about future plans and projects. [I (Doug) promise not all of his dreaming out loud will happen. Remain calm. Listen.] Ask him what’s on his “bucket list” and help make it happen for him. [I love this suggestion.]
– Carve out a space just for him to keep his things- wallet, keys, iPad. A spot that the children can’t get into.
– Give him some downtime with he gets home from work. Encourage your kids to give him some space and not pull him in 15 different directions as soon as he walks in the door.
– Give him warm welcomes and warm farewells. [Say goodbye to him when you leave and hello when you arrive.]
– Be excited when he wants to meet up with the guys, not upset. He needs regular, genuine friendships with men.
– Never stop starting praying together. [If you want this, do it by yourself and do it together. Don’t always resent him because he doesn’t initiate this as much as you want.] Pray for him.
– Be on his team. Back him up; stand by his side; praise him; encourage him.
– Be still with him. You don’t have to be productive every second of the day. [Women, you have so much mommy wife guilt. It’s okay if you don’t get everything done.] Encourage him to take some personal time. This doesn’t include time at work.
– Give him a wife worthy of being cherished, not one who is only useful.
– Dress up for him.
– Date night! I can’t emphasize this enough. Get a sitter who is committed to being there weekly or every other week. [You can organize this. Make it easy. Get the same person every time and just “regularize” it.] Make the plans for your date night. Decide what you will do or where you will eat. Mix up what you do for variety. Have some dates be face-to-face things (ie., deep talks) and some things be side-by-side things (ie., just doing something together). [I love this one. So many women resent their husbands for what he doesn’t do. You are creative. You can initiate. Make it happen so he enjoys time with you, and you enjoy time with him.]
– Text him during the day and tell him that you are thinking about him and just say hi. Change your spouse’s name in your contact list to begin with a term of endearment. If his name is Max you can list him as “Sweet Max” in your phone. Siri says, “Calling Sweet Max.” It’s silly, but it will make you smile and reflect on his sweetness.
– Give a hug every day.
– Express that you believe in him and encourage him to take risks; most everyone is afraid to fail so he is scared to take risks with work, ministry, whatever.
– If he’s a night owl and you’re an early bird, make an effort to stay up late and spend time with him sometimes. Also, don’t expect him to be ready for in depth discussions first thing in the morning.
– Remind him of the gospel every day! He needs to hear it.
– Resist the idea that lists of good works will make you a better wife. You are only the perfect wife for him because of Christ. [I love this suggestion. Wives, you put so much pressure on yourselves that it makes everything wonky. You have to believe in grace too or you will submerge your marriage, your family, your life and your faith.]
– Refrain from offering directions/advice while driving unless asked.
– Resist the temptation to micromanage daily activities on his days off.
– Initiate sex with him. Be mentally present when you have sex. Figure out ways you both can enjoy physical intimacy. [Boom. Women, I know you have heard this. It’s so important. You don’t really understand this I promise. The deal is that he’s supposed to put all his hopes and dreams and sexual intimate hopes in his wife. That’s huge and I understand complicated and even painful. But you need to understand that he can do hobbies and conversations and friendships with other people but not sexual intimacy with anyone else. This isn’t a suggestion to make you feel guilty, but to help you understand this is a big deal for him and you’re in on the whole project. Take a shower with him. Help him. Initiate with him.]
Wow. What incredible advice from the women at City Pres. Most of those were focused on relationships for wives and husband. I want to suggest these too for wives in general:
– Porn blocker. Install a blocker on every single device in your house. Tv, computers, phones, kindles, etc. Just do it. Don’t get blockers that report usage. Get blockers that block. This is for you, your husband, your kids and anyone that uses your devices.
– Pray. You need to pray for yourself and your family and to your God.
– Forgive. You have a ton of hurts that you need to work through. Forgiveness is so important. You need to forgive some big, big things and you need to forgive every single day.
– Counseling. Sign up. Go. With him or without him you have dad issues, mom issues and a ton of issues.
– Read and study. Don’t leave it up to him. You’re a smart, competent woman. Read a book that he cares about in his field of expertise, in theology, in business, in parenting. Train your mind.
– Health. Figure out what you and your family need to do to be healthy and move forward. Don’t give up. Never stop starting. Work on what works. Don’t give up your body, your family and your future for convenience and a lack of intentionality. But also please don’t obsess about it. This is a tough balance, and one that’s important to keep talking about.
– Believe the gospel. You need Christ and his love. Rest in Christ and his work.