Laughing our way to a better marriage

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Friday night, Hubby & I had a date night. Mark Gungor, author of “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage” came to Fort Bragg to do a free show for the military.  He had spent the week traveling to a few different Army posts and we were his last stop.  If you have not heard Mark Gungor, let me introduce you to him.  He is hilarious!

Watch this 5 minute clip as he describes the differences between men’s brains and women’s brains.  He is right on!

Rob & I were first introduced to Mark’s series when we watched a DVD at a marriage retreat where we also received a copy of his book.  We really enjoy reading it to each other, and it opens the door for some great communication as we are constantly seeking to better understand each other and make our marriage stronger as a result.

One of the things I really like about Mark’s presentations is that he’s a down to earth guy that makes himself relatable to all the guys in the audience.  He is a Christian preacher, but his presentations are not preachy in any way.  I feel like that allows the audience to let their guard down and really listen as he describes the differences between men and women.  We aren’t created to be the same, yet so many marriages struggle because the wife wants a husband to be just like her best girl friend, or the husband expects his wife to be just like his guy buddies.

There are many, many verses in the Bible about understanding, but I want to share one in particular with you.

“Folly brings joy to one who has no sense, but whoever has understanding keeps a straight course.  Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”  ~ Proverbs 15:21-22

This says that if you have no sense, you will find happiness in your folly, but one who has understanding keeps a straight course.  The straight path leads us to God, so we first need understanding.  The better we understand our spouse, the better our marriage will be.  If I really try to understand my husband AND I am seeking to please God by loving my husband, then I will want to love him the way HE needs to be loved….which I can only do if I first UNDERSTAND him.

The second part of that verse refers to getting counsel.  That doesn’t necessarily mean going to a counselor – although if you need one, they can be an incredible resource.  It means getting advice from people who know what you are going through because they have knowledge and experience.  Seeking wise counsel (from someone with the same values, faith & beliefs as you), will allow you to gain a new perspective and give you tools that you can use to make it work.

Learning more about your marriage doesn’t mean your marriage is broken.  Seeking wise counsel about how to have a successful marriage doesn’t mean you have problems.  It means you are being proactive and trying to create a situation that will best allow you to succeed.  Don’t be too proud to seek advice and wisdom from people who have a successful marriage.  Seeking ways to make your marriage better means you are STRONG, not weak.

If you were going to build a house, or renovate your home, you would seek counsel from someone who had done it before, wouldn’t you? (I hope so!)  If you were going to start a cake decorating business, you would first take a class to learn how.   If I wanted to change the oil on my car, I would read a book, watch a video, or ask someone how to do it.  I’ve watched many a video on YouTube to learn sewing skills, or to follow a recipe.

Why not apply the same reasoning to our marriage?

From the first year of our marriage, Rob and I made a commitment to attend a marriage retreat, seminar, class, etc. at least once a year.  If we couldn’t attend one for some reason, we will go through a marriage book together.  Something each year to help us keep our equipping skills sharp, to help us learn more about each other (and ourselves) and foster our communication.

We have learned so much over the years and have adapted our communication styles as we learn new things or as we grow and change.  We are committed to doing this right – the first time, so we must stay on top of it.

Above all else, put God first in your marriage.  If you are each individually seeking to grow closer to the Lord, you will automatically grow closer to each other. 

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Let God be that third strand of the rope that holds you two together. 

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” ~ Ecclesiastes 4:12

Mom vs Wally the Weed Whacker

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Want a secret to appreciating your husband more?  Here it is – Pick one of the chores that he usually does – one that you have never done, or just really don’t like to do – and then do it.  If you have any heart at all, you will become incredibly thankful for his willingness and ability to complete this particular task and it will make you love him even more.

The chore I tackled was the weed whacking, and I most definitely have more appreciation for my husband after today.

I don’t mind mowing the yard – in fact, I’ve learned to almost enjoy it as long as it isn’t over 100 degrees outside.  Emily is old enough to safely entertain herself, so I put on my headphones, crank up some music and get a good workout in.

Excuse me while I go off on a rabbit trail…

Does anyone else still say “headphones” even when you are talking about ear buds? I don’t actually put ON my headphones, but saying “I stuck my ear buds in my ears” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.  I also often say I’m going to “tape” my favorite TV show, even though we don’t even own a VCR anymore.  By the way, if you are reading this and you don’t know what a VCR is, please don’t tell me. I like believing my youth wasn’t all that long ago.

Ok, back on topic.

As I was saying, I have learned to embrace the mowing.  It really makes more sense for me to do it.  Rob works long hours, and I’m home most days.  If I want him to spend time with me in the evenings and on the weekends doing fun things, then I need to free up some of his time.  I’d much rather mow the yard during the week, so we can go to the beach on the weekend without getting evicted because our dandelions have taken over the neighborhood.

I don’t know if I can make peace with Wally the Weed Whacker though.  Not after today.

Wally and I fought hard today, and he won. 

I would rather go around pulling out those weeds by hand and edging our yard with scissors than to use that thing again.

I’m sure it’s 100% user error.  It’s like when I used to work tech support and people would call and tell me they couldn’t print something.  I kid you not, I had to ask “Is your printer turned on?” and “Is the printer connected to the computer?”.  More often than not, the answers were “Oops, no”.  So, I’m sure I’m going about it all wrong and I’m going to need a lesson from my husband.  Pretty sad, really.  I’m 38 years old and have never learned how to use a weed-eater.

Since thankfully you weren’t all here to witness the excitement, let me recap round one of Mom vs. Wally the Weed Whacker for you.

For starters, I lasted all of about 3 seconds in my shorts and a tank top mowing outfit before Wally started beating up my legs and throwing little pieces of hard plastic at me at top speeds.  OUCH!  I decided some pants were in order before I needed bandages.

So I got to work and quickly ran into another problem – we have an electric weed-eater and a huge yard but what we don’t have is a huge extension cord.  At least not huge enough.  Even connecting 2 cords together, I can’t quite reach the back corner of the yard.  I did my best, but had to stop several times to either plug the end back into the house, plug the 2 cords back together, or plug Wally’s tail back on.

It should have been smooth sailing at this point, but let’s just say that it’s a good thing I tackled the backyard first where my artwork can be more easily hidden.  My edging technique – and evidently my ability to make a straight line – need a lot of work.  At one point I went right through a fire ant hill like a tornado taking down a city and I was just hoping that they didn’t all go flying and land on me (they didn’t!).

Just as I was making a little progress and I told myself I would just finish one more area by the deck stairs – the part Rob would likely see first – the plastic line (the part that does the whacking) ran out.  I opened the end to make sure it wasn’t just stuck and sure enough – it was empty.

I took that as a sign I should be done too, and headed to the shower.   I’ll tackle the front yard after I’ve finished Weed Whacking 101.  Or maybe I’ll just get some good gardening gloves and a pair of scissors.

Our 10th Wedding Anniversary!

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Today Hubby and I celebrate 10 years of wedded bliss! An entire decade! Just 4 more decades to go till our Golden Anniversary! As I look back over the years, I am truly amazed at God’s glory.  We have been through some TOUGH times in our 10 years together, some really tough times.  Yet as I look back at our journey, it is so obvious that God was with us every step of the way.

Sometimes I just sit in awe as I look back at all we’ve gone through.

The year before we got married was actually one of the hardest.  6 months before our wedding my dad passed away.  The same day, Hubby’s grandfather had a life-altering stroke.  We literally drove from the funeral home after my dad’s funeral to the hospital to see his grandfather.  It was a very hard day.  That year we also dealt with months of unemployment due to companies shutting down, 9-11, and my aunt died a month before the wedding.

Needless to say, we were ready to say goodbye to 2001, and hello to 2002!

The trials didn’t stop though.  We went through much more in the past 10 years.

More death of family. Divorces of both family & friends. Illnesses. Unemployment. Major surgery. Infertility. Building a house. A miracle baby! A child with special needs.  Serious financial struggles. Lots of Ramen & beans. More major surgery. Early Menopause (& a very patient hubby!). Foster Parenting.  Adoption promises brokenA car totaledBeing separated for 4 months while Hubby worked in another country.  More unemploymentNew jobs. New dreams. Lost dreams. Hearing a huge, crazy call from the Lord – and answering it.  Becoming a military family.  Deployment.

I know many couples whose marriage has ended after dealing with just one of the things we’ve experienced, yet not once has our marriage been threatened (just our sanity!).  Not once have we ever discussed divorce, or even fought hard enough to consider it.  There has been no infidelity of any sort, and I can honestly say that I have not once been tempted in that area.

This is not our own doing!  I am human.  I am weak.  I am sinful.  I do not boast of my own strength, but of the amazing strength of Jesus Christ! I shudder to think about where we would be if Hubby and I had not been leaning on the Lord for the duration of our marriage.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor 12:9)

Right after we got married, we started attending a Sunday School class at our church.  The name of the class was called “3 Strands Woven”.  That class was a true God-send in many ways.  We made friends in that class that are to this day some of our dearest and closest friends.  Men who have walked with my husband through our life, strengthening his faith and encouraging him as he leads our family.  Women who have helped me to grow as a wife, a mom, a disciple of Christ and a leader of women.

The theme of the class was modeled after a verse in the book of Ecclesiastes.

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecc 4:12)

God is that 3rd strand in our marriage and we have made that a priority since the day we said our vows.  He is the one that holds us together.  Some days we are in a circle, each holding each others’ hands.  Other days, God has me in one hand and Hubby in the other just holding on to us and keeping us from falling until we can reach each other again.

It hasn’t all been easy, but I wouldn’t trade a single moment of it for anything.  We’ve learned a lot along the way, we have grown as individuals and as a couple through each and every trial and celebration that we’ve been through.  When those hard times come – and they will – you can choose to let them tear you down or you can let them refine you into something stronger.  Even pure silver first has to go through the fire in order to remove the impurities, but it’s so worth it!

Just look at how far we’ve come!

2002-2003

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2003

 

 

2004-2005

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2006-2007

2006 2007

 

 

2008-2009

2008  2009b

 

2010-2011

2010 2010b

2011  2011b

I am so blessed to be walking through this journey of life hand in hand with my best friend & the love of my life!  Where will we go from here? Only God knows.  We can only say, “Here we are, Lord!”.

Making Marriage Work Tip #10

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I hope you have enjoyed all of these tips!  I know that each of them have improved our marriage, and I hope that your marriages will be also blessed through them. 

Tip #10 – Pray for your spouse

Pray FOR them.  I didn’t say pray that they would change.  There is a world of difference. 

Years ago, there was something that I really wanted to do.  It wasn’t just about buying new shoes, but was a major decision that would affect our entire family. Hubby was not on the same page as me at all!  I spent weeks, even months, praying that God would change his mind.  Make him see it my way. 

Finally, God spoke to me clearly and I was convicted that I was praying the wrong way.  Instead of praying that Hubby would change, I began to ask God to change MY heart if this was not something He wanted for our family.  I asked Him to take away my desire for this, and to put me on the same page as my husband.

In almost no time, Hubby came to me and told me that he had changed his mind and he too felt this was the right thing for us to do.

I’m not saying that praying for your spouse will always result in what you want.  In fact, Hubby and I have been on the same page now for years, but we are still waiting on God to open the doors.

My point is that we need to pray for God to work in our spouse’s lives the way HE wants to, not the way we want.  If you are not on the same page about something, then ask God to change your heart if needed….and then be open to allowing Him to do so.

If you need a place to start, let me recommend these links.  Each of them gives you 31 days of topics to pray for your spouse, as well as scripture to go along with them.

 

  • 31 days of Praying for your Husband – A good friend and I walked through this together, getting together once a week to pray over our husbands aloud and it was very powerful!

 

Making Marriage Work Tip #9

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Did you think I forgot to finish my Top 10 Tips? Nope! I just went on a little vacation to see some friends, but I’m back!

Tip #9 – Share a common hobby with your spouse

You married this person because you love them, right? So, you should also like spending time with them!  Remember back in Tip #4, where I said that one of man’s greatest needs is his need for a life companion? This is it! He wants you to enjoy a hobby together.

It’s great for you to each have your own thing too.  I like scrapbooking, and Hubby likes shoot ‘em up games.  I like chick flicks and he likes war movies. 

But you have to find things you enjoy together and make a point to do them often.  Find a game for the Wii that you like together.  Train for a race if you like to run.  Learn a new sport together like SCUBA diving or golf.  If you enjoy the outdoors, go camping (it’s a great cheap family activity too!), skiing, geocaching or hiking.  If you don’t like the outdoors, try bowling, a cooking class, dancing, or shooting pool.  Find SOMETHING.  If you can’t agree on something right away, then you both put 5 ideas in a jar.  Each week, pull out an idea to try until you’ve tried them all, and then decide on one.  You might find that you like something you didn’t think you would.

If you have kids, then one of your common activities is parenting but that can’t be the only one.  The kids are important and more helpless the younger they are, but one day they will be out of the house and it is critical that you and your spouse have a relationship outside of the children, otherwise you will not even recognize the person sharing your empty nest.  I also believe it is important for your children to see you enjoying each other’s company.  One of the best gifts you can give your children is to love your spouse.  Your kids need to know that Mommy and Daddy are friends as well as husband & wife.  They need to see you laugh and play together. 

So have a night where you each do your own thing, but make sure you are also planning time each week for you to do something together.  You are going to spend the rest of your life with this person.  You want to know them, and enjoy them!

Making Marriage Work Tip #8

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Before you start reading this one, you have to promise me that you’ll read it all the way to the end.  Really, promise me.  Don’t bail out when you see the “S” word I’m about to type.  It has gotten a really bad reputation, but it’s not a bad word.  Really, it’s not.

Ready to continue? Here we go!

 

Tip #8 – Husbands, love your wivesWives, submit to your husbands.  Yes, I said “submit”, but WAIT! Don’t go anywhere.  You promised you’d keep reading, remember? 

There are a lot of great in depth studies out there on this passage, so I’ll keep it as brief as I can.  In Ephesians 5, Paul talks about marriage and the roles of the husband and wife. One of Paul’s points in this passage is that the roles of husband and wife in marriage are not arbitrarily assigned and they are not reversible without obscuring God’s purpose for marriage.  God means for our marriage to be a symbol of Christ and his love for the church body.

“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”

We are to submit to our husbands just as we do the Lord.  That means trusting him to make smart decisions for our family.  Letting him lead the family in spiritual matters, financial decisions, job choices, parenting, and other issues that come up.  Work together as a team, even have a friendly debate on the topic, but ultimately let him guide the family and have the final say.  If you trust that your husband is in daily communion with the Lord, and he is letting the Lord lead HIM, then it will be easier for you to follow your husband because you are doing it for God.  You can rest in knowing that your husband is making the decision because he feels it is what God wants for you, not just because it is in his best interest.

Submitting to your husband is not meant to be slavish, or coerced or cowering.  It does NOT mean that your husband gets to bark orders at you, talk disrespectfully to you, sit back while you do all the work, or mistreat you in any way.  If that is happening – seek counseling immediately.  Christ doesn’t want you to submit to your husband in fear.  He wants you to submit in the same way you do to His leadership – free and willing, happy and refining. 

 

The scripture goes on to say,

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.”

Husbands are to love their wives just as Christ loves the church. The husband should love his wife as his own body. That is a serious endless & deeply sacrificial love! Our husbands are to wash us with the Word – that means he should be spending time reading his Bible and then discussing that with you.  Teaching you, praying with you, keeping you accountable with your quiet time.   He has the responsibility to practice good stewardship, to provide for the needs of the family, and to heal discord. 

This God given responsibility is NOT bossy, oppressive, or abusive.  It is being a servant-leader.  That means helping, not bossing.  Christ was the ultimate leader, and he washed people’s feet.  Guys, you can help with the laundry or dishes.

 

Now, I’ve heard wives say that they aren’t going to submit to their husbands because they don’t feel like he is being the spiritual leader of the family.  That he’s not seeking God so she doesn’t want to trust him with those decisions.  Or maybe the husband is not loving her the way she wants to be loved.  He doesn’t romance her or help enough with the household chores, so she doesn’t feel he deserves that respect.

Some husbands say they can’t love their wife well enough because she never submits to him.  She doesn’t let him make any decisions for the family and she acts like she has to be in charge all of the time, so he feels justified in not treating her like a princess.

WRONG.

WRONG.

WRONG.

There is no “IF……THEN” in this passage of scripture.  God’s word is speaking to both the man and the woman individually here. 

Husbands and Wives, you are each accountable to your Heavenly Father for your actions.  You alone will face our Lord on judgment day and your Heavenly rewards will be based on what you did, or did not do.  If your spouse isn’t doing their part, you still do yours.  If your spouse isn’t doing what they should, they will answer to God for it, but that is not an excuse for you to ignore God’s instructions to you.

 

Wives, you are to submit….even if your husband is not leading.  I suspect, the more you submit, the more you will see him step up and take the lead.

Husbands, you are to love your wife just as Christ loves the church, even if she isn’t submitting.  Seeing you as a loving, servant leader will likely make it much easier for her to submit.

If you are interested in reading more on this subject, I recommend John Piper’s sermon.

Making Marriage Work Tip #7

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Tip #7 is about R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Respect your spouse in your heart and also in your actions.  Treat them the way you want them to treat you.  This means no name calling, no pushing & shoving, no destroying their property.  It also means you don’t talk bad about them in public!  This is HUGE!!! Years ago, Hubby and I went out to dinner with a “friend” that we worked with and his wife.  The entire time we were together this woman bad-mouthed her husband.  She talked about him like he was a child and like he wasn’t sitting right beside her.  She was constantly making comments like “Oh, he can’t cook! His food tastes awful”, or “He’s the worst driver I’ve ever seen”.  Things like that.  We were so uncomfortable as we watched his face and saw him getting more and more dejected.  You could see his self esteem just melting away.  Unfortunately, they ended up getting a divorce.  Not because of that one night, but because there was an overall lack of respect in their marriage.

We need to build up our spouse – both to their face, and to others.  Extra brownie points if you talk nice about them to other people – in front of them!  It puts me on cloud 9 when Hubby compliments my cooking, or something I did and says it to other people in front of me.  I know he is the same way.  Truth is, I think anyone would love that, even if they act embarrassed. 

If this is a challenge in your marriage, start small.  Make a big deal out of little things.  Let him overhear you talking to a friend and saying “Hubby did an awesome job cooking dinner last night – it was so good!”, or “My wife made the best cookies yesterday – I love it when she bakes!”.  Find something to compliment them on…cooking, cleaning, taking out the trash, mowing, making your coffee, something they did at work or with the kids, etc…and then compliment them in public! 

 

I leave you with this old, but still awesome classic…

 

Making Marriage Work Tip #6

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Tip #6 – Be a TEAM!

This tip is pretty short, and I’m speaking directly to parents for this one.

Make sure the kids know that you and your spouse are on the same team.  Your relationship with your spouse comes first.  I know that sometimes the child’s immediate needs come first because they are little, but being young and helpless does not by default make them more important than your spouse.  One day the children will be out of the house, and it will be critical that you have maintained your relationship with your spouse.  You are a couple first. 

Do NOT let the kids play the “If one parent says no, I’ll ask the other” game! 

If little Johnny wants ice cream, and Mommy says no, then Daddy needs to say no as well.  Always back up the other parent in front of the child!!! ALWAYS!  If Daddy thinks that there is a good reason Johnny should get ice cream, then he can discuss that with Mommy away from Johnny. If they agree and decide to change the answer, then let Mommy go back and give the news.  It’s not good cop – bad cop!  There is nothing wrong with saying, “Johnny, Daddy and I talked it over and he reminded me that you ate all of your vegetables today so I’m going to change my answer and let you have ice cream”.  That way it is the first parent changing their mind, not the second parent overriding them.

Not only does this show your spouse an enormous amount of respect, but it also teaches your child that marriage takes 2 people working together as a team to survive.  You are a living example of what your child will look for in a spouse one day.  Seeing parents work together as a team also builds your child’s self confidence and trust.  They know they can count on you – both of you – to work together for the best of the family.

Making Marriage Work Tip #5

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I’m back! I didn’t spend much time on the computer last week because my friend was visiting, but now that she’s gone and my daughter is at Day Camp all week, I can finish my Making Marriage Work Tips!

Today is #5 – Date Your Spouse!

That’s right, date them! Woo them! It doesn’t matter if you’ve been married for 1 month, 1 year, 10 years or 50!  It is important to continue to let your spouse know that you want to be with them…and only them.  Hubby and I love our daughter immeasurably and we adore spending family time together, but we also need couple time that is just for the two of us.  To be able to look into each other’s eyes and have an adult conversation, to discuss our hopes & dreams, to make each other laugh, to fall in love with each other over and over again.

Care about how you look

I think that sometimes we can get comfortable with our spouse, and then it’s easy to let ourselves go a bit.  I am guilty of this myself.  I know that he likes me without makeup, so then sometimes I don’t even fix my hair (good thing he likes ponytails too!).  We sometimes go too many days without shaving because he says it doesn’t bother him.  We wear our favorite comfy t-shirt day after day instead of putting on a cute new shirt. 

I’m not saying that we should always be at our best with hair done, makeup on, and new clothes – sometimes we’ve been working in the yard or cleaning up after a baby – but we should put forth some effort and think about how we are presenting ourselves to him.  Think about what you would have done when you were dating.  If your date had called and invited you out for coffee, how would you have dressed? We should think about how we look when we go out – would you be proud to have YOU on your arm?

This is for the guys as well as the girls!

 

It’s the little things

When Hubby and I were dating, we once went an entire year and always had fresh flowers around! One week he would buy some for me, and the next I would buy some for him.  We even had an account with a specific florist!  Of course, that was when we both worked in the IT field and made good money.  Now, finances are much tighter, but that doesn’t mean we can’t buy flowers.  They have some beautiful selections at the grocery store in the “3 bunches for $12” section.  It doesn’t have to be HUGE in size to be a GRAND gesture!  Pick up a bunch of flowers, a bottle of wine, or your spouse’s favorite candy bar – just because.

 

Make the most of your season

We go through seasons in life.  Some of you are in a season without kids, so you have more flexibility.  If this is you – Take a weekend trip, or go stay in a hotel in your own city and pretend you are miles away from home.  Go on a road trip with your favorite junk food and music CDs.

Others of you are parents with young kids at home, so going out for a date can be a bit more complicated.  Paying for a babysitter, dinner and a movie can add up quickly so going out for a date gets put off – but it doesn’t have to!  Just change it up!  If you have good friends that also have kids, have a babysitting swap! You watch their kids one night while they go on a date, and then switch.  We’ve done this before and it works out nicely.  Do the babysitting at the house of the couple going out for a date.  That way you can put their kids to bed, and they can continue their date when they get home.

If you don’t know anyone in your area well enough for a babysitting swap, then have a late night date with your spouse.  One thing we did when Lovebug was younger was sit at the table and have “dinner” with her (only she would eat dinner, and we would have just enough of a snack for her to think we were still eating with her).  Then, put the kids to bed a little early & have your date at home!  You can have a candlelight dinner at the table with soft music playing while you talk.  Or, you might want to throw a blanket on the floor in the living room and have a picnic.  If you like to dance, turn on some music, dim the lights and go for it!  If you prefer to play games, then do a puzzle together or play a board game.  I think it’s also great to just cuddle up on the sofa with a bowl of popcorn and watch a movie together.  Don’t do a movie every time though, or else you never get to talk!

 

Take the time to fall in love with your spouse again.  Of course we want our marriage to be based on friendship, and I think your spouse should be your best friend.  I don’t want us to be just friends though. 

Making Marriage Work Tip #4b


Tip #4b – Her Needs

A husband can make himself irresistible to his wife by learning to meet her seven basic marital needs.

1.  Her need for a spiritual leader.  He is a man of courage,  conviction, commitment, compassion, and character.  He takes the initiative in cultivating a spiritual environment for the family. He becomes a capable and competent student of God’s Word and lives out before all a life founded on the Word of God.  He leads his wife in becoming a woman of God, and he takes the lead in training the children in the things of the Lord.    (Psalm 1,Ephesians 5:23-27)

I love how all this works together.  When your husband is being a spiritual leader, then he is a man of character.  When he is a man of character he treats you with respect, which makes you admire and respect him.  That in turn leads to him listening and appreciating you, which leads to physical intimacy.  It’s a great cycle 🙂  I love knowing that Hubby seeks the Lord in his life and that makes it so much easier to trust in his decisions for our family.

2.  Her need for personal affirmation/appreciation.  He praises her for  personal attributes and qualities.  He extols her virtues as a wife, mother, and homemaker.  He openly commends her, in the presence of others, as a marvelous mate, friend, lover, and companion.  She feels that to him, no one is more important in this world.  (Proverbs 31:28-29, Song of Solomon 4:1-7, 6:4-9, 7:1-9)

When my husband praises me it puts me on cloud 9.  When he commends me in public – it makes me love him even more.  The words the husband speaks have such a power over his wife, and he can break her down or build her up.  When my husband tells me I’m doing a good job at something, it makes me want to do it more.  It makes me want to do it even better!

3.  Her need for personal affection (romance).  He showers her with timely and generous displays of affection.  He also tells her how much he cares for her with a steadfast flow of words, cards,  flowers, gifts, and common courtesies.  Remember:  Affection is the environment in  which sexual union is enjoyed and a wonderful marriage developed. (Song of Solomon 6:10,13,Ephesians 5:28-29,33)

Gifts are not my love language, but I do love love love getting cards with handwritten notes.  I adore flowers too.  They don’t have to be big and fancy and expensive.  The “3 for $12” bunches at the grocery store work just great for me!  Romance can also be free! I love soft music, a glass of wine, and a bubble bath run for me.  Or a fire in the fireplace, a bowl of popcorn, dimmed lights and a movie.  Romance is dead in too many relationships because we can’t live up to what we see on TV.  We need to get back to the basics.  Romance is sweet, thoughtful, simple, and meaningful.

4.  Her need for intimate conversation.  He talks with her at the feeling level (heart to heart).  He listens to her thoughts (i.e.,  her heart) about the events of her day with sensitivity, interest, and  concern. Conversations with her convey a desire to understand her,  not to change her. (Song of Solomon 2:8-14, 8:13-14, I Peter 3:7)

I love to talk, and I love to know I am being listened to.  I love it when Hubby comments on what I’m talking about and engages in the conversation.  Men generally use fewer words than women do though, so this can be a tough one.  I can talk on and on about something I feel passionate about, only to get an “uh-huh” response from Hubby.  Turns out he IS listening, and he fully got what I was saying, but didn’t feel he had anything to add.  Very matter of fact.  Why talk just to talk?  Well, he’s learned that sometimes he does have to talk just to talk so that I know that he’s paying attention to me, and because it makes me feel listened to when he asks probing questions about whatever topic I’m trying to discuss.   Just the same, it makes me feel important when he takes the time to talk to me about his day.  He’s very good at compartmentalizing so when he’s home, he’s in home mode and not thinking about work.  I, on the other hand, want to hear about his day in as much detail as possible because it makes me feel close to him, like I shared in his day.  It’s a constant balance and work in progress.

5.  Her need for honesty and openness.  He looks into her eyes and, in love, tells her what he really thinks (Ephesians 4:15).  He explains his plans and actions clearly and completely because he regards himself as responsible for her.  He wants her to trust him and feel secure. (Proverbs 15:22-23)

This goes without saying.  Our relationship is nothing if we don’t have honesty and trust.  Hubby makes me feel safe and secure, and that’s priceless.

6.  Her need for home support and stability.  He firmly shoulders the responsibility to house, feed, and clothe the family.  He provides and protects, and he does not feel sorry for himself when things get tough. Instead he looks for concrete ways to improve home life.  He  desires to raise their marriage and family to a safer and more fulfilling level. Remember: The husband/father is the security hub of the family  (ITimothy 5:8)

It is nice to feel provided for.  To know that he will always do whatever it takes to bring home the bacon and provide for us.  We’ve had to go through a few unemployment phases in our marriage, but I always knew that he would do whatever it took to make sure we were secure.

7.  Her need for family commitment.  He puts his family first. He commits his time and energy to the spiritual, moral, and intellectual development of the children.  For example, he prays with them (especially at night by the bedside), he reads to them, he engages in sports with them, and takes them on other outings. He does not play the fool’s game of working long hours, trying to get ahead, while children and spouse languish in neglect.    (Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:19-20)

Knowing that the family is important to your husband is one of the most incredible feelings in the world.  Knowing that Hubby LOVES to be a Daddy and truly enjoys spending time with our daughter is something I am so thankful for.  He will tell you that he is not a babysitter – he is a Daddy! He wants to be involved with her and her activities.  He adores his time reading to her, playing with her and talking to her.  He takes her on dates.  He never tries to rush away from her, or from us.  He has an incredible work ethic, but whenever he can, he wants to be home with us.  Again, those feelings – of being loved and knowing you are a top priority – lead to respect and intimacy.