Kate says . . .
To all the Husbands out there . . . Yes! I am writing to you today.
In the marriage world, the words “love and respect” are tossed around constantly. Brad and I just attended a marriage conference at our church this weekend. We love hearing different thoughts and perspectives on marriage, because we never want to stop learning about marriage and each other. Not to surprisingly the words love and respect came up many times over the course of the weekend. With that being said, have you as husband ever been a little confused about how you flesh out “loving” your wife?
I know there are many times I am confused about how to better show Brad how much I respect him. Why is that we may wonder? It is because, God designed me and most woman to feel valued through love. So naturally I want to give Brad love. We give what we want to receive. But God designed Brad and most men to feel valued through respect. So naturally he wants to show me how much he cares by showing me respect.
In thinking along those lines, I wanted to share a few insights about how woman need to feel loved. Since our spouses are the opposite of us, sometimes loving them the way they need to be loved (love or respect) does not seem obvious and does not come naturally! It is totally ok to admit that. I do! But I also want to be a student of understanding my hubby and what he needs. What makes him feel special, valued, respected, loved and understood.
So what makes us wives feel loved? Here are a few of my ideas and thoughts . . .
Physical Affection – We as wives feel loved by you handsome hubby’s when you show us affection. When you take the time in your own way to be affectionate. Some examples are, holding hands, hugs, snuggles and kisses. It is so wonderful when Brad does these things because it tells me that he is thinking about me and needs physical closeness, just as I do. It shows me I am loved!
Words – Saying I love you is probably the “given” answer in how to show your wife that you love her. While we NEED to hear this phrase often, it is not the only words of love we need and want to hear. Let me challenge you husbands, (who have a much less need for words) think of additional ways to express your love to your wife with words. Tell her how beautiful she is, how much you appreciate her and all that she does for you and your family, tell her she is smart and witty, tell her how sexy she is and how she still makes you week in the knees, tell her how much you need her in your life, ect. You get the picture! While I want to challenge you hubby’s to be creative, I also want to challenge you to be genuine. Don’t use my phrases up above, just because you can. Use phrases that truly work for you and will show your wife, how much you love her! Look at your wife, really look at her, admire her-the beautiful creation of God that you chose and were blessed with, and share what God places on your heart.
P.D.A. (Public Display of Affection) – Just as husbands want and need to be respected by their wives in public, wives also need to feel loved in public. Now hold on, I am not talking about making out like teenagers. Wives have a genuine need to feel like their husbands are proud of them and love having them on their arm. We want you to show that you love us when we are out as a couple, with a group of friends or in larger social settings. As I said this does not have to be “making out” or doing anything that is uncomfortable or inappropriate. It means expressing by your closeness, physical touch and words, that you love us and are proud to be out with us. If any display of PDA is really uncomfortable for you as a couple, I would challenge you to try small things anyway. It is an open sign to everyone that you love your wife. You can always give her special smiles just for her, make eye contact many times through out the night or mouth the words “I love you”. It is not always about what others are seeing where PDA is concerned, for wives it is about being out amongst people and feeling loved by you! Hold hands, put your arm around your wife, sneak a kiss here and there, send her those special smiles reserved only for her, show her, the world and those around you that you cherish her greatly!
Mr. Clean – No I am not talking about shaving you head, I am talking about cleaning and getting things done around the house. This is obviously amplified if you have children in your house. We many times feel overwhelmed by the “stuff” that needs to get done around the house. When you take some of your free time to help us get things done, then we feel more free to have down time with you, including time for sex! It is hard for us to just let these things go and run off to relax, or run off to the bedroom with you. I personally have let much of this burden go in the past couple of years, realizing that my relationship with Brad and the time we spend nurturing it in all areas of intimacy, is far more important and beneficial then my housework will ever be. That being said, this is still a huge theme for many woman in feeling loved. I know this because I used to feel this struggle greatly and because most woman I talk to, express this pull. So when your wife is asking for help, or is stressed and you can see that she needs some help, ask her what you can do to help and be ready to serve in whatever way she asks.
If I had to choose all over again,
I would choose you EVERYTIME! – We as woman and wives have many insecurities going on in our minds, just as a husband does. But our insecurities usually run along very different thought lines. For woman feelings of self image and self worth plague us much of our lives and it is a constant battle against Satan to keep these insecurities from overtaking us. After we make the best decision of our lives and marry you wonderful guys, we need you to keep reminding us, with words, actions and devotion that you would in fact, “Choose us all over again every time”! That may sound silly and borderline romanticized. But it truly comes from a deep need in us as wives to feel loved and to know that you love us every day. That nothing has changed over time. Just as you need to feel respected in your everyday decisions for our family and job, we too need to feel loved, cherished and “chosen” everyday.
These are obviously more ways to show you wife that you love her everyday and there may be ways that are better suited to your wife, her needs and her personality. But I believe these are a few universal ways to show you wife how much you love her. One of the greatest parts guys, is that when she feels loved by you, beyond a doubt, she will want and need to love you by showing you respect in all areas of your life.
The last bit I want to challenge you amazing hubby’s with is, communication (one of our favorite words here at OFM). Talk to your wife, ask her what things really show her that you love her. Be willing to receive in your heart what she has to say. Pray and reflect on what she has shared and thank her for being open. Then put it into practice and don’t necessarily be looking for thanks. Just enjoy the beauty of a one flesh relationship when you wife feels love and appreciated.
To all you hubby’s out there, share with me (and all the other hubby’s reading) your thoughts and ideas of how to best show your wives that you love them. Leave a comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love to hear your ideas!
Loving your wife the way Christ loved the church is a tall order, but one that will benefit your wife, you and your marriage in a multitude of ways.
Ephesians 5:22-33 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. 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. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
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