Below are some areas that we can all work on regularly to be the best husbands we can be. Men in ministry aren’t an exception to the rules. We often are thought of as having it all together, but whether you’re a pastor, missionary, Christian business owner, professor, or manual laborer, we all can improve in the most important human relationship we have.
I share these points, not because I’ve mastered them all, but because many of them are areas I continue to work on. In fact, these are areas I’ve been taught before and have taught others also. And while we may never completely master them all, we must be continually working to be better and improve our relationship with our spouse.
Continue to pursue your spouse – You should be on a pursuit of your mate like you were when you were dating. The right pursuit will let her know you still care about who she is and what her needs are. You should intentionally pursue her as if you are trying to win her affection. When you do this in a Godly way, you will begin to grow in your spiritual and emotional intimacy, and your physical intimacy won’t lack.
Pray with your spouse daily – My mentor challenged me with this with his example well before he even challenged me with this discipline in words. There is power and intimacy in praying with your wife. Chuck Lawless says, “The intimacy of prayer fosters deeper emotional and physical intimacy. Opening our heart to pray aloud with each other is one of the most intimate, personal, even risky, ways to love one another.”
Be a student of your wife – In the last ten years of marriage, my wife has changed. In fact, most of us men could say this of our wives regarding the last ten minutes. In seriousness, life and experiences change us. If you are relying on the information from 20, 10, 5, or even 1 year ago, you are relying on old information. Continually learn about your wife and her needs. Check out Tom Elliff’s little book, 10 Questions Every Husband Should Ask His Wife Every Year.
Learn your wife’s love language – It’s important to know how to make your wife feel loved. It may not be the same way you feel loved. If you are trying hard and not succeeding, you likely don’t know her true love language. You may find as a student of your wife that her love language changes, but keep working at knowing the way she feels loved. Notice, I said feels. She may know you love her, but you want her to feel your love for her.
Date your wife – This is different from pursuing your wife. The pursuit of your wife, though, should include this element, dating. Take regular time to just be with your mate. Talk, laugh, eat together. Be creative and have extra date nights by having “date night in,” where you can still have a date night after the kids go to bed. However, don’t let this be your only type of date night.
Remember it’s not easy – Marriage isn’t easy that’s part of the “fun.” If it was easy, it wouldn’t sanctify us and it wouldn’t be a challenge. We are men, who are made to solve problems and conquer challenges. On days you feel discouraged, keep your head up and remember you aren’t alone.
Just be nice – Any time I teach about relationships, I ask my wife and other wives what one thing they really want husbands to get. The number one response can be summed up with the words “be nice.” Men, our wives are fragile, fragrant flowers. They are not our brothers, workout dudes, or guy friends that we can smack on the butt, chest bump, or get a jabbing joke in on. We need to work on gentleness and kindness.
Uphold your promise – Marriage is meant to be for life. It is a solemn and serious vow you made to your spouse before God and many people who celebrated your special day with you. When we remind ourselves of this truth, it can often push us to get to work. My wife says we can either be together forever in misery or work at this thing called marriage and enjoy each other.
Fight well – Learn to argue in a philosophically defined way, that is to present different sides and points of view in an effort to come to a common conclusion. Fighting well does not include yelling, cursing, anger, throwing objects, etc. Following the last point that marriage is “until death do you part,” never threaten or talk about the “D” word (divorce). Fighting well is calmly communicating with the purpose of coming to a consensus even if it means compromise.