Saturday 14 February 2015

How do you make your husband feel loved and valued?

Over the last month or so I’ve been reading a great book on marriage, it is both instructional and autobiographical and it has reminded me how important my marriage is and perhaps how my eye has gone off the ball. All is well but I just know it could be better, if you asked my husband if he felt really loved and appreciated, would he say ‘yes, for sure’. I think perhaps not, so this means I have some work to do.

Now if you are a non-Christian reading this you might be thinking ‘well that is all a bit one-sided Michelle, you both have to work at it and surely he should be putting in the effort too’ and of course you are right, marriage involves two partners and we both have roles to play but as a Christian, I believe that actually there are three parts to my marriage and the third one is God.  By changing my attitudes and actions in prayer and consultation with God I know that my husband will see and hear those changes in a far more tangible and real way than if I was to sit him down for a deep and meaningful chat.

Love is an action after all, we choose to love someone. The flutters in your stomach and the hearts and romantic notion of love does not last a lifetime unless you work at it and nurture that kind of love. So even when you are not feeling it, it is so important that you are taking actions to show it and actually what I’ve found to be true is that the feeling then comes back again.

Last week I asked my husband to take the 5 Love languages profile so I could find out what it is that speaks love to him. Gary Chapman is a very well-known author nowadays and his work on the love languages has changed thousands of relationships for the better. I’ve been with my husband twenty years but the second to highest love language it showed for him was a complete surprise to me, I’m looking forward to our dinner tonight to discuss this more.

It is so important to find out how your partner receives love, personally, I like to do practical tasks and it is an act of love when I polish shoes, change the bed or iron all his shirts. This is not at all how my husband receives love and without understanding that I could feel quite taken for granted. Any time we can invest in our marriage is so important, a few years back my husband and I attended a marriage course run by the local church. This was not a course for those in trouble but for those (at any stage of their marriage) to strengthen it. It was truly wonderful - dinner cooked for us and then a romantic table for two with drinks and desserts and prompter questions to explore our thoughts, feelings and life together.  I’d love to do another one of these as I think you both change with time and especially as we have both matured as Christians in the last eight years or so since we did it.

As I’m wanting to honour my husband and to express my love for him I thought I’d ask a group of Christian women what they do to make their husband feel special, just the small actions that make a difference to him and their marriage. Here are some of the ideas they shared with me -

  • I do things that I know will make him feel loved (namely, make him a coffee and buy/make him small pressies) - reading the book Love languages was really positive for our marriage as it showed us how we were communicating love differently. (The Fairy and the Frog)
  • For me, it's keeping the house tidy (or trying to!!) as that's what helps him relax!
  • Some times are harder than others. Family life can be a challenge, particularly the often complexities of raising a family. Keep talking, through good and not so good times, reminding him, as he will hopefully remind you that your marriage is important.and for life.
  • We have set a night a week as a devotions night together - we read a passage, discuss it and pray through it together along with whatever else is on our minds. We found that by prioritising time with each other but also with God that our relationship was closer and out of that closeness with God we actually had some amazing evenings together.
  • I always greet him properly with a kiss, eye contact and comment when I see him. He addresses me before the kids when he gets home. I send him love texts and or bible verses every day by text. He sends me links to articles he thinks would interest me. We try to have a date night each week, though lately, it's a home a lot. We try to hug and hold hands and have physical contact in the business of the day. We pray or read the bible together.
  • I feel a bit embarrassed saying this but making the effort to initiate sex makes a big difference to him! And booking a babysitter to take him out!
  • Use the time on Snooze to turn to face your partner, cuddle, chat or whatever. Also the ten second kiss to show you care, my husband teased me by counting with his fingers and claiming longer or saying I had forgot to kiss him long enough!
  • A big thing is saying thank you to each other. 
  • We have started to sit down on a Wednesday night with the calendar and work out who is where when for the next week!
  • I just started the 5 love languages (for her) bible reading plan on the You Version bible phone app and it's already helped me and my attitude after 2 days! Would recommend it (they do a for him one too).
  • Put a nice song on whilst the kids are around and have a slow dance with your hubby and let the kids join in too. Our daughter loves it and comes up for a dance in between us sometimes. Also it reinforces our relationship in front of her.
  • Date night & read The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie OMartian, very insightful. (Lizzie at LizzieSomerset)
  • Show him you respect him. Very important.
  • I'm loving doing the Love Dare book right now, a bible verse, addressing an attitude and then a daily dare to invest in your marriage,
  • We have a night away every 3 months or so. 
  • I heard something awesome this weekend. A woman was telling my friend about a marriage course called 'respect and love'. I don't know anything about it, but as she explained it my jaw dropped. She said men need to love their wives, then the wives can respect their husbands and women need to respect their husbands, making it easier for the husbands to love their wives.  Made me happy and think about my marriage in a new way.
  • I think it's realising what your hubby needs. For me notes, pressies and slushy texts are all what I like and make me feel loved but definitely not what makes him feel loved, he doesn't get it! Also my Hubby needs me to sit next to him and do nothing, my constant tidying, cleaning and planning make him stressed.
  • Supporting him in all things. I have the joy (not) of being secretary of his RC club even though I actually hate them but Alan enjoys them and loves his club so I will support him where I can. (Sara at Walking with Angels)
  • Not putting him down in front of other people. (Filipa at Gourmet Mum)
  • Making sure I thank him regularly for working hard. It's easy to forget as it's not as 'visible' as me looking after the kids or cleaning the house but his job facilitates me being able to do those things and he sacrifices being at home with us more for that.(Jess at Catch a Single Thought)
  • We did Mark Gunghor's Laugh your way to a better Marriage course at church and I think you can watch clips on Youtube, it is very helpful and humorous. It has helped us understand how men think differently than women, Anyway, he described men as thinking of one thing at a time ie , cars, TV, work, kids and that's it, whereas women tend to compartmentalise things kids, job, shopping etc but they are all interconnected and she can think about several topics at a time.
  • Prayer emails from the Unveiled Wife and the 5 day Valentines challenge from Time Warp Wife were suggested too
  • To look directly into each others eyes for four minutes (set a timer!) without talking. We did it for the first time yesterday, it was so powerful, bringing me to tears and repentance
Woah, that is an awful lot of good information there and I suspect it might be too much to take in on one sitting but I just didn't want to leave anything out. So bookmark this page and come back again. In fact come back once a year, each year of your marriage and take on board a few new ideas each time.  That is how we ensure we have a healthy and fresh marriage.

Wishing you a very happy valentines day, I hope you enjoy the time with your spouse. Mich x

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