In Shaunti Feldhahn’s book For Women Only, the author asked 400 Christian men, ages 21 to 75, in a national survey what they wished their wives knew, but couldn't tell them. They could have said anything, and did—more understanding, respect, sex, and taking care of herself. But even when a man could have finally had the ultimate say, the number one thing he wished his wife knew was this: how much he loved her.
Coming in double the percentage over any other response, I was amazed. Though men had real concerns, this was their biggest. In a similar survey to women, I’m guessing it could have been a laundry list of “You shoulds” fighting for the number one spot. So what can we do this month to show our husbands a little bit of the same Christian heart? Maybe taking a look at the lower items on the survey might help.
Make an effort to look your best. Keeping up with the schedules of many children, never mind with the effects of having borne them, sometimes we women are guilty of saying, “Well, we’re married for eternity, so he’ll just have to deal with it.” Yes, our husbands love us, but they’re men, and what says love to them is trying to look our best. No need to be a Victoria Secret model. One man said, “We need to see that you care about keeping our attention on you—and off other women. It helps if I see my wife purposefully working toward staying in shape.” Note: working toward. None of the men felt a woman had to be a skinny-minny. If a woman did her hair and makeup and she looked confident and comfortable in her own skin, they felt proud to be with her.
Understand his major conflict: provide for the family--and spend more time with them. As women, it can be difficult to appreciate the daily struggle this is for a man. As one surveyor said, “I feel confused. You want me home more, yet you want a new house, nice things, income, etc. I feel like I am pushing two big rocks uphill.” It’s similar to women wanting to look good but also bear and raise children—it’s a give and take. So the more we can comfort, appreciate, and specifically thank him, the more he can spend energy on being efficient and creative in how to approach the problem, rather than feel guilty and resentful. A few times I wrote cards to my husband thanking him for all he did to balance the “rocks.” One day I noticed he had kept those cards in his office, and he keeps nothing! This said volumes to me about how much he needed that validation.
Make yourself available for intimacy. For women, this is likely the most difficult. One Christian author said: “I felt what I did all day was meet other people’s needs . . . by the end of the day I wanted my pillow and a magazine. But God prompted me: Are the ‘needs’ you meet for your husband the needs he wants met? If the kitchen floor needed mopping, he didn’t say a word . . . I soon realized I regularly said ‘no’ to the one thing he asked of me. I’d been so focused on what I wanted to get done and what my children needed, I’d cut my hubby out of the picture” (Today’s Christian Woman, March/April 2002). Physical intimacy is love to men, not abstract need-filling as women sometimes think. To put it in simple terms, imagine being told to go without chocolate—for days, even weeks—when you really, really need it. So this week, perhaps make yourself more available and let him know you love him in the way he needs to feel it.
Consider what you would have put in that survey—the one thing you wish your husband knew—I know I have. Reflect on the goodness of good men, and what you can do to show love to your good man this coming month.
Connie Sokol is a mother of six—expecting her seventh—and a presenter, former TV and radio host, and author of several books, including Faithful, Fit & Fabulous. For tips, columns, and books, visit www.8basics.com.