Life-Giving Relationships: A Thriving Husband
Hello dearest Reader!
Welcome back to the blog and to our next installment of the Life-Giving Relationships Series.
When I thought of what to write this week, my mind kind of drew a bit of a blank! For inspiration, I began reviewing some of my tweets.
Twitter is a supremely funky place. Since joining a little over a month ago, I have somehow managed to amass an audience that is over 50% men... maybe Twitter is to men what Instagram is to women?
At first I disliked the fact that I was not gaining more of a female audience, but then I decided to use my Twitter as a place to test out ideas on femininity against a male audience. This has been a helpful tool to ferret out the thoughts of men on a lot of feminine issues like modesty, relationships, shopping, etc.
One of my most popular tweets is a little piece on how to help your husband thrive. This went over particularly well with the male audience, so I can tell you that this advice is male-certified.
I think this is an important piece: if a man were to write a blog on how to help a woman thrive, wouldn't you want to make sure that other WOMEN actually supported those ideas?
Well I can give you that guarantee today. Men like these ideas, so let's dive in.
Let's unpack this.
Allow Him to Lead, Provide, and Protect
Now this advice may not be for everybody. I'm not saying you HAVE to do any of these things, but I am saying that these are behaviors and attitudes that MANY men desire in a wife. I need to begin with the following statement:
I believe wholeheartedly that respecting your husband is the key to a happy marriage.
This may irk you, but it is Biblical. If you are not a believer, feel free to pitch my advice out the window. The Bible tells husbands to love their wives, but it tells wives to RESPECT their husbands. Respect is different than love. Of course love and respect both come from a centered, balanced, and generous soul, but they ARE different things.
Respect is all about showing your husband that you know he is a capable, intelligent, and a responsible person. It's about valuing his input, asking him for help, and encouraging him to provide and protect.
Disrespectful wives are often seen publicly teasing their husbands, publicly putting them down in front of others, constantly nagging, or questioning their opinions. I'm not saying that he needs to rule you, but I am saying that we should value their opinions and show them respect, especially in front of others.
Do not undermine your husband.
Encourage him in his male friendships
Male friendships are important for men. While a wife will always be her husband's best friend, a solid, supportive, and fun male friend group can often amplify a man's life and bring it into the upper echelon of happiness.
Now I'm not talking about an old drinking buddy who encourages gambling, strip clubs, or drugs: But I am talking about a good hunting buddy, a fun group of guys to play a sport with, men from church, or a solid group of friends he grew up with.
It is perfectly acceptable for men to not spend an evening with you here or there: let them thrive in their friendships. Often by giving the ones we love more freedom and space to thrive, we can increase their attachment to us. This is not a manipulation tactic however, but it IS an argument against women who think they must be clingy in order to keep the affection of a man.
Do not suffocate your man: allow him to breathe, thrive, and have space.
If you are feeling the need to control him or to have 100% of his time or attention, please prayerfully consider the fact that you might have a personal heart issue that needs attention. A man cannot fill up all the needs in our soul, nor should we demand that of them.
Encourage him in his career
Now we may not always be thrilled with our husband's career: perhaps we think he deserves a promotion, or should stand up to his boss, or work harder, or whatever.
But I can promise you this: your husband will never achieve upward trajectory in his career if his wife is in his face complaining about his job or telling him what to do.
Don't nag him about his career, instead, take up the mantle of ENCOURAGING him in his career. Our men need to feel confident, encouraged, and emboldened in order to achieve things in their career. What better way to accomplish this than having a woman in their life that consistently builds them up, believes in them, and encourages them to reach for what they are capable of.
Likewise, I encourage you to not be hard on your husband about how much money he makes. If he is doing his best, please give it a break. There are many real and recent tragic stories about men who folded under the pressure of a demanding wife, resorting to criminal activity or suicide in order to deal with the mounting pressure to earn more.
Remain in a spirit of encouragement. Listen to his work woes, and always make sure that you are building him up, not nagging or tearing him down.
Encourage him in his hobbies
Hobbies are important ways for men to overcome challenges, use their bodies/hands, and ultimately, to scratch the itch to conquer things.
Encourage him in his hobbies and don't make fun of them. If he takes it seriously, I encourage you to take it seriously as well. Now of course, if he's spending the family budget on hobbies instead of the mortgage, that's a problem. But if you have the resources, I encourage you to support his hobbies.
My husband has a plethora of hobbies: working out, deer hunting, sailing, skiing, water-skiing, duck hunting, and video games, just to name a few. These are important areas where he can continually build confidence in his capabilities, let off some steam, and ultimately grow in his masculinity. I even like to join in on some of the fun.
In total, hobbies are ways that men can grow into their talents, creativity, and energy. They can find ways to accomplish more things in life and conquer more realms. Give him the time, space, and room he needs in order to do his hobbies.
(Hubby hanging out at his grandpa’s)
Embrace his sexuality
Now, you all know that I'm a Christian. Therefore I DO stand behind the concept and advice to remain pure until marriage. My advice is specifically for married women, but if you are hoping to be married someday, store up this advice in your heart to save for later.
We have so much talk about sex BEFORE marriage, but not enough talk about sex AFTER marriage. Sex is an integral, important, and crucial part of a healthy and thriving marriage.
Sex was created and designed for three things; reproduction, pleasure, and bonding.
You might think that you're not interested in pleasure, and you definitely don't want a baby right now, so it's okay to skip out on sex. But never forget that sex is about BONDING and INTIMACY as well. It is about surrendering yourself to your spouse and meeting with them in ultimate vulnerability.
If you are abstaining from sex AFTER marriage, without the consent of your spouse, I strongly urge you to change your behavior.
I am of course not advocating for marital rape, having sex immediately after childbirth, or giving into an abusive partner. I AM however saying that if you are unnecessarily abstaining from sex, you are quickly going down a path that will put your marriage in the danger zone.
The Bible encourages husbands and wives to share their bodies with their spouse, unless they have agreed to do otherwise. Make sure that your husband feels encouraged and loved in this area of your marriage. Do not neglect him or his needs. Have a conversation with him about this area of your marriage, and try not to be defensive.
Serve Him Generously
I encourage you to rethink "service" within a marriage. A lot of people are allergic to serving their spouse because they do not want to be humbled. Humbly and generously serving your spouse is a righteous and noble way to approach life. Generously serve your husband and see how it helps him thrive.
Acts of service is certainly one fo the 5 Love Languages. It is a way to show care, and to nurture your husband. I always like to cook my husband all of his meals, bring him coffee, and to grab things he needs when I get up to go upstairs. It's really not that much effort or work to be honest.
Now I'm not saying that we should be an enabler who allows abusive or bad behavior to slip under our noses within marriage, but I can say that if you are married to a genuinely good, upstanding, moral, and integrity-focused man, that it should definitely NOT be a question of whether or not to serve him generously
Some of these ideas might seem banal or obvious to you, but I also know that they could appear to be old fashioned or even subversive.
Allow your heart to be softened as you ponder these options. Remember that I am not saying you have to do any of these or that everybody SHOULD do any of these. But if you are interested in WHY my marriage has been able to thrive and grow smoothly, it is because I follow this advice.
Always focus on the fact that we are to generously love others as Christ encouraged us to. This applies to our marriages as much as it applies to loving the needy or our neighbor.