The closer you are to God, the closer you’ll become to your wife. So let God grow you into the kind of person – and husband – He wants you to be, and enjoy the benefit of a strong marriage.

Here are some ways you can pursue God’s heart to get to know His design for you as a husband:

Make spiritual growth a top priority. Understand that your spiritual growth is the key to all that’s important in your life. Recognize the importance of developing a closer relationship with God, and decide to invest whatever time and energy it takes into doing so. Ask God to help you become a man of right priorities, purity, and spiritual perception. Trust that if you seek God first before anything or anyone else, all the parts of your life will fall into place.

In a practical sense: read your Bible every day. Go to church every week. Read Christian books. Seek out a mentor. Sign up for a Bible study. Pray for your wife often.

Work as a team. View your marriage partnership as a team and your wife as your teammate. Make God your team’s owner. Follow the Bible as your team’s rulebook. Treat your wife as an equal, with love and respect. Focus on the game plan of glorifying God in your marriage. Take advantage of the resources God offers to your team through His grace. Understand and live out your respective roles as husband and wife. Work with each other (not against each other) to win as a team. Plan common goals to take you both in the same direction together. Take some breaks from the stress of your everyday routines to have fun together. Pray together often. Think together as you face decisions, making sure you listen to and value your wife’s input.

Learn to communicate well. Recognize some of the blessings of good communication, such as honoring God, strengthening your friendship with your wife, giving greater meaning to your marital relationship, diminishing misunderstandings, reinforcing peace and harmony, enhancing teamwork, making learning reciprocal, and promoting intimacy.

Make the effort and take the time to communicate well with your wife. Seek to understand her better every day. Choose to genuinely listen to your wife when she speaks. Talk about what interests her. Pay attention to her nonverbal communication as well as her words. Think of topics to talk about and start conversations without waiting for her to do so. Ask her thoughtful questions. Never interrupt your wife, belittle her, criticize her in public, or bring up her past failures. Do compliment her in the presence of others – especially your children.

Identify and eliminate unhealthy speech patterns such as communicating in an angry or demanding tone of voice. Be willing to be the first one to settle or end arguments with calmness and forgiveness.

Enjoy intimacy. Understand all aspects of intimacy, realizing that it’s more than just a fulfilling sexual relationship. Know that intimacy also includes building a close friendship with your wife, developing a close state of mind that binds the two of you together, seeking to understand more about each other’s thoughts and feelings, and being willing to make sacrifices for her.

Love your wife with a biblical love that selflessly commits your body, soul, and spirit to your wife’s betterment. Ask God to help you avoid looking at other women in lustful ways that can compromise your sexual purity. Ask Him to help you make your wife your standard of attractiveness (not a fantasy model) and to stay passionate about her.

Communicate openly about sex. Synchronize your schedules so you and your wife both go to bed at the same time. Keep your body in good physical shape by getting exercise to stay fit and paying attention to your hygiene. Don’t go to bed angry; make up quickly. Schedule romantic getaways as often as you can.