As a woman, your wife’s most fervent desire for your marriage is oneness – a union of souls that creates true intimacy. But that’s only possible when you allow her personality and convictions to influence your marriage as much as yours do. Discovering and valuing your wife’s thoughts and feelings makes you a stronger – not weaker – leader in your home. And it can lead to a better marriage than you’ve ever imagined.

Here’s how you can pursue oneness in your marriage to win your wife’s heart:

Don’t trample on her feelings. Realize that you can’t achieve a close, joyful, and fulfilling marriage if you ignore your wife’s feelings. Understand that you should listen to your wife and take action to please her, just as you hope she’ll do the same for you. Remember that your wife’s feelings, thoughts, opinions, and dreams are just as important as your own. Ask God to help you see her as the treasure He has made her to be.

Understand what submission is all about. Recognize that being a strong leader in your home doesn’t mean demanding that your wife submit to you no matter what. Instead, it means that you should submit to God’s command to love your wife so much that you’re willing to make whatever personal sacrifices are necessary to serve her well. Then your obedience will motivate your wife to submit to God herself. Know that husbands and wives are called to mutually submit to each other by voluntarily deciding to serve each other out of love. Expect that doing so will lead to peace, joy, and righteousness in your relationship. Be willing to be the kind of servant leader who is strong enough to give in at impasses for the sake of honoring God and pursuing oneness.

Make room to allow your wife to use her talents and express her gifts. Get to know your wife’s natural talents and spiritual gifts. Genuinely listen to her. Then give her the time and support she needs to be able to fully put them to use. Be willing to do your fair share of chores to free her up to serve as God leads her. Encourage her to contribute to others in ministry and develop her career. Be willing to work alongside her toward common goals. Give her an opportunity to fully blossom.

Pursue strong character. Daily pray for God to help you grow to be more like Christ, the model servant-leader who made the ultimate sacrifice out of love. Frequently ask for fresh help from the Holy Spirit to develop character traits such as kindness, patience, gentleness, and faithfulness that will help you build oneness in your marriage. Be courageous enough to ask your wife to let you know about blind spots in your character that undermine your leadership. Ask her to evaluate the current state of oneness in your marriage, your spiritual leadership, how soft or hard your heart is, and how well you serve.

Discuss you and your wife’s goals for your marriage. List your top 10 goals for your marriage, and ask your wife to do the same. Then compare lists and discuss the similarities and differences. Try to see if you can reach a mutual agreement on the top three goals for your marriage.

Choose to be a servant – not just act like one sometimes. Understand that service isn’t something you do whenever it happens to suit you. Rather, service should become a constant lifestyle in which you choose to serve your wife regularly because you love her as you love yourself. Don’t settle for a mediocre marriage; be willing to pay the price for a great relationship.

Choose righteousness over rights. Decide that, rather than insisting on your rights, you will freely give them up when necessary to pursue the greater cause of righteousness. Whenever your rights are a stumbling block to achieving oneness in your marriage, be willing to lay them aside so you can enjoy the type of holy, close marriage God wants for you. Know that your example will inspire and motivate your wife to likewise turn away from selfishness. When facing decisions (especially controversial ones such as deciding where to live or making major purchases), be willing to give up your rights for the sake of the one you love.