1. Begin to seek your husband's advice and opinions in decisions. Consult him for reactions to furniture selection and arrangement, style and color of clothing, dinner options, etc. In doing this, try not to ask him open-ended questions like, "What do you want for dinner tonight?" Even though you have good intentions, you force him to think through something he may consider your responsibility. However, if you ask, "What would you like for dinner—steak or spaghetti?" He appreciates your consideration. Don't overdo it though, for it might indicate to your husband that you are becoming too dependent and uncreative. Rather, maintain a balance by looking for special opportunities to seek his opinions and advice. As you carefully evaluate his ideas, he sees you consider him valuable.

2. Make an effort to remember your husband's past requests and desires and begin to fulfill them when possible. A close friend of mine told me his wife had done something that made him feel very special. Several weeks before he had remarked to her, "I wish I could watch just one football game from start to finish without getting interrupted." One day as he started to turn on a game, his wife came into the den, took both kids by the hand, and said, "Let's go up for a nap." After putting them to bed, she came in and said, "I'm going to go shopping now, and I hope you're able to enjoy this game without any interruptions. I've taken the phone off the hook so you won't be disturbed by any calls." What amazed him was that his wife remembered his comment made several weeks before and evidently had looked for the opportunity to do something about it. In appreciation, he began to work on some long overdue household projects.

Some facts about human relationships are as predicable as the laws of nature. As the example above proves: no one can continually ignore considerate, loving actions. If you make your husband feel special, you increase his desire to do the same for you.

3. Look for the occasional opportunity to draw attention to your husband's positive qualities when you're with other people. For example: Praise him to your children, calling attention to his positive character qualities. If you are with friends and he says something worthwhile, tell him you think it makes a lot of sense and ask him to explain it further. Or, relate to friends and relatives a specific incident in the past week that highlights one of his positive qualities. For example: "John is so considerate to my feelings. The other day I hadn't said a word about how I felt, but he could tell I was down. He came over and put his arms around me. Then he told me he knew I was troubled and asked how he could help."

I can't begin to express how good I feel inside when people occasionally tell me something positive my wife has said about me. It makes me feel appreciated—I want to go home and put my arms around her as soon as I can!

4. Make an effort to gain an appreciation for your husband's occupation, trying to understand how important he feels his job activities are. Many men are frustrated with their jobs, feeling that no one really appreciates their worth or value, their talents and abilities. When you appreciate what your husband does, you may become his only hope for achieving genuine self-worth. Until he really believes he is worth something, he will have difficulty focusing his attention on the worth of others—including you.

Don't ever belittle his job or the importance of his activities on the job. Nothing destroys a man's self-esteem more than to hear his wife cutting down his efforts to support her. Though you may not criticize his efforts, you may belittle them by being ignorant of them. If you cannot accurately explain to someone else your husband's job responsibilities during his normal work day, you don't know enough about his job. Don't try to gain this knowledge from him at one sitting, but over a period of time begin to investigate by asking a few questions to gain a clearer understanding of how he spends his day, the types of projects he works on, and how his duties affect or support his fellow workers. (Be careful not to imply by the manner of your questioning that you think he loafs on the job.) Also, he may put down his job by little comments. When a man feels unimportant because of his job, it tears away at the very heart of his being. Help him discover the value of what he does.