Giving Your Husband What He Needs
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2006 21 Dec
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Melanie Chitwood's book, What a Husband Needs from His Wife, (Harvest House, 2006).
If you’ve worked hard to change your husband but just ended up feeling more frustrated, take heart. There’s hope for true transformation, but it won’t come through your own efforts. Your marriage will change only when you trust God to change you.
As you change, you’ll become the kind of wife your husband needs – and your marriage will grow stronger as a result. Here’s how you can change your marriage by giving your husband what he needs:
Pour out your heart to God. Take all your concerns about your marriage to God in prayer. Ask Him to bless you with less conflict and more peace, security, joy, fun, and intimacy. Honestly ask yourself whether or not you’re ready to stop doing marriage your way and start doing it God’s way, no matter what the cost. Ask God to give you the courage to surrender your marriage to His control, getting out of the way so He can work. Give up feeling entitled to what you think you deserve in marriage. Let go of unrealistic expectations for your husband. Repent of your sins against your husband, and strengthen your relationship with God through prayer, listening, reading Scripture, and obeying Him. Embrace God’s unconditional love for you, and remember that since nothing can change His love for you, you can trust Him with every part of your life. Let God’s love begin to transform your heart. Ask God to give you the desire and strength to become the kind of wife He wants you to be.
Seek God rather than just a better marriage. Make your top priority seeking God, knowing that a better marriage will come about naturally if you put God first. Schedule a daily quiet time to pray, listen, and read the Bible. Know that spending time with God will help you come to recognize His voice and trust Him more. Focus on God instead of the changes you want to occur in your marriage. Soak up God’s love to gradually become more like Him, and the changes in you will positively impact your marriage. Entrust your husband to God and pray daily for your husband’s needs.
Be a helper. Understand that your husband needs a helper – someone he can count on as a true friend and lover. Build a close friendship with your husband and enjoy fun times together as companions. Don’t let other pursuits crowd out the time you should be spending with your husband; make significant time to be with him regularly. Celebrate the ways you and your husband complement each other. Save enough energy for focusing on your husband – rather than other family members and friends, your work, etc. – to truly give him the best of yourself instead of just what’s left of you after busyness elsewhere. Support your husband in his God-given roles of leader, provider, and protector. Rely on God’s strength to help you with everything you need to do at home while your husband is away on business travel. Develop oneness with your husband through a relationship that is open emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, and physically. Beware of trying to act as the Holy Spirit in your husband’s life; recognize that you can’t cause your husband to become more holy, but you can positively influence him through the example of your own faithful behavior. Make your relationship with your husband your closest human relationship and communicate that clearly to him through your words and actions.
Keep romance alive. Don’t wait for your husband to act romantic toward you; go ahead and initiate romance yourself. Be as creative and adventurous as you can when thinking of ways to romance him. Ask your husband what he considers romantic, and act on his suggestions. Connect with him sexually often to keep your bond strong. Ask God to help you desire what’s best for your husband even before what’s best for you personally. Be willing to make whatever sacrifices are necessary to put your husband’s interests before your own. Be forgiving, not bitter. Don’t keep score in your marriage, and ask God to continually renew your love for each other.
Offer the gift of submission. Realize that when you choose to yield to your husband, you’re actually submitting to God while offering your husband a valuable gift and allowing your marriage to function according to its design, with each equal partner fulfilling their God-given roles. Understand that submission should never be forced; it’s a choice you make freely in everyday life to honor your husband. Decide to make that choice in various situations as you encounter them, and watch your marriage grow as a result.
Show unconditional respect. Recognize that your husband will feel loved only if you respect Him. Understand that God calls you to offer your husband unconditional love, just as He wants your husband to offer you unconditional love. Decide that you will respect your husband even when you feel like he doesn’t deserve it, simply because He is your husband. Choose to trust His decisions, even when he makes mistakes, allowing Him the freedom he needs to grow as God leads him to without fear of condemnation.
Adjust your attitudes. Ask God to change your unhealthy attitudes to healthy ones that will benefit your marriage. Trade ungratefulness for thankfulness by reminding yourself of your many specific blessings. Trade complaints for contentment by looking to God (not your husband) to fulfill you. Trade downheartedness for cheerfulness by focusing on the positive instead of the negative. Trade a desire for control for flexibility by letting go of your own agenda and making room for God’s plans for you. Trade emotional meltdowns for self-control by relying on the Holy Spirit’s power daily and avoiding stress triggers. Trade a critical spirit for encouragement by frequently letting your husband know that you believe in him. Trade harsh behavior for gentleness by thinking before you speak or act and keeping your love for your husband in mind.
Get the support you need. Take care of your own needs, knowing that doing so will enable you to support your husband better, as well. Get adequate sleep, and enough time to be still and quiet so you can reflect on your life. Don’t commit your time and energy to anything that God isn’t clearly leading you to pursue. Make time for fun on a regular basis. Invest in friendships with other women who will support, encourage, and hold you accountable. Ask God to give you His perspective on your marriage, and to help you see your husband the way He does. Examine your thoughts and refuse to dwell on any that don’t align with God’s truths. Intentionally think about biblical truths, and let your thoughts inspire your actions.
Create a home that blesses your husband. Consider what environment you and your husband both would like to experience in your home, and work to create that atmosphere. Arrange your schedule so you have enough time to be home regularly and take good care of your responsibilities there. Don’t neglect the house, but don’t become obsessed with trying to make it perfect, either. Simply do your best to make your home your family’s favorite place to be, and help them create memories there that you all will cherish. Do your best to manage your material blessings wisely. If you’re a mom, give your kids your best, just as you do for your husband. Work with your husband to reach agreement in parenting and present a united front to your kids. Know what your husband’s parenting priorities are, and be sure to honor those priorities as well as your own. Teach your kids to love God, honor their parents, and love one another.
Accept and work with the differences between you. Understand that the personality, gender, and background differences between you and your husband can draw you closer together instead of farther apart. Don’t expect your husband to be the male version of you; give him the freedom to be himself. Pray about the differences between you, asking God to show you how you can respond to them to strengthen your marriage. Work to communicate in ways that effectively get your messages across to one another, despite your different communication styles. Talk about sex openly and honestly, expressing what each of you desires so you can each be fulfilled.
Respond to crises well. Whenever you and your husband encounter a crisis, let him know that you believe in his ability to get through faithfully. Pray for God to give you both an eternal perspective on the crisis, learn from it, and let it motivate you to be thankful for your marriage and not take it for granted. During a crisis, honestly express your thoughts and feelings to God, seek Him with all your heart, focus on your own obedience to God rather than how your husband is responding, communicate often with your husband, and seek counsel from faithful and trustworthy people you respect. Ask God for the peace that only He can give, and trust Him to bring something good out of even the worst situation.
Let marriage refine your character. Take advantage of the many opportunities marriage offers to choose God’s ways over your own selfish ways. Know that each time you choose to obey God’s leading, you’ll grow in maturity.
Remember your covenant. When times get tough, remember that your marriage vows were a promise to God and your husband that you would be faithful no matter what. Know that marriage is a covenant, not a contract. Just as God’s love has no conditions, and He never takes it away, keep offering your husband unconditional love, relying on God’s strength to do so.
Go on an adventure together. Realize that serving God together is the greatest adventure a couple can ever know. Get to know your husband’s dreams, and join him in pursuing them. Pray for him, encourage him, and support him in his passions, and seek his blessing for your own passionate pursuits. Celebrate how serving together whenever you can draws you closer to God and each other.
Adapted from What a Husband Needs from His Wife, copyright 2006 by Melanie Chitwood. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Or., www.harvesthousepublishers.com.
Melanie Chitwood is a writer, teacher, and speaker whose passion is to point women to Jesus Christ and His Word. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, Scott, and their two sons.