Marriage Advice From A Christian Perspective

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Understand Your Wife

Understand Your Wife

Does your wife seem overly emotional to you?  Do you wish you could understand why she acts in the sometimes puzzling ways she does?  Women’s brains are wired differently from men’s, but there are ways you can understand your wife to connect with her more.

Here are some tips you can use to work effectively with your wife’s uniquely female behavior:

• Accept her emotions.  Recognize that your wife’s emotions are a gift from God.  Take them seriously.  Rather than trying to squelch her emotions, validate them as she uses them to sort out issues in her life.

• Actively listen to her.  Tell her that you value her opinion and assure her that you won’t act on a decision until you’ve fully heard her insights on the matter.  When she speaks, give her your undivided attention, free of distractions such as the television on in the background.  Make direct eye contact with her, nod as she’s speaking to show you’re following along, and repeat key points she makes to make sure you’ve heard her correctly.

• Don’t try to solve her problems whenever she shares them with you.  Realize that women tend to process their thoughts by verbalizing them out loud.  Know that what your wife really wants you to do is affirm her thoughts when she shares them without trying to offer unsolicited advice.  Let her try to resolve her own issues as you simply listen to her and help her along the process.  Ask her questions that could help her discover a solution herself.  For example, you could ask, “What would you like the outcome of this to be, and why?”

• Be physically affectionate in nonsexual ways.  Know that women tend to feel used if the only physical touch their husbands offer them leads to sexual intimacy.  Nurture your wife in ways such as hugging her, holding her hands, and giving her a backrub without expecting sex in return.  If you make nonsexual touch a regular habit, your wife should become more sexually responsive when you do make love.|

• Talk to her.  Understand that women spell intimacy T-A-L-K, not the way men spell it (S-E-X).  Share every part of your life with her.  Discuss all areas of your life – your work, your friends, etc. – without holding anything back from your wife.

• Pray for and with her.  Regularly pray for your wife, and tell you how you’ve been praying for her.  Whenever possible, pray with her, and expect God to bond you spiritually as you do.

• Anticipate her hormonal changes.  Understand that her hormones might affect her emotions at different times of each month.  Talk with your wife about this, and anticipate the changes so you deal with them gently and wisely when they occur.

• Make her feel as if she’s your top priority.  Don’t use up most of your time and energy at work or elsewhere; reserve some for your wife at the end of each day.  Arrange your schedule around your relationship with her.

• Be her best friend, and encourage her friendships with other women.  Share recreational activities together, and help her make time to get out regularly with her female friends.  Know that female bonding builds emotional resilience for women.

• Safeguard your relationship.  Keep your emotional connection to her strong so she’s not tempted to get her emotional needs met by another man.  Don’t discuss lots of personal details with any other women, and distance yourself from women who flirt with you.  Assure your wife that you are exclusively committed to her, and set strong boundaries to avoid being drawn into an emotional or physical affair with someone else.

• Pursue romance.  Invest the time and effort to learn what your wife considers romantic.  Then do those things, on a regular basis.

• Love her unconditionally, and let her know you do.  Ask God to help you forgive your wife for her mistakes and respond gracefully to her shortcomings.  Let her know that you will never leave her.

• Thank her.  Look for opportunities to let her know that you appreciate her, such as after she’s done some task to help you.  Help her know that you notice her hard work.

Adapted from "Connecting with Your Wife," © 2003 by Barbara Rosberg.  Published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Barbara Rosberg and her husband, Gary, are the hosts of America’s Family Coaches … LIVE!  This nationally syndicated, daily radio program centers on family issues.  They have written several books together, including "The 5 Love Needs of Men & Women", "40 Unforgettable Dates with Your Mate", and "Divorce-Proof Your Marriage."  Barbara and Gary live in Des Moines, Iowa, and have two daughters.