Wives: Prioritize Playfulness in Your Marriage
- 2006 3 Oct
Your husband needs your time and attention. He probably won’t tell you this, but it’s true. If he thinks he’s way down on your list of priorities, he’ll be angry and resentful and hurt. Take a good look at your life. What is ahead of your husband on your list of priorities? Your children? Your family? Your service in the church? Your job outside the home? Your housework? Your friends? Your Bible study group? Many wives have a bad habit of putting these people and activities before their husbands.
By nature, wives will take care of all their jobs and responsibilities first; then, if they have any time and energy left, they will tend to their husbands. This is backward according to the Bible.
Your relationship with God comes first, but God wants your husband to be your number two priority in life. Don’t put him last or even third.
In Titus 2:4–5, Paul instructs the older women in the church to "encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored."
What’s the first item on this list of priorities? The husband! Children come later. Housework comes later. Everything else, except God, comes later. There are two very important things you can do to put your husband first and make him feel loved: play with him and pursue him sexually.
Play with Him
In just about every survey taken of a sample of husbands—anywhere in the world—the number one thing they want from their wives is more sex. No shocker there. The number two need, however, usually comes as quite a surprise to wives: husbands wish they and their wives did more enjoyable activities together.
Shared activities. Shared interests. That’s the heart’s desire of nearly every husband.
Your husband wants to be with you, doing something fun—a sport or a hobby. "Honey, let’s play golf." "Let’s go fishing." "Let’s play tennis." "Let’s go hunting." "Let’s go to the football game, baseball game, basketball game, or NASCAR race." "Let’s watch this sporting event or action-adventure movie on television." "Let’s go to the mall and visit eighty-five stores, and I’ll watch you touch and try on and talk about two thousand and nine articles of clothing but not actually buy anything."
Okay, I’m kidding about the mall. Your husband wants you to do things he enjoys, not necessarily what you enjoy. But as he works to become a more sensitive husband, he may do more activities that you find entertaining. But don’t ask for that right up front. Start with his activities. This article is about his needs, not yours.
He’ll love it when—at least occasionally—you join him in his leisure-time pursuits. One backdoor way to eventually get him to join you in your world, the world of talk and communication and emotional connection, is to first join him in his.
When you are doing something he likes to do, it puts him at ease. He feels relaxed. Respected. Happy. He can lower his usual male defensive guard. He’s more open and may converse on a deeper level. A connection, a bridge is formed between the two of you that isn’t there at any other time in your relationship. Men typically don’t talk personally when they’re just sitting around doing nothing. Men talk and express when they’re in action or viewing something that holds their attention. If your husband is having fun with you engaging in one of his interests, he’ll feel closer to you. A mood conducive to conversation is present. His tongue will be loosened, and some personal, revealing statements may slip out.
When your husband is expected to talk, and there is no fun activity going on, and you’re staring at him, he has a terrible time talking. When the interesting activity is the focus and talking isn’t expected, he talks. He’ll say personal things to you during play times that he’d never, ever, say sitting with you in your den or at a restaurant.
You may be able to cut some deals with your husband, using your involvement in his interests as a bargaining chip. Men are basically fair-minded creatures and can understand deals. This is the "I’ll scratch your back and you’ll scratch mine" principle.
If he doesn’t share personally during a shared activity, say to him: "Honey, I did —— [some activity] with you, and I enjoyed being with you. Now I’d like you to take me out Friday evening to a romantic restaurant and talk to me about your job, the stress you’re under lately, and where we’re going as a couple." Men don’t like surprises, so go ahead and give him the agenda. That way he can make some notes to prepare for the meeting.
He might not go for this kind of deal. But because you met his need by spending time playing with him, he might.
1. Do you have a habit of putting other persons and activities before your husband? Look at your typical day—what do you do before you give him your time and attention?
2. Ask your husband what activities he’d like you to do with him on a regular basis. Right now, schedule one of these shared activities for this week.
3. Ask your husband if he’ll find it easier to talk with you during a shared activity he enjoys. Make some deals: you do something he enjoys, and he talks to you during the activity; you do something he enjoys, and the next activity is something you enjoy.
Excerpted from The Total Marriage Makeover by Dave Clarke, © July 2006. Used by permission of Barbour Publishing. All rights reserved.