By Cindi McMenamin, Crosswalk.com
When we first get married, we’re all about treating our spouse special. But time, familiarity, competing priorities, and just plain selfishness can cause us to ease off of those kind gestures and settle into a status quo.
Don’t let it happen in your marriage. When you continue to make your husband feel special you are keeping the fires burning, and keeping your love alive.
He can continue to seek his affirmation through his job and personal achievements, but he really wants to hear from you (and observe from your actions) what you think of him. So here are 8 ways to make your husband feel special.
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1. Give Him Healing Words
Do you remember how you talked to your husband when the two of you first fell in love? Instead of waiting for him to talk to you that way again, be the initiator and re-start that loving habit.
You have the ability to light up your spouse more than anyone else. Your compliments and praise can go further than anyone else’s. Your pride in him is far more important to him than his mother’s or his boss’s or even his children’s.
He really wants to know what you think of him and loves to hear you bragging to others about how attractive (or kind, or talented or wise) he is. Your kind, affirming words can even help soothe over a wound he may have experienced years ago from damaging words that cut into his heart and soul and shaped who he believes he is today.
When you talk up your husband, you are building him up and lighting him up. You may also be healing some parts in his heart that have started to close off.
Practice Ephesians 4:29 daily and “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them” (NLT).
2. Keep Realistic Expectations
Every wife has expectations when she marries. And then later she either raises them, refuses to lower them, or loses them altogether.
But when you keep in mind your husband is a man, not God, he has his faults like you, and he operates well after being fed and having time to relax, you won’t be as disappointed.
I know you don’t consciously expect your husband to be God, but we all look to someone or something to fill us, calm us, and comfort us. When we expect our husbands to come through for us like God would, they will disappoint us every time. And no husband wants to disappoint his wife.
So, don’t set him up for failure. Keep yourself in check, emotionally, by asking yourself often “Who is the one I am ultimately depending on?” If the answer to that question is anyone other than God (yourself included!), confess your misaligned priorities and invite God back onto the throne of your life.
Give your husband emotional space by looking to God to be your spiritual husband (Isaiah 54:5). It’s a way of saying, “I love you, but I’m not expecting you to be God.”
By keeping realistic expectations of your husband and letting God meet your emotional needs, you are giving your husband a gift that will make him feel special.
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3. Be His Cheerleader
There are days your husband does not believe he can accomplish half of what you believe he is capable of. Whether he’s doubting his ability to tackle the project in front of him, score a sale on the presentation at work, or land the promotion he is up against, he craves your confidence in him, even if he doesn’t express it.
Be his cheerleader with affirming words like “Go get ‘em, Tiger,” or “I believe in you!” or “You can do this!” Many times a man’s belief in himself is directly proportionate to his wife’s belief in him. Treat him special by raising his confidence level with your encouraging words.
4. Let Him Relax
Sometimes we get the idea that all our husbands do when they get home is sit in front of a television or computer. But it might help when you realize that, like you, sometimes the “downtime” is needed after a long day of physical exertion or a lot of mental work on their job.
My friend, Judy, said: “Sometimes it bothers me when my husband spends a couple of hours in front of the TV when he gets home from work or on weekends. But then I remember he’s older now, he’s worked hard, and he needs that time to relax. Sometimes I’ll sit there with him, if I sense he’d like me there. And sometimes I let him have his ‘veg’ time if I sense he just needs his alone time.”
Rest and relaxation isn’t laziness. It’s a necessity. Let your husband know it’s okay to take a breather, and encourage him to relax now and then if he feels guilty for doing so.
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5. Allow Him Simple Pleasures
Your husband’s idea of enjoying his day off might be very different than yours. It might even seem selfish if it doesn’t include you. But you can treat him special by allowing him simple pleasures now and then without being judgmental about how goofy or childish they may seem to you.
Let him watch an Ace Ventura movie marathon on his day off. Don’t balk at his desire to golf with the guys in bad weather. Encourage him to take a road trip with his best buddy to that bucket-list place that you're not sure even exists. When you support his quirky desires (as long as they’re not harmful), you are letting him know you’re on his team and you have his back. And that will make him feel special.
6. Seek to Know More About Him
Who doesn’t want to be fully known by someone? The more you know about your husband, the more you can connect with him and reach his heart. As wives, however, we can tend to think we know all about our husbands, and we stop investigating.
Be curious. Ask your husband what he’s thinking, what is on his bucket list, how his dreams and goals have changed in the past few years or even the past few months. Ask about his childhood memories of his parents or grandparents or “shining” moments in his life. (This can give you insight as to what is meaningful or sentimental to him).
The more you know about him the more you can follow the Bible’s admonition of “being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind” (Philippians 2:3, ESV). And that is a wonderful way to treat him special.
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7. Give Him the Gift of Grace
Aren’t you glad you have a God who doesn’t dump you when you blow it? That’s because He’s a God of grace…a God of second, third, and a million chances. Does your husband know that you will extend grace to him, too?
After 32 years of marriage, and nearly 20 years counseling married couples, my husband and I are convinced “grace is the glue that holds the two of you together.” Show your husband grace when he makes a simple mistake, when he gets the story wrong, when he accidentally throws something out that you wanted to keep. Show him grace by frequently saying “That’s alright, I make mistakes, too.”
I challenge you to treat your husband special by practicing 1 Corinthians 13:7 and be one who “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (NASB) for God’s glory. Your promise as you do this is that “love never fails” (verse 8). That is what it means to love your spouse as God loves you.
8. Treat Him Like a Hero
Your husband really wants to be your hero. He wants you to not only notice the risks or sacrifices he makes for his family, but he wants you to admire him for it, too.
Letting him know you are proud of him for certain things that he does, or simply for who he is, is not stroking his pride, building his ego, or making him vain. Rather, it is assuring him that his wife notices the efforts he has been making and appreciates him for it. More than just a “thank you,” try saying “I’m proud of you.”
Say it in front of your children and it will make him feel extra special. It may even build his confidence as a provider and as a man. And it will make him feel special.
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9. Take Care of it for Him
Your husband needs help at times, even if he doesn’t ask for it. And if you’re like me, when your husband expresses a concern or states a need of his, it’s easy for you to give him a rundown of your schedule and all the reasons you can’t get to it.
But sometimes you show him love (and make him feel he’s special) simply by helping him with things he can’t get to right away.
By kindly telling your husband “I’ll take care of it” (even if he doesn’t ask) you are reassuring him that what is important to him is important to you. And that makes him feel important to you, as well.
When you let him know you’ve got it under control he will have one less thing to worry about. And that is something he will see as a gift.
10. Let Him Know He’s Still the One
Everyone changes through the years and any of us could say “My spouse isn’t the same person I married.” But hopefully your husband is wiser, more familiar with who you are, and more seasoned in his understanding of you and himself.
Find those things you love about him and let him know you would still choose him today as the one you want to spend the rest of your life with.
Nearly every husband knows the pain of having disappointed his wife. Nearly every husband knows ways in which he has fallen short and failed to meet his wife’s expectations. If his wife isn’t letting him know, through verbal or nonverbal cues, that he is disappointing her, he will figure it out from his own insecurities.
Let your husband know, especially at times when he feels he’s blown it, that you still need him and you’d still to choose him if you had to do it all over again. It’s another way to treat him special and show God’s unconditional love toward him when he needs it most.
Our husbands are strong and protective, but they deserve to feel special too. And God has put you in a unique position to be an extension of his love for your husband. What an amazing role to have!
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