Today you will experience both great writing and great wisdom from my friend Elizabeth Oates as she addresses the topic of 3 Things Every Wife Needs From Her Husband. Read her post below and check out her new book, If You Could See as Jesus Sees.
“I don’t need you to tell me I’m lovable,” I said, in a rather forceful tone (O.K., some might call it yelling). “I know I am a loveable person. What I need is your respect!” Clearly I am loveable. Can’t you tell?
My husband, Brandon, and I had just finished reading a book with our life group that claimed all men needed respect and all women needed love. I felt like this view was too simplistic and cliché.
Husbands, maybe you say, “I love you,” more times than The Bachelor says, “We have a really strong connection.” Not that I watch The Bachelor. I hate to break the news to you, but no matter how many times you say, “I love you,” you might still be missing some of your wife’s most basic needs. So listen up! Here are three things every wife needs from her husband:
1. To Be Known
How well do you actually know your wife? You know she likes chocolate ice cream more than vanilla. You know Taylor Swift is her guilty pleasure. You know Amazon Prime is an addiction.
But do you know her greatest victory as a child? Her greatest defeat? Do you know the top three things on her bucket list? Do you know her greatest fear? Do you know the first thing she wants to do when the kids leave the house?
Have you ever taken a personality test? If so, do you know her greatest strength and her greatest weakness according to her personality type? Do you know how those affect your marriage? Her parenting? Her job? Do you know her love language? If so, do you communicate love to her in a way that she receives it? Or do you love her in a way that is convenient for you?
These questions are all important if we want build to emotional intimacy with our spouse. These questions are why women chat over coffee for three hours while men sit in mostly silence while watching a football game. We crave conversation. We long for intimacy. We desire to know and to be known.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
All women have insecurities. In fact, all people have insecurities, unless, of course, you’re the Donald. That man is like Teflon. What differs from woman to woman is where her insecurities lie and what drives her insecurities. Husbands, it’s your job to draw out your wife’s insecurities, and then reassure her.
I, for instance, am very insecure about our family finances. Intellectually I know our bank account is just fine. Emotionally I’m ready to stash cash under my mattress. What drives this insecurity (and insanity) is that I grew up in a single-parent home where money was scarce and unpredictable. To calm my insecurities, Brandon and I work together to maintain a monthly spreadsheet that keeps our finances in order. Even though I hate math more than I hate—actually there is nothing I hate more than math—the spreadsheet brings peace to an otherwise terrifying subject.
Maybe your wife feels insecure about her appearance: her height, weight, or overall looks. This might be driven by the fact that she was teased as a child or her parents compared her to an older sister. Maybe she is just like millions of American women struggling to lose those last ten pounds of baby weight. You can help her feel secure by complimenting her, telling her the many ways she is beautiful, and helping her appreciate all aspects of her beauty. A little spa day wouldn’t hurt either (hint, hint).
I talk about this in my book, If You Could See as Jesus Sees. Women often don’t realize how critical we sound until we flip the conversation. For instance, if I were to say to myself, “Your thighs are huge!” this would be an example of negative self-talk. If, however, I said to my best friend, “Margaret, your thighs are huge!” that would be cruel, not to mention I probably wouldn’t have a best friend for very long. If you can help your wife see the damaging effects of her insecurity, she can retrain her thoughts and see herself through your eyes and the eyes of her Savior.
“Be completely humble and gentle; Be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:2-3)
When we said “For better or for worse,” maybe we should have said, “For calm or for chaos.” With jobs, kids, church committees, community service, family commitments, spending time with friends, sports, and more, life can overwhelm us. Sometimes the house will look like a frat party, the clothes will be wrinkled, and dinner will consist of beef jerky and Blue Bell. But you, dear husbands, will be loved. Our children will be nurtured. And our home will be a place of protection from the world.
As wives, we know when we are failing. We don’t need to be reminded or nagged. We are the first to notice. We are the first to mentally ridicule ourselves. What we need is forgiveness for our shortcomings that day. What we need is grace because we will fail again tomorrow. But know this: we will pick ourselves up and we will try even harder because, next to our Savior, our family is the greatest blessing we have ever known.
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
- Myers Briggs Type Indicator Test – http://www.myersbriggs.org
- 5 Love Languages Quiz – http://www.5lovelanguages.com
Growing up Elizabeth Oates was the child of multiple divorces, which also entailed addiction, abuse, abandonment, and general dysfunction. Yet, over the years, God has taught her that she is more than her family tree . . . she is a child of God. Elizabeth went on to earn her undergrad degree from Baylor University and her M.A. in Christian Education with a focus in Marriage and Family Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. She is the author of two books including, Dealing with Divorce: Finding Direction When Your Parents Split Up and If You Could See as Jesus Sees: Inspiration for a Life of Hope, Joy, and Purpose. She currently lives an embarrassingly cliché life in suburbs of Waco, Texas (sic ‘em Bears!) with her husband, her three bio kids and one foster child, who they are on track to adopt in 2016. You can read more from Elizabeth at www.elizabethoates.com