Navigating a successful marriage can be challenging. Whether you’ve been together thirty days or thirty years, you’ve probably figured this out. As wives, we had expectations that began way before our man got down on one knee. We had hopes of what our lives as a forever couple would look like. Maybe your dreams became reality, or maybe they didn’t. But I’m guessing, if you’re anything like me, you found what came after you walked down the aisle to be somewhere in between.
Something I’ve learned over the last twenty-six years since I said “I do” is that there are ups and downs in marriage, just like there are in life. When your relationship with your husband is soaring and you want it to stay that way, ask yourself, “What can I do for him?” When your relationship is plummeting and you’re desperate for a foothold, ask yourself, “What can I do for him?” Putting ourselves temporarily aside, answering this question, and backing it with action can only strengthen your marriage. The list I’m offering next is meant to be a springboard. God knows your husband better than you; ask Him to reveal your husband’s heart. Then, pay attention and run with what He tells you.
1. Touch Him
I’m not talking about behind closed doors. I’m talking about in the car, in the grocery store, on the couch, or as you bump into each other in the kitchen. Touch is a powerful connector; it shows affection, offers intimacy, and communicates “I love you” without a single word.
Even though your husband may not act like he needs that kind of affection connection, he probably does. He may not even realize it. This week, make a conscious effort to get physical. See how he reacts when you sit close to him the way you did when you were dating, when you take his hand during a movie, or when you rub his shoulders after work. He’s yours to love. Take advantage of the fact that you’re the only woman who gets to touch him this way.
2. Show Him Respect
Respect isn’t about letting him make every decision and then going along blindly. Respect is about trusting him as your life partner, and treating him the way you want to be treated. It is also about considering his thoughts before you make decisions, and talking things out and working as a team.
A lot of responsibilities come along with the words, “I do.” Respect is trusting him to take care of those things he’s promised to take on so you’re free to handle the things you’ve promised to take on.
3. Carry His Burden
One of the best parts of being married is not having to be alone. The second you exchange rings, you have a best friend, roommate, and life partner who is exclusively yours. You don’t have to go through life as a single person, and neither does he.
There will be seasons of your life and in your marriage where one of you will need to take the lead and be strong for the other. Your hardships are his and his are yours. Step in when you see him struggling. Offer to carry the load while he catches his breath. Be his strength and his respite.
4. Speak His Love Language
Maybe I should start with learn his love language—it’s not always yours. You may feel loved when he makes dinner or brings you a gift, but when you reciprocate, he may not react the way you want if he sees love differently than you.
Take the time to notice what makes him feel closer to you; what makes him smile, what makes him feel special, and what makes him feel like your number one. And if you’re not good at reading him, ask. I’m betting he’ll be happy to tell you.
5. Let Him Be Himself
He got your attention with his out-of-the-box personality, his crooked smile, the way he laughed during TV shows that weren’t really funny, and…you fill in the blank with all the things you loved about your guy when you first became a couple. So why do so many of us try to change our husbands after the wedding?
Life will shape him. He’ll grow, adapt, and change with God’s help, not yours. Let him be the man you married. Accept him for who he is now. Give him room to figure out who he is later. And never stop falling in love with the man he’s becoming.