I love my husband. He is one of the most patient, gentle men I have ever met. His strengths are my weaknesses: if I can break it, he can fix it. When the computer “acts up,” he gets it to “behave.” When I get overwhelmed, he kindly gives me his perspective and encouragement. He prays for me. He is truly my partner in life.
The past twenty-five years my dear husband has been a father. He has given his heart to our two daughters. (My theory is that it takes a special man to be surrounded by so much pink!) Early in our parenting, we were introduced to Growing Kids God’s Way. He took “The Father’s Mandate” chapter and lived it. He wrote many encouraging notes on yellow stickies, played countless hours of Barbie, and used his “free time” in the evenings to spend time cultivating family identity. He has given a lot of advice and spent hours in prayer for each one of us.
Fathers have a tremendous amount of responsibility! But dear wives, we do, too! As the helper-completers, we can support our husbands in so many tangible ways. Here are a few, based on “The Father’s Mandate”:
- Cultivate a sense of family identity
Let your children know how special Daddy is and why you are glad you married him. Let them know the encouraging things he says about them. Not all children have a superhero for their father, but yours do! Remind them of his super qualities.
“Sneak” a kiss when you know little eyes are watching. For a few years, you’ll get the “Eeew!” commentaries, but that will change. (Trust me on this!) Give hugs and remind him what a hunk he is. Make sure couch time happens. This is for your children, but also for you two. And couch time should continue when you have an empty nest. Do you know your husband’s love languages? If not, get that figured out soon! He needs to hear “I love you!” in his language.
- Understand your husband’s private world
Your husband has three worlds: public, personal, and private. You are his best friend, his confidante. What environment encourages him to share his deepest thoughts and feelings with you? Is it a weekend away? A date night? After the children have fallen asleep? Regularly take time to ask how he’s really doing and listen with all your heart. Thank him for trusting you with his private world. Take his dreams, concerns, and challenges to prayer.
- Give your husband the freedom to lead
Ever since Eve offered Adam some fruit, wives have had issues submitting to their husbands. We are to be like Sarah (I Peter 3:6) who allowed Abraham to lead. Not all of us will have a husband who wants us to pull up stakes, move to an unknown destination, and not have a job lined up. But we might have a husband who is hesitant to lead family devotions because you are the “spiritual giant” in your home. Encourage, encourage, encourage! When he comes up with a budget that looks impossible to implement, try your best to make it work. And if things don’t turn out well, encourage, encourage, encourage! Let your husband know he has a lifelong cheerleader.
- Encourage your husband
Back to love languages, how does your husband know you love him? Is it a sticky note on his desk? Maybe it is a “Love you!” in Expo marker on the bathroom mirror. We send thank you cards to people who do something sweet for us. When was the last time you sent your husband a thank you card for a specific task he did or a character quality you appreciate about him? Send a text message every day at a set time letting him know you are thinking about him. Let him know in writing that you love him and appreciate him.
- Guard your tongue and your tone
Your words can encourage and lift your husband to new heights or discourage him to a place where he hesitates to share his heart. Remember to stop, focus on him, listen with your heart, and speak life. Remember Sarah? She must have done this well! We are also given the words Job’s wife spoke to him. Notice she is referred to as “his wife” (Job 2:9) and we are never given her name.
- Routinely embrace your husband
Hug! Kiss! Hold hands! If your husband came from a non-hugging family, it may take years for him to adapt to a more huggable lifestyle. And if you came from non-huggers, know that if your husband’s love language is physical touch and closeness, you need to become fluent in hugging.
- Build trust on God’s Word
Spend time daily in God’s Word. A daily quiet time is a must for my sanity! During some seasons of life, a few minutes in prayer and a short devotional were all I could do. Early in our marriage, we attended a marriage conference. Wives were challenged to spend five minutes a day in prayer for their husbands. I accepted the challenge! Five minutes a day is not a huge amount of time. I made a list of character qualities and concerns I wanted to bring before the Lord each day. I pray for his health, his work, and his spiritual growth. I pray that he will have wisdom as my husband and our children’s father. I also pray Scripture for my husband. One such passage is I Timothy 3:2-10 which lists the qualities of elders and deacons. I consider this to be the most important five minutes of my day!
Wives, your husband needs your partnership – not just in parenting, but in life! As with any deep friendship, it takes love, time, and commitment to develop closeness. You were chosen to be his wife “for such a time as this.”
Glen and Jerrine Hicks have been married 31 years and live near Sedalia, CO. They have two adult daughters and one son-in-love. Jerrine’s idea of a perfect day would include a pot of PG Tips tea, some dark chocolate, a Jane Austen movie, and time reading Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Jerry Bridges, Emilie Barnes or L.M. Montgomery. She loves couchtime with her Glen. She is an introvert. 😉 The Hickses have been involved with Growing Families since 1996.