How well do you know your husband?
I’m not talking about knowing his favorite ice cream flavor, the name of his best friend, or the make and model of his dream car. Do you know what makes him feel loved? What does he do to unwind when he feels stressed out? What encourages him the most?
A few days ago I came across some materials online that described ways to show love to your husband (e.g., surprise him with his favorite dessert, speak highly of him in front of your friends, pursue him for a night of passion). One suggestion stood out to me: Dress to impress your husband—do something special with your hair and don clothes that flatter your body. To be perfectly honest, I typically don’t spend much time on my appearance. It is easiest to throw on an old pair of jeans and a t-shirt (these clothing items are also very comfortable!). As I mulled the advice, though, I began to wonder if my husband would prefer that I dress more nicely on occasion.
I asked him his opinion that night. He said that it would be nice if I’d put a little more effort into my hair and clothing on occasion. He was also very curious as to where I read the idea. When I told him about the advice I’d been reading, he asked why I was reading someone else’s ideas of how to show love for him instead of just asking him.
My husband was not insinuating that it was a bad idea for me to read this advice, he was simply wondering if it wouldn’t be more effective to go right to the source. My motivation to read the advice was to stimulate my thinking and find some ideas that would be novel or unexpected. My husband’s question got me considering that in this context, novel or unexpected could also equal inaccurate.
What’s my point in all this? There are no external marriage manuals that can tell us how to best love our respective husbands. Let’s make efforts to discover their internal manuals.
- Listen to him. When he shares about his day or about an event he attended, listen for clues about what was interesting or exciting to him, what made him uneasy, and what frustrated him.
- Observe him. What does he do to unwind when he gets home from work? Which gestures of physical affection does he respond to the most?
- Read or watch materials that interest him. Read the magazine article he was engrossed in last night. Watch that movie he’s been quoting for weeks. What is it about these materials that captivate him?
- Ask him. Though this is related to the first point above, it is distinct. Specifically ask him about what you can do to better encourage and show love for him. Listen without interrupting and without judgment. Be sure to implement one or more of his suggestions so he knows that you genuinely wanted to know.
Am I going to stop reading advice on how to show love to my husband and rely solely on his suggestions? No. I believe I may come across applicable ideas that he has not yet been able to articulate. I also believe it is beneficial for women to share marriage-edifying ideas with other women. However, I will make concerted efforts to engage my husband in conversation about the topic because it’s a true joy to find special ways to show my love to him.
What things do you do to discover how to best show love to your husband?