Please your husband – what does it take and what does it even mean?
Recently I became aware of pretense creeping into my marriage.
I caught myself doing the “yes dear” dance; nodding my head while my mind is in the clouds, feigning presence while caught up in something else, taking things lightly instead of taking them to heart.
By nature, I am a driven extrovert, and my husband is a driven introvert. That means we are equal in passion but often, very different in expression.
Compared to me, much of my husband’s input and desires come across as observations and remarks, not demands or lofty requests.
I am a black and white sort of person, and so when he doesn’t take my route, his needs and wants are easily missed in my cyclone of decisiveness and driven-ness.
I miss his ques. Override his preferences and not really take his opinion and desires to heart.
Why is pleasing my husband important?
I read of a Yale professor who specializes in pleasure research: “the study of how we humans develop the ability to derive pleasure from people, experiences and things. He has discovered through research that pleasure does not simply occur; it develops”
People ask me, ‘how do you get more pleasure out of life?’ and my answer is extremely pedantic: Study more.. The key to enjoying wine isn’t just to guzzle a lot of expensive wine, it’s to learn about wine.”
The book goes on to say
Pleasure results from gaining knowledge about the subject of our pleasure, not as we might assume, merely experiencing it over and over. Specifically, our pleasure increases in something when we learn it’s history, origin and deeper nature”*
I was dumbfounded as I saw the clear connection between pleasure and curiosity/engagement.
So I am working on being more intentional, more present and less head-in-the-clouds; it’s all part of learning to be a wife who tries to read and anticipate the needs of her spouse.
No matter how long you have been married, learning to please your spouse is ongoing work.
You never really arrive.
The day you hit the bullseye in one area (e.g “I remember most of the things that matter to my husband”) is also the day you notice all these other areas waiting for your attention. (e.g “I tend to complete his thoughts and sentences”)
In Romans 12: 9,10, the Bible tells us
don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
Paraphrased and applied to your marriage, it reads
Don’t just pretend to love your husband, really love him. Hold on tightly to what is good. Love him with genuine affection and take delight in honoring him.
If you have been a little distracted, not nearly as present as you’d like to be and you want to make some adjustments, here are three places to start as you seek to please your man.
(And if you are the husband reading this, three ways to make sure you still please your wife)
1. Please your husband by guarding against familiarity
The longer you are married, the more the pull towards getting comfy with each other.
I don’t have anything against general relationship comfort; I thoroughly enjoy knowing my husband and the depth that comes with the years. We’ve worked hard to get here, died many deaths to earn each other’s trust in this way. I love it.
However, what we need to guard against is the familiarity that chokes our intentionality. Basically, we get so comfy that we stop working; we stop maintaining and nurturing and start taking each other for granted.
But the verses above talk of holding tightly to what is good, loving each other with genuine affection and taking delight in honoring each other.
See the pattern? It’s not just holding but holding tightly, not just affection, but genuine affection, not just honoring but taking delight in honoring.
We can’t get familiar. We have to give more than the minimum required, be all-in all-the-time.
2. Live a surrendered life
A great Christian marriage starts with a great relationship with Christ.
But here’s a caveat; the reason we nurture our relationship with God isn’t so we can have a great marriage. It’s so we can know God. And out of that knowing, all life, including marriage, fall in place.
This section here is to remind you to put your house in order – to remind you (and me) that we don’t get to enjoy a gift while ignoring the Gifter.
Sure, we can have bits and pieces of a great marriage while having a half-hearted relationship with God. But that’s not the type of life God calls us to have.
His goal for our lives isn’t to have a great marriage, it’s to have a great relationship with Him. Then out of that great relationship all else, including a great marriage, flows.
So. Let’s cultivate a vibrant, surrendered walk with God. After all, He knows our spouses better than we do. He will easily quicken our hearts to the small ways we ignore and make assumptions.
Only God can help you “really love your husband without pretense. To hold on tightly to what is good. Love him with genuine affection and take delight in honoring him.”God's goal for our lives isn't to have a great marriage, it's to have great relationship with Him and then have that one aspect influence our marriage to greatness.
3. Learn to slow down
Busyness will destroy your marriage. It will wipe out your margins.
It will diminish your ability to listen well and read between the lines and make correct judgment calls. It will wipe you out and drain you so you have nothing to give your marriage.
But your marriage cannot survive on the leftovers, it needs your best effort. If you are too busy to tune into your husband, if you are frantic and always wiped out, you are too busy.
Need a few tips on how to prioritize your marriage? Make sure to read this post Priorities: The Unpopular Gospel of Putting Your Marriage First
My struggle with priorities
A while back, I shared about how my achieving personality drives me to emptiness and despair. See Overcoming Discouragement Using God’s Word
Transforming in this area of my life is a life-long process.
The last few weeks have been filled with reminders not to take my husband for granted, even in small ways. To let go of busy and committed so I have the margin for what matters most.
As I am slowing down, our relationship is feeling sweeter, more fulfilling, less hurried.Your marriage cannot survive on the leftovers, it needs your best effort. If you are too busy to tune into your husband, if you are frantic and always wiped out, you are too busy.
Most spouses want to love their mate, not just pretend to to love them. We want to hold on to the good in our marriage and to love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other.
But we can’t get there without doing all the work that leads us to those moments.
In the end, this work makes better women, better friends, better wives but most important, better followers of Jesus.
Let’s talk – of the three areas mentioned above, which one do you struggle with the most?
Are you wrestling with the overwhelm of new marriage and want a step by step guide on how end the confusion, fussing, passive-aggressiveness? Would you like to restore joy, healing and happiness to your marriage? Or maybe you just want to understand marriage so you can love better, create the relationship of your dreams, God’s way. My book Blues to Bliss: Creating Your Happily Ever After in the Early Years might help. Pick it up here Amazon Paperback I Amazon Kindle I Barnes & Noble I PDF I
*Source: Women on the Word – Jen Wilkin