Last week, I wrote about how wives CAN, in fact, change their husbands. So as not to leave my brothers out, I thought it appropriate to write today about how husbands can also change their wives.
Here are 3 ways that you, men, can change your wife:
1. Learn her love language.
If you want anything from your wife–whether it's to change her attitude, actions, etc–your wife needs to feel like you love her in order to be receptive to what you want. And unfortunately, just the fact that you married her doesn't help her feel loved. 😉 To get anywhere with your wife, you need to speak her love language.
What does it mean “to speak her love language”? According to Gary Chapman, the five love languages are:
- Gifts (even little ones count);
- Acts of service (e.g. taking out the garbage or having the oil changed in her car);
- Quality time (taking her for a walk, just the two of you);
- Physical touch (hint: start with long hugs and don't go further unless the time is right); and
- Words of affirmation.
Your best husbandly strategy is to learn what makes your wife feel loved (the opposite of which will generally make her feel UNLOVED), and DO WHATEVER MAKES HER FEEL LOVED OFTEN. Your wife will struggle to follow your lead in your marriage if she doesn't feel loved. And unless you are communicating your love to her in her own love language–NOT YOURS–she won't get it.
- Your love language might be acts of service.
- Hers might be gifts.
- You're always taking out the trash, and it frustrates you that she doesn't seem to appreciate it. After all, you only do it because you love her!
- Meanwhile, she's wishing you'd stop at JCPenney's once in awhile and buy her a pair of $10 clearance earrings.
Wifey never mentions her desire for gifts out loud, because it makes her feel petty. Why should a pair of $10 earrings matter? And yet, in her heart, those earrings do matter. A lot. So she goes on and on feeling insecure and like you don't love her, while you go on wishing she appreciated your acts of service more.
Well, the solution is: Stop at the mall this evening and get her a pair of earrings. Or a necklace, or whatever. Then sit down with her and tell her how much you love her when you give her the gift. And later, find a way to work it into the conversation that your love language is acts of service, and you do all those things for her (like taking out the garbage) because you are protecting her and you want her to know how much you love her.
If Wifey feels loved, a whole new realm of intimacy in marriage will open up to you.
2. Learn the “I feel…” sentence, and use it when you need to address issues.
Most men I know thrive on the language of facts and analysis, not the language of feelings. But guys, please understand that your wife doesn't think that way. Analytical language doesn't compute, and that's not a weakness on her part, either. You are an expert at analysis. She is an expert at the heart. Look at it that way.
Therefore, if you want your wife to understand what you want or need, you need to say it in a way she understands.
So learn this sentence: “Honey, when you/we do _______, it makes me feel ____________.”
Example: “Honey, when you look at your cell phone while we're at dinner, it makes me feel like I'm not very important to you, and like you wish our time together would end.”
I guarantee that if you say that, your wife will get it, and she'll change. She will see your heart, and she'll listen. You might have to say it a few times to remind her. We women are not perfect. (Gasp!) But she'll get it, and she'll care.
Even if you normally shudder at the thought of talking about feelings, learn this sentence and use it every time you need to address an issue! (Oh yeah, helpful hint: When addressing issues, do so while snuggling her, walking with her and holding her hand, or sitting down with her in a loving, non-confrontational way!)
3. Pray with her every day before you leave the house.
Your wife needs to feel secure in order to follow your leadership. And to feel secure, she desperately needs and wants a spiritual covering.
Men, even if you're a baby in Christ, you can extend that spiritual covering over her by praying with her every day before you leave the house. EVERY DAY. My husband and I do this, and it's probably the #1 thing we do to help our marriage. It's more important than date nights. It's more important than the volume of time we spend together. It's more important than anything. It has helped me learn to follow my husband and to submit to his leadership more than anything else.
So pray with your wife! Here's an example prayer if you'd like one:
Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us another day together. Please take care of ____________ (insert wife's name) today and keep her safe. Help her feel how much You love her, and help her know how much I love her. Please draw us closer to You today, and closer to each other. Teach us how to be parents to our kids the way You want us to be. Help my wife to have a great day today, and I pray that radical blessings would come her way. In Jesus' name. Amen!”
See? That was short and easy, wasn't it? If you will pray with your wife every single day, her respect for you will grow. She will begin to view you as the priest and leader of your house that you are (if she doesn't already view you that way).
Well, that's it. Short and sweet for my brothers who want to read fast. 🙂 Men, you can change your wife. You change her by showing her love in a way she understands, so she will feel secure around you. Then you talk to her about the behavior you want to see change, using the “I feel” sentence above. And you pray with her every day so that God can help you both, and so your wife will learn to follow your lead.
Women, what other ways can you think of that our brothers can use to change their wives?
Image courtesy of Nina Matthews on Flickr.