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The Intentional Christmas

What Speaks Love to Your Husband?

What Speaks Love to Your Husband?

By Cindi McMenamin

If I asked “What makes your husband feel loved?” would you be able to tell me?

Woman inspires her husbandAs I interviewed hundreds of wives for my book, When a Woman Inspires Her Husband, I discovered most wives are more focused on what their husband’s aren’t doing to meet their expectations, than on what they can do to make him feel loved. I, too, was once in that camp. I continued to let my husband know how he was failing to meet all my needs and expectations. I never thought to ask him how I could meet his. Then I decided that if transformation was really going to happen in my marriage, it had to start with me.

So I prayed: “God, help me to love him as You do. And as I do that, I trust You will take care of the rest.” God is faithful. He will always bring about transformation when we are willing for it to start with us.  And I’ve found that “Change me, God” is a much more effective prayer than “God, please change my husband.”

As I began to focus on loving my husband as God loves me, God began to turn my husband’s heart around toward me. In other words, the less I complained about what he wasn’t doing and the more I focused on loving him for the sake of loving him (and not to get something out of it),  the more he began showing love to me, as well. Or maybe I just began to notice it more often.  

Regardless of whether he changed or my perspective changed, the fact is that my marriage changed – for the better.  And it can happen in your marriage, too.  This is how you can love your husband as God loves you:

1. Love Him in Spite of His Faults              

When I asked husbands who had been married 10-40 years to tell me what makes them feel loved by their wives, nearly all of them alluded to their wives’ responses to them in light of their own mistakes and failures. Listen to their responses from their hearts:

  • I know she loves me when she upholds my character and personality to others and doesn’t feel the need to apologize for who I am or explain it to others.
  • She shows me she loves me by still being nice to me even when I’m a jerk. 
  • She doesn’t compare me to others; she doesn’t try to change me.
  • By telling me I am a great husband and father and that she is fully satisfied with who I am today and not who she hopes I can be molded into tomorrow.

Your husband does notice when you love and accept him, even when he’s not being so lovable. In fact, he notices it especially when he’s not being so lovable. Your husband may be tough, but he is also tender on the inside. And if you dig deep enough, you will find in him a heart like yours – hoping to be loved and appreciated for who he is, and wanting to be forgiven for the times he blows it.

2. Love Him Sacrificially

Jesus commanded us: “Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12). How can our husbands not be encouraged and motivated when we show – and demonstrate – to them, the  kind of love that sacrifices itself for the benefit of others?  Show him the kind of love that says “Not my happiness, but yours.” “Not my preferences, but yours.” “Not my fulfillment, but yours.” 3.

Practice Protective Love  

Throughout the Bible, God demonstrates protective love by continually coming through for His people. He protects His own. Do you have a protective love going on for your husband? Whether he’s a coach, an executive, a supervisor, a teacher, or an employee working under someone else, he has his days, be sure, when he is the target of accusation, the brunt of jokes, the disappointment of others, the one who let the team down.  Those are the days he needs your understanding smile and the reassurance that no matter what anyone else thinks of him, the most important woman in his world still believes he’s her hero.

That’s the kind of protective, reassuring love he needs in order to get back out there and face it all again the next day. In First Corinthians 13:4-8 we are told that godly love "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (verse 7, NASB). Does that describe your love for your husband?

Cindi MCindi McMenamin is a national speaker and the author of several books including When Women Walk Alone (more than 100,000 copies sold) When Couples Walk  Together, which she co-authored with her husband, Hugh, and When a Woman Inspires Her Husband, upon which this article is based. For more information about her books or for free resources to improve your marriage connection, see her website: www.StrengthForThesoul.com