Dave and I will celebrate 16 years of marriage this summer. We’ve lived in four states together and eight houses had three children and adopted two pug dogs. We also celebrate 15 years in youth ministry this fall without killing each other or any church congregants…yet. We are blessed with a great marriage. We are best friends. We respect each other and are still crazy about each other. We have our share of knock down drag out fights, but we consider ourselves so blessed to have each other’s hand to hold.
After observing many successful marriages and, unfortunately, many strained marriages, I found three of the best ways to bless your husband. (Today, I am specifically talking to wives so no high-horse shenanigans. If you are not a wife or you are a man- hater, best move on.)
1. Respect him. If I could name one thing that sends shivers up my spine, it is when a wife publicly insults her husband. Here are a few sentences that I have witnessed multiple times over the last 16 years:
“I don’t have three kids. I have four! My husband is just a big kid.”
Or the other most common…
“You know, men don’t ever think. My husband doesn’t. My boys don’t.”
If either of these statements were made about women, it may rightly make national news with feminists everywhere screaming about gender equality. Nevertheless, ‘loving’ wives jokingly say this daily about their husbands (and sons) ignoring gender equality and moving right back into despicable sexism.
Often we define our marriage for the outside world with what we say and how we act. Proverbs 31 outlines how a noble wife behaves. Verse 23 says “Her husband is respected at the city gate…” My question to you is, should others respect your husband based on your description of him?
The second comment is simply abusive. It is one thing to insult and disrespect your husband and call him a child. It is quite another to raise your children to believe they cannot think because they are male. Hopefully, you would not tolerate it, if someone claimed you were brainless. If my sons are ever in earshot of this sexist and abusive phrase, I quickly rebuke the abuser.
Please respect your sons and husband enough to protect them from this sexist treatment as well. Back in Proverbs, wives are instructed to bring their husband good not harm. “She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” (Proverbs 31:12) If your words can be taken offensively, or you wouldn’t desire someone to say them of you, then don’t say them.
Husband bashing is despicable to me (wife bashing, also). Unfortunately, I have sat among women who cannot say one nice thing about their husband. They sit clinking wine glasses literally laughing at the man they promised to cherish. I hope when you are around your best friends, your conversation is consistent with your marriage vows. I hope that you uphold him in public. I hope you do not slowly corrode your marriage for a few cheap laughs between friends.
Christ should be your first love.
Your husband is your second.
Your kids are third.
Your friends are way on down the line.
2. Support him. My husband is a smart guy. I don’t just mean average smart. I mean, always wins Trivial Pursuit smart. I hate it because he always wins. Hate it.
Nevertheless, we have a very equal partner-based marriage. He respects my opinion, and we consistently try to stay on the same page about everything in life: kids, money, jobs, friends etc. However, when it comes to his job, the ministry, I recognize that it is his job, not mine. Am I affected by his job? Absolutely. Does that mean I do his job or answer questions about his job? Nope. The same is true for my occupation. He does not do my job. I do not presume to do his.
Along with his occupation, comes supporting him in decision-making and leadership. Regularly, I have Christians approach me wanting to discuss my husband’s ministry. Most of the time this is innocent, sometimes it is sinister. I never allow anyone to insult my husband to me. If they have a problem with him, I quickly cut them off and suggest they contact him immediately. I do not fight his battles. He does not fight mine. I am always on his side. Always. I do not joke about his competence. I do not allow others to joke about it. I double-dog-dare someone to try to pull me away from this man. It just won’t happen.
3. Pray for him. There are days that come that are not easy. There is a reason why we are told to pray for our enemies. Sometimes it feels like we are married to the enemy.
Everyday I pray for my husband’s success, for his fulfillment, for a growing faith. I pray that he is blessed and content. I do not pray that God changes him. I pray that God uses me to bless Dave. I want to be the wife that he needs.
Pray together. It took a long time to feel comfortable praying together. We never witnessed our parents praying together, and we both have very personal faiths. We got over it. Desperate times came in our marriage. Whether it was our best friend’s divorcing, multiple miscarriages, or simply not having money to pay the bills, times came where we both let go of our awkwardness and cried out to God together. If you are blessed to be yoked to a believer, please try to hold your husband’s hand and talk to the Lord. Invite God into the marriage. You won’t regret it.
May God richly bless you as you continue to love your spouse.
May you be reminded of the promises you made to love and honor.
Remember that your marriage is symbolic of the love of Christ for the church.
Protect your marriage above everything else.
Seek counseling early on if the struggles are more than either of you can bear.
Above all, pray.