Being newlyweds, we don't have all the answers. Still, I know that my husband, Matt, holds a high standard for himself when it comes to being a husband just by the way he loves and works hard for our family.
I also hold a high standard for myself when it comes to being a wife. Sometimes, though, I've found that I put so much pressure on myself that I totally break down and end up feeling like a pretty crummy wife. Maybe you know that feeling.
There are times that I fail to focus on being purposeful in the little things because I'm so focused on perfection in the big things.
So, just because we hold ourselves accountable for building a strong relationship, that doesn't mean we're perfect and that doesn't mean we don't fail to love each other well now and then. We're humans and we're flawed.
However, a successful partnership requires both people holding themselves accountable while also sharpening one another and helping one another grow. There are times my husband let's me down and I'm sure there have been times I let him down.A successful partnership requires both people holding themselves accountable while also sharpening one another and helping one another grow Click To Tweet
The reality is that only person I can control is myself. I can't stop him from being forgetful and I can't control his every decision but I can decide how I will react, how intentionally I will love, and how selfless I will be.
The same goes for you. I know it's easy to put a lot of pressure on yourself and maybe you feel like you need to impress your grandma or mother in law with how good of a wife you can be. But I want you to cast those feelings and that pressure to the wind and focus on the simple things you can do to love your man well.
These tips aren't going to make you a perfect woman. You're going to forget to call him sometimes and you'll probably forget to change the laundry over now and then, thus leaving it to get crusty in the washing machine. Life happens, right?
They tips will, however, help you think twice and make simple little changes that will help you operate more out selfless, not selfish, love toward your man.
1. Drop what you're doing
When we show one another that they're more important than one last email, one more post on Instagram, or one more load of laundry, we are putting them before ourselves and our own accomplishments and that's a simple way to practice Christlike love.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Philippians 2:3
2. Let him teach you things (even if you think already know)
Men are by nature designed to lead. Leading in the way of Christ does not mean dominate. It means to lead with servant leadership.
Plus, no one likes a know-it-all.
Give him respect and listen to what he has to say, even when you think it's something you already know. You may learn something new about the very thing you claim to master or learn to look at it in a new light. Listening and letting him share what he knows affirms that you value his insight and trust his leadership.
“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1
3. Ask for and value his opinion
When we first started decorating our little home, I assumed I'd get to make all the decor decisions. Turns out, Matt had certain preferences and felt like I shut him out of the whole process. I quickly learned the importance of asking and showing that I value his input, instead of assuming that he won't have anything to add.
Ask your man for his input. That doesn't mean you have to do everything he says or change your own opinion, but it shows that you value what he has to say.
4. Give him a little time to think about absolutely nothing each day
I recently read a fab book titled, What Your Husband Isn't Telling You by David Morrow. In the book, he teaches that when we ask our men, “What are you thinking about?” and they respond, “nothing,” they usually aren't lying! He uses research and studies to show that men actually can think about nothing because their brain works differently than the female brain. Men typically think by compartmentalizing their thoughts while women's thoughts typically flow altogether (hence, why we are boss multi-taskers!). Biologically, women tend to think about a million things at once and therefore, generally have a more difficult time clearing their mind than most men. But men actually can just focus on one thing.
Murrow calls this a man's “Nothing Box” and suggest that women allow men to spend a little time in their nothing box each day. Obviously not for extended periods of time, but the point is: don't freak out when he says he's thinking about nothing and don't assume he's ignoring you when he's quiet. Give him a little break and don't pester or nag him. A little time thinking about nothing may be the best thing for him.
5. Hold your tongue when you're mad and tell him he's a gift when you feel like blowing up on him
I've found that voicing my care and gratitude for him WHILE I'm upset breaks down the barriers pride and anger try to build.
Proverbs 15:1 says that, “a calm answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger.”A calm answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger -- Proverbs 15:1 Click To Tweet
Sometimes when Matt and I get an argument, I have to take some space to collect my thoughts. Even when I'm still angry, I try to take a minute to send Matt a text and tell him that I still love and cherish him.
When I take a moment to collect myself and then approach him with a calm and even encouraging word, both of our anger subsides and we resolve the issue faster and more effectively.
6. Tell him you believe in him and stand by him
When matt was pursuing the NFL, odds were against him and he and I both knew that. As much as the process wore on me sometimes, I continued to remind him I believed he could do it even if the decisions didn't fall in his favor. And he did, he made it–at least for a little while.
He didn't play long, but he was signed by a team and spent several months there. It may not end up how he hopes long term, but dare him to believe not only in himself but in who God is in him.
Stand by him, affirm his strengths and consistently tell him you believe in him, even when all odds are against him.Tell him you believe in him and stand by him. Click To Tweet
7. Challenge him
Men love a good challenge.
Challenge him in his faith. Dare him to be the best version of himself, to trust God a little more, to go after that big dream, or try something new. Don't just cheer him on but also challenge him!Be a cheerleader that challenges him. Click To Tweet
9. Set healthy boundaries
Even in marriage, we have to set boundaries and give one another personal space. Don't suck the life out of each other and don't expect him to read your mind or meet your every need.
10. Compliment him in front of your friends
One of the best ways you can encourage him is to encourage him publicly. Show the world you're proud of who he is. If you don't really feel proud of who he is and can't do this genuinely, you may want to reconsider the relationship if you're not married or see a counselor if you are married.
You should be proud of your man and he should be proud of you! Don't be afraid to make this known.
11. Greet him with enthusiasm.
There have been times matt comes home while I'm in the middle of something and I simply say, “hey,” without getting up or hugging him. It bums him out. But he lights up when he comes home and I jump up from whatever I'm doing, give him a big hug, and say, “You're home, yay!! I missed you!”
Even if it's only been a few hours, show him that you're happy to see him and cherish his presence. Neither of you are guaranteed tomorrow so celebrate every moment together today!Neither of you are guaranteed tomorrow so celebrate every moment together today! Click To Tweet
12. Take time to do what he loves.
If I'm being honest, most of the activities my husband and I do are because I like to do them. He's always willing to watch my favorite show, go for a walk, or do a project together. But over the last year, I've learned the importance of investing time in doing what HE loves to do, too.
For example, I'm not really into fishing but Matt loves it. I could never fish as much as he does and I'm not very good at it.
However, I've learned that to love him well is to die to my own desires and step into his world now and then. He loves when I join him and he even bought me my very own fishing pole (yippee…).
Anyway, when we bond over what he likes, he opens up, shares what he's passionate about, and I learn a lot more about him.
Put your own desires aside now and then and spend a little time in his world, learning about what HE loves, and just watch, you'll grow to love your man even more!Spend a little time in his world, learning about and doing what HE loves. Click To Tweet
Again, you're not going to be perfect. There will be times you're accidentally selfish or prideful. But this list is to challenge you to respect your man, encourage him, cheer him on, and love him selflessly. This list goes both ways but remember, the only person you can control is yourself.the only person you can control is yourself Click To Tweet
Jesus tells us in John 15:30, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
This doesn't just mean take a bullet for your boyfriend or husband. It means lay down your pride and selfishness in the little things, too. You may never have an opportunity to save his life but you will always have opportunities to die to yourself and choose to love selflessly.You may never have an opportunity to literally save his life but you will always have opportunities to to love selflessly. Click To Tweet
I encourage you to love your like Jesus in the small things–in the way you greet him, encourage him, and listen to him. Love selflessly and you will be rewarded.
How do YOU love your man? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
“So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.” Matthew 20:16