Husbands, here are 5 ways to love your wife:
1. Take responsibility for your own growth.
Over the past several years, I’ve had the privilege to serve a number of professional athletes. It has taught me a great deal about training and injuries. Many athletes overtrain in one area and neglect the other areas, which is cause of many injuries. Even with their level of skill and physical discipline, it’s still tempting to major on their strengths and avoid their weaknesses.
I bet there are at least a couple “nagging injuries” you’re experiencing that distract you from connecting with and serving your wife. Start approaching these weaknesses like an athlete approaches rehab. Get a trainer, get a plan, and give focused attention to getting healthy.
2. Show consistent concern for your wife’s growth
This follows closely after the first. When you’re not pursuing growth yourself, you certainly don’t want to talk about growth with your wife. It comes across as disingenuous. It’s much easier to enable each other’s character deficiencies and avoid discussing each other’s woundedness—that is, until hardship hits and all that stuff surfaces.
Ephesians 5 gives this incredible picture of how Jesus cares for his church, and in it, we get a glimpse of how a husband should care for his wife. A bath metaphor is used to describe this care (v26). A bath in the first century was intimate, but not “romantic.” You took a bath to clean out wounds, hoping to prevent infection. It was a painful, but necessary process. Husbands, we love our wives by going to those hard places with them.
3. Submit to and honor who she is
During our marriage conferences, my wife Amie and I teach on biblical roles in marriage. But it’s important that we don’t submit to the role first. We submit to our spouse as a Christian first. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21). This is about honoring the unique gifts that God has given to your spouse that you need to receive with gratitude.
Do you know where your wife is strong? Do you know her unique abilities? You can love your wife by submitting to her in those things, by following her lead for the sake of your marriage and family.
4. Give her your time and attention
You can read “Talk” and “Listen,” the first two chapters of The Dude’s Guide to Marriage, as well as my wife’s chapter, “Pursue” for more on this one. But here’s a simple thing you can do. Look up from your phone (after you’re done reading this, of course). Seriously though, no wife feels loved when they’re only ever getting their husband’s partial attention.
Another thing you can do is initiate conversation more often.
5. Pursue her according to her “love language”
Years ago, Gary Chapman wrote this book called The Five Love Languages. The "languages" are quality time, words of affirmation, gift giving, acts of service, and physical touch. Here’s the premise. We each have a specific way that we like to receive love and show love. Are you showing love to your wife the way she wants to receive love or the way you want? What are her top two? It’s possible that they’re not the same as yours. Will you adjust accordingly?