Loving your wife includes treating her with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.
Here are two phrases to use with your wife that will convince her that you care about treating her with love, respect and compassion.
A Quick Review
Previously, we discussed two phrases marriage researcher Shaunti Feldhahn has discovered that husbands can use to increase their wife’s respect and appreciation for them.
Phrase #1: “Here, let me help you do that” or “Let me do that for you”
Phrase #2: “You’re right. I didn’t do that quite right. Show me again.”
You can read that article here.
2 More Helpful Statements For Husbands!
Feldhahn’s research has led her to discover two ADDITIONAL phrases we husbands can say to our wives that also lead them to increase their respect and admiration for us.
Phrase #3: “I’m angry and I need some space. But I’ll be back in a bit. We’re okay.”
By nature, women tend to be more in-tune with the emotional world of their husbands than vice-versa. Marriage arguments spin a relationship out of its comfortable state of stability, and temporarily place it in an orbit of uncertainty.
In these times your wife needs to know that even though you are upset, the foundation of your marriage is stable. You love her and the relationship is safe.
Other marriage research (Gottman) has shown that the most destructive thing a husband can do is close down his emotions/feelings and shut his wife out. Women do not like nor appreciate being kept in the emotional dark about their marriage and their relationship with their husband.
So husbands, DON’T DO IT!
Yes, yes – I KNOW (from experience) this is so much easier said than done. We shut down and go on the defensive during arguments as a means of protecting our self-esteem. Couples should have a conversation about ways they can let each other know that just because they are hurt and angry does not mean the relationship itself is in jeopardy.
Couples - answer this question:
“What is one thing we can do after an argument – even though we may be angry and hurt – that will let each of us know we still love one another?”
The difficulty is that the more intense and hurtful the argument the less motivation each of you will have to assure one another. But at some point (within hours) you need to do something that gives a signal, that even though you are hurt and angry, you are still committed to the marriage and your partner.
Feldhahn reminds husbands:
“While you’re tinkering in the man-cave and thinking about things, she’s standing outside the door with her stomach in knots wondering if this is THAT fight—the one that’s going to hurt your love for her. She will probably go on about her day but if she’s like most women in my research, part of her brain is worrying, “Are we okay?” So reassure her before you go get your space and you’ll be protecting her from hours of stress.”
Phrase #4: “I’m so sorry that happened. How did that feel?”
In problem situations husbands can be guilty of ignoring their wife’s feelings and going straight into fix-it mode. A typical husband response might be: “I’m sorry that happened. Here’s what I recommend you do to fix the situation.” (Worse, husbands can leave out the “I’m sorry” part altogether.)
Men want to fix things, not talk about them. This is our way of showing our love and support. Yes, showing love and support is essential, but the question we husbands must ask ourselves is, ‘How does my WIFE want me to show my love and support in this situation?’.
Feldhahn makes an earth-shattering relationship point: “How [your wife] FEELS about the problem IS the problem.”
I (bw) have been married for over 30 years and I have NEVER thought about marriage problems in those terms before. I have always focused on the problem and not on my wife's reaction to the problem.
How my wife FEELS about the problem IS the problem. The problem is NOT the problem itself - at least not at first.
Husbands – if you want to reduce your wife’s emotional pain about a given negative situation, first, help her talk through all the negative feelings she’s wrestling with as a result of the situation. BE a GOOD LISTENER.
Then, let her know you are there to help her deal with, and solve the problem.
We said this last time and it bears repeating:
Men, God has given us the highest standard imaginable for loving our wives. We must, therefore, make every effort to show genuine love to her.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. (NIV)
1 Peter 3:7
In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. (NLT)
The Bottom Line
Husbands, we are to treat our wives with the highest degree of respect and love. Assuring them of our commitment to our marriage and focusing on their feelings during difficult times are small, but very important proofs of our respect and love for them.
Before You Go!
Wives, what words can your husband use to make you feel loved? Husbands, how do you verbally affirm your love for your wife?
I, and our readers want to hear what YOU have to say!
I’ll be looking forward to your reply.
For the family,