As a husband I know what it is to “not show up” in marriage when it comes to meeting my wife’s emotional needs. Like the gasps of a gurgiling straw that finds it’s cup empty, my wife has known seasons when she was starving emotionally because I was simply emotionally unavailable and uninvested.
For much of that time I was more concerned about me: “my needs”, “my dreams”, “my goals”, “my time”….me, me, me.
I’d like to give you five thoughts to keep in mind that will help you fill your wife’s emotional tank:
1. Sharing is Caring: One of the greatest ways our wives feel connected with us is when they feel they’re being heard and when they sense that they’re hearing from the real us. For many men, communication in marriage consists of simply letting their wife talk while they drift in and out of the conversation with “uh huh’s” and “yeahs”. You’re not fooling her.
Communication is a two way street. To cultivate true intimacy in your marriage there has to be mutual intimacy. Let me encourage you to be proactive in seizing these moments. Put down the cell phone and the remote. Grab a spot at the kitchen table or on the couch and connect. Don’t worry if you feel like you don’t have much to share. Just be fully present: ask follow up questions and dig deeper into her thoughts. She needs this and whether you know it or not…you do to0.
2. Do the Woo: Date your wife. One of the most powerful ways to bring life to your marriage is just to get out of the house together. This doesn’t have to be expensive, just hang out. Make it a goal to try and take your wife on atleast two dates a month. Some months will be easier than others to make this happen, but unless you make t his a priority this will never happen. Also, make it a point to take care of all the details if childcare or reservations are needed. This tells her, “This is important to me!”
3. Make Room for Her Gifts: I’m sure you have a good idea of what your gifts and talents are. Do you know your wife’s giftings? Let me encourage you to allow her to shine in what she does best. For instance, my wife is a wonderful nurse. She felt a drawing to this field several years ago. At first I was leary of her starting school and all that it would mean to the boys and I. However, I saw her eyes light up when she talked about it and begin to see how it would be a perfect fit for her gift mix of the practical care of people. I could have drug my feet and stiffled her dream, but I let her run and I’m so glad I did. She’s an amazing nurse who is bringing fantastic care to babies and families in desperate need. Let your wife shine in her gifting and then make it a point to brag on her gifts in public. Show her you see her God given gifts.
4. Learn another language: Find out your wife’s love language. Check out a recent podcast I did on this here.
5. Crash Well: Disagreements in marriage are unavoidable. It’s how we weather them that’s the key. As husbands we must cultivate a safe place for disagreement in our marriages. We can do this by doing the following: not yelling, not belittling our wives or calling them names, not leaving abruptly from a conversation, not shutting down and giving them the “silent treatment”, by actively listening to their heart behind what they’re saying, and beleiving the best about our wives. If we can learn to recover well from disagreements we’ll bring much comfort and maturity to our marriage and build credibility in the process.
One last thought. If you had a dashboard on the console of your marriage, where would the needle be on your wife’s emotional fuel tank. Be honest. If you have no idea, it might be a good time to ask her.
Be humble and courageous. She’s worth it.