Editors note: This is a brand new series designed to help you love the Lord with all of your heart, mind and strength so you can love your neighbor (Matthew 22:39-40). The first post in this series was by Brian Hedges who wrote on Love and Spiritual Transformation. In the second post, Matthew Sims wrote on God So Loved. The third post in the series is by Matthew Fretwell who wrote on sharing love. Today Dave Jenkins writes on How To Love and Care for your Wife
One of the greatest treasures the Lord has ever blessed me with outside of my salvation is my marriage to my beautiful wife Sarah. This post is not a “definitive” list of everything Christian men can or should do to pray and encourage their wives, but rather six helpful steps I’ve learned in almost seven years of marriage to my wife to love and encourage her.
FIRST, pray for your wife. Ask her if there is anything in particular she needs prayer about and let her know you are praying for her. I also encourage you to occasionally follow up with your wife to see if there are any updates to her prayer requests or if she has other prayer requests she would like you to pray for.
SECOND, affirm where you see evidences of God’s grace in her life. One way to do this is to encourage your wife by pointing out areas where you see God at work in her life. Do not limit yourself to her areas of struggle but rather think in terms of the totality of her life. For example, if she is doing well in school, with the kids, at a sport, or in ministry of some kind at church, etc., try to affirm where you see God working in and through her life. Men, by doing this in a Christ-honoring way, you can demonstrate God’s grace to your wife.
THIRD, tell your wife you love her. One of the worst things you can do in marriage is to not say, “I love you” as much as possible. Men, saying, “I love you” and finding practical ways to love your wife is absolutely essential to a healthy marriage. When my wife and I first got married, we were sent a card from one of her family members that instructed me to, “Find Sarah throughout the house and give her a hug, and tell her, “I love you.” That has been treasured advice for me as I will go find my wife whether she is working in the kitchen or somewhere else in the house and give her a hug. By doing this, I’m showing that I love her and don’t want to take her for granted. In other words don’t go days, weeks, months or even hours without telling your spouse you love them.
FOURTH, men listen to your wife. When your wife is talking put away your cell phone, laptop, or other devices and listen to her. Engage in what she is saying and be a part of the conversation. By practicing active listening you are showing your wife you love her.
FIFTH, bear your wife’s burdens. When life seems to be particularly busy, learn to be grace-centered. Don’t just say, “I believe in speaking the truth in love” and then go and demand your wife get the chores done right then and there. Rather than making demands, a better approach is to take on the chore yourself or find another practical way you can minister to your wife. When I’ve done this for my wife, she not only appreciates it a great deal but she says, “Thank you.” Rather than harping on your spouse, serve your wife and give her a break. Such an approach demonstrates you are being grace-centered and bearing her burdens.
FINALLY, your spouse is not your Savior. Your wife cannot read your mind and will disappoint you at various times throughout your marriage. This means that you will need to lead her not just in providing and protecting her but in being the lead-repenter and worshiper in your home. By God’s grace your wife is a work in progress so love her as Christ loves you by praying, encouraging and pointing her to the Chief Shepherd—Jesus Christ. While you are ministering to your wife, thank and praise God for the wonderful gift of your wife and His work of grace in and through both of you, for His glory.