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Straight Talk to Men – Reflections from 12 Years of Marital Life

On October 7, 2010, my wife and I had celebrated 12th year of our wedding anniversary. I thank God for this institution of marriage, for it is one of the wonderful schools wherein we learn great and life-changing lessons. It is here that a man’s character is exceedingly molded, learning patience and gentleness in the adventurous journey of life together. It is here that a man is educated to die to self. It is here that a man learns sacrifice and service.

Keeping Wives Happy
If I am asked, “What is that one lesson you have learned all these years?” I would say, “Men, if you want to have your world happy, keep your wives happy.” I am most happy when I give my wife utmost happiness. In grieving her, I grieve myself the most. In hurting her, I hurt myself more. This is not to say I have to love my wife only to keep myself happy. That’s sheer selfishness. I have a grand reason to do so: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25). Christlikeness is first manifested at home. Men, we cannot become like Christ by bypassing the command to dearly love our wives as Christ loved the church. And who doesn’t possess great joy and happiness when lived in accordance with God’s word!

I have seen—no matter how much I pray, read my Holy Bible, have fellowship with other saints, gain good reputation in society, achieve great things in life—if I don’t faithfully fulfill my role in loving my wife, at the end of the day I come back to a place (home) where there is no peace. What a failure I am if I cannot love and lead my family well! Let me make this honest assertion – the responsibility about the wellness and peacefulness of a family is mostly dependent on a husband, for he is the head of the family, God’s appointed leader.

Meeting Emotional Needs
What do I mean by “keeping wife happy”? Should I have to fulfill her every whim? Must I always remain a wife-pleaser? Should I be played like a puppet in her hands? Certainly not! Loving my wife and keeping her happy is not becoming a musical instrument under her control, sounding the way she wants me to; it is meeting her basic emotional needs as a responsible husband; it is doing everything that I can on my part to make her feel happy; it is fulfilling God-given responsibilities of a husband as I made a sincere commitment to be my wife’s life-partner.

So what is that I need to do to meet my wife’s basic emotional needs? Knowing the needs and interests of wives is one of the greatest discoveries husbands can make. Trust me, it is a worthwhile research. I made some such discoveries, which I believe every wife expects from her husband, and that which makes her happy, consequently giving happiness to a husband.

Affectionate Behaviors
Here is the good news—it doesn’t take great labor or great achievements to meet the emotional needs of my wife; it takes just little sensitivity, doing simple things in a loving way; it takes just small investments but reap great benefits in family life.

More than anything, one thing that my wife expects from me, or any wife from her husband, is AFFECTION. It is something which she earnestly craves from her husband and feels frustrated when she doesn’t get it. In my counseling of numerous families, I have observed this is one thing in which husbands majorly fail. They believe they are good and loving husbands, and they are in some way, but their actions are not very much evidential of affection. Remember, many problems in families can be avoided if husbands appropriately express their affection towards their wives. The following are some of the affectionate behaviors I have lately learned to express to my wife:
  • Tell her sincerely, as often as I can, “I love you.”
  • A caring touch or hug.
  • Call her during the day to see how she is doing.
  • Kiss her as often as possible before she or I leave for work.
  • Call her if I am late home.
  • Let her know where I go when I leave home.
  • Bring her simple gifts once in a while to express my love for her, especially onnon-special occasions.
  • Assure her with words and actions that, besides God, she is the most important person in my life.
  • Let her know all good things and bad things that happen to me.
  • Share the responsibilities of children’s upbringing, without dumping all burdens on her.
  • Do not criticize her before others.
  • Don't miss the privileges of appreciating her.
  • Respect her views, without sarcasm, however differing from mine.
  • Gently correct her mistakes without exploding with anger.
  • When necessary, be firm but not harsh.
  • Make family decisions together.
  • Give her special attention and care when she falls sick.
  • Respect her parents.
  • Listen to her problems with undivided attention.
  • Encourage her during tough times.
  • Help her with washing dishes when she is tired.
  • As far it depends on me, keep the house clean.
  • Spend some time with her, having meaningful conversation, before going to bed.
  • As far as it is possible, have family supper together.
  • Take her out for dinner occasionally.
  • Walk closely when I go out with her.
  • Give her utmost pleasure when it comes to sex and not focus on just extracting pleasure from her.
  • Pray with her daily.
Do these things, I bet, the rewards would be incredible!

To be honest with you, I am not a perfect husband, meticulously doing all the above things. I have miserably failed in many issues. However, I have learned to pray and take efforts to be a best husband possible. I hope I would become a better husband every year as we joyfully celebrate our wedding anniversaries with thankfulness to God’s abounding grace in our lives. Glory be to the Creator of the heavens and the earth for this marvelous gift of marriage, my wife!



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