Honey Dos and Don’ts: Newlywed Advice for Husbands

Sharifa Stevens's picture

Ah, June. The month of weddings and proposals.

In honor of this blissful month, I would like to encourage the brothers. Here are some practical ways to keep peace and stoke love’s hearth – from a feminine perspective. Many of these suggestions are based on mistakes I’ve made, so hopefully the ideas can be helpful to wives as well.

(I welcome comments with additional ideas from both newlyweds and seasoned couples.)

  • Read this.
  • Never discuss financial matters in bed.
  • Many folks wonder how to interpret Ephesians 4:26-27 in relationship to marriage. The crux of the chapter is exhibiting blameless behavior as a witness of Christ. My take? Be a witness in your home by not allowing anger to rule your household (i.e., keeping you from treating your responsibilities and relationships with honor and diligence), especially when anger is a legitimate emotion.
  • Do not EVER underestimate the power of consistency. A powerfully attractive trait in a man is that he does what he says he will do. Conversely, if you are annoyed that your wife seldom supports your dreams and goals, it could be tied to a chronic failure to attempt to fulfill past promises (emphasis on attempt, since we all fail!). Hope deferred makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12).
  • PMS jokes are seldom appropriate in conversation, and even more rarely effective. Trust me. Ditto for menopause cracks.
  • When your wife is giving you feedback on something that bothers her, avoid responding with comparison (“well, at least I don’t do X like Jane’s husband”). Your wife isn’t married to Jane’s husband, nor is your wife Jane. Comparisons are a swift road to marital perdition. Instead, absorb for a moment. Is there merit to your wife’s feedback? Are you about to respond defensively because her words hurt? Does her statement need clarification? Silence is golden, if you’re on the verge of lashing out. Breathe. Tell her when her words hurt you, and encourage a conversation with less dagger and more heart.
  • Chores done willingly, regularly, and with gusto, are more romantic than rooms piled high with roses. Roses are great; but a man pulling his household weight without being reminded – that’s downright sexy.
  • In contrast, laziness and spectator-husbandry (i.e., tooling around your wife as she struggles with the dishes, the kids, the pets, the bills, and/or the household) are turn-offs that will lead to your frustration.
  • Say “thank you” with a kiss sometimes. Bonus if it’s planted somewhere out of the ordinary.
  • When you ask your spouse about her day, look her in the eye, then wait for her to answer.
  • Don’t wait for a crisis to arise to seek God’s counsel on your marriage. Practice repentance and dependence on the Lord: it will keep your relationship (with the Lord and with your spouse) vibrant and without hypocrisy.
  • Contribute to household bliss by:
    • Replacing items that you finish, milk, toilet paper, toothpaste
    • Putting the toilet seat down when you’re done
    • Keeping your gasses to yourself (unless she explicitly states that she finds your flatulence endearing).
    • Agreeing upon a central location for dirty laundry and placing dirty laundry only in that location.
    • Picking up after yourself.
  • Treat your wife like you would treat someone you want to impress, and not only will she be honored, but you will be reminded that she actually is someone that you want to impress. (She had the right to refuse you, after all.)
  • Study and cherish her like your prayers depend on it (1 Peter 3:7). Commit to discovering her strengths, weaknesses, how she takes her coffee, and her favorite scent.
  • Cook together sometimes; it’s fun, inexpensive, intimate, and you get to work as a team.
  • Surprise your wife with acts of kindness:
    • Continue to open doors for her
    • Take her car for oil changes, gas fill-ups, and washes
    • Spring for an impromptu concert or bed and breakfast stay
    • Write your vows on the bathroom mirror
    • Recite a poem that reminds you of her (no limericks)
  • Read Song of Solomon together.

Comments

That's what is seriously wrong with all of the advices and books relating to that matter.

Marriage doesn't work just by doing something or avoiding something.

It's based on love and the decision to live together.

Sharifa Stevens's picture

I agree that marriage doesn't work by merely doing something or avoiding something (that creates an environment of karma or legalism). In fact, I would say that's true for one’s friendships, family relationships, and one’s relationship with God as well. Commitment and love and a resolve to work things out are key – you’re right. That premise is the basis of this post.

I also know that marriage is the intersection of faith and work, so spouses must act on their commitment and love. Constantly. If I can help someone to create an environment where love can flourish, conflict can be constructive, and joy can be had, I want to do that. This post is an effort in this direction, though certainly not an exhaustive one.

MatthewG84's picture

Very good advice.  My wife and I have been married for almost 8 years, and I wish I would've taken some of those guidelines to heart when we first got married.  Jokes about ANY area of feminine "issues" (for lack of a better word) are almost never funny.  Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, sent it back!

To new and soon-to-be-husbands, I would say this: Never, never, never, never, never, NEVER stop pursuing your wife.  It's common knowledge that, over time, the passion can wear off and complacency sets in.  It's hard to shake the feeling of, "Well, I've got her.  Mission accomplished."  The truth is, this mission has only begun.

What happens to a new car when you stop washing it, stop pulling your empty cups out of it, start letting the maintenance slack, stop checking the air in the tires, etc.?  Exactly.  Sooner or later, it breaks down, and you're left with a rusted heap of junk. 

The fact that this woman is now your wife doesn't mean you can let the maintenance slack.  Quite the opposite, actually.  The same actions, big and small, that captured her heart while you were courting, are the ones that will keep it as the years go by.  It's the maintenance that will keep your marriage running like new when work, children, and life in general dirty it up and drain the oil.

I'm not saying you should spend every waking moment telling her how much you love her and what she means to you.  Let's be honest.  With the demands life places on us daily, that's just unrealistic.  What I AM saying is you need to take every opportunity you can to SHOW her those things.  My wife smiles when I greet her in the morning with a kiss and an, "I love you."  What woman doesn't?  But when she jumps out of a hurried shower amidst the chaos a 6 year old and 6 month old bring to find a cheesy, misshapen heart drawn on the foggy bathroom mirror and a loaded dishwasher ready to run, she glows.  Not because I told her I loved her, but because I showed it.

Your wife is not a prize to be won, but she is a gift to be cherished.  Please, guys, never lose sight of that.

Sharifa Stevens's picture

My favorite of many favorite lines:

"Never, never, never, never, never, NEVER stop pursuing your wife."

I wanted to make that my subject line, but there were so many "never"s that it wouldn't fit. Ha!

Matthew, thank you for contributing - what a great analogy (one that resonates with me personally because my husband demonstrates his love in part by making sure he maintains my car).

Another favorite:

"The fact that this woman is now your wife doesn't mean you can let the maintenance slack.  Quite the opposite, actually.  The same actions, big and small, that captured her heart while you were courting, are the ones that will keep it as the years go by."

Amen. And although it may go without saying, the same principle applies to how wives treat their husbands.

Thanks, again!

Thankyou for adding such practicality to a modern-day spiritual warzone!!!  It troubles my heart to see God's oldest institution under siege.  The challenge to keep a passionate and loving marriage is one that often goes untold. 

The alarming divorce rates in our country tell the tale of the mind-set and the state of spirituality (or lack thereof) of our neighbors.  We are now in a position in wich we simply have to let or light shine!  Marriage has to be shown for its joy and passion, even if it is in the midst of turmoil and disagreement.  Men  and women alike benefit from these types of advice because it benefits couples and on-lookers alike!

Thanks again!  God bless you!

Sharifa Stevens's picture

...you sent me straight to the dictionary to confirm the meaning of "gramercy," first of all (the only previous association I had with the words was New York's Gramercy Park). thank you for introducing me to a wonderful word of gratitude. I love a good word!

Secondly, you're right about the untold challenges of keeping a marriage healthy. I think the secret struggles are a symptom of shame. It's hard to risk the vulnerability involved in needing help (but it's so worth it!).

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