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.