The Ice Princess Wife—Silence (you might as well be eating alone).
Would you want to talk to any of these people? Me neither. Yet how many times do we act like this when our husbands don't do what we want?
For many wives, there's a disconnect between espousing to be a good Christian wife while verbally shredding our husbands to pieces. You might not even be aware of it. Maybe you are killing your mate with a fury of explosive words or slowly poisoning him with subtle put-downs. The trick is to make ugly words the exception in our lives and not the rule. Your words matter to your husband and to God.
Comedian Tim Hawkins has been married to Heather for eighteen years. He says about verbal affirmation,
I think if women would realize when we have earned it, we do need positive reinforcement. Everything's not okay all the time. We do like to be honored in a quiet way. We don't need a big fanfare. Just find out how your man likes to be honored. Maybe it's a quick word off to the side, "You did a great job today." Little affirmations go a long way (and coming to bed naked, that would be great too).
Treasure, Don't Trash
My friend Betsy has been married for forty-two years and shares these insights about bringing healing and blessing to our marriages: "The main one is to complement, not compete, and to treasure and not trash. The power of humility in a marriage can't be diminished. We are both headstrong and like to get our point across. It's better to have a relationship than be right all the time."
Actor Kevin Sorbo
(Hercules, Soul Surfer) agrees. The biggest thing he and his wife, Sam, have discussed is not to belittle each other and not to constantly correct each other. "You don't have to flex your intelligence all the time," he says. "If anything, it's being more supportive with each other and more of a teammate with each other than being the person who is always cutting down. That is something that will make a relationship go away in a hurry."
If someone were to repeat all the things you say to your husband, would it be "news that's fit to print?" Are you heaping on praise, encouragement, and honor? Psychologist and author David Clarke says that verbal respect is the lifeblood of a man.
Women have a need for this too, but this runs so deep in the man. Most women are frankly lousy at it. Women get into the habit of praising only when the job is done how they want it done, when it's done really great. Well, you know, you've got to learn to praise mediocre. Praise pretty good. Because the guy will stop doing the job if he's not praised. He'll think, It didn't mean much to her or I can't please her. In time, you can gently add your suggestions, but at the beginning, you just want to say thank you.
Treasure your husband's efforts to please you and provide for your family. Don't trash what he does either to his face or behind his back. Your words matter more to him than anyone else's. Pastor and best-selling author David Jeremiah says it this way about his wife, Donna:
Because I live sort of a public life, lots of people say nice things to me. And I'm always grateful for that. But if I could take everything everybody says to me and put it all up in one place, it doesn't measure even half of the worth and value of what Donna says to me. Her words weigh more than all the words of everyone else. That's not just me. That's everyone. You've got to be your husband's cheerleader. Be his number one fan. Let him know. Don't assume that he knows.
Does your husband know from your words—not the words you spoke on your wedding day, but the words you speak to him today—that you respect him? Have you praised him lately on his character, his appearance, or his abilities?
Bruce Wilkinson encourages wives to ask smart questions: "The question that must be asked from a wife to a husband is, ‘How can I help you? What would you like me to do? How can I help you reach your dream? What can I do to enable you to become the man you are here to be?
Imagine the impact of those words when spoken sincerely to your spouse. It's been said that a woman speaks on average twenty thousand words per day. Let's make the above-average decision to use some of those twenty thousand words to tell our husbands how much we respect and admire them.
31 Days to a Happy Husband, by Arlene Pellicane.