Over the years, as I've had the privilege to work with hundreds of married couples, I have noticed a pattern:
Nos. 1 and 2 are great. But No. 3 is very problematic. It causes problems because two people who often want the same thing (a happy, satisfying, intimate marriage) end up disconnected, disappointed, and even despairing! But it doesn't have to be that way!
This list is written to help husbands demonstrate to their wives, in meaningful ways, how deeply their wives matter to them. This list is not exhaustive, but it can be a great starting point for a husband to start experiencing greater intimacy and sweet connection with his wife.
Here are 5 doorways to deeply touching your wife's heart:
1. Daily Talk Time. Give your wife at least 15 minutes a day of undivided talk time. It might be at home, on the beach, in the garden, sitting in the car in the parking lot before you kiss goodbye for work. Show interest in what she says by actively listening. This means you repeat to her what you hear her saying, that you laugh if she makes a joke, that you ask her a question that encourages her to share more about something she has said. Also, give her body language cues that show you are engaged: look her in her eyes, mention a facial expression she has just made that you find attractive, touch her hand reassuringly.
2. Frequent Touch Time. Remember how you used to put your arm around her waist or draw her to you while she was talking? She still desires that. So keep doing it - again and again. Touch her by hugging her, by cuddling with her on the couch, by coming up behind her and putting your arms around her, by leaning toward her at the dinner table so you can kiss her cheek or her neck. Your soft, gentle, frequent touches reassure your wife that she is still the most cherished person in your life. This is not about sexual touch (though this certainly can benefit that area), it's about touch that says, "I love you. I cherish you. I enjoy your presence. You are special, loved, and unmatched in your importance to me." Yes, your touch can say all of that to your wife.
3. Sweet Words Time. Your words of love, affection, and affirmation buoy your wife beyond what you may be able to imagine. So whether it’s through a love note, a whisper in her ear, a text message, or a phone call, be sure that you regularly tell your wife what you like and enjoy about her, what having her in your life means to you, how you find her attractive, why you are thankful for her, how beautiful she is to you inside and out, and how she embodies all that you want in a wife, lover, and companion. Your tender, meaningful words will feed your wife in important ways and your relationship will be the richer for it.
4. Spontaneous Date Time. Maybe it’s an impromptu coffee date, or a quick rendezvous at home in the middle of the day, or a stroll around the neighborhood after work. Whatever it is (and it doesn’t have to be fancy) find ways to regularly surprise your wife with some time to just steal away. It will communicate to her that she’s been on your mind, that you love being with her, and that you have not grown bored of her or indifferent to her and her needs. It’s not difficult for a wife to feel out performed by the things in and around your world. Making time for her in consistent and spontaneous ways profoundly tells her that she’s still your girl - your one and only!
5. Regular Reassurance Time. Yes, wives need reassurance. Women tend to be security seekers. And there’s a lot in life that can threaten a woman’s security. Financial pressures, health issues, how she’s doing as a mom, and your interaction with that female colleague are just a few of the areas that might be niggling at your wife’s mind. Reassure your wife often. Let her know that you delight in her, and that you look forward to waking up beside her every morning and falling asleep with her in your arms at night. Reassure her that the difficult financial issue (or professional issue, or whatever current issue it might be) is going to make your family stronger and that you know that God is guiding you and is working the challenge out for your family’s good. (Of course, for that to be true you have to be strong in the Lord and prayerful yourself.)
Pulling It Off
So here's the thing, it's okay to build these practices into your day to day schedule. Go through the list and add these areas to the reminders on your phone. Yes, they still count even if you have to schedule them in ... and that includes the spontaneous ones. You can have a reminder on your phone that says, "Have I had a spontaneous date with [my wife] this week?" And it may not be a bad idea to bookmark this webpage, or email it to your self, so you can refresh your memory from time to time.
And wives - since you've probably read this list, too :) - tell us in the comments below which of the above 5 would be first on your list for your husband to begin ASAP?
Dr. Dawn-Marie shares a refreshing blend of professional insights and personal stories in this encouraging blog.