By Dr. Kenneth O. Peterman – Source: biblicalmatters.com
1. Be a leader
Since God designed specific and separate roles for husband and wife in the home, things work much more smoothly when a husband takes his leadership role seriously. But when a husband vacates his role, his wife too often steps in and takes his responsibility. In doing so she inadvertently accepts emotional, mental, and physical pressures God never intended for her to bear. If a subordinate in a business took over his or her boss’ responsibility without the authority or accountability for the task, pressures could be overwhelming. Be a leader and don’t allow that possibility to happen. Take your God-given responsibility and do it for your wife’s sake.
2. Be a listener
Have you ever listened to someone on the phone and all of a sudden they said, “Are you there?” After you acknowledged you were listening, they said something like, “Oh, I thought we were disconnected.” People are surprised when others genuinely listen. Madelyn Burley-Allen in her book Listening, The Forgotten Skill says that “listening is a way to acknowledge someone and often increases self-esteem. It is a way of saying to the talker, ‘You are important, and I am not judging you.’ That is why listening is such a powerful force in human relationships.” Careful listening encourages thoughtful interaction. Listen and your wife will be surprised and pleased. The more you listen, the more you will understand her needs, desires and pressures and are able to meet those needs in genuine love.
3. Be a communicator
Too many husbands assume they know what their wives need without communication. Such an attitude denies that communication is always a two-way street.
Couples who agree that communication is vital still have two major problems: how to carve out the time to talk and how to organize communication time to the best advantage. The first problem – scheduling – is a matter of personal preference. The second revolves around an adequate system. My e-book entitled How to Improve Family Communication (Amazon. com) provides an easy-to-apply system for family communication.
4. Be an encourager
Encouraging others is not as easy as it sounds because we are all more prone to complain and criticize than compliment. In Ephesians 4:29 the Scripture exhorts us, “Let no corrupt (worthless, poor quality) communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good (useful, beneficial) to the use of edifying (building up), that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Apply this verse daily and watch the relationship with your wife improve.
5. Be a responsible father
Husbands are not the only ones who need to relax and unwind after work; so do wives. Just because a wife has been home all day doesn’t mean she hasn’t worked as hard as or harder than her husband. A husband can give his wife a break by taking his God-given responsibility for the children or at least for the discipline of the children in the evening when he is home.
6. Be a thoughtful spouse
Wives need time alone. Time alone means different things to different women. One wife might define time alone as just being away from everyone regardless of where she is. Others may define time alone as being with others and not doing her everyday chores and responsibilities. Time alone is not merely being free from the children in order to do another chore or household job. It means time for herself however she defines it.
Recently I listened to the celebrity radio hostess Dr. Laura interview a woman who was resentful because her husband accompanied her to the grocery store (which some women would love); the thought seemed so strange that even Dr. Laura was surprised. When Dr. Laura questioned further, the wife said, “I need time alone. I need time for myself, even if it’s just squeezing grapefruit at the supermarket. I resent not having any time by myself.” Dr. Laura understood what she was really saying and agreed. Certainly, many women would find something better to do with their down time than squeezing grapefruit, but nevertheless the point is well taken. Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church.” This love is defined as “seeking the other person’s highest good.” Sometime their highest good is time alone – as they define it.
7. Be moderate
Men seem to be drawn to the Internet and computer games like moths to a flame. Just recently I heard someone label this problem as Internet addiction. I’m not sure how accurate the term Internet addiction is but it does reflect the seriousness of the problem. Philippians 4:5 says, “Let your moderation (self-control or restraint) be known unto all men . . .”
8. Be honest
Don’t we all, at times, have problems with honesty? In Hebrews 13:18 Paul links honesty with having a good conscience when he says, “Pray for us; for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.” Honesty here means living or doing well. When a husband grows in the Lord, his wife is the first one to know it.
9. Be gentle
Recently our family and some friends were in our living room with the TV on; someone in the show said that husbands should give their wives hugs of affection. One of the women in the room said, “Boy, is that a myth!” Everyone laughed. But wait a minute; shouldn’t a husband comfort his wife by giving her a hug? Yes, he should. The Scripture elevates this type of gentleness and tenderness in Ephesians 4:32 when it says, “And be you kind one to another, tenderhearted . . .” Love as expressed in Ephesians 5:25, 28, and 33 include both a tender and loving hug as well as gentle and kind verbal response.
10. Be a comforter
We all fear something. Do you know what your wife fears? Do you know her deepest concerns? Is she apprehensive about money? Is she afraid of growing old and being alone? Is she uneasy about the welfare of the children? Is she worried about her health issues? Does she fear something in her past or something in the future? Whatever it is, a husband should not dismiss such problems as unimportant or irrelevant because 1 John 4:18 says “. . . fear has torment . . .” Love is the only biblical remedy for fear according to 1 John when it says, “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” A husband needs to come along side his fearing wife and show biblical love by praying with her, talking to her about her fear, and doing something about it, if at all possible.