10 Meaningful Ways a Wife Can Add Value to Her Husband
Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. - Proverbs 31:10-11 NLT
Much of my early Christian walk was spent self-deprecating how I couldn’t possibly measure up to the Proverbs 31 woman. In fact, I found myself secretly rolling my eyes if a pastor or speaker began a message discussing any facet of Proverbs 31. Honestly, much of that had to do with me healing from old wounds and embracing what God’s word said about me versus what I sometimes felt about myself. The intricacies of an abuse story can be complicated and the wounds long-lasting. Consequently, I spent much time, early in my marriage, resenting the fact that I would never measure up.
However, the Lord gave me freedom in this area and Proverbs 31 is Scripture I view much differently now. I no longer feel I’m in competition with this Proverbs 31 woman. I no longer feel I’m not measuring up to her. Rather, I see her as a lifelong pursuit of excellence. Notice I said “excellence” and not “perfection”. I see her as an older aunt who is lovingly guiding me towards a more fulfilling marriage and life as a woman. I want to be the best mom I can be to my children. I want to be the best wife I can be to my husband. I want to be the best co-worker I can be at my job. In other words, I want to be the best version of myself that I can be. Not someone else.
Because I spend much of my time teaching single women, I’ve taught from Proverbs 31:11b many times. Pay special attention to the word “enrich” in that Scripture. Enrich means ‘to add to’ or ‘enhance’. Our role as wives is to be a helpmate to our husbands, enhancing, enriching, and adding value to his life. (Now, of course, likewise, a husband’s role is to do the same thing!) As I’m teaching to singles, I often talk about the importance of living a life that is ready for God to take you into the next season. In order words, I encourage them to ask the question, “How will I enrich my future husband’s life?” Very often, as single ladies, we are looking at how a potential mate can enrich our lives (which is certainly an important consideration), but that shouldn’t be the only consideration. We must ask ourselves how we bring value into a potential marriage.
However, that question doesn’t stop when the ceremony is over. As married women, it should be our constant goal to work on our marriage. (And for those who have been married for more than 30 seconds, you’ll likely know how much work marriage is!) There are a number of things we can do as wives to show love to our husbands. In fact, there are hundreds of ways! Read on for ten of the most important ways to show love well in your marriage:
Can we just talk honestly here? Good. Most of us won’t find it hard to respect our co-workers, friends, church members, or those we serve with on a volunteer team. We won’t find it hard to respect the cashier at the local grocery store or our waitress at a local restaurant. But the truth is that too often our immediate family doesn’t always get our respect. Sometimes, the demands of life rear their ugly head and we say things to our spouse that we’d never actually say to anyone else. The next time you are tempted to lash out, speak out of turn, or speak words that are discouraging or unfair, take the time to calm down first. Respect that God has brought you into partnership with the perfect man for you.
Okay, so we’ve all heard the statistics about the average number of words a woman speaks per day (20,000) versus how many a man speaks (7,000). Maybe your husband isn’t the chatty Cathy that you are. (I know mine certainly isn’t.) When he does speak, take the time to truly listen. Hear with your spiritual ears the heart behind what he is trying to communicate. Listen to both his verbal and nonverbal language. Then, commit to being responsive.
3. Create safety.
It takes effort for men to be vulnerable. Yes, I know it does with us, too, but our sensitivity and softness is how God created us. When a man shares his feelings, thoughts, hopes, and dreams, it is likely he is exerting real effort. Make your marriage a space of safety, a space where he can share without fear of criticism, judgment, or harsh words. Make your marriage a place, where he can share things he couldn’t otherwise share anywhere. Be mindful of not communicating too much of your marriage to girlfriends or family members. As in all relationships, safety creates a place where people can be their most authentic selves.
4. Be honest.
‘Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.’ Matthew 5:9 NLT. I recently heard a pastor preach on this Scripture in an interesting way. He said peacemakers aren’t those who ignore that there is conflict. Peacemakers are the ones who address the elephant in the room and work to resolve it. This is critical in marriage. If there is a problem in your marriage (e.g. intimacy, finances, security, communication, etc.), don’t pretend it doesn’t exist. Be honest with your spouse. Ignoring the issue makes it larger and potentially can cause bitterness. Honesty brings it to the light, where it can be worked on and overcome.
Submission is not a dirty word. It doesn’t mean we don’t get to share our feelings or opinions. Submission isn’t silence. It is safety. Too often Ephesians 5:22-24 has been used as a weapon. However, in the context of the entire Scripture, Ephesians 5:22-33, we see that the submission is a mutual respect between husband and wife. The early years of my marriage were probably extremely hard on my husband. As a former single mom who had only myself (and God) to depend on, I was the one who led my household. When I married, I didn’t realize that I was constantly overriding what my husband said or did. How disrespectful! Wives, contrary to what modern culture may say, submission is not a domination of your husband over you. There is protection and peace that comes from me knowing that my husband loves his family enough to lead us well. God’s design for our marriage is that our husbands lead. Let them do that.
There are a number of ways we can serve our husbands in our marriages. Some of the practical things that come to mind are cooking, cleaning, or gifts. Maybe that’s not your flow, though. Maybe he’s a better cook, such as in my marriage. That’s cool. What are other ways where you can make his life easier? Maybe it’s making his annual dentist appointments for him. Maybe it’s cutting the yard on occasion, so he doesn’t have to. Maybe it’s folding the laundry without complaining that you “always have to do it”. I cannot tell you what will be meaningful to your husband, as it will vary so widely from marriage to marriage. I can, however, tell you that if you approach your marriage with a heart of service, then it is very likely he will reciprocate.
7. Be joyful.
My friends get the best version of me. They get laughter and joy. They get funny stories and the high levels of energy during a girls’ night out. And probably too often my spouse doesn’t get the best version of me. He gets tired, complaining, and overwhelmed mom of three. Make no mistake. Joy isn’t happiness. Yes, happiness comes and goes based on seasons of life and demands and hardships. By contrast, joy is the long-lasting peace of knowing that our God is always good and He is before us making a way, when there seems to be none. My deepest prayer for my marriage, and yours, is that our husbands would get the joy-filled women of God that they married.
8. Pray for him.
Commit to bringing your husband before the Lord daily. Pray for his job, for his friends, for his heart, and his dreams. Pray for his energy and fears and exhaustion and worries. Pray for his wants and needs and that peace would abound. Don’t wait for problems to arise to be a prayer warrior for your husband.
9. Have sex with him.
Early in marriage, this usually isn’t a problem. But let’s face it. Life and kids and homework and jobs and family demands begin to take their toll. Wives, if we aren’t careful, sex becomes a chore – something we know we should do, but honestly, sometimes don’t want to. It becomes one more thing on a lengthy list of demands, rather than an opportunity to connect with our spouse in a loving and life-changing way. If this is a problem in your marriage, don’t ignore it! It opens the door for resentment on both sides. There are a number of resources to help, including websites, books, and therapists.
10. Affirm him.
Affirm him in word and deed. Use your words to speak life over your husband. Even if many things are wrong in your marriage, today, find the thing that isn’t and speak to that. Even if your husband has been rude and cranky and unfair, find the one thing he did well and speak to that. “Honey, thank you for taking out the trash yesterday. I really appreciate it.” That’s the focus. The focus isn’t that he didn’t take out the prior four weeks! Find the positive. Hug him. Hold his hand. Tell him that you are thankful that God brought him into your life.
(Full Disclaimer: My husband read this and said he’s printing a copy for his wallet, in case I need reminding!)
Jennifer Maggio is a wife to Jeff and mother to three children. Like you, she is attempting to discover one more way to prepare ground beef, battling busyness, and laughing at the insanity of life. She is the author of several books and founder of the national nonprofit, The Life of a Single Mom. Her greatest joy is in helping women find their purpose in Christ. For more, visit www.jennifermaggio.com.