I’m sure you are aware of the ways you and your husband differ in your background and personalities. You may also have different ideas about how to spend your evenings, what kinds of movies you each prefer to watch, and what your ideas of an adventurous weekend would look like. But when you add to the mix their uniquely male qualities, it surely could be a case for your girlfriends that your husband is from a different world than you are.
1. Remember he's a man.
2. Realize his need for respect.
3. Recognize his need to succeed.
4. Allow him time in his "blank box."
Sometimes it’s difficult for us to understand how our husbands can sit on the couch with the TV on, not particularly watching it, and not hear a word we say, nor be capable of responding. I call that my husband’s “veg box.” Some wives call it their husbands’ “blank box.” And when you ask him “What’s on your mind?” or “What are you thinking?” and he stares off into space and says “nothing”—it really is true; he’s in a “no words, no feelings” box.
Women, on the other hand, constantly have thoughts swirling around in their heads. We are continually connecting events of yesterday to situations today and drawing conclusions. Our husbands appear clueless at what we’re doing, because they are. They don’t understand how we think and we don’t understand how they can be thinking of nothing. Allow your husband to spend time in his blank box doing nothing and thinking about nothing. It’s his way of decompressing so he can come back and re-engage with his wife and family again.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/DjelicS
5. Ask him about his dreams.
6. Treat him like a king, but not your God.
7. Acknowledge his singular focus.
Unlike women who appear to multi-task, men function better with a singular focus and they have a way of compartmentalizing their thoughts and actions. Like his ancient ancestors, your husband is, by nature, a hunter-gatherer, so it’s easy for him to zero in on—and stay focused on—a single topic (Picture a cat sitting by a window watching a bird – he doesn’t move, but is totally fixated).
As you are sensitive to this single-focus characteristic of his, it may help you understand his response—or lack of response—to you when you go from topic to topic in your conversation or are tending to “merge” the areas of your life when he prefers to keep them separate. For example, talking about finances just prior to intimacy will confuse him. If he’s in “finance mode,” he will not know how to transition well to “romance mode.” Likewise, if you are talking about the kids’ schooling problems or your aging parents’ needs while he’s trying to set up the tent on a camping trip, he will likely not respond to your words, let alone hear them.
8. Allow him sexual pleasure with his wife.
Men are designed, physically and physiologically, to enjoy sexual pleasure with their wives. Your husband wants to enjoy that activity and experience with YOU. And you are the only one he can enjoy that with and still be right and pure before his God. And he knows that, even more than you do.
In Ecclesiastes 9:9, Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, said this: “Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given to you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.”
King Solomon wrote a whole book on the meaninglessness of life. And among the few things he found meaningful for a man to enjoy were a good meal and pleasure with his wife. Now think about that! When you prepare a meal for your husband, isn’t it your desire that he enjoy it? Similarly, will you prepare yourself for him, physically, as his reward after dinner? God paid you quite a compliment when He gave you to your husband as your husband’s reward. God considered you a great prize to bring pleasure—in many ways—to your husband. That should make you and I want to be our husband’s reward, not his consolation prize.
9. Accept his love for good food.
Do you ever find yourself wondering why your husband constantly thinks about food? Or how it is he can down a whole steak in minutes? Enjoying food is biblical! In Ecclesiastes 2:24, the wise King Solomon says, “There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God.”
For a man to be able to sit down and enjoy dinner is one of the ways God rewards him for his work here on earth. So let him eat. t’s one of the simple pleasures in life we were designed to enjoy.
10. Be patient as his priorities shift with age.
Your husband typically values different things at different seasons of life. In his 20s and 30s, he may prioritize making money and advancing his career because he is in his prime “provider/achiever” mode. When he approaches his 40s and 50s, he may be more concerned about making his life count and not “wasting time” doing something that doesn’t matter in the long run. When he reaches his 60s, he may value slowing down to enjoy life or attempt ambitions or “bucket list” items now that he has more time.
Keep in mind, though, that even when his priorities shift with age, he’s still the same man you fell in love with and married. His priorities just change through the years, as do yours.
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and award-winning author of 16 books who has been married 30 years to her husband, Hugh, a pastor and introvert. Together, they co-authored the book, When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection. Cindi’s newest book, 12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband, will help you experience more joy, passion, and communication in your marriage, no matter what your husband’s personality. For more on her resources to strengthen your walk with God, your marriage, or your parenting, see Cindi’s website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.
Originally published Friday, 28 July 2023.