If you’ve been married for any length of time, you’ve likely observed that you and your husband give and receive love in different ways. Some are more noticeable than others.
Here are eight ways you might not realize your husband is showing you love.
1. He serves.
A couple of years ago, my husband worked second shift on Valentine’s Day. The time that he was supposed to be home came and went. I got worried. Why wasn’t he home? I called him to make sure he was okay.
“I’m fine,” he said from the other end of the line. “I’m at Walmart buying toilet paper like you asked me to.”
I had completely forgotten.
After a long night’s work, when he would’ve rather been at home, he was wandering the toilet paper aisle. To serve his family. Because sometimes love looks a lot like toilet paper.
2. He sacrifices.
Anna was 14 weeks pregnant with her third child on the night of her eighth wedding anniversary. Not only was she constantly nauseous, but she was also suffering from a tummy bug and a sinus infection. When the time rolled around to get dressed for her planned anniversary dinner out with her husband, Anna just couldn’t do it. She felt too miserable.
Instead of showing disappointment or becoming upset, Anna’s husband graciously replied, “No problem. Can I go out and get you soup from Panera instead?”
Without a flinch, Anna’s husband sacrificed prime rib for takeout soup — because he loved his wife.
In what ways does your husband willingly and joyfully make sacrifices for you?
3. He spends time.
My husband is a busy man. In eleven years of marriage so far, he has been studying and completing various degrees for eight of them. Even when he has so-called free time, there’s usually an assignment to finish or a sermon to prepare.
Because of his demanding schedule, he has to be intentional about carving out time to spend with his family.
I don’t often realize the sacrifice he makes when he spends time with us, because it usually feels very normal. We might not be doing anything significant, but the fact that he is present is one of the ways he shows love.
4. He listens.
The general, stereotypical consensus about men is that they aren’t the best listeners. Maybe that’s not true of your husband. Maybe it is. Either way, when our husbands actually pay attention to what we say — and respond appropriately — they’re showing that they care. If they remember a story you shared or a detail about your day, they’re proving that they’re invested in you as a person and you are significant to them. When your husband does this, express your gratitude to him and tell him that you appreciate his efforts to listen well.
5. He gives grace.
In her book, Team Us: Marriage Together, author Ashleigh Slater shares how she and her husband Ted have elevated the importance of extending grace in their marriage. Ashleigh writes, “When I grasp this truth that God’s grace — His kindness and clemency — has been given to me, it should make a big difference in my relationships with others, specifically with Ted. And it has.” She goes on to admit, “Just because Ted and I determined to extend grace doesn’t make it easy. Sometimes we’d much rather pick a fight with each other than extend kindness. Sometimes that’s exactly what we do. Neither one of us is naturally inclined to respond to everything with grace …. That doesn’t mean we stop trying, though.”
Does your husband show you grace when you make mistakes? Don’t take it lightly. Giving grace probably doesn’t come naturally to him. The next time you notice his efforts, thank him for showing you love in this way.
6. He provides.
One of the least frequently acknowledged ways a husband shows love is by providing for his family. When is the last time you thanked your husband for going to work? It’s usually seen as a “duty” — and yet most times, men view their employment as a means of caring for their families. Even if they hate their jobs, they show up because they want their families to be well cared for and looked after.
Has your husband changed a light bulb for you lately? Mowed the lawn? Shoveled the driveway? Fixed the leaky faucet? Replaced the toilet? All of these are examples of his loving and caring provision. Let’s not take our spouse’s labor of love for granted.
7. He shares.
I once heard the testimony of a middle-aged mother of eight. This woman’s children were all grown and out of the house, and the dinner conversation between her and her husband often turned to the subject of his workplace. She admitted that her eyes would often glaze over as she tried to listen, and her husband quickly realized she lacked interest in his stories.
He solved the problem by inviting her to visit his office. He gave her a tour of the building and explained the work that was done in each section. From then on, when her husband started talking about work, she could picture exactly what he was talking about. Her interest grew after she understood more about his day-to-day business.
This woman’s husband was showing love to his wife by sharing stories about his work. He wanted her to be engaged and to show interest.
Sometimes we do our husbands a disservice by tuning out when they’re opening up about something important to them. How can you strive to show appreciation and interest when your husband shares details of his life with you?
8. He leads.
Allowing men to lead is not a popular phenomenon these days — and yet it’s biblical. Sadly, our society has done much harm by insisting that women fill the exact same roles that men are called to fill. In many ways, the rise of feminism has pushed men to abdicate their God-given responsibilities.
In her book, Fierce Women, author Kimberly Wagner writes, “…many men tend to feel intimidated by the idea of ‘leading’ their wives spiritually, and most men don’t respond well to a wife’s pressure in this area. Often couples are caught in a vicious cycle much like ours: the wife pressures her husband for leadership — and the more she pressures him — the farther he runs!”
If you have a husband who leads you and your family, and even takes initiative in looking after your spiritual welfare — you have a gift. Treasure it and treat it well.
A Picture of Christ
The Bible tells us that marriage between a husband and wife is a picture of Christ’s relationship to His bride, the Church (Eph. 5:22-32).
If you look back at this list of eight things, can you see any that Jesus has done for you? I can. I think He fulfils every single one of them.
Our husbands are fallible. They won’t live up to all of these qualities perfectly — nor should we expect them to do so. Yet if you have a spouse who shows love in one or more of the ways listed above, make a point to tell him that you noticed — and thank him for his Christ-like example.
Kate Motaung grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan before spending ten years in Cape Town, South Africa. She is married to a South African and together they have three children. Kate is the author of the e-book, Letters to Grief, hosts the Five Minute Friday blog link-up, and has contributed to several other online publications. She blogs at Heading Home and can be found on Twitter @k8motaung.