As pastors, we do a good deal of marriage counseling. There are some general themes that tend to come up in most of our meetings. In general, the problem of selfishness weaves its way through most conflicts.
I only know one cure for selfishness: choosing to put the other person’s needs above your own.
The promise to do this is one of those golden, lovely, warm-the-heart vows we all take in our weddings. When life is good and we are feeling loved, honored, and cherished, we are thrilled to promise to put our needs low on the list.
But when he spends too much time studying stats to hone his fantasy football team, or when she would rather peruse pinterest and anthropologie.com, that vow is quickly forgotten.
So, the question is, as a wife, what are the needs your husband has that you can raise above your own?
In the vast majority of marriages we have counseled, there are three main roads to a man’s heart: good food, kind words, and excellent and frequent sex.
Don’t roll your eyes. That’s what they like.
Most women are happy to oblige in the food department. The words can be harder to muster, but we all know kindness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, so we are willing to accept the need.
The word frequent used with the word sex is usually the kicker. That’s when wives stare at me blankly, like I have defected to the guys’ team and turned on my own kind.
Honestly, though, I have never talked with a couple in which both people feel their sex life is great, but the rest of the marriage is a mess. That doesn’t happen. Good marriages include good sex, and as far as most men are concerned, it is usually the area that needs to be fixed first.
You need to make that man want you. And you shouldn’t turn him down very often.
We have known couples who schedule sex on their calendars. I know women who never say no. However you work it out, you both should know and agree on the expectations you have for each other.
While we should ideally love our husbands above ourselves without any expectation in return, we will benefit eventually. It may take some time, but God promises that we will reap where we have sown, and we can only expect to benefit from loving sacrificially.
I have come to know God better when I have loved my husband, placing his needs above my own. I have won my husband’s heart and respect in greater degrees by loving him as he desires to be loved. As a side benefit, he has more grace for me in my own areas of weakness because his heart is tender towards me.
Love your husband. Be kind and text him during the day with loving words. Buy his favorite food or cook his favorite dinner. Put on something gorgeous and let him know you mean business.
It will all be worth it.