As Valentine's Day approaches, I can't help but think of my husband.
In case you haven't guessed by now, I think he's is pretty darn wonderful.
But sometimes marriage can get stuck in a rut, you know? Real life is hard. Responsibilities can be distracting. And sometimes things just feel boring.
When that happens, I have found that it is all too easy for me to let myself neglect loving my husband in the simple, everyday ways. We all know that's no bueno.
Maybe you've been there too, friend. Maybe you're there right now.
If so, be encouraged today. You're not the only one.
For times like this in my marriage, I have created a list of ways to love my husband well. It's nothing fancy or extravagant, that's not my style. It's real, easy, practical, and husband approved!
And since Valentine's Day is right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to share it with you - I'm sure all the husbands out there won't mind one bit.
So, in no particular order, here is my list of 20 ways to love your husband well.
1. Fix his favorite meal. They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, and they are right. Few things can make a man feel cared for the way a good ol' fashioned, home-cooked meal can.
2. Look into his eyes. When you do this you're not just making eye contact, you're saying, "You are important to me." (Bonus Tip: Add a smile for extra points!)
3. Don't multitask. It has been scientifically proved that women are better multi-taskers than men. However, that isn't always a good thing. When you're having a conversation with your husband, or he is talking to you about the latest combine features (not saying that has ever happened in this house...), stop what you're doing and just listen. Showing genuine interest in his work, hobbies, thoughts, fears, etc. is much more important than getting those dishes done.
4. Use your voice. When is the last time you told your husband something you admire about him? Or said thank you for fixing that leaky faucet? Or complimented him on something he accomplished? Sometimes we assume that our husbands just know we appreciate them so we don't need to remind them. But trust me, we do.
5. Focus on the good. Sometimes it is so much easier for our minds to dwell on all the things we don't like about our spouse. If you feel like you're in a funk of negativity, make a list of at least three things that you love or appreciate about him. Dwell on these things instead of what you don't love or appreciate about him and you'll be amazed at how quickly your attitude towards him can change.
6. Write a note. Just a sentence or two of encouragement, or a special secret message can do wonders!
7. Pray for him. You can only do so much for your husband, and God is capable of doing so much more. Is there an area in his life that needs to change? Pray about it. Is he discouraged and stressed at work? Pray about it. Is it difficult for him to open up his heart to you? Pray about it. God is faithful, friend, and your prayers will not go unanswered.
8. Find out his love language. Does your husband love it when you encourage him verbally? Is it especially meaningful to him when you spend quality time together? Or maybe just reaching over and squeezing his hand is enough to keep him going on a hard day. When you finally understand what makes your man tick, you will understand how to love him in a way that speaks right to his heart.
9. Learn about his hobbies/interests. I'll be honest, tractors aren't my favorite thing, but they sure are high on my husband's list. Instead of tuning out every time he starts talking about tractors, football, hunting, or his latest hobby, try paying attention. Ask him questions and remember the answers. He'll love being able to have a conversation with you about the things he enjoys.
10. Make an effort to change habits that irritate him. Now obviously we all have certain habits that will probably never change so there's no need to get nit-picky about this one, but if there's a little something you do that annoys your husband and it can easily be changed, try to change it. For instance, I have a habit of forgetting to put bags in the bathroom trash cans, but my husband thinks that is the most disgusting thing in the world. We argued about it until I finally decided to put bags in the trash cans during my house cleaning routine and the problem was solved. See? Easy as pie.
11. Give him space when he needs it. Encourage your husband to spend an evening with the guys, or take that fishing trip he's been talking about for weeks. Sometimes we all just need a break, you know? Plus, a little absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
12. Give him a back rub. I don't think I've ever met someone who doesn't enjoy having their shoulders massaged after a long day. Take your time, don't rush, and show your man support and love by easing some of his tension.
13. Pay attention to what he likes and surprise him with it. Does he have a favorite snack? Sneak it into his lunch. Did his favorite band come out with a new album? Get it and push play the next time you're in the car together. That dress he loves to see you wear? Put it on just because.
14. Get sexy. No list of ways to love your husband would be complete without out this one. Wives, husbands need this kind of intimacy for so many reasons. Be spontaneous. Be fun. Be eager. Say yes.
15. Laugh. Sometimes life is just plain hard, I get that, friend. But sometimes the best (and easiest!) way to beat stress, solve a disagreement, or encourage your spouse is to watch funny videos of chickens wearing pants, or bring up the joke he made that you laugh/cried at last week. Laughter is good for your body, and it's good for your marriage too.
16. Ask him questions. Men are wonderful teachers if they are given the chance to be. Find something he is knowledgeable about and ask him to teach you about it. You just might end up being amazed by him.
17. Brag about him. Yes, you can show your husband you love him even when he's not around. Remember those positive things we talked about for number five? Bring them up the next time you're talking about your husband with your friends. Make it a habit to praise your husband in front of others instead of complaining about him.
18. Greet him with a smile. As a wife, you often have the ability to set the tone for your household and your marriage. If you ignore your husband when he comes home, or put a honey-do list in his hand as he walks in the door, chances are he won't be very eager to leave work. However, if you pause whatever you're doing to give him a smile and a kiss, he will always be glad to come home.
19. Put God first. Don't expect from your husband the things that only God can give: true joy, ultimate satisfaction, perfect, intimate knowledge of your heart, etc. Seek those things in the Lord first, cultivate a deep relationship with him, then you will find that every blessing you receive through your marriage is an added bonus.
20. Seek counsel. If you are really struggling, please know that there is no shame in asking for help from a trusted friend, mentor, or counselor. Everyone has trials in their marriage and, chances are, the person you ask for help from has gone through a similar experience and has plenty of wisdom to share. You're not fooling anyone if you pretend like your marriage is perfect. No one's is. Seeking help is the first step towards healing your relationship.
How do you love your husband well, friend? Share your favorite ways in the comments below!