Our goal should be to value masculinity and femininity – both were created by God and are essential to a happy marriage! Here are a few ideas for appreciating your husband as a man and enjoying his masculinity:
■Let him do things for you. Most men like to take care of their woman, so let your husband do things for you! If he wants to take you out to dinner, wonderful – enjoy it! If he wants to handle the children’s baths so you can rest, let him. My husband keeps my car safe and in good condition – and I’m thrilled for him to do it!
■Don’t try to handle everything. Women often take on too much responsibility for the home and family. When we do, it creates stress and fatigue for us and leaves our husbands feeling as if they aren’t really needed. So let go of some things, and ask your husband to handle them from now on. He won’t do them exactly the way you do them, and that’s perfectly fine.
■Take care of your husband, but don’t “mother” him. You’re his wife, not his mother. You want to do things for him, but don’t want to feel like he’s another child who needs your attention. If you find yourself feeling that way, back off and let him do the things adults typically do for themselves. In other words, treat him like a man, not a boy.
■Give him the freedom to enjoy being a man. Most men need some time every now and then to enjoy their own activities. They also like to have a space to call their own – a den, a basement, a workshop. And they don’t want to feel guilty every time they enjoy one of those activities or retreat to that space. So give your husband the occasional gift of time to put aside his responsibilities and just enjoy being a man.
■Trust him. Sometimes women second-guess everything their husband does or decides. If you find yourself in that position, unless he has made some very bad decisions, give him the benefit of the doubt. That isn’t to say the two of you shouldn’t discuss most decisions – you should. But when he decides to do something, whenever possible, let it go. Also, trust him with the children. Again, unless he’s doing something dangerous, trust him to be their dad – the slightly more adventurous parent!
■Appreciate and enjoy your husband’s sexuality. Our culture really comes down hard on men’s sexuality, and it’s easy to accept the cultural norm and downplay our husbands’ needs for sex and intimacy. The reality, though, is that it’s completely normal for them to enjoy our bodies and want to have sex with us – that’s the way God made them! (It’s normal for us to enjoy it too!) If you’re ignoring or avoiding sex because you’re too tired or just not interested, decide to change your mind and your approach to intimacy. Seek out resources that present married sex in a positive light and offer tips for enjoying it more. (If you’re avoiding it because of serious sexual or marital issues, please consider counseling or other professional resources that can help you deal with those issues.)
When we share responsibilities with our husbands, allow them to be men, trust their judgment and enjoy intimacy with them, we feel more relaxed and less resentful. So if you’re trying, even some of the time, to be both the man and the woman in your marriage, let go and let your husband be the man all of the time!
So, what do you do to show your appreciation to your spouse?