With His Job
It’s important to realize here that what a man does is a part of who he is. This is part of the reason that the first thing one man will probably ask the other is “what do you do?” I think that a lot of wives lose out on connections that they can make with their husbands because they want to separate him from his work– and yet that work is what he does for most of his day.
- Let him know how much you appreciate the work that he does.
- Get to know the names of people that he works with and their positions.
- Find out if it would be appropriate to invite a coworker over.
- If his company has a get together, don’t try to get out of it.
- Learn something about his profession– so that you’re at least conversant.
- Just like you’d like him to ask you about your day, ask him about his.
- Find out what he wants to do with his life.
- Encourage him to press on from where he is in job growth.
- Go on a work related trip with him.
- Prepare a snack just for him and his coworkers (the people in his office will look up to him!)
- Budget/Plan for lunches with coworkers– understand the need to network.
- Send him thoughtful or playful texts while he’s at work.
- Include a note of praise in his lunch (if he brings one).
- See him off in the morning.
- Welcome him home from the day.
At Your Church
It’s hard to argue that church is not a place that a man should lead. Many places in the Scripture men are called to be leaders of the home, they’re given jobs to do and roles to fill, but you are probably the most important piece to his ability to find respect and leadership in the church. Why? Because people will be looking to see how he leads his family, how he cares for them, and whether his family respects him. What you show or do not show reflects on him even more in this setting.
- If you find it appropriate, cover your head.
- Lead a Sunday School class together– but let him teach or help put it together.
- Encourage him in his abilities.
- Talk positively about him when in social circles.
- Defer to him when asked about making time commitments.
- If you have a question about something in the sermon, ask him first before going to the preacher/teacher.
- Actually, finding something to talk about or ask about the sermon would be a great way to show respect, even if you know the answer.
- Suggest to your husband that he could lead a Bible Study or take part in his church.
- If your husband doesn’t ordinarily attend, then praise him when he does.
- Let your husband know that you are praying for him as he attempts to lead your family spiritually.
- Suggest he participates in men’s groups where appropriate.
- Help him to find a place where he can be a part of the group.
- Work together to find his spiritual gifts and use them.
- Don’t make fun of his singing if he’s monotone!
- Praise him for getting involved.
In Your Home
In most cases, you are the master of your home. You are probably there most of the time, you know how to clean it much better than he does, and you are probably given free reign to do with it as you please. However, he will still want to claim some area as his– the den, an office, the garage. There has to be some space that he is allowed to be as “organized” as he wants and that he can call his own. Call it a guy thing.
- Allow him to have a space that is defined as his.
- Give him projects to do around the house with an idea for when you want them done.
- Do not nag him to get the projects completed.
- Be clear in your requests, don’t make him guess.
- If what he does is not up to your standards, explain what is wrong without being judgmental.
- Be his wife, not his mom.
- Allow his input into what you make for meals.
- Praise the things that he gets accomplished.
- Guard your tongue as to how you talk about some feature of the house you do not like– most likely he’s providing for it and will take it as an attack on him.
- Make the house presentable, but don’t stress over being perfect.
- Home is where you are, more than the house, if you’re stressed, he will be upset.
- Respect that he sees women all day long that have prepared themselves to be in public– what do you look like when he sees you?
- Clean out all clothing that doesn’t fit or he doesn’t like (he should do this too!)
- Remember how you were close to him and didn’t want to leave his presence while you were dating? …
- There’s a look that you know how to give…
- Massage his shoulders when he isn’t expecting it.
- Run your fingers through his hair.
- Sit down next to him and snuggle into his arm.
- Leave a note on his night stand that lists a few of the traits you respect in him.
- Write a message in the mirror he’ll see after he showers.
While the whole “men don’t ask for directions” thing may sound cute, it’s definitely a sign of disrespect. When going on vacation, it isn’t time to let up on letting him or encouraging him to lead.
- Don’t question whether he knows how to get where he’s going.
- Ask him how much you should pack.
- Let him pack the car– it’s a big sign of manliness to figure out how to get all the luggage in there.
- Be smart about when to stop– think twice about drinking that soda. He’s goal oriented and will want to make it as far as he’s planned.
- Ask how far he wants to get that day.
- Do what you can to keep the commotion down, or take turns driving.
- Realize that many men view the ability to drive the whole way manly– it’s not a comment about whether you can drive.
- Don’t blackmail with embarrassing vacation photos!
- Make sure he’s included in family photos– no one likes to see that they were never there.
- Plan time to make the vacation special with the two of you, even if you have brought the kids.
- Make sure that you get the proper amount of sleep– hard to be respectful when you’re fighting exhaustion!
- Let him know what you would like to do on the vacation, that way he’s not taken by surprise.
- Try to stick to the plan. Some things can’t be helped, but not keeping to a plan can be frustrating.
- Enjoy yourselves– it will let him feel like he’s providing a good time.
- Thank him after you return.
At The Store
The store can be an infuriating place for a guy. You’ve made the list, he doesn’t know what’s on it. You know the brands, he wants to get in and out as fast as possible. You’re there for clothing, he has nothing to do while you try things on.
- Share lists, if possible– nothing’s more humiliating than having to follow you around as you dole out instructions.
- If you find something’s amiss, show him the right brand without judging the one he got– no huffing.
- To stop #2 while using #1, put things on his list that he’s gotten right in the past.
- Purchase more at once, this allows for fewer trips to the store.
- If you’re clothes shopping, plan to do it without the kids.
- Plan to get his input on your clothing choices.
- Don’t stick him holding your purse.
- Look around for somewhere for him to sit or something for him to do while you’re in the dressing room– or invite him in!
- Don’t take him if you don’t need him there.
- Allow him to drive.
- If you’re getting clothing, maybe to make it exciting, pick up something “just for him.”
- Try for efficiency. He knows that his time is worth something, do you?
- If there’s something that he’s mentioned that is at the store, make sure that you get it– especially if he’s mentioned it more than once.
- Don’t always keep all the money in your pocketbook– there will be things he needs to get, and it’s a little awkward to always ask for the money.
- Surprises are nice– for both people– so think about surprising him when he’s not looking.
In Front of the Kids
Nowhere is order and respect more important than in front of the kids. I’d also say that nowhere is it harder. You’re in charge all day. You have to make decisions, maintain discipline, teach, and be all that your kids and your house requires. When your husband arrives home, it can be easy to look at him as just another person needing something, or to look at him as the cavalry where you can go veg out and he can take over. Neither of these are necessarily helpful.
- I almost like the idea of “Captain on the bridge.” Not that everyone turns and salutes, but there’s a recognition that he’s home.
- If you need to correct him, don’t do it in front of the kids.
- Get his input on a decision.
- If you ask his opinion, make sure you act on it– otherwise don’t ask.
- If he tells the kids something (either they can or can’t do something), don’t alter it, even if you think you know better.
- Make sure that you’re on the same page raising the kids.
- Escalate to him– children should know it’s a worse thing to have to be disciplined by dad.
- Realize that him not being there all day means less time he has to be consistent, and encourage him in consistency with discipline.
- Praise him to your kids when your kids are not around.
- Have your kids pray for him when he is not around.
- Talk with your kids about what he does– especially in his presence.
- Dad’s can get the impression that they’re just a wallet– teach gratitude.
- Suggest that he solve a difficult problem in a subject the kids are having.
- Encourage him to play with his kids, and provide space to do so.
- Show your kids how you love and respect him, and they will to.
- Make your husband a priority over the kids. They need to see that your relationship is important.
- Make date night a priority in your life– prepare for it, talk about it, etc.
- Make sure your kids know you are fixing your husband’s favorite meal.
- Help the kids prepare a treat for your husband.
- Announce “Daddy’s home” when he arrives home from work.
And the 101st: Know that he’s not the perfect husband and you’re not the perfect wife, but start from the heart, and learn/practice respect.