This post is for men. Women may feel free to read this and add what I have missed in the comments. This post was written to help guys like me. I do not want to bog down this post with negative things about marriage, or quote the frightening statistics about divorce. This is merely written to hopefully help strengthen marriages.
I started asking on Twitter and Facebook for women to private message me an answer to this question, “What does your husband do that brings you the most fulfillment in your marriage?” I received a tremendous amount of responses! I am not going to list every single thing that was mentioned because this post would be entirely too long. I am however going to look at reoccurring answers. I realize that these answers do not necessarily reflect every woman. I do believe that they will serve as good reminders for us men. Not necessarily something we didn’t know about, but something we need to be reminded about.
This answer was nearly universal in the responses that I received. I want you to look at the question that I asked again, “What does your husband do that brings you the most fulfillment in marriage?” and the overwhelming top response was housework.
In today’s society where a higher percentage of women work outside of the home than in past years, somehow we still seem to be stuck in the mindset that housework is the woman’s job. I have heard from woman who have been married for many years, I have heard from newlyweds, and everyone in between. I have heard from stay at home moms and I have heard from working moms. Regardless of age, regardless of work situation, this answer remained the same.
“When I walk in the door and see that he has done the dishes, that means everything to me. As silly as it sounds all I could think about on my way home is how much I did not want to do the dishes.”
“Nothing fulfills me quite like having him help around the house. He is a hard worker, and a great man, but when he starts folding laundry, that is when I know that he truly is thinking about me and trying to make my life easier.”
“My husband did not cook when we got married. After several years of me cooking every meal, I guess I was complaining about how much I despised cooking EVERY day. So, he went out and bought a cookbook without me knowing about it and went to the store himself and bought ingredients. He surprised me one night by telling me I could have the night off. Now he cooks a couple times a week. It doesn’t matter if it is fine cuisine, or a pizza in the oven. As long as he is taking care of the dinner that means so much to me.”
“All I need some days is for him to tell me that I am doing a good job.”
“When he tells me that I am doing a good job with taking care of the house, and our kids, it makes me feel good to see that he notices what I am trying to accomplish for our family.”
“When he notices things that I have done around the house that aren’t normally done. For example, last month I started going through the house and doing some cleaning projects that don’t normally get done. He noticed and told me he was very proud of the work I had been doing.”
“There are some nights when I get off work that I feel as though I can’t do anything right. I come home and when he says “Honey, thank you for working so hard, I know you have a lot on your plate, I want you to know that I appreciate all that you do, is there anything I can help you with?” These are the times that I truly feel like he genuinely cares about me.”
3. Spiritual Leadership
Not all who responded to my question were Christians, however almost every Christian woman cited this as one of the most fulfilling, and most needed qualities in their husband.
“I feel like fulfillment should be a state you reach from a marriage where you both love God and put him first”
“I feel very fulfilled when he prays for me while we pray together. Hearing him talk to God about me means the world to me and fills my heart with so much joy!”
“He’s dedicated to God. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that even if that day came that I drove him absolutely crazy and he couldn’t stand that sight of me (which is almost impossible due to my charming personality), he believes that a huge part of being a good Christian means being a good husband. I know that if his respect for me ever did falter, his respect for God won’t. That gives me confidence that he’s committed in a way that surpasses any human level.”
“Nothing helps me have a deep love for my husband more than when I see him being active in guarding our home from sin. When he makes sure that our movies are clean, or music is appropriate, and our dress is modest. I know that these seem like little things, and to be honest, I don’t think about them much while he is checking the ratings on movies before we rent them. But, as I look at all of the “little things” he does routinely to ensure our home is a spiritual “safe haven” I realize just how much he loves God and that makes me feel secure.”
As I began reading these messages, these were some of the answers that really caught my attention as a husband. I found it very interesting that the more a husband dedicates himself to God, the more secure, fulfilled, and comforted his wife feels as a result.
This one is similar to appreciation, but has its differences. Rather than simply saying to your wife that she has done a good job, they long to hear that you believe that they can do a good job.
“It is important for me to know that I have his strength when I need it”
“We live in a dangerous world. I kind of scare myself more than most people because of all of the crime shows that I watch J but it brings me tremendous fulfillment to know that my husband will do anything to protect me, not just spiritually, but also physically.”
6. Be Romantic.
I found something to be very strange in the responses that I received. Many women even spelled it out to me that they are ok with the fact that their husband isn’t the sweet/romantic type that you see in movies. They would rather have someone who fits the other 4 categories above than to have a man who is “romantic” but falls short in the above categories. However, many women did want to point out that while being romantic is not on the top of their wants or needs, it IS still on the list.
“When we were first married, he bought me flowers on a routine basis. That faded with time as is normal, but he still does things for me, spur of the moment that make me still feel like I am special to him. Sometimes it is something small like bringing me a cup of coffee. He never forgets to do something for me on V-Day. Even though we make it clear we are not going to do much to celebrate (financial reasons) he will always do something.”
“Sometimes I just need a break from the kids. My husband can usually sense when that time has come. He leaves me a note on the mirror telling me that he has gotten a babysitter for the evening, and that he is taking me to a nice restaurant and a movie. I know that dinner and a movie seems out dated, but when you don’t get out much, all you want is to go to a nice dinner and catch a movie with your husband.”
“He puts my happiness first. He leaves love notes to me almost daily (this is after we will have been married 40 years in June). He writes long letters to me telling me how he feels about me and us. He forgives me easily. He lets me know he loves me, wants me, needs me. He calls me “Sweetie” and “beautiful”. He says I am his soul-mate. He makes me feel like if we never had anything else in this life but each other, then that would be enough.”
As I sorted through the emails and private messages I came to a couple of realizations. The first being that there are some great husbands out there who are working hard to put Christ first and as a result their marriages are a success. The second realization is that maybe, just maybe, women are not as complicated as we think they are.
It would seem that many times the answer to many marital issues could be found in going back to the “basics.” The story is told of Vince Lombardi (An all-time great football coach) that after his team got royally defeated he walks into the locker room and holds up a football and says “Men, this is a football… its time we get back to the basics.” They had gotten so caught up in schemes, trick plays, and showmanship that they neglected the basics of blocking, form tackling, and they began to erode from the foundation.
I’m afraid many times our marriages are eroding beneath us. We are scheming, planning, trying our best to do “fancy things.” Yet, we forget the basics. We forget that regardless of how long we have been married, our wives still covet our attention, love notes, protection, leadership, and help around the house. Maybe it is time we devote ourselves to the basics of our marriages. I submit this to you not based on my knowledge, as I have inputted limited commentary, rather to serve as a reminder (to myself as well as others) to do the things that are most desired, and often most neglected by us.
Ephesians 5:25-28- Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
Colossians 3:19- Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.