For those of you who missed it, I wrote a post awhile back called A Heart That Loves that is talking about the book I am reading in my Women's Bible Study group called A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George. This is a continuation of that post which is discussing having a heart for our husbands:
3. Prepare for Your Husband Daily - Preparing your husband's homecoming each day shows him that he's a priority and communicates your heart of love. Here are some ways she suggests preparing for your husband daily:
*The first part of this is preparing your house. Take a few minutes before he is set to get home to tidy up the strewn about toys, turn on some music, light a candle so that when he walks in the door he is greeted to an orderly and welcoming home.
*Prepare your appearance. If you knew company was dropping by on a given day you would be sure to freshen up. Shouldn't you do this same thing for your number one human priority? I know that I have been guilty numerous times of being in sweats with my hair all a mess and no make-up on my face when my husband walks in the door. This isn't how I would greet anyone else entering my house so I shouldn't do it to him either.
*Prepare your greeting. Most of our husbands have a schedule that allows us to know the approximate time he is getting home. His welcome home will be made so much sweeter if you are waiting for him when he arrives. Turn on the porch light, turn the tv off, prepare yourself and your kids to greet him warmly when he comes in that door. Again, this is an area where I am guilty of not putting proper effort into it. Because this can be a time of chaos with the kids and I am usually in the kitchen making dinner he often gets a quick glance and a nod from me if he is lucky. But I see him light up each time the kids barrel towards the door when he comes back from a long day at work. I can only imagine that it would also make him feel good to have that reaction from his wife.
*Clear out all visitors and stay off the phone. Your husband does not need to come home to a house full of noisy kids and other moms. He is going to want to be able to unwind and catch up with his family. This is why your phone calls should end well before he is set to arrive as well. Not only so you are able to greet him properly but also so that you don't have to rudely cut off the other person because of his arrival.
4. Please Your Husband - If you value your husband you will surely take delight in pleasing him. This means paying careful attention to his wants, his likes and his dislikes. This includes all things big and small. Some examples from our house: My husband likes the toilet paper to hang over the roll instead of under. Nothing he makes a big deal about but just a personal preference. So I make sure it is the way he likes it when I am changing the toilet paper rolls. One of the things he really enjoys to do in his free time is golfing. He has been begging me for years to go with him and for years I have said no because I have no interest in it. Reading this chapter really convicted me to change my heart and realize that this is something that is important to my husband so it should be important to me as well. This spring I am planning to hit the green and give this golfing thing a try. I am sure this will bring him much joy.
5. Protect Your Time with Your Husband - You make your husband your Number One human priority when you protect your time with him instead of treating him like a built-in babysitter and darting out the door as soon as he gets home. While time to yourself is important, you should take every opportunity you can to be with your husband when he is home. If that means running errands during the day so you are home with him at night then that is something you should strive to do. For us, we choose to run errands as a family. I have offered to do it alone but he likes us all to go together so we make it a family outing.
Before you agree to a commitment think about whether or not it will cut into time with your husband. Try if possible to schedule things when he is already going to be out of the house himself.
6. Physically Love Your Husband - 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 says, "The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."
My husband was stoked for me to read this chapter! Seriously though, sex is such an important part of marriage and it is so easy for us to sometimes lose sight of that. Not only is it our duty as godly wives in that it meets our husbands needs and protects them from sinning due to lust and temptation, but it is a gift from God that we are to enjoy. We were lucky enough to be part of a Love and Respect class over the summer and one thing from that comes to my mind repeatedly. Imagine if your husband did not speak to you for 3 days or 3 weeks or even 3 months. I know I would DIE! This is because we as women need that communication to feel close to our husbands. Just as we need that, that is how they need sex. Really gave me something to think about.
7. Positively Respond to Your Husband - It is important that our husbands thoughts, decisions and words are greeted sweetly instead of met with resistance, negativism, or a lecture. This simple act of responding with "Sure" instead of "But what about this or why can't we do it like this?" can be the difference between power struggles and hurt feelings versus a peaceful conversation. When we start out the conversation with a positive response it opens the door to those follow up questions we may have, all the while being respectful and honoring our husbands initial request.
8. Praise Your Husband - One thing Elizabeth George says you should have on your "Never List" is to never speak critically or negatively about your husband to anyone. This not only damages the way others view your husband but it also damages the way YOU view your husband. If you find yourself about to speak critically of your husband stop and do these three things:
*Search your heart. Something is not right in your heart because a heart full of love does not gossip.
*Seek a solution. If a serious area of your husband's life need attention instead of putting him down, devote yourself to praying for him and if you need to bring it up to him do so after much preparation and with graciousness.
*Set a goal. Make a resolution no to speak destructively about your husband. Instead, you should try to practice taking up any opportunity you have to bless your husband in public. This is one way to sow seeds of love for him in your heart.
9. Pray Always - We begin with prayer, we end with prayer. Take every opportunity throughout the day to ask God to enable you to be the loving supportive wife he wants you to be.
I hope that this gives you all something to think about. I know for myself, there are a lot of areas where I am not being the kind of wife God wants me to be. Luckily, He is full of grace and allows us time to learn and grow. I am taking this information to heart and working at it a day at a time. I have a feeling these chapters will need to be read time and time again but I know that my husband will feel loved and appreciated as I continue to make an effort to love him like I should.