Let me tell you our story… 🙂
I moved back on campus for my sophomore year of college with lofty ambitions. I was going to grow in my walk with God, invest in the lives of girls around me, and pursue my education as a future teacher. And I was going to steer absolutely clear of boys.
And who should I meet my first week back at college? A handsome seminarian, just back from two years of teaching in Saipan.
I distinctly remember counseling myself in that first moment. “This is a brother in Christ, Erin. Be polite, kind, and encouraging. Focus on the brother aspect…”
Bumping in to him was inevitable.
We attended the same church, rode the church van together three times a week, and served in many of the same church activities, so getting to know him was inevitable. It also helped that he was a seminarian who “lived” in the library. I just happened to be the librarian. 😉
I really did try to think of him as a brother. It helped that I was a lowly sophomore, five years his junior. It did not help that he looked so handsome every time he walked into the library with a haircut.
Remember that lofty ambition I had as a sophomore? Of steering clear of boys? Well, I finally achieved it! It was halfway through my junior year when I began really considering the gift that singleness is. It’s a season of life, just like any other season, with beautiful aspects and lots of potential. Sure, marriage was something I wanted eventually, but I was going to use singleness to the best of my ability in the meantime.
Life seemed so simple when I thought of it that way. I was content with singleness until God chose to intervene.
Then, he happened.
And the same day the gift of singleness crystallized in my mind, he happened. That handsome seminarian.
“Erin, can I ask you something? See, I’d like to get to know you better…”
He was so sweet and considerate in asking me. Very understanding of my desire to think about it. He had no idea that he had just shook my entire world, and I had no idea how close I was to finding my very best friend…
Something I’ve been learning…
When we read love stories, relationships have a way of looking easy. Of course he’s head-over-heels in love with her and she thinks the world of him. Why not? It’s a match made in heaven, the wedding bells are ringing, and they live happily ever after.
After all, that’s how Disney promised it would happen, right?
Today’s culture has conditioned us to think of true love as a feeling. It’s a wonderful, mystical thing that happens between two people, and when it happens to you, you can’t avoid it. Apparently this powerful force is best displayed in Disney princess movies and chick flicks.
I hope you know that’s not reality.
Disney is not a great depiction of what true love really is. (Gasp!) Our culture is wrong! Just a glance at the Bible’s classic love passage, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, shows us that love is a sacrificial action, prompting us to do what is best for another person even when it isn’t easy. It’s true that Biblical love includes feelings, but that’s not the full extent of Biblical love. It focuses on how I can serve my husband, not on how he makes me feel.
Love is a choice…
Despite the culture’s opinions on the subject, we do have a say in who we love. Love is a choice and an action! Remember Matthew 6:20-21? Jesus says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Our hearts will love what we are actively investing in.
That means the question is no longer, “How does he make me feel?” but rather, “How can I invest my heart in this man?”
So let’s get practical.
With all of this in mind, I’d like to show you what “investing” looks like in our house. These simple actions are some of the practical ways that I intentionally invest my heart in my husband.
(Make sure you read to the bottom – I’ve got some great resources to recommend if you want to learn more!)
10 Simple Ways I Love My Husband
I go all out with breakfast every once in a while.
Cereal and bagels are pretty normal for breakfast at our house, and we like it that way. Simple is a really good thing early in the morning! But my husband also tells stories about the breakfasts he had on Saturday mornings as a kid. Pancakes, scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon…
So every once in a while, I try to surprise him. I’ll get up a little early or hurry through my morning routine just so he can come out of the bedroom and smell the bacon. You should see his smile when I make that extra effort!
I wash his French Press. (I told you these were simple!)
My husband is a coffee connoisseur. While he doesn’t mind ground coffee and a coffee machine, grinding his own beans and using a French press is usually preferred. As a girl who likes the smell of coffee but not the taste, I let coffee be his thing.
But here’s the thing about French presses – once they’ve been used, they’re dirty! (Imagine that, right?) French presses aren’t the easiest thing to wash, and they are an easy thing to set aside since they’re not part of my perception of normal breakfast dishes. So I have to be intentional about washing it with the rest of the breakfast dishes.
Coffee might not be my cup of tea, but I do want to take care of that French press if it’s his!
I say thank you.
Husbands need encouragement! They want to be good husbands and daddys, and they work hard to provide. Believe it or not, it’s common for them to feel inadequate for the role that God has called them to. (If you’re curious about that, I would recommend reading the book For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn. It’s about understanding how men think, and I learned a lot when I read it!)
So with his need for encouragement in mind, I try to really notice the little things that he does for us around the house. Taking out the trash or sweeping the Cheerios off the floor might seem insignificant, but it sure saves me some steps! Words like “Thank you for…” and “I really appreciate it when…” go a long way in letting him know I notice and appreciate the way he takes care of us.
I leave encouraging notes every once in a while.
I want my spoken words are encouraging all the time, but written notes have an extra level of intentionality to them that make them special. They don’t happen all the time, just often enough to keep him guessing.
My favorite spots for “hiding” notes are on his to-do list, on his pulpit, and in his bathroom cabinet. I want to be just subtle enough in hiding them that he’s surprised, but always obvious enough that he’ll find them. 🙂
I try to remember to clean his bathroom.
That sounds awful. A clean bathroom says “I love you?!” Well, there’s a story to that…
The bathroom on our main floor is a little feminine to say the least. We have a pink sink and a pink tub. (I’ve been told the stool was pink too, but that was replaced before we moved in.) So my husband was more than willing to claim the basement bathroom, which is not feminine at all with its cement floors and house centipedes. (Don’t look those up if you don’t like bugs.)
All of this sounds well and good until we realize that since I never use the basement bathroom, I never see the basement bathroom. Out of sight, out of mind, and that means I never remember to clean it.
There, true confessions of a forgetful housewife! I have to be intentional about remembering his bathroom, and then I have to be intentional about doing something about cleaning it. See how a clean bathroom can be a love language? 🙂
I meet him at the door when he comes home from work.
This one started when I was growing up. My sister and I would begin to watch the driveway around 4:30, and “Daddy’s home!” would echo through the house as soon as his truck rolled into view. Then it was a race to the door as Dad pulled into the garage.
I love the idea of our kids doing this too, so it’s already a tradition for Little Buddy and me to watch for Daddy’s truck when he’s due home. It’s a practical way for us to show that he’s an important part of our lives and that we’ve missed him during the day!
I always greet him with a smile and a kiss.
This one goes hand in hand with meeting him at the door. It’s just a little way to say “I missed you, and I’m so glad you’re home!” 🙂
I’m learning to make fish, pork chops, and steak.
It’s okay if you don’t relate with me on this one. I’m a little weird.
I’ve never been a huge fan of meats – tacos and spaghetti are more my style than chicken, seafood, and steak. I prefer sandwich shops to steak houses as a rule. I’m just fine with that! But unfortunately, that means that my husband sees less meat on his plate than he might prefer…
Because it’s not my cup of tea, I have to make a conscious effort to treat him to the meat-and-potato-style meals. Pulling that meat out of the freezer every once in a while is an intentional way that I show him I love him.
(And seeing his eyes light up when he sees dinner on the table definitely makes it worth it!)
I’m figuring out his favorite ways to relax and giving him time to do them.
As a stay-at-home wife and mommy, I love it when my husband comes home. Maybe this is just me again, but I’m ready to tell him all about my day when he walks in the door, blow by blow, ready or not. It’s the adult conversation that I’ve missed all day!
My husband is such a good listener, and he’s so patient with my chatter. But there are some times when he needs time to unwind. He’s been busy working, caring, and providing for us all day – he needs a break!
Giving him time to catch up on the online news or to read a book on the couch isn’t always how I picture spending the evening. But if he needs that time to unwind, it’s going at the top of my priority list!
I give him my unconditional respect.
This is a hard one for a lot of women. We just don’t understand a man’s need for it. Things come into clarity a bit when we realize that most men would rather feel unloved than disrespected. (Again, I have Shaunti Feldhahn’s book For Women Only to thank for that thought!)
The fact is, our husbands need us. The world isn’t going to be their cheerleader. They want to know their wives are behind them one hundred percent!
It’s really interesting that we expect our husbands give us love unconditionally (which they should!), but we give them respect conditionally, expecting them to earn our respect. The Bible is pretty straightforward on this one. “Wives, respect your husbands.” No if’s, and’s, or but’s.
A Couple Thoughts in Summary…
It comes down to this – marriage takes work. It’s just like a bank account in that we can’t expect to have anything valuable later if we aren’t steadily investing in it now. You have to be intentional. You have to take initiative. You have to invest in the relationship, even if you don’t see the return right away.
Now, your list will probably not look like mine. In fact, I can probably guarantee that it won’t. But the goal wasn’t to give you an exhaustive list of things to do for your husband anyway. Rather, I want you to take these examples and the principles behind them and tailor them to your marriage. Come up with your own list!
Where do I start?
First, find out what God says about marriage and your role in it. Read Ephesians 5, Colossians 3, and 1 Peter 3, and find verses on marriage in the book of Proverbs. Study them out and be intentional in applying them to your life.
Second, pray! Ask God to help you give you the right attitude and strength to love your husband well. That’s one of those prayers that He would love to answer. 🙂
Third, be a student of your husband. Study his likes, his dislikes, his hobbies, and his goals. This might stretch you out of your comfort zone, but he’ll love it!
Fourth, be humble. Be willing to love him even if he isn’t reciprocating. The little things you do may go unnoticed, but the focus in loving him isn’t supposed to be on us anyway…
Want some resources?
I’ve come across some great resources that have greatly impacted my theology of and practice in marriage. These are books that I have read and learned from, and I absolutely recommend them to you if you’re looking for more ways to grow in this area!
LOVE AND RESPECT by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
(explains the different roles that love and respect play in a marriage based on Ephesians 5)
THE MEANING OF MARRIAGE by Pastor Timothy Keller
(explores the philosophy and Biblical foundation behind marriage with lots of great application for today’s culture)
FOR WOMEN ONLY by Shaunti Feldhahn
(explains what men wish their wives understood about men with practical life applications – THIS IS AN AWESOME BOOK!)
Love is a choice…
We all have room to grow in this area. Whether we’re fresh off the honeymoon or celebrating seventy years of marriage, love is still a choice, an action, an investment.
So here’s what I want to know. What are you going to do about it?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments in the comment section below. Biblical womanhood is a sisterhood thing, so let’s learn from one another!
Blessings! ~ Erin
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