I’m excited about the interest in my latest post, “How to Keep a Wife.” The readership numbers keep going up. That delights me because it means people want better marriages. We can always improve at loving our mates. That is a noble cause indeed.
 I’ve had requests to do a similar post for women. So here are a few ideas.
Remember Sleeping Beauty? The prince catches sight of her; she is innocent and mysterious. They talk, they dance, and he’s smitten. He’s willing to give up everything to marry her. When he finds out she’s in trouble he rushes to her rescue. He defeats the dragon and saves her from the sleep of death with true love’s kiss. Then she wakes up and they get married.
Have you ever wondered what happened next? Does she lose her mystery? Does she stop singing, dancing and dreaming? Does she ever laugh, go barefoot or just have fun? She was beautiful when she was asleep. After the wedding, however, does she nag him for wearing his boots in the castle, talk endlessly about her feelings, and complain the palace isn’t cozy like the cottage where she grew up?
Although I’m not an expert (not being a man and all), here are a few things I’ve learned from my guy, men in general, marriage retreats, and reading the Bible and great marriage books. What men want most:
1    1.Honor and Respect
Women want to be loved; men want respect. They need it like women need love in order to be happy in a relationship. Not that they don’t want love too, but when asked whether they would rather have love without respect or respect without love, men overwhelmingly choose respect. They want to be the hero, the rescuer, the fix it guy—admired and adored.
2    2.Welcome
Men want a cheerful greeting, whether they’re coming in the door, calling, or texting. A woman’s tone and facial expression can either say, “Bug off, I’m busy” or “I’m glad to see you/hear from you.” Even in a serious discussion, it’s not so much what a woman says; it’s how she says it that makes a man feel either welcome or rejected. And how special it is when his wife tries to look nice just for him! If a man’s home is his castle, he should feel wanted there. 
3    3.Touch
This is where it can get, well, touchy. Most husbands want sex more often than their wives. Most women prefer being cuddled and held more. Therefore, communication is essential. Learning the best ways to touch each other, and the best timing, in order to satisfy both partners is the goal. A man wants his wife to desire his touch. If she recoils, or tells him what to do or not do at the wrong moment, it can kill his passion and cool his love for her. If it feels disrespectful to him, he will withdraw.

4. Praise
My dad called it “ooh and aah time.” This was our cue to go look at what he’d been working on and say good things about it. Everyone needs to hear encouraging words, but men especially crave this. Women gain their identity mostly from relationships; men gain their identity from what they do—work, hobbies, sports, and dreams to conquer the world. They love direct praise and a wife who talks him up to others.
5    5.Gratitude
What if the Prince kissed Sleeping Beauty and the first thing she said was, “Why did you wake me up? I was having a good dream!” The average man may not have to slay a dragon to win his wife, but he would like a little gratitude for what he does. Negative comparisons—to her Dad, her girlfriend’s husband, or men in romance novels or movies—can immobilize a man from action. He can’t ever seem to get it right.  But a grateful heart and thank you’s for small efforts will let him know he’s appreciated.
6    6.Learn the Language
Hints and subtle cues don’t work. A woman leaves a basket of clean laundry in her husband’s path, and expects him to put them away. The average guy will walk around or step over it, for days, without realizing it’s a message. She’s not speaking his language; she’s speaking woman. Most men are willing to help out, but they need to be asked. Instead of fuming about how he won’t lift a finger to help, women fare better with straightforward, pleasant requests. “Sweetheart, I washed and folded these clothes; would you please put them away?” To which he might reply, “Sure, Babe,” and head off with the basket.
7    7.Follow the Leader
Women complain their husbands won’t lead. A man will say his wife won’t follow. When he tries, she argues, or complains he’s doing it wrong. So he gives up. Or, if he feels inadequate to lead in an area she’s stronger or more experienced in, he will let her do it rather than fail. But a woman can build his confidence by praising his efforts (even when he’s not very good yet), respecting his position of leadership, and asking for his help and advice. He can’t fulfill his God-given role as head of the household without her support and cooperation.  

    8.  Pray
Men need praying wives. Prayer is the ultimate intimacy—where husbands and wives lay their souls bare, in trust. Prayer is not a weapon for a woman to use against her husband, but a weapon to fight with for him, against the spiritual forces that seek to pull him down. Men carry a heavy burden to provide, protect, and lead. Everything in our culture works against that. Manhood is belittled in our society, in the media, the workplace, and entertainment. A praying wife puts a hedge of protection around her man and frees him to be who God created him.
9    9.  Godly Girlfriends
Let’s face it, most men don’t need to talk about their feelings as much as women do. When women get together to share and encourage each other, they do their husbands a favor. For one, they use up some of their words so there’s not such an excess. Secondly, they provide each other with a healthy sounding board to gain perspective. Godly friendships energize women and relieve pressure on their husbands who don’t know what to do with so many words.
1    10.  Know God
Finally, the best thing a woman can do to keep a husband is have an intimate relationship with the ultimate Lover of her soul—Jesus Christ. He’s the only One who will never let her down, always understand how she feels, never tire of her words; who can rescue her from every danger. This takes a lot of stress off her husband, who wasn’t created to meet all these needs. A woman who seeks satisfaction in God can relax and enjoy her husband and be the companion she’s intended to be.
I hope these suggestions spark some discussion between you and your husband or fiancé. Printing out both “How to Keep a Wife” and “How to Keep a Husband” might be fun for your next date night, or to discuss in small group.
#howtobeabetterwife #marriagetips #happyhusband #whatmenwant