Affirming Your Man

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Why is it that the some of the qualities I most admired in my husband before we were married have lately, now nearly 5 years into our marriage, have become those which I most despise? Have you experienced this? I loved my husband’s heart for service. He is willing to help others with various technological problems, setting up church services, and giving his free time to help others. I once appreciated this, but lately I admit I have despised it. It took him away from me and our family time. I wanted him to be focused on us during ALL his spare time. But this is one of his spiritual gifts. For him not to use it, he becomes discourages and feels useless. I was not appreciating all the effort and time he did give to prioritize our family and just focusing on the little time he was offering to serve. As his wife, I am to come behind him and encourage him in the use of his giftings. There certainly is balance, but my selfish desires for wanting all his free time were tearing him down. And the amazing thing is that when I allow him time to pursue his giftings and interests, he became more willing and eager to invest time in our family, thus resulting in all of us thriving.

Our men needs affirmation. They thrive on affirmation. I can tear my husband down with my words or I can build him up. The choice is mine everyday. Proverbs states that the wise woman builds her house whereas the foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. What might happen in our marriages if we took the time to express our appreciation for one quality each day? As women we need to recognize our influence over the men in our lives. If you want your man to grow and move in a positive direction, you need to appreciate him from your heart. Remember…

Your man is a sinner…just like you.

To truly move and influence a man, we must learn to appreciate him for who his is and for what he has done. We often get lost in the dream of Prince Charming and forget that he is a sinner just like us. The first step towards influencing your man, is to acknowledge this truth…”we all stumble in many ways” (James 3:2).

I love how Gary Thomas shares it in his book, Sacred Influence, “Only one perfect man ever walked this earth, and he never married. Since every wife is married to an imperfect man, every wife will have legitimate disappointments in her marriage. Are you going to define your husband by these disappointments, or will you pray that God will open your eyes to the common blessings that your husband provides and to which you often become blinded?”

A real man will be a sinner. A real man will have rough edges. The beauty of marriage is growing together in Christ-likeness. Extend grace as you acknowledge your mutual need for a Savior.

Stop taking your husband for granted.

When we take time to let our man know he is noticed, special and appreciated, we put him in a mold-able state. He won’t be resistant to change, when we truly express our appreciation for him.

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” This is the challenge from Philippians 4:8 that can be applied to our relationship with our husband. It’s a daily choice of focusing on qualities for which you feel thankful.

Leslie Vernick warns, “Regularly thinking negatively about your husband increases your dissatisfaction with him and your marriage.” Gary Thomas shares, “Affirming your husbands strengths, however, will likely reinforce and build up those areas you cherish and motivate him to pursue excellence of character in others. Guys rise to praise.”

Your man loves to see admiration in your eyes.

Hold on to the good; begin to define him by the good; thank him (and God) for the good – and thereby reinforce the good.

The Bible calls wives to respect their husbands (Eph 5:33) without qualification. Your husband, because he is your husband, deserves respect. Don’t stop telling him he is a good man.

How can you practically do so this week?

1. Pray for fresh eyes to see the good.
2. Make a list of 10 qualities you admire about your husband. Place it in the back of your journal or Bible so you can reflect upon it anytime you become frustrated with your husband. Use it as a prayer tool.
3. Write a note of thankfulness to your husband.

What one thing could you express appreciation for today?

Much of the insight shared in this post is drawn from Gary Thomas’ Sacred Influence - my all time favorite book for wives on building our husbands!

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

48 Responses to Affirming Your Man

  1. Leah March 1, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

    Thank you so much for this post! I have been struggling with that lately and felt like I was the only one. I could breathe a sigh of relief knowing I wasn’t! Thank you for the helpful tips to battle getting bored and annoyed with qualities I used to love and admire.

  2. Meagan February 25, 2011 at 10:31 pm #

    You are such a light for Him! God bless you!!

  3. billie gram February 24, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    Yeah! Boundaries (in Marriage). ;)

    • Jessica February 24, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

      Actually, the Cloud’s have written 3 books on boundaries—one just titled “Boundaries”, one “Boundaries in Marriage”, and a third “Boundaries with Kids”.

  4. billie gram February 24, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    *apologize, I meant to say. ;)

  5. Lisa February 24, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

    Oh, this was so timely. In fact, I was so convicted after reading this that I went home and asked my husband’s forgiveness for my selfishness and lack of support towards him and his God-given gifts. Thank you for sharing how you struggle, and how you work through it. It’s a great encouragement and blessing.

    One thing I realized is that I’m great at telling other people how wonderful my husband is, but I’m not so great at telling him that. I realized last night that I told our friends how I am willing to follow my husband’s leadership on a tricky issue we’re facing, but I never told HIM that I’m willing to follow him! He really appreciated hearing it. As a wife who struggles to submit gracefully, that was an eye-opener and a good reminder for me.

  6. SaraR February 24, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

    This is a timely post and so encouraging. I’ve been reminding myself to focus on the good and not wallow in the disappointments. Thank you for the exhortation, it’s been a blessing. Also the book recommendation, I haven’t read any of his books but have really wanted to.

  7. Brooke February 24, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

    Love this post!

    My husband and I started sending each other daily gratitude emails. We make every effort on his work days to send each other a quick email with a few things we’re grateful for in each other, our marriage, our family life. I save the emails and refer to them often. Putting myself in a grateful frame of mind for my husband on a daily basis has been a hugely positive impact on our marriage this past year.

  8. Becky February 24, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    Thank you for this post! I literally could have written the first paragraph! It is a struggle when it seems like my husband is doing this, but it’s even more of a struggle when I “fight” him about it. You are right to focus on affirmation rather than tearing him down over it. Tearing him down is more likely to keep him away anyway!

  9. Ellie February 24, 2011 at 5:52 am #

    Thank you for this, I needed to hear it.

  10. Linda February 24, 2011 at 5:41 am #

    While I think this post is wonderful overall, I have to say that I do not agree that a husband/father should be spending so much time doing things for other people outside of the family. Our ministry, especially when children are young, should be our family. In our ladies Bible class we have discussed feeling like we ‘should be doing more for others’, but that our main ministry is our family at least until our children are grown. There is obviously nothing wrong with serving others outside of our family, but when it takes away from being there around our children to be a good example, be a guide in life, and just generally having fun, it’s not a positive thing. Finding some ways to serve other together as a family is a great thing to do.

    There are some great ideas about building our husbands up on here. Thank you for the encouragement.

    • Lindsay February 24, 2011 at 8:30 am #

      I wholeheartedly agree…and it is nearly impossible to give all the details as to the situation at our home, but we certainly strive to prioritize our family, my husband and I both. It’s a balance, as I stated. We have to be careful though not to worship our families either. God must still be first and every activity prayerfully considered through His Word and direction. We are to be on mission for the glory of God and sometimes this requires a bit of sacrifice for the furtherance of His kingdom.

  11. Jessica February 23, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

    My husband is in the military and is in one of 4 work fields in the entire AF that does not deploy. So anytime he is working crazy hours (like for the past 6 weeks, it has been 16 hour days and 6 days/week), I just try to remember how blessed I am that I get to see him and sleep with him every night at least…lots of women around me lose their husbands for 4-12 months at a time, due to deployment. I’m thankful for every minute the military lets me see my husband!

    • Sarah February 24, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

      Thank you for this reply. It is nice to see that others cherish what they have. So many times us military wives gripe about not seeing our husbands for X amount of time, so it is refreshing to see someone be grateful for the time they have with them. My husband is in the Army and is about to deploy for his FOURTH 12+ month tour since 2005. We have missed so much as a family. However, we have had the last 18 month together and I have cherished every single second of family time. It disheartens me to see women take their family time for granted and gripe about their husband going on a week long business trip or something like that, when they have no idea how much my family has sacrificed for people like them. God has called us to this life and I am grateful for every minute of it, even the lonely difficult ones. God bless your family!

      • Jessica February 24, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

        I definitely agree! Whenever I see women whose husbands have more average jobs, and he’s working long hours or whatever, I try to remind them of strong and amazing women like you who lose their husbands for such extended lengths of time. Although I don’t want to trivialize the hunger for family time for everyone else, I’m pretty sure military wives spend the least amount of time with their husbands and have the least control over their husbands work schedule. Our wedding even got canceled, due to the military :) We got married by proxy because we were in different states and I had to be married to him so the Air Force could process me to come to Italy with him when he got this assignment (which takes several months versus just a few weeks for a stateside base).

        I honor you so much for your support and love for your husband, and holding down the fort when he is away. It truly takes a special woman to be a military wife, to be grateful for it instead of constant complaining and griping (we all have a bad day when we get frustrated because it feels like we raise the family alone!), and to be joyful and cheerful and thankful for every single second of family time! God bless you and your family, especially during this upcoming deployment!

  12. abbi February 23, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

    Thanks for the post. It was encouraging!

  13. shannon February 23, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

    Could someone please tell me where this hierarchy is in the Bible of God then husband then children? -newbie christian

    • abbi February 23, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

      I think you may be thinking of 1 Corinthians 11:3 which says “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.”

    • Becky February 24, 2011 at 9:49 am #

      Hi Shannon…the one Scripture that comes to mind is in Titus 2:4-5 “that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” The first and greatest commandment is to “love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 (and elsewhere). I’m sure there are other Scriptures that show these priorities, but those should get you started! :)

    • Melissa February 24, 2011 at 9:43 pm #

      Most (not all) Christians believe:

      First: God
      Family: Second
      Career: Third

      As far as hubby or kids or kids over hubby…… In our home we find it much more enjoyable to spend quality time together as a couple once the needs of our children are met. So we put children first. Feed your kids, read to them, bath them, put them to bed, and then enjoy quality one-on-one time with hubby where he gets your undivided attention.

      Again, this is from a Christian prospective. Other faiths may believe differently.

  14. Donna February 23, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    After multiple posts on relationships and husbands, I was hoping for one of your other topics. How much does this man of mine need??? and when are you going to write something motivational to organize my shopping list?? help develop my children /self spiritually??

    once again, you speak right to my heart and reach into my life in ways that I don’t expect
    “But this is one of his spiritual gifts. For him not to use it, he becomes discourages and feels useless. ”

    Thank you, once again.
    (imperfect wife of unemployed man who needs lots of encouragement to “work” at his trade and my affection and appreciation for what he’s done at home and with the kids.)

    • Lindsay February 23, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

      We are running monthly themes here at Passionate Homemaking and February’s theme was marriage, so thus all the talk about loving that man. I believe we always need further strengthening and encouragement in this realm as it is our second priority beyond our relationship with the Lord.

  15. Traci Michele February 23, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    nice to meet you! I just found your blog and love it! Traci, @ Ordinary Inspirations

  16. Cyle Lewis February 23, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    Great post, I came to your site for the first time via My blessed life. I have been really encouraged by the thoughtful posts I found, thanks:)

  17. Wesley miller February 23, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    The biggest trap for all Christians is maintaining the biblical priority of God first, family next and then service to the body of Christ. Post a sign on fridge with these priorities listed in order.
    P.s. Married 41 years and still can be a problem!

    • Danielle B February 23, 2011 at 10:12 am #

      Actually it’s God, husband/wife, then children/family.

    • Melissa February 24, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

      I totally agree with you. I posted a reply to this, but I accidently replied to another comment. As Christians we should prioritize by putting God first, followed by family second, then career/volunteer third.

  18. Rachel February 23, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    I have found it more effective to leave “respect” notes than love notes. Respect is a man’s language, not love. He appreciates the notes where I state why I respect him so much more than the notes where I tell him I love him! We read “Sacred Marriage” and found it to be really good, but prefer “Love and Respect” and think it’s an even better book!

    • Melissa February 24, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

      God first, family second, career third.

      • Melissa February 24, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

        Sorry, meant to post that under the comments on how people “rank” their priorities. God first, family second, career third. That is how I feel as Christians we should prioritize.

        • Danielle B February 25, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

          But if you believe your husband is the head of the home, and submit to him, he would come before the kids.

  19. Mary February 23, 2011 at 9:00 am #

    “Pray for fresh eyes to see the good.”

    Beautiful. Great suggestions! Thank you!

  20. Deborah February 23, 2011 at 8:39 am #

    PS I only tell you about my special needs child so you focus on what you do have. I spent years focusing on what I didn’t have and it go me nowhere and caused me nothing but heartache.
    Now I am grateful. I even meet people who are far more challenged than I am.

  21. Deborah February 23, 2011 at 8:05 am #

    Like every aspect of our lives be grateful! When my husband and I got married we wanted a few children but God blessed us with our one an only, a special needs child that will require life long care.
    My husband is in the military so I am accustomed to him being gone a lot. One time in particular he was gone an entire year to Iraq. But God brought him home to me without a single scratch. So when I think about him helping someone or playing golf, trust me that is nothing.
    I have been married almost 18 years. Be his best friend and give him that attention. Make him feel desired because if you don’t another woman might and she might want your good man for herself. Unfortunately, I have seen this happen a few times. There are some men and women out there who don’t care if someone is married.

  22. Lacey Wilcox February 23, 2011 at 7:52 am #

    Great thoughts. I’ve been incredibly amazed at how, once I allow my thoughts to flow negatively, my whole attitude and outlook toward my husband is affected. It changes everything, and completely affects loving him unconditionally. I’ve really been trying to work on disciplining my heart, mind, and words in order to completely mortify such negative thoughts, and their outcome.
    This was a great reminder…thank you.

  23. Renee February 23, 2011 at 7:47 am #

    we too have been married for almost 5 years now!!!! and I still learn new things about my husband each day, but our marriage is growing stronger each day

  24. Brittany February 23, 2011 at 7:20 am #

    this is all so true and so encouraging. i’m going to tell my husband how much i love him as soon as he gets home. :)
    i’m glad i visited your blog. i love it!

  25. Regina Murphy February 23, 2011 at 6:47 am #

    I love love love Gary Thomas’ books!. They are challenging and stretching in my walk with the Lord and my relationship with my husband. Before I even met my husband I read Elisabeth Elliot’s book Let Me Be A Woman. It is a letter written to her daughter on her engagement, full of fabulous advice and insight. She had 4 chapters in a row that revolutionized the way I looked at marriage – Your Husband is a Man, Your Husband is a Sinner, Your Husband is a Person, and Your husband is a Husband (I am butchering the titles and order, sorry). They outlined the fact that my husband is in need of grace, love and mercy as much as I am; that he has different interests, likes and ideas; that he has a different way of doing things and looking at the world; and that his role as the man in my life is unlike any role any other man has ever played before, i.e. my father, brothers or friends. It is something I give to any engaged woman now. Thank you for this post. It was very timely for me, and reminded me of the essential truth that I need to be thankful for what the Lord has given me, rather than complain about what He hasn’t, and that my husband is uplifted or downtrodden by my words.

  26. Sarah M February 23, 2011 at 6:46 am #

    so love this. I try to do this and of course, miserably fail at times. The reminder is always needed because why did we marry the person in the first place? Because we love and respect who God made them.

    Your blog is such an encouragement, Lindsay.

    Sarah M

  27. Melissa @ Breath of Life February 23, 2011 at 6:22 am #

    I challenged myself to leave my husband a love note for 100 days. Each note begins with “I love you because…” and I give him one reason. Some are serious, some are funny. He appreciates them all. He seems to think I’m doing this for the month of February. Little does he know!

    I tuck them into strange places, so he never knows when he’ll get one during the day. I’m enjoying this as much as he is, and I can tell it’s been a HUGE affirmation for him.

    • Heather February 23, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

      Another great idea! I think I might just have to try this! Thanks!

  28. Rachel @ The Lazy Christian February 23, 2011 at 6:18 am #

    When my husband and I first got married, we started name-calling. We would call each other “a poo,” playfully. Like during board games and things, one of us would get a good move in and the other would say, “Oh, you’re a poo!” Well, it really started to tear us down because we started using it in mean ways, too. We had to sit down and decide not to say it anymore. Now we’re super vigilant about what we say to each other, even in jest. We’ve been married six years and there is no more “poo” in our marriage! lol We really try to build each other up the best that we can and make each other feel appreciated.

    Great post!

  29. Anne @ Quick and Easy Cheap and Healthy February 23, 2011 at 6:16 am #

    So true! Thanks for reminding me of this today. And we’re going to be married 5 years on Friday:)

  30. [email protected] February 23, 2011 at 6:13 am #

    This touches on what our pastor has been doing a series on. He has been highlighting how as Americans we are so focused on sensualizing everything. Getting a “feeling” about something. Always seeking that good feeling. So when our husbands start to annoy us, the world says, uh oh, I am not feeling good about this, I need to move on. But God stresses the battle for the mind. Every day we need to fight the good fight and rely on the Holy Spirit to work through us. Then, we see things as God sees them, and our hearts are not desperately searching for a good feeling, we are content.

  31. Jessica February 23, 2011 at 6:09 am #

    This is the truth! My husband’s been travelling for work a lot and I have a 2 year old and a 5 month old and was just plain tired of him being gone—God helped me this past week to write him a love note (he was gone for V day) and a gift and give it to him. In it I had lots of words of affirmation and it reminded me of how glad I was to be his wife, even though the past few weeks I have been tempted to grumble against him and his job. It changed my attitude to give thanks and affirm him and it also softened his heart towards me and refreshed or marriage.

    It was my dad’s idea to do that, I’d asked him for some tips to strengthen our marriage. We as wives have a huge influence in our homes and with our husbands….Great reminder! Thanks Lindsay!

    • Heather February 23, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

      What a great idea to ask your Dad for tips to strengthen your marriage! It seems so many women give advice on marriage, but to hear a man’s perspective, particularly someone who would obviously want the best for you, is invaluable! I wonder what other reader’s Dad’s advice would be??

  32. Vaishali February 23, 2011 at 5:58 am #

    Such an appropriate reading for me today. My husband has recently started writing a blog and it takes away so much of his time. I have been that it is such a waste for him to spend so much time blogging. If only he were to spend that time with my little one……….But he truly enjoys it and the joy and smile on his face when he completes it. I must say I have also been a little selfish about not having that kind of satisfaction. Otherwise he is a wonderful man who is and has been with me in my most difficult times.

    • Danielle B February 23, 2011 at 7:19 am #

      I would tell your husband how you feel. I do NOT feel it’s ok for a husband OR wife to do anything that would take our from their relationship w/their spouse for hours and hours on a regular basis. Especially if the one spouse does NOT like it. I think it’s selfish. My husband likes to play golf w/his buddies or business partners. I don’t have a problem w/it, since he plays MAYBE once a month. And sometimes we play golf together.