I heard a pastor say something once that’s stuck with me ever since:
“If you say you love this place but don’t act on that love, we need your seat. This is not a come, sip coffee, and leave kind of church. We are active. We serve what we say we love.”
That lesson hasn’t just taught me how to be an active member of my church. It’s helped me be a better husband to my wife Holly. In other words, there is nothing passive about our relationship. I act on my love. I’m not in a sip-coffee-and-sleep kind of marriage. I serve who I say I love.
Husbands, of all the people in the world, only you can love your wife like Christ loves the church. And that largely means serving her well, because—like that pastor said—we serve what (or who) we love. Here are three ways I’ve learned to serve my wife best—ways I think you can serve your wife well, too.
1. Help in the Small Things
A 2015 Pew Research study found that in two-parent families, both parents say the woman still tends to do more of the child care and household chores (though men have come a long way!). So husbands, serve your wives by tackling some of those responsibilities yourself. Every little task adds up! Make the bed, load the dishwasher, or pick up milk without being asked. That tells your wife you notice her burden is heavy and you want to carry some of it for her.
If it’s in the budget, consider hiring a housekeeper to clean the house. Maybe it’s a special one-time treat, or maybe you can afford it every three months or even every month. Trust me, any amount of cleaning help is well worth the money for everyone in your family. If it’s not in your family’s budget, ask her what tasks you can help with throughout the week, or take an evening to split up the housecleaning and work on it as a team. It’s a break for your wife, and it allows you to spend quality time together you otherwise wouldn’t have had.
2. Express Interest in Her World
Guys, I know it can be tough tapping into your emotions and feelings. I get it. But it’s what your wife craves. It’s how she connects, so she loves it when you’re willing to be vulnerable with her.
Part of that means caring enough to initiate (and stay in) the hard conversations. Here’s what I mean: Whether your wife works outside the home or cares for the kids and house full time, she might feel like sometimes her world—her job, interests, stresses, goals and dreams—aren’t on your family’s radar.
Connecting with your wife means caring enough to initiate the hard conversations.
So don’t be afraid to ask and dream with her about her world. Maybe she longs to open up a small business in town or she wants a bigger family—or maybe she wants to go on a missions trip to Africa. Whatever she shares with you, honor it and talk about how you two might work together to make it happen.
Get in her world and let her know you love what she loves—mostly because she loves it, and that's enough for you to love it, too.
3. Provide for Her
We men—at our core—long to provide. God put it in us, and the Bible calls us to it in 1 Timothy 5:8 (ESV): “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
But providing for your family doesn’t necessarily mean you have to make six figures. Your wife doesn’t have to drive a Mercedes. But you need to be a smart financial planner with the money you do earn. So budget, save, pay off debt, and file your taxes on time.
You know, when I was an executive pastor, the only time I found myself stressed was when an event, initiative or department fell into the hands of someone I thought cared less about the outcome than I did. I didn’t trust them because they weren’t all-in.
Related: Is Your Debt Stressing You Out?
Men, many of our wives are going to bed every night stressing about their family's financial future because they feel like their husbands aren’t concerned. Don't make her carry that weight and lose sleep over it. You do that. Let your wife know she can rest easy because you care greatly. And if your wife is the primary provider or helps provide, thank her—and then scroll back to the beginning of this article and do more of the first two points.
The greatest leaders are those with a servant’s heart. Lead your marriage that way, and you’re loving your wife like Christ loves the church. You can do this!