By Cindi McMenamin
I’m sure you are aware of the ways you and your husband differ in your background and personalities. You may also have different ideas about how to spend your evenings, what kinds of movies you each prefer to watch, and what your ideas of an adventurous weekend would look like. But when you add to the mix their uniquely male qualities, it surely could be a case for your girlfriends that your husband is from a different world than you are.
1. Remember he’s a man.
2. Realize his need for respect.
3. Recognize his need to succeed.
4. Allow him time in his “blank box.”
5. Ask him about his dreams.
6. Treat him like a king, but not your God.
7. Acknowledge his singular focus.
Unlike women who appear to multi-task, men function better with a singular focus and they have a way of compartmentalizing their thoughts and actions. Like his ancient ancestors, your husband is, by nature, a hunter-gatherer, so it’s easy for him to zero in on—and stay focused on—a single topic (Picture a cat sitting by a window watching a bird – he doesn’t move, but is totally fixated).
As you are sensitive to this single-focus characteristic of his, it may help you understand his response—or lack of response—to you when you go from topic to topic in your conversation or are tending to “merge” the areas of your life when he prefers to keep them separate. For example, talking about finances just prior to intimacy will confuse him. If he’s in “finance mode,” he will not know how to transition well to “romance mode.” Likewise, if you are talking about the kids’ schooling problems or your aging parents’ needs while he’s trying to set up the tent on a camping trip, he will likely not respond to your words, let alone hear them.
8. Allow him sexual pleasure with his wife.
Men are designed, physically and physiologically, to enjoy sexual pleasure with their wives. Your husband wants to enjoy that activity and experience with YOU. And you are the only one he can enjoy that with and still be right and pure before his God. And he knows that, even more than you do.
In Ecclesiastes 9:9, Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, said this: “Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given to you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.”
King Solomon wrote a whole book on the meaninglessness of life. And among the few things he found meaningful for a man to enjoy were a good meal and pleasure with his wife. Now think about that! When you prepare a meal for your husband, isn’t it your desire that he enjoy it? Similarly, will you prepare yourself for him, physically, as his reward after dinner? God paid you quite a compliment when He gave you to your husband as your husband’s reward. God considered you a great prize to bring pleasure—in many ways—to your husband. That should make you and I want to be our husband’s reward, not his consolation prize.
9. Accept his love for good food.
Do you ever find yourself wondering why your husband constantly thinks about food? Or how it is he can down a whole steak in minutes when all you feel like eating is a salad? Your husband, if he’s like most men, loves to eat. He’ll prefer a meaty meal to your low-calorie morsel every time! And get thisenjoying food is biblical! In Ecclesiastes 2:24, the wise King Solomon says, “There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God.”
For a man to be able to sit down and enjoy dinner—or a hearty, messy barbecue lunch—is one of the ways God rewards him for his work here on earth. So let him eat. And don’t knock him when he does. It’s one of the simple pleasures in life he was designed to enjoy.
10. Be patient as his priorities shift with age.
Your husband typically values different things at different seasons of life. In his 20s and 30s, he may prioritize making money and advancing his career because he is in his prime “provider/achiever” mode. When he approaches his 40s and 50s, he may be more concerned about making his life count and not “wasting time” doing something that doesn’t matter in the long run. When he reaches his 60s, he may value slowing down to enjoy life or attempt ambitions or “bucket list” items now that he has more time.
Keep in mind, though, that even when his priorities shift with age, he’s still the same man you fell in love with and married. His priorities just change through the years, as do yours.