12 Ways to Encourage Your Wife

John ThurmanBy John Thurman16 Minutes

12 simple ways to encourage your wife may sounds like a fairly bold title doesn’t it? Being married is one of the most challenging commitments a person can ever make. And honestly, having been married to my first wife for nearly fifty years, a woman’s mind is still a mystery to me. However; she read through these and gave her blessing.

In today’s post, I want to give you 12 simple ways to encourage your wife. The scripture enourages us “you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together.” 1 Peter 3:7 (NLT)

If you are going through a challenging phase in your marriage, choose a few of the 12 simple things you can do to encourage your wife and see what happens. You might be surprised.

First, love her, honor her, and respect her. The vows used for centuries have stood the test of time because they are correct.

Remember? They went something like, “I, _____, take thee, _____, to be my wedded wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith.”

When asked, many of my current and former clients have told me their relationship is often on their minds. When she feels unsure or insecure about the relationship, the feeling can be very intense, ranging from being anxious, withdrawn, and in some cases hopeless.

I remember a couple in the early years of my counseling experience. Rachel and Barry (not their real names) had been referred by their pastor. They had two boys. Rachel worked as a kindergarten teacher. Barry was a veteran of Desert Storm and owned a successful mechanic shop in Central New Mexico.

Rachel was worried about their marriage. Between the boys, teaching, and Barry’s work, they seemed to be too busy for each other. We hit it off in our first session, so we jumped right in. I reviewed the basic needs of a man and a woman. Women have a deep desire to feel valued, cherished, and secure. On the other hand, men need to feel competent, needed, and respected.

Because they lived outside of Albuquerque, we set our next appointment three weeks out. We emailed a couple of times, and they both shared they were looking forward to our second session.

When I went to the lobby to meet them, I did a double-take. The tension has diminished, and things seemed different. Barry said, “I can’t believe how simple this is. I related to the story about the guy who told his wife he loved her when he married her and hadn’t thought much about it. After all, we have a great life. One night after tucking the kids in, we read our books, and I asked her if she needed to hear those words, ‘I love you,’ more often. Then she cried, gave me a good hug, and said, ‘You have no idea how important that is for me to hear.’ I felt foolish that I’d missed this for all of these years! Since then, I have tried to tell her multiple times a day in two or three different ways. It’s incredible! We feel more connected because I am telling her how much I love her.”

Second, be sexually and emotionally faithful to her.

This means both in the real world and the digital world. I personally believe no issue better denotes a marriage than the promise of sexual fidelity, something all men know, at least in their heads. But it’s not just physical infidelity. Emotional cheating by both men and women can be incredibly destructive. Add to that mix the prevalence of pornography, which is not just a male issue, and it sometimes feels that it takes a Herculean effort to stay on the narrow path. But it is worth it.

Guard against the lure of social media. For example, some people may say, who do I talk to if things aren’t going well in my marriage? The answer: only your friends or friends of your marriage, a pastor, or a counselor.

A part of your job is to do all in your power to make your wife feel secure physically and intimately through your marriage protection.

Third, listen to her without being judgmental.

Men are often hard-wired to solve problems. As we covered above, sometimes she just wants us to listen, not offer solutions or answers. One quick solution for you is to ask your wife this question: “Honey, do you need me to listen to you or problem-solve with you?” Men, most of the time, she’s already solved the problem. She just wants to vent whatever internal emotional stress the problem caused, and she wants to do so with someone she trusts—you. So turn off your excellent problem-solving skills, sit with her, and listen. When she stops or pauses, repeat what you got from her and ask, “Did I get what you are saying?’

As men, we need to train ourselves to tune into and turn towards our wives when they need to talk.

Remember, the Bible says, “My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen, but slow to speak” (James 1:19 TPT).

Good job, you are a quarter of the way thru 12 simple ways to encourage your wife. Have you found one that you can implement?

Fourth, be as attentive, fun-loving, and adoring as you were during courtship or close to It.

I know you can have rough days. I spend my days with people in various states of crisis. I know it can be tough to be upbeat some days, but do what you can. Studies of optimistic people show they are less affected by adverse events and bring about brighter responses in other people.

Fifth, be more affectionate.

Before we talk about how to express affection to your wife, I want to review the job description of being a good husband so far.

  • Love, honor, and respect her.
  • Be sexually and emotionally faithful to her.
  • Listen without being judgmental.
  • Have a positive attitude.

To your wife, affection means more than cuddling, holding hands, or having sex. She desires a sense of closeness from you because knowing you are close to her is paramount for her to stay in a relationship with you.

For those of you that might need this simplified, if you check out, your wife will probably check out at some level, too.

Sixth, support and nurture her ambitions in and outside the home.

Roles are changing, and that is not a bad thing. More men than women currently work outside the home, but more and more women are either entering or re-entering the workforce or are starting home-based businesses. As your children grow and opportunities open up for your wife to pursue her dreams, will you be there to support her?

The days of most husbands going to work and most wives staying home and doing housework are largely a thing of the past. However, based on the most recent census, in the U.S., about 2 million fathers are stay-at-home dads.

Another survey revealed nearly 30% of employed married women earn more than their husbands.

Congratulations, you are at the mid point of 12 simple ways to encourage your wife. Take a second to think about which of these you are going to implement?

Seventh, try to understand how she is different emotionally.

Men, your job is not to change her to be more like a man, but to acknowledge and respect your differences.

Do you do research to understand your product’s attributes and your customer’s needs in your professional life? For example, if you are in the service industry, do you study trends to be a better service provider to your clients?

Let me ask you this, how much time do you invest in learning more about your wife? Do you invest time reading or listening to a podcast that enlightens you about the uniqueness of your bride? Do you invest in relationship coaching or seminars? If you spend some of your time and treasure learning more about her, you will be blessed in more ways than you can know.

Eighth, be honest, and always do what you say you will do.

To be clear. When I talk about honesty, there is no room for lies about infidelity, addiction problems, or other vital matters that reflect who you are (such as belief systems or underlying medical issues). Instead, you need to be accountable for what’s essentially the core issues, the important stuff, your promises.

Ninth, share in childcare and domestic work.

If you want to mess this up, just come home from the office and tell her you have already worked enough. Instead, catch your breath and help out a little without any drama. Trust me, this will get you some points.

No matter where you have been in your marriage, you can show up for work today. You can begin right now to protect your career as a husband by treating this day as if it were your first day on a new job called marriage.

Tenth, do what you need to do to make her feel special.

Show your wife the same traits that make you valuable as an employee: focus, discipline, reliability, devotion, loyalty, stability, intelligence, and flexibility.

Be determined to get better at this job of being a husband.

Eleventh, maintain your appearance!

This may sound a bit juvenile, but guys, watch your hygiene, shower regularly, and remember, your favorite “hang around the house” clothes need washing. Angie reminds me my closet space begins to smell like a locker every now and then. Just remember, this does not take much effort.

Twelfth, take the initiative and coordinate some “us time” getaways.

This does not mean inviting her to your elk hunt or boy’s weekend. It could be a weekend at a bed and breakfast or a day trip to a nice place. You could see where the cheapest “Southwest Airline Getaway” airfares are and go there. Being able to just get away from the day-to-day grind and even the kids can go a long way in refreshing you and your wife.

I hope that you have found some actionable items in 12 simple ways to encourage your wife. I believe that as you begin to include these in your day-to-day living, your wife will know, on several levels how much you love and respect her.

Thanks again for reading 12 simple ways to encourage your wife. If you found this helpful, please pass it on!

BONUS POINTS! Learn ways to maintain romance and specialness in your relationship

Spontaneous flowers and quality chocolates never hurt. Post-it notes and cards have never hurt. So do what you can to make her feel special.

Action Plan

To use a baseball metaphor, no Major League hitter bats 1000, but they are well compensated if they hit .325. To be clear, we are not talking about perfection but intentional progress.

Forget Hollywood and Hallmark Channel stereotypes, and don’t try to be a hero in some romance novel. Instead, apply some of your natural strengths to your job as a married man and see immediate improvement.

  • Focus on the benefits of marriage, not the day-to-day frustrations.
  • Show your wife the same traits that make you valuable as an employee: focus, discipline, reliability, devotion, loyalty, stability, intelligence, and flexibility.
  • Be determined to get better at this job of being a husband.
  • Learn from your mistakes, and don’t get your eyes stuck in the rearview mirror of regrets.
  • Commit yourself to the mission and responsibilities of your marital job description and reassess your progress as you go along.
  • For those of you who are Christ-followers, “Love your wife as Christ loves the Church” (Ephesians 5:25).

Originally published on John Thurman’s blog. Reprinted with permission.