Do Him Good!

Do Him Good! // jessconnell.com

{Today’s post is a follow-up from Monday’s– Christian Wife, Let Your Husband Be.— where a reader asked, “Beyond having a joyful attitude towards love making and keeping the home a happy sanctuary for him, what are more specifics things wives can do? I know every husband will have different things that are life-giving to him, but do you have any ideas of further supporting husbands?” Here is my answer.}

I love Proverbs 31’s description of what it means to be an excellent wife:

An excellent wife who can find?
    She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,

    and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,

    all the days of her life.

~Proverbs 31:10-12

Some people mock Proverbs 31, and call it unrealistic or unattainable for women. Some people have even devoted entire books and blogs to tearing down “biblical womanhood” passages like this. But one of the reasons I think it’s so wonderful is precisely because it IS realistic, particularly in the areas of relational descriptions.

WE’RE NOT ALL THE SAME

Notice: it’s not telling us that we all have to be the same. I can’t think of any biblical passages that command us all to be the same sort of woman.

Rather, we’re each to be adapted, or fitted, to our own husbands. (We’re also told to submit to our own husbands, not all women to all men.) It says “the heart of her husband” trusts in her. Not “she’s the perfect wife according to the books.” But her own husband trusts her. Her own husband gets “gain” because of her. The passage doesn’t say godly women will all be:

  • amazing pastry chefs,
  • organizationally adept in every way,
  • seamstresses, and more.

We learn some details like that about the Proverbs 31 woman, but it’s the outplay of the tasks, rather than the tasks themselves, that is the focus of the passage. Through her goings and doings, she is an asset to her family. She nurtures, encourages, and blesses them. Not because she is some generic woman doing “womanly tasks”– no! It’s the way she uses her skills and activities to purposefully  bless her husband and family, that make her trusted by her own husband.

It’s with that in mind that I want to talk about what it means to “do him good, not harm.”

I could give you a list. And I will, at the end of this article… but the main thing I want to tell you is this:

  • LEAN IN to your own husband
  • LISTEN to the things he says
  • PAY ATTENTION to the things that frustrate him
  • BE EAGER to do what you can to serve and care for him

What a blessing it is to be a wife– to have another person who has committed himself to your care and keeping! Maybe he does a so-so job at it. Maybe you see myriad ways he could do a better job of it. That’s OK; you can just let him be.

The Lord evaluates all things and we can trust Him to do the judging.

Over the last three or four decades, people have given one-size-fits-all marriage advice like:

  • men like a hot meal ready and waiting
  • sex should happen X number of times a week
  • wear make-up for your husband
  • ask him to do the heavy lifting around the house so he’ll feel like a man
  • manage your household well and don’t ask him for anything so he won’t feel nagged
  • every couple should have a weekly date night

But I don’t think one-size-fits-all advice like that is really what we need.

What we need MOST is to learn to be happy wives who are students of our own husbands. 

When we learn to watch them and care for their needs and encourage them, in ways that matter to them, THAT’S when our husband will feel loved, built up, cared for, and (likely) respected.

One husband might feel nagged when his wife asks for help; another might feel respected and strong, that she looks to him for help. Ladies, we each need to know our own husbands.

A husband who cares about words may not care two hoots about his wife having a meal ready the minute he walks in the door, especially if his wife regularly criticizes him. But he might beam for the rest of the afternoon if he received an encouraging text that says,

“I sure respect how hard you work for our family, day in, day out. Thank you for the way you love us by being faithful in your work each day.”

That’s why a list of practical tips may or may not be helpful to *you* in your particular marriage.

So with that in mind, please read this list of 15 ideas as a starting place to jump off from. This is not a comprehensive list, nor is everything on it suited to every husband, or every marriage. Maybe only some husbands would enjoy receiving all of these things, but I think all husbands would like to receive some of these things.

Read this list and consider which ones your own husband would count as “doing good and not harm.”

15 PRACTICAL WAYS TO “DO GOOD” TO YOUR HUSBAND

  1. Warmly greet him at the door with a smile, firm hug, and a (minimum) 5-second kiss.
  2. Ask how his day went. Then listen to him, without being distracted by anything (not devices, not dinner prep, not even the kids!).
  3. Fix what he likes best for dinner at least once a week.
  4. Look to his “ways” in your house and assess what would make his life easier. Does he lose his keys constantly and need a hook to hang them on when he walks in the door? Are his neckties strewn through the bedroom because he lacks a simple way to keep them organized? Does he need a special spot to stash his lunch snacks so the kids won’t pilfer? Pay attention to his physical daily needs and see if there’s an area that’s currently frustrating to him that could have a simple solution.
  5. Text him something encouraging and sincere. Make sure it is only positive and not a backhanded compliment (i.e., just “thank you for fixing the cabinet door for me. I sure appreciate you!”– NOT “thank you for finally fixing the cabinet door for me.”)
  6. Before he leaves for work, squeeze his hand or his bottom and whisper in his ear that you’re gonna be eager and ready to make love after the kids are in bed tonight.
  7. For the next week, focus on any ways your husband might feel disrespected by your children (i.e., being talked over at the table, being answered by “yeah” rather than “yes sir,” having them stare at a device rather than listening to him, stomping and grumping when he asks them to do something, etc.), and work through the daytimes together to fight against that sinful habit in their hearts.
  8. Write out a list of 3 things you know your husband wants you to do. Then get to work and do them, willingly and diligently.
  9. Smile at him, genuinely, with your whole face lit up, at least 3-5 times tonight before you go to bed.
  10. Consider if there’s a pressing project at work or around the house that he feels anxious to finish. Find a way to help him that he will genuinely be grateful for… and if you aren’t sure, ASK! (This could be bringing a meal to his workplace, tidying up his desk because he hasn’t had time lately, helping to send off a round of bills because he’s swamped, organizing the shed during the day so he can finish the project at night, etc. All sorts of options, but do what he will genuinely find helpful.)
  11. For a minimum of 2 weeks, give up the thing that distracts you from what you *should* be doing. Facebook? Pinterest? A busy workout routine that leaves you zonked? Texting with friends? Instead, devote that same time to the things you know are priorities for him, or the things that are irritating him around the house, or the kids’ attitudes that need correcting. For 2 weeks, discipline yourself to put his priorities first, and don’t add back in your optional activities until you’ve made discernible progress.
  12. Think about any times he’s complimented your physical appearance, and choose to wear that outfit, or do your hair that way, at least 3 times in this coming week.
  13. Consider if he needs an upgrade or replacements in his wardrobe. Offer to go with him to get the dress shoes, hiking boots, sweaters, or slacks he needs. Compliment and encourage him when he wears his new duds.
  14. Brainstorm something you guys enjoy doing together, and then put the kids to bed early enough to make it happen. (Suggestions: play Spades for two, turn off devices and read books side-by-side with the fire blazing, watch Antiques Roadshow reruns on pbs.org, trade-off full body massages).
  15. Ask for his input about an upcoming decision you need to make. (Reminder: to some husbands, this will be a sign of respect, that you want his input. To other husbands, this will be annoying and feel like nagging and like you are incompetent. KNOW YOUR HUSBAND.) 

As I said, these aren’t comprehensive, but it’s a start.

Christian wife, study YOUR husband and find ways to:

  • show him respect.
  • build him up.
  • give him your affection.
  • show that his priorities matter to you.
  • help him with his work.
  • be a friendly, welcoming woman
  • “do good,” and not harm, to him all the days of his life.

 

IN THE COMMENTS, PLEASE SHARE: What are some *practical* ways YOU “do good and not harm” to your husband? 

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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6 Responses

  1. Melissa says:

    Thanks for another challenging post! Have you written anything about how to support your husband in his ministry (whether he’s a professional minister or is just involved in church work)? Specifically, I’d love to hear how you keep your attitude positive, unselfish, and encouraging while he spends a significant amount of time and attention ministering to other individuals/families. This is something I’ve been really struggling with lately! My husband has a full-time secular job, plus a “part-time” youth ministry job (I’m sure you know nothing in ministry is ever part-time), and while I believe he is doing great work, I struggle with feelings of resentment and weariness over the demands of his ministry. He is so passionate and wonderful at this job, so I’d really like to improve my attitude and encourage him more.

  2. Laura says:

    I really love this. I spent too much of my marriage expecting my husband to be like the others and thinking he expected me to be like the other wives. It’s been a long road to realize that he loves me as I am and doesn’t expect much. But I’ve also learned that there ARE some things he truly appreciates (for example, having a meal on the table when he gets home from work) and I try really hard to make sure those few things are accomplished in my day. I’m still a work in progress but submitting to one’s “own husband” is sooo important. Not the other husbands. MY OWN.

  3. Kristi says:

    This is such a great article!! Really love how it’s very practical while avoiding the “one size fits all” mentality.

    One way I try to do good to my husband (bivocational pastor) is by taking care of as many email logistics as I can for him. When we’re in the same email thread, I try to respond on behalf of both of us. It spans everything from figuring out logistics of family get togethers, sending out community group emails, premarital counseling homework, etc. I am a “J” and he is a “P”, so it’s a big help. :)

  4. Jena says:

    This is such a good reminder. disrespecting husbands and putting our children first is so prevalent in society. I feel I continually need to remind myself to put priority on our relationship. Another thing not mentioned is how fulfilling doing these things for our husbands is. Looking for his needs brings me a lot of pleasure and joy.

  1. February 17, 2016

    […] Want practical ideas for living this out? Read this follow-up article: […]

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