When I first meet a couple, I can usually tell how secure the wife (currently) feels in the relationship based on the posture she takes towards her husband. Most women tend to have three main categories for how they measure the current security of the relationship.
Which of these three currently describes the posture of your marriage?
The first level is marked by AFFECTION where the wife is quick to lean into her husband. There's a desire to be near him which is a physical display of an emotional connection. She feels safe with him and it shows.
The second level is shown by APATHY towards her husband. She doesn't feel threatened by him, but she doesn't feel adored or protected by him either. Her posture isn't hostile but it isn't warm towards him either. She feels that, in many ways, she's alone in the relationship.
The third level is marked by ANXIETY. If she feel nervous, uncomfortable or possibly even afraid around him, I know there are some serious issues that need immediate attention.
Whichever of these three best describes the current state of your marriage, you can and should be working to improve. Men, let's work hard to make our wives feel secure in our marriage and adored by us. She deserves your best; not your leftovers. Do these things and you'll be helping your wife and strengthening your marriage (In no particular order).
1. Speak tenderly TO her and respectively ABOUT her to others (and what you post about her online).
The tone of your words will shape the tone of your marriage. Be respectful and never harsh with her. Don't allow anyone else to speak negatively about her either. Let your words to her and your words about her consistently display your love and respect for your wife and your commitment to your marriage. When you do this right, she will feel secure in the marriage. When you don't do this, you'll hurt her and weaken your marriage.
2. Don't keep secrets from her. Communicate about everything
Secrecy is the enemy of intimacy. The level of your honesty will determine the level of your marital health. Talk to her about everything. Always tell her the truth. When you've broken trust, fight to rebuild it. When she feels like she can trust you in all parts of your life, she'll feel secure. Without trust, the marriage will never be healthy.
3. Work hard to provide for the family but always value your time at home more than your career.
As men, we should want to work hard and be disciplined to provide for our families, but we can't let our ambitions ever become more important than our time at home. Don't be so driven that you drive right by the people who matter most. Your wife will feel most secure when you work hard but you also show her that you value your marriage more than your money or your career.
4. Offer her ENCOURAGEMENT and SUPPORT much more often than you offer ADVICE
Most men are "fixers" so we don't want to talk about a problem without immediately talking about possible solutions. Most women are wired up differently. The gain strength and perspective simply by communicating about their struggles and feelings and knowing they're loved and supported. Men, when your wife share struggles with you, always give her encouragement and support FIRST. Then, ask her what SHE thinks would be some possible solutions and then ask if she would like for you to share some possible solutions.
5. Keep your eyes and your adoration fixed on HER. Don't check out other women and never make her feel like she has to compete with airbrushed supermodels on magazines or TV.
Men are visual, but our visual nature is never an excuse to disrespect our wives (or other women) by gawking at every woman wearing tight yoga pants or modeling lingerie on TV. Keep your eyes on your wife. Tell her she's beautiful. Shower her with your affections. Stay away from porn or anything else that will pull your thoughts and your eyes away from your wife. She's going to feel most secure when she feels adored by you.
6. Be affectionate with her (and not just when you want sex)
Most men equate affection and sex. One leads to the other. There has to be more to it than that. Your wife will feel more secure and more adored by you when you show affection often and don't have an assumption that it's going to immediately lead to the bedroom. Rub her feet. Massage her back. Hold her hand. Put your arm around her. Snuggle. It will improve your marriage and make her feel more secure. It will probably help your sex life too!
7. Put her above yourself. Be willing do lay down your own life to protect hers
As husbands, the Bible gives us a HIGH standard for marriage. We're called to love our wives the way Christ loves His church being willing to lay down your life for her. You'll probably never have to jump in front of a bullet to save your wife, but she should never doubt your willingness to do it. Put her first and she will be happier (and ironically, you will be happier too).
This article was originally published on Patheos. It has been republished here with permission.