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Marriage • 4 minutes to read
Over the past 10 years, I’ve worked with many couples whose marriages are in trouble. They are in relational distress. The couple arrives in my office and will express that a lack of communication is the problem in their marriage. We soon discover that a lack of communication is symptomatic of a larger issue.
The larger issue? In many cases, the wife does not feel pursued in the marriage. Her husband may have pursued her vigorously before they were married, but since? Not so much. She feels alone. She feels empty. She feels as though she has lost something valuable.
So what does it mean for a wife to feel pursued? For many wives, when her husband pursues her, she feels known by him. In her heart she knows he is contending for her care and well being. She knows that at the end of the day, he has her back in all things. And finally, she knows that he will care well for her heart.
Since the primary readership here is men, I’ll preface what follows in words that most guys understand. First, DO NOT consider all the things your wife may be doing poorly. She is on her journey. You are on your journey. In this moment, you are being called to higher ground. This work is about you and how you can have a positive influence in your home and marriage. It’s about leading well. Focus on what you can do. If done well, good will follow. What follows below is a brief explanation of ways to pursue your wife and several action steps to implement. Focus on both and apply the next steps. Set? Let’s go!
Enter & Know Her Inner World
This can be most challenging. It will require patience, focus, and a desire to enter uncharted territory. Here are action steps to consider:
- During daily conversation, turn toward her and make eye contact
- Be present with her physically AND emotionally
- Ask her questions that lead to a deeper understanding of her—“Help me understand…”
- Do things she wants to do (a class, entertainment, game, shop, food, travel, etc.)
- Lend a hand (beyond car maintenance and yard work!)
Care For Her Heart
A wife’s heart can be very fragile and sometimes uncertain. Even in the most healthy relationships, it is important for a wife to know that she is loved and adored. In the busyness of life, she (and her husband) can lose sight of this. Reassurance from you that her heart is being pursued is very important for her to feel secure.
- In words and actions let her know you would choose her and marry her again
- In words and actions communicate to her, her importance in your life
- Be playful, flirty, and light hearted at the appropriate times. Fun is fun!
Have Her Back In All Things
It is essential for a wife to experience security in the marriage. She needs to feel that you are on the same page with her for most things: roles, finances, recreation, child rearing, transportation, vision for the future, etc.
- Make decisions through the lens of how your choices will impact her and the family
- Consider her heart in matters that are important to her—“Will my choices bring her joy or pain?
- Support and trust her decisions
Contend For Her
There’s a great book titled The Hidden Value Of A Man, by Smalley and Trent, that illustrates two swords that most men learn to wield. One sword will aid in competition and conquest. It’s designed for use in recreation and professional life. Many guys learn to handle this sword very well. Getting ahead of the competition. Winning. Conquering. Climbing the ladder. Status. For some, it’s about building ego. This sword is intimidating and can crush the competition. Unfortunately for some, this sword is brought into the home, where it’s design and purpose is out of place. Awkward and cumbersome, it is too powerful for use in the home. Some in the home who are touched by this sword are deeply injured: wife, family, and friends.
Contending for your wife is learning to put down the sword of competition and use the second sword; a sword that is designed to protect your wife and family. To care for them. To honor those in the home. The inscription, beautifully etched on the blade? Love. Joy. Peace. Forbearance. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control. In close relationship, learn to wield this sword for your wife, and use it against the real enemy!
Take Time To Be With Her
Every meaningful relationship needs time and attention. Time and attention given to your wife can feel like deposits in her emotional bank. Where are the two of you building relational capital? How are you at spending time with her? Here are a few suggestions:
- Plan time together with her. From start to finish, be the planner. Drive this time together.
- Claim the small joyful moments. Not all joy is delivered in big buckets. Claim the small moments. When they happen, claim and share them with her.
- Be spontaneous in your time together. Help her feel that she is special!
How have you been doing in pursuit of your wife’s heart? If there are areas of improvement needed, please consider some of these suggestions. If you consistently implement these five simple strategies in your marriage, anticipate that you and your wife will experience significant change in the relationship.
Lead well. Love well.