What your husband wants you to know more than anything
Did you know that one of your spouses deepest desires is to be your hero? Did you also know that most men, when they walk out the door to go to work, in their deepest of fears, hope that no one will ever find out what a failure they are? Go ahead, ask your husband. What is their most significant desire, and what is their greatest fear? You will gain a lot of awareness with those two questions, even if it's not exactly that.
I have learned in my eight years of marriage, that I have a lot of influence on how my husband feels about himself. I will admit, my lack of understanding about men and how they think has left me at a disadvantage in a lot of ways. The longer I'm married, discovering the mysteries of who my husband is and the more intel I draw from our experiences together, the more I realize just how little I know and how little I apply. Applying is where it gets difficult. In all honesty, most of this guidance is unfortunately given on behalf of my failures. I hope you can learn from my mistakes.
It may prove to be difficult if in your marriage you have a hard time respecting your husband, or if you are feeling a lack of love from him. It's hard to push past those feelings of neglect and try to see your man as some kind of hero. If you are having a difficult time in your marriage, but want it to get better, then try and put on a brave face. Put on those rose-colored glasses when you look at him and give it a whirl. Try these tips for a week, at least, and see if things don't start to take a turn for the better. Whether you are struggling in your marriage, or it's as right as rain, I hope these guidances can beckon a new experience for you both.
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These tips will not be helpful if you are going through any kind of emotional, physical or mental abuse. Please seek immediate help if that is the case.
1. Tell him you're proud of him.
Part of feeling like your hero is knowing he is caring and providing for you, not only financially but also emotionally. Provision is one of man's deepest desires in succeeding for his family and knowing he is not failing. Even though he may never express this to you verbally, he is, by going to work every day, expressing it to you with his actions.
You see, men are not wired the same way we are if you haven't already noticed. They sometimes have a hard time separating the emotional from the physical. In our minds, we are needing more than a paycheck every day. Sure it's great to have money coming in, but for most of us women, this isn't where true intimacy lies in our relationship. We are needing attention, understanding, to be told we are beautiful and enough. For most men, they don't see it that way; to be emotionally present is also to be financially stable. So, what is our part in assuring him of his efforts, even though they don't meet the exact expectations we have?
As women, we have a tendency to let our spouses know when they are doing something wrong, but neglect to acknowledge when they do something right. If this is a habit of yours, over time they might just give up trying to please you, thinking that you can never be satisfied; in their minds, they have done everything possible. It's important for you to examine your actions in this. I know for some of you, you can't think of a single thing your husband does right. If that's the case, the first thing you should do is dig deep and figure out if those unmet expectations are a result of you having too high of standards, or if it is in fact that they are really never succeeding. Many times, we get so caught up in what isn't going right, instead of what IS going right. Not only will recognizing the good in your life cause your thoughts to become more positive and therefore bring joy to you personally, it will cause you to see our husband in a different light.
I know that a lot of people say that relationships should be about your happiness and expectations being met. But what if our expectations can never be met? What if we are causing our own unhappiness by the expectations and standards we set for others, and then when they aren't met we are devastated?
I believe that if we start acknowledging their efforts in the little things, like going to work, they will see that they are pleasing you in some way and in return want to meet more and more of your needs. By you meeting his needs of seeing him as your hero, he will in return meet yours. After all, its truly brings a man joy when he can be your hero, and even more when you show him that he is.
2. Don't expect the worst of him.
Along the lines of showing him you're proud of him, it is also on us to not always expect the worst from them. That means, expect the best, even if his previous actions have proven otherwise. For some of you, this is SO HARD if you've operated out of thinking the worst for a long period of time.
You see, whatever your specific struggle is in your marriage, (for everyone that's different) it is the hardest in those circumstances to be expecting the best. If you've been let down time and time again it's only human to keep expecting the worst. But there is hope. How?
First of all, thinking it doesn't mean it's true, and also doesn't mean we need to voice it. This is SO hard for me. I tend to think that my husband needs to know exactly what it is I'm thinking so that he can better understand me. But the truth is, he won't always understand me and it will most likely cause an argument if I tell him one more time that I'm disapointed that he didn't follow through.
Goes to say, if he screws up, don't let him know that you didn't believe he would succeed in the first place. Give him another chance. Maybe, just maybe if you show him grace when he fails, then he would want all the more to repay that grace with following through the next time.
3. In the midst of an argument don't try and win the fight for once.
One of the hardest things to do in the middle of an argument is to pause, take a deep breath, possibly walk away to go pray or think, and give it up. If you're anything like me, there is nothing I hate worse then not being heard or undertood. It frustrates me to no end, but over time I have learned that the more I fight back trying to get my point across the more he fights back. It goes nowhere, leads to a ruined day, possibly a resolve after we've completely damaged one another, and ends up doing more harm than good.
In essence, I can't change him and the more I try, the more I fail. Men HATE it when you try and change them. We also hate it when they try and change us! In moments where you want to smack some sense into him, don't. Say something like, "I'm going to take a break and go think, so maybe we can work this out after we've taken a step back." Check out some of my tips on better communication here.
Your emotions and feelings in the midsts of an argument can very easily end up ruling your mind and actions if you don't give them time to settle down. And believe it or not, emotions and feelings are sometimes FALSE! You will only realize this when you calm down and take a step back to access the situation. Believe me, I have been there and done that TOO MANY TIMES. As much as I hate to admit it, when I take steps to control my feelings, figure out the root cause of why I am feeling the way I am feeling, I can, in love and RESPECT, better express myself. Sometimes, that means letting it go and apologizing for the percentage of the issue that I need to take responsibilty for. In most cases, letting it go and apologizing makes him see my point of view. Funny how that works.
4. Show him respect.
This also goes hand in hand with telling and showing him you're proud of him. Every guy is different, so every guy feels respect in a different way. It could be helpful to ask how your spouse how he feels respected.
The modern-day woman doesn't really want to acknowledge respect, because in our minds it has taken on a bad light.
Unfortunately, some men have abused and misused that word to gain some sort of rule over women, but respect in and of itself isn't negative, it's honorable. It doesn't mean an unhealthy submission to do anything and everything he wants, but is rather figuring out how he likes to be loved. In fact, respect for a man translates to love.
Love & Respect is a great book, even if you aren't religious, and it points out in detail how in the same way you need love, he needs respect.
more book recommendations
5. Tell him what a great father he is.
Sometimes we think they don't need to hear things like this, but again, our words can make or break a man. He needs to hear he is a good father just like you need reassurance you are a good mother. This is an area in his life he might be a bit vilnerable, especially if his relationship with his father was difficult. Pay attention to where he is successful with fatherhood and make sure he knows it with a word of encouragment. I gaurantee, this will bring out the hero in your man.
6. Encourage an outlet or hobby.
I really struggled and still do with this one. My husband loves video games, I don't. You get the picture. But it's what he likes to do! It makes him happy and gives him an outlet to relieve stress while giving me time to be alone and unwind.
It's perfectly normal and healthy for couples to have alone time. If you're a stay at home mom, this may be hard to always accept. I know for me when I go through seasons where I am at a home all day dealing with kids or being alone, it's the highlight of my day to see my husband walk through the door. 'Finally, a person to talk to,' I think. Little did I know I was putting an immense amount of pressure on my husband to fill a void he wasn't always able to fill by expecting him to ALWAYS spend time with me.
It's important for you to find hobbies, or things you enjoy by yourself and not wait for your spouse to meet every need of entertainment in your life. If your spouse has a high stress job, or if he is constantly around people, he may be feeling the exact opposite as you are when he gets home from work or has time off. He may need moments now and then to be alone and just do something for himself. But a forewarning; communication is absolutely key here. Coming to an understanding about time/boundaries of when those moments are, or how often they occur is VERY important. What helped us was making a schedule for the nights we have together and the nights we are alone. Knowing ahead of time what to expect for how your evenings play out will avoid a lot of issues while making sure you each get time for yourself.
7. Tell him you're attracted to him.
My husband is so handsome that I don't think he needs to always hear it from me. Surely he knows full well he is attractive. Nope! He still needs to know his wife thinks he's a hunk! Men are way more insecure than they will ever let you know. Tell him he looks nice before he goes to work. Compliment specific features that you love about him.
8. Tell him you need him.
Men need to be needed!
I don't buy into the notion that men are simple. They might say they are uncomplicated, logical, sensible or unemotional, but deep down lies many needs and emotions that in my opinion, are sometimes explained in illogical ways. The difference between them and us is that we tend to overemphasize our needs, while men don't open up much at all. That makes it hard for us to really know what it is they need. They tend to have this underlying code, and if we don't decipher what they are saying, best of luck.
Them thinking they are simple could be because they don't voice the deepest and most intimate details of their mind. We, on the other hand, make sure we don't miss any nook or cranny of our thoughts left unsaid. So how do I know that men need to be needed? Sometimes I have caught myself in the middle of an argument overemphasizing all the things I need and get nowhere! Then I realized I just needed him, so I voiced that. I said, "I just need you." His persona turned from being on the defense to that of understanding. All blame was taken off him, so he was then able to understand what exactly it was I needed from him. Just him.
Being needed is never a negative thing in anyone's eyes. Remeber, one of mans sole purposes is to provide, and being needed just goes hand in hand with that. So don't let it go unsaid!
I think we as women have the tendency to think our spouses don't need things we need, like being told we are pretty, or loved, or needed. In my experience, it couldn't be more false. Thankfully my husband has opened up and let me in a little, without seeming "overly emotional," of course, so that I could get a glimpse of some things I can do to not only make him feel like my hero but feel like he is doing something right. Don't get me wrong, I fail almost every day in it, but having knowledge of it helps me to just keep working on my part in the relationship and stop thinking he is always the problem. It is NOT our responsibility to make one another happy. It is our responsibility to love, respect, and work on our own problems. Treat him as if he is your hero, and I see what happens. He might just become your hero.