I learned a LOT about being a wonderful recipient of my husband’s attention, compliments, efforts and gifts from Laura Doyle’s “The Surrendered Wife” and from her book, “Things Will Get as Good as You Can Stand – When You Learn that it is Better to Receive than to Give!”
Receiving well is a VERY important part of having a feminine spirit. Like Bob Grant says in “What Husbands Can’t Resist” – “To receive is feminine, to give is masculine.” I had never thought about it like that. Interesting that most women tend naturally to give and give and give. And a lot of men tend not to naturally give a lot of their time, effort, money, etc. There are certainly exceptions! But Bob Grant suggests, and I wholeheartedly agree, that men are at their best when they are giving and women are at their best when they are receiving. The one flesh relationship points to this dynamic, but I believe it is true in all the other areas of life, as well – spiritually/emotionally/financially and even with leadership, protection, etc.
Many of us have learned that we should be “humble” by turning down compliments and refusing things that people want to do for us. But we lose out on intimacy when we do this! It requires vulnerability and confidence and a willing spirit, but this is something we can ALL learn!
Some ways that husbands try to give to us that we may not notice or count (because these things don’t come wrapped in a pretty box with a bow)
- Washing our car for us
- Driving the old car so we can have the nicer one
- Handling the manually intensive chores around the house and yard
- Bringing us a glass of something to drink in bed
- Choosing a movie they know we would enjoy
- Backing us up when we discipline the children
- Taking us out for a nice dinner
- Helping us with computer or technical problems
- Giving us a massage when we are stressed
- Offering to watch the kids so we can do something relaxing
- Offering to pick up milk or something we need from the store
- Coming to our rescue when the car battery dies
- Suggesting we go lie down and let them handle getting supper ready and taking care of the children when we aren’t feeling well
- Filling up the gas tank for us
- Listening to us talk about our emotions and feelings
- Opening the door for us
- Finding a chair for us to sit down when it is standing room only somewhere
- Helping us with the heavy groceries
- Taking out the trash
- Killing a nasty insect
- Protecting us from some creepy guy at the store
- Offering us a choice of what music to listen to
- Giving us a compliment about our appearance
All of these things are gifts that our men give us! And a gift of time, effort or monetary expense deserves appropriate gratitude! One of the biggest desires men have in marriage is to have a happy wife. Men often measure their success as husbands by the level of happiness of their wives! Men LOVE to do things for us to surprise us, treat us, delight us and make us light up with that intoxicating look of adoration, wonder and gratitude on our faces. It’s one of their FAVORITE experiences in life! They feel powerful, successful, and like a confident superhero when the effort they put forth is rewarded like this!
SO, it is our job as women to be sure to NOTICE the things our men do for us and to THANK them verbally and with one of our gorgeous smiles. ANY TIME our husbands do something for us, the very least we can do is lavish them with a beautiful smile, looking into their eyes and saying sincerely, “Thank you SO much!” This is reward enough for most men – it gives them a literal high when they see our appreciation, gratitude and admiration.
If your man says:
- “You look so beautiful in that dress!”
- “Let me get that chair for you!”
- “Can I pick up some milk for you on my way home?”
- “Let me get that for you!”
- “Here’s some water for your nightstand.”
You smile at him graciously, look him in the eyes and say sweetly and sincerely, “Thank you, Honey!”
You do not say:
- “I look fat! I hate this dress.”
- “No, I’m fine. I can stand up.”
- “I have to get a lot more than milk! That doesn’t help me at all!”
- “I can carry it myself.”
- “I don’t like to drink water at night.”
These comments negate your husband’s wonderful generosity and thoughtful spirit and deflate him. Accepting his gifts graciously is actually a HUGE gift that only you can give him! And it is one he will deeply appreciate.
As your husband sees that you actually appreciate his time, effort and expense on your behalf, you will find many more gifts coming your way. Men LOVE LOVE LOVE to see their wives happy!
If your man brings you:
- A new purse that isn’t quite your usual style
- A lavish bouquet of roses
- A package of expired crackers from the flea market
- Tickets to a concert that isn’t your favorite
- Sporting event tickets for something he is interested in
- Clothes that aren’t the right size
- A new set of shelves that don’t quite match your décor
You look him in the eye, you give him your radiant smile that lights up your eyes, and you say kindly, graciously, sincerely:
- “Thank you! That is SO thoughtful of you! You’re the best!”
- “Wow! What a great husband you are! THANK YOU!”
- “That is SO kind of you! You are such a sweetheart!”
- “I’m SO happy! This made my day!”
- “Thank you, it’s BEAUTIFUL!”
It doesn’t matter if what he brings you is something you would pick out yourself. He made the effort to please you. He deserves to see you light up and be gracious even if it isn’t exactly what you would have preferred.
Being negative and criticizing things he gives you and his attempts to please you will leave him feeling defeated, rejected and probably like it’s not worth the effort to give you anything in the future. Ie:
- “I don’t like that color!” (Give it a try! You may end up liking it more than you expected. You don’t have to use the purse every day, but using it sometimes when you go out with your husband will increase the intimacy between you.)
- “But we don’t have the money for that!” (Telling him how to spend money feels really disrespectful to him – that’s one reason why it is often best for HIM to be in charge of the finances! And if he is in charge, then if he wants to spend extra on you, that’s his perogative!)
- “Why did you get me THAT!?!?!?” (Very insulting to his generosity and his taste. You don’t have to eat the crackers, but you can appreciate his efforts!)
- “Oh, I HATE that group!” (Consider things VERY carefully before rejecting your husband’s gift! Is it really that big of a problem, or is this something you could accept and enjoy to be with him and appreciate his generosity?)
- “You know I don’t like football.” “I HATE football!” (He wants to bond with you by doing something he loves side by side with you. Give him a chance and just enjoy being with him!)
- “That isn’t my size!” (You can probably wait a day or two and then maybe exchange it for the same thing in your size. But when he gives you something, you can be joyful and grateful and thank him for the gift without mentioning something negative right then.)
- “That doesn’t match our furniture at all!”
Fan the flames of your husband’s generosity with your gracious receiving. Some things he brings you will be incredibly wonderful and you will absolutely love them! Some things won’t be as on the money, but it is HIS effort, thoughtfulness and generosity that count and deserve to be encouraged!
Help us to be great receivers who enjoy what our husbands bring us and who build up our men and teach them that it is possible to please us and they will be rewarded when they do things for us.
In Jesus’ Name,