We as women understand the desire to feel safe with our men. We want to feel safe and secure physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually – and in every way – in our marriages. That is one of our greatest needs as wives. Husbands want to feel safe in every way with us, too.
Men have certain legitimate needs that need to be met before they can be open to emotional/spiritual intimacy as men – all of us do.
Our men are wired by God for adventure, for purpose, to fulfill His calling, to portray the strength, love, grace, and wisdom of Christ to the world. They seem so big and strong. And they are in many ways. But they have feelings and emotions, too, which we may sometimes discount if they don’t express them the way we do.
Our attitudes, words, and actions can hurt them. Even if they don’t show it in the same way we would. Even if they don’t complain about it or confront us. So let’s make sure that we seek to provide a safe haven from this harsh world for our men when they are with us. A place where they feel welcome, where they can relax, and where they know we have good motives toward them.
WAYS I CAN BE A SAFE PLACE FOR MY HUSBAND (with the power of the Holy Spirit, of course)
- Get rid of anything that is emotionally scary on my end of the relationship (more detail below).
- Smile my beautiful smile often.
- Use a pleasant, friendly tone of voice whenever possible.
- Watch my body language, let it speak warmth, love, and respect.
- Be kind, gentle, and polite.
- Share my needs and feelings with humility, authenticity, and vulnerability in direct ways.
- Don’t share the private things he shares with me with other people – be trustworthy.*
- Honor his God-given leadership in the family as appropriate.
- Use my influence authority wisely.
- Honor his authority as a dad.
- Give him space respectfully when he needs it.
- Seek to understand his unique masculine world, celebrating that men are different from women in some ways and that is part of God’s good design.
- Take my thoughts captive for Christ first before having a negative emotional conversation.
- Be aware of PMS, hormone issues, exhaustion, illness, etc… where the body is weak – and consider whether it is a good time to try to emotionally connect or to talk about negative things.
- Be content and peaceful in Christ. My genuine peace and joy are huge gifts to him.
- Be filled up to overflowing with Christ – that is the only way to have that beautiful gentle, peaceful spirit that does what is right and does not give way to hysterical fear.
- Reward him when he shares with me emotionally and make it enjoyable for him.
- Limit the amount of time I ask for emotional connection if that is tiring for him or he is stressed/exhausted, etc…
- Receive good things from him – compliments, gifts, time, attention, affection, attraction, sex, etc… – graciously and joyfully.
- Have a spirit of gratitude toward him.
- Be willing to extend grace, mercy, and forgiveness in a healthy, godly way.
- Be responsible with financial decisions.
- Be interested and open to his wisdom and ideas.
- Give him my full attention when he is talking whenever possible.
- Enjoy him and rest in his love.
Yes, most people would appreciate most of these things in relationships – wives certainly would like many of these things. 🙂
WHAT KINDS OF THINGS CAN BE EMOTIONALLY SCARY TO OUR MEN?
- name calling, insults
- blurting things out without filtering my words
- arguing, complaining
- having a short temper
- expressing extreme negative emotion in an out-of-control way
- resentment, bitterness
- having a critical spirit
- flirting with other men, close friendships with other men, not guarding my heart and marriage
- comparing him to other men in a negative way
- unwarranted jealousy
- unfounded accusations
- humiliating him in front of others
- pride, self-righteousness
- assuming evil motives without seeking to understand the truth from him first
- expecting them to read our minds or magically understand hints
- expecting him to think, feel, talk, and act just like I do
- labeling him as “wrong” if he is not just like me
- expecting him to embrace all of my personal convictions
- acting like I know what he thinks and feel better than he does
- blaming, accusing
- unrealistic or unbiblical expectations
- giving directives or commands (you better, you need to, you should, do this, don’t do that…)
- offering unwanted unsolicited advice and too much help
- fear, worry, anxiety
- being codependent/enmeshed with him, idolizing him
- pursuing him too much
- interrupting him
- gossiping to or about him
What are some ways you have discovered you can encourage your husband to feel safe with you?
FOR MORE HELP
IF THINGS ARE VERY TENSE IN YOUR MARRIAGE:
Please understand, if you have an extremely emotionally/spiritually wounded husband – he probably can’t do much to meet your deep spiritual and emotional needs right now. Even if you are also deeply wounded and need a lot of help, too. He may need to be in a spiritual/emotional ICU for a bit. Give him some time and space to heal as you focus on finding the healing Jesus has for you in your soul. Find all of your contentment, joy, fulfillment, security, and peace in Christ alone. Thankfully, you can find all of our deepest needs met in Christ no matter what your husband may or may not do. Seek to bless your husband. You may have to refrain from asking him for emotional support until he is stronger and the marriage is healing up more.
- This post does a good job explaining an approach that may be helpful for those whose husbands act like or say they are done with the marriage.
- This post may be a blessing for those who are in the trenches.
If you are struggling in your walk with the Lord or in your marriage – reach out to God. Reach out for godly counsel one-on-one if you need it. There is private counseling available at www.focusonthefamily.com. Also, KLUV, a Christian radio station, has pastors and Christian counselors you can speak to.
*(If there are serious issues going on, we can privately reach out to appropriate authorities and counselors who can help.)