This has been a crazy work season for my husband, Roger — big work projects with big deadlines. Add in not enough help and not enough sleep, and let's just say my man has been under a lot of stress.
I recognize that one of the things contributing to the overall happiness level in our home is the happiness of my husband. Although there may be a lot of other factors over which I have no control, this is one area where I admit I definitely have some influence.
Romans 12:9-12 (NIV) says, "Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."
It's that "honor one another above yourselves" mandate that sticks in our head and messes with the work of our heart. It's so easy to skip out on doing the "extras" because it doesn't seem fair. But if we wait for the love to begin on the other side of our marriage relationship, when everyone is stressed, we may be waiting awhile.
So what's my goal during this really busy time? To create a love revolution within the walls of our house. I want my husband to know that even when the world is demanding and hard, he can always find a place to receive love and appreciation within the four walls of our home.
Here are a few ways to show your husband love, especially when he's stressed:
Make his favorite meal once a month. My husband is a simple man when it comes to cooking. His favorite meal is a roasted chicken that I make about once a week. But maybe your man's tastes are a little more high-maintenance (or, in nicer terms, "specific"). Make one night a month all about your man. Buy that steak.
Buy him a treat (that he doesn't need to share). My husband has a particular fondness for salsa. Add the words "garlic-lover's" to it and he grows a little weak in the knees. So once a week on my shopping run, I make sure to add a jar of the good stuff along with a bag of tortilla chips. Roger rarely asks for these items, but I always know he's grateful when it's time to sit down, watch a little TV and enjoy his favorite snack. Make sure that one thing on your grocery list is exclusively for your man.
Remember his nostalgia foods. Roger grew up on Amish egg noodles. This is not a delicacy I can just run down to the corner market to buy here in Silicon Valley, so I use the internet to keep our Amish pantry supplied. It's just a little thing, but it makes my husband oh-so happy. Is there a food that your husband's mom used to make or a candy from his childhood that he misses? Ask for the recipe or use Google to make his day.
Go to a guy movie. If there is a movie that your husband would really like to see but knows it isn't something you'd enjoy, take the plunge and buy the tickets. You may surprise yourself with a new favorite genre, and it will mean so much to your man that you were his date.
Relive the old days. Roger and I have been married for almost 12 years, and we're still discovering stories about each other. Ask your husband what he was like in junior high. Ask about his teachers and his neighborhood. You just might get bonus points if you offer to go to his old stompin' grounds for a tour.
Play the game. If your husband is a game player like my husband is, sitting down to a round of cards or a game of "The Settlers of Catan" will be the highlight of his month. Put it on the calendar so he has something to look forward to!
Claim a verse for your husband. One of the most powerful ways I've learned to support my husband has been by claiming a verse to journal through each year for him. I let Roger know about the verse and what I'm specifically praying about. It has been powerful to see the ways God has worked in his life, and it's been encouraging to see my husband, every day, becoming more of the man God created him to be.
Put "prayer points" in your home. In my laundry area, my kitchen and my office, I have "prayer points" — reminders to pray for Roger every day. In the kitchen, there's a little sign that says, "And they lived happily ever after." This is the "prayer point" reminding me to pray for him as a husband. In my office, I have some art that reminds me to pray for him as a dad. And finally, in my laundry area, I have something to remind me to pray for him as a man.
Ask him how to pray. If your husband is open to it, ask him specifically how you can pray for him.Kathi Lipp is the author of 101 Simple Ways to Show Your Husband You Love Him.