Focus on the Family

Focus on the Family with Jim Daly

Simple Ways to Help Your Husband Feel Loved

Simple Ways to Help Your Husband Feel Loved

Author Kathi Lipp offers suggestions for simple, practical ways for how a wife can build up her husband through words of affirmation, acts of service and love.



Mrs. Kathi Lipp: I think that having hope in a marriage is a beautiful thing. And I think that if we believe the Bible, then we believe that hope is possible in any of our relationships.

End of Teaser

John Fuller: That’s Kathi Lipp and she joins us today on “Focus on the Family.” I’m John Fuller and your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly

Jim Daly: Okay, John, so what are some of those simple ways that Dena says, “I love you?”

John: Oh, well, she says I love you in many, many ways. I think one is, she speaks it. She … she says, you know, “Hey, Hon, I love you.” Then she often smiles at my jokes. I think that’s a good way for her to say I love you, even though they’re corny. My kids laugh about this. They’re like—

Jim: Really?

John: –“Dad you could say, ‘It’s raining outside’ and mom would laugh.” So, I know she loves—

Jim: That’s sweet.

John: –me when she laughs at my jokes.

Jim: She doesn’t score them, huh–

John: She doesn’t. (Laughter) Never.

Jim: –with her face?

John: That would be really bad if she said, you know, “That’s a 9, John.”

Jim: That’s a 1; that’s a 10.

John: And then I think she serves me um … in lots of different ways, just offering to take things off my plate, offering to just even let me have the … the last chocolate chip cookie. She … she (Laughter) gives in so … so many little ways like that.

Jim: Those are very similar things that Jean will do. In fact, she’ll uh … the other thing is coffee in the morning, so uh …

John: She makes it for you?

Jim: Usually, but if I’m—

John: Brings it to you.

Jim: –up first, I’ll [do it]. She’ll always do that. She pr …

John: Seriously?

Jim: ‘Cause I’m usually reading the broadcast prep and things like that, gettin’ ready for the day and she’ll bring me a cup that’s nice and hot. Yeah, it’s a nice way to say I love you. But those are the things that uh … do mean a lot in a marriage. They’re little things, but they’re important things. And uh … here at Focus on the Family, we want to provide you, not just when you are desperate and your marriage is in difficulty and if that’s your situation, call us, because we’re here for you. But also just the tune-ups, how to do it better, how to just acknowledge each other even in the stress of life, which let’s face it, there’s always gonna be stress in our lives, whether it’s the children or the job or the bank account. Something is gonna be stressing you out and being together in that is far better than being separate and kind of at odds with each other.

John: Well, I like the word “tune-up” and we have a master mechanic is you will with us (Laughter) on doing this. Kathi Lipp has been with us so many times and she talks about a variety of things—home organization and decluttering and improving your marriage and relationship. And she’s a popular conference speaker, an author and she’s married to Roger and we always seem to have a lot of fun when she’s here. (Laughter)


Jim: Yeah (Laughing). Kathi, welcome back to Focus.

Kathi: It’s so great being with you guys, Jim and John. This is one of my favorite places to be.

Jim: Well, we love it. You always brighten up the place, you know.

Kathi: Ah—

Jim: You come in—

Kathi: –thank you.

Jim: –with your smile and today you brought bagels. That’s …

Kathi: I … well yeah. (Laughter) you know, it didn’t serve my husband, but it served somebody’s husband (Laughter), so that’s a good thing.

Jim: Yeah, that is so much fun. So, you’re speaking around the country—

Kathi: Yes.

Jim: –uh … to women, um … probably every week.

Kathi: Yep.

Jim: Um … what are they saying to you when it comes to pleasing a husband? Now what I must say, there … there are wives listening saying, “Oh, right, Jim and John, all the things that we can do.”

John: You tell us how to love our husbands.

Jim: It’s like code for Jean and Dena. (Laughter) But I don’t know if you’re ever gonna write the book or maybe Roger, your husband will write that book, The 101 Ways That We Can Say We Love You to wives, but that should be the next one.

Kathi: Well, and you know, we … I’ve written several marriage books. The very first one was The Husband Project. And it was 21 Days (Laughter) of Lovin’ Your Man–On Purpose and With a Plan. And people are like, well, where’s The Wife Project? So, I’m like, you know, that … that would be a very poor-selling book. Let’s just put it out there.

But we did Happy Habits for Every Couple and the reason we did that was because we know that there are guys who want to invest in their marriage. But if we’re gonna be gut honest, if there is going to be a change happening in a marriage, oftentimes it’s starting with the wife.

Jim: Now why is that? Why does change usually start there? I would agree—

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: –but it’s almost like they’re more intuitive about it. They know what needs to be done and they want change–

Kathi: I … I think—

Jim: –where guys settle in, huh?

Kathi: –I think that’s exactly right and let’s just say, I … I may have a few more emotions rattling around in my head than Roger does.

Jim: Let’s just say that.

John: Maybe. (Laughter)

Kathi: Perhaps, just perhaps. He’s also an engineer, so you know (Laughter)—

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Kathi: –it’s a diff … it’s a different standard there. But I … I speak to a lot of women, but I know that women speak to each other and you know, most of the time, it’s … it’s not in a gossipy way. It’s just, “Hey, we want to have everything that God has available for our marriages.” And I don’t know that guys are really afforded the opportunity to have those discussions.

Jim: Or go there.

John: Oh, Jim and I talk—

Kathi: Or go there.

John: –that way all the time. (Laughter)

Kathi: Well, okay. You are two very special guys—

Jim: Yeah.

Kathi: –then. (Laughter)

Jim: You shouldn’t lie. That’s not a good Christian trait (Laughter), John.

John: I was smiling.

Kathi: We have Bible studies and we have moms groups and this is a place where we are able to pull back and focus a little bit and also on Facebook, social media, this is often a topic of discussion. And so, I can only speak to women about what I know about improving our marriage. I can … I can speak a little bit to guys, but I do know that as a wife, I have more power to speak into my marriage than I originally thought. I kinda …

Jim: Huh.

Kathi: Sometimes I think we think we’re stuck with the marriage we’re in and I don’t believe that that’s true. I think we have a great ability to change the dynamics of our marriage.

Jim: Well, that fork in the road that you’re describing, how does a wife who has felt like there’s no hope. I’ll just hunker down and—

Kathi: Right.

Jim: –get through this, how does she begin to turn her own internal thinking around so she can begin to do the things that would change their marriage?

Kathi: Abs … and I understand. I talk to women all the time who have said, “I’ve tried this and this and I’m just done.” I … you know …

Jim: He’s not responsive.

Kathi: Right.

Jim: He doesn’t care.

Kathi: Yeah and so, someday the sweet release of death will come and we’ll be able to go on. And I … you know, and I think that having hope in a marriage is a beautiful thing. And I think that if we believe the Bible, then we believe that hope is possible in any of our relationships. And so, I think that when we have given up on our marriage, in some ways we’ve said, “I’m giving up on believing what God says about my marriage.

Jim: Hm.

Kathi: And so, I also think this, that sometimes we try to love in the way that we want to feel loved and that is usually diametrically opposed to how our spouse wants to be loved. I am … if … if we’re talking uh … this … the five love languages, I always say, I have the shallow love languages. You know, buy me pretty things and do things for me. (Laughter) And I love Roger, so I would buy him things. I would do things for him. That’s not how he feels love.

Jim: It didn’t communicate.

Kathi: It didn’t communicate, so for him, it’s words of affirmation and quality time together and surprise, surprise, physical touch. And so, when I understood that, we … it changed the way Iloved Roger. And it changed the way he received healing love from me.

Jim: Well, that’s a good encouragement for all of us, husbands and wives, to know our mates, right?

Kathi: Right.

Jim: Now in your book, 101 Simple Ways to Show Your Husband You Love Him, you identified these natural tendencies, these bents, these gifts that we have, very similar to something like the DISC test—

Kathi: Right.

Jim: –or what John Trent and Gary Smalley did with otters and beavers—

Kathi: Yes.

Jim: –and lions.

Kathi: Yes.

Jim: I mean, it’s similar in that context. Describe these. Let’s go through all four and then we’ll dig into some of them.

Kathi: Yeah and I’m very fortunate because uh … one of my favorite co-authors, Sherry Gregory and also my husband, are kind of experts on these personalities and really helped me develop some of this material.

Jim: Let me say this.

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: Isn’t it interesting that we … God has put us in boxes.

Kathi: Yes.

Jim: I mean, it’s interesting to me that there’s really four types of ge … generally four types of personality expression.

Kathi: Right.

Jim: You would think in, you know, 7, 8 billion people, we’d have a lot more than four types (Chuckling). But I think God does that with intentionality.

Kathi: I think so, too because I really believe that when we can understand these key personalities, it opens up so much freedom in a relationship. It says, okay, I don’t have to go through a … 100 different ideations of what this person may be like. It … it really comes down to four.

And we’re kind of fortunately in our family. We have four kids. We have one [of] each of these personalities.

Jim: Oh, that’s nice.

Kathi: So, we have this little lab rat experiment going on (Laughter) all the time. And you know, when we apply this to our kids, it works every single time. And as soon as I walk into a room and I’m spending time with somebody, I can kind of identify which box they’re probably gonna fit in. Now I want to be very clear. This doesn’t mean that we are controlled or that we’re stifled. There’s so much freedom in expression in each of these different personalities.

Jim: And everybody’s unique.

Kathi: Everybody’s—

Jim: Don’t hear us—

Kathi: –unique.

Jim: –wrong. It’d be …

Kathi: But this gives us keys and insights we—

Jim: Yeah.

Kathi: –wouldn’t have otherwise.

Jim: Exactly. Let me … let me mention and then we’ll just dig—

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: –through ’em. One is expressive, next, analytical—

Kathi: Uh-hm.

Jim: –driving and amiable.

Kathi: Right.

Jim: Of course, as Christians, we all want to be “amiable.”

Kathi: Well–

Jim: But—

Kathi: –yeah.

Jim: –let’s start with expressive.

Kathi: Okay, an expressive is … this is somebody who, their … their key goal in life is just … is to have a good time. You know, they could be in some pretty (Laughter) dark circumstances and they’re still going to find a way—

Jim: Yeah.

Kathi: –to make it fun. And they … they are talkative. They’re storytellers. You might be surprised. I’m an expressive.

Jim: Yeah.

Kathi: Um … I am … we call it NTR, No Test Required. Uh … I am an expressive and so, I know that uh … but I also have a lot of weaknesses. Uh … I can over-talk and like when I said I’m married to an engineer, that can be a challenge.

Jim: How does dinner go when the two of you sit down?

Kathi: Uh … sometimes it’s a one-sided conversations. (Laughter) And I–

Jim: And he nods.

Kathi: –and I have to be very careful—

Jim: Yeah.

Kathi: –to pull out good conversation in him. Uh … we can be … we’re storytellers, but we can also tend to exaggerate or elaborate, which is not something that is … it’s not a great quality. And so, we have to know that. We can be a little gullible. There … there are lot of … there’re give and takes in any of these things, but we … an expressive and if you have an expressive husband, he loves affection. He loves attention. He wants approval from you. He wants to know that out of the box, that you love him and he doesn’t have to change in order to be loved.

Jim: In fact, you use some phraseology that really connects with the heart of the expressive. Um … one of them was, “I’m so happy I married you—

Kathi: Oh.

Jim: –because …” and then fill in the blank. “because you work so hard,” whatever it might be. That’s what you mean by words of affirmation.

Kathi: Yeah, so if you’re married to an expressive, the best thing you can say to them, “Tell me what happened to you today?” I mean, that’s … that’s the easy [one]. “Tell me a story about …” or “I’m so happy I married you because you keep life so … it … you … you make life so much fun.” “Um … you’re the most wonderful man in the world because everybody feels comfortable around you.” When you can say things like that, it really …

Jim: This is all speakin’ to me, John. I don’t know about you. (Laughter)

John: That’s because you’re an expressive.

Jim: I think I’m an–

John: Yeah.

Kathi: Yes.

Jim: –expressive.

Kathi: Right and so, we’re all combinations of these things, but when those kind of … if I told Roger, “Oh, I just love you because you’re the life of the party,” he’d be like, “What party are your … you at?” You know?

Jim: I haven’t been to a party in 3.6 years.

Kathi: Exactly! (Laughter) Exactly, but I know the gifts he brings and so, I need to highlight those.

Jim: In addition in your book, Kathi, you talk about gifts you can give—

Kathi: Oh, yes.

Jim: –the expressive. I … I don’t know that I resonated with all these as an expressive, but–

Kathi: Now, that’s a …

Jim: –give it a go.

Kathi: That’s okay. So, if there’s a movie that your expressive really likes, especially a comedy or maybe a favorite comedian, something like that, but here’s what … what is a good gift, something that will connect with the other person. So, it’s movie tickets, maybe going on an adventure together; something along those lines would really work for an expressive.

Jim: I think that’s fair. Jean just despises movies.

Kathi: Okay.

Jim: She just doesn’t like movies, but I’m always saying, “Hey, boys, let’s go see a movie.”

Kathi: Right.

Jim: And uh … so, that does connect with me, too.

Kathi: Okay, good. I got you then.

Jim: You did; got me; you got me nailed down there. Now that analytical personality, the next one, so you have expressive.

Kathi: Right, an analy …

Jim: Let’s talk about the analytical. It’s pretty self-evident—

Kathi: Yeah—

Jim: –but what does it look like.

Kathi: –so I live in Silicon Valley, so we are teeming with analytics. Lots of them are accountants or engineers and you don’t necessarily have to have that kind of job to be an analytic, but it’s that kind of brain.

And so, uh … they love to achieve and maintain perfection. You know, they like … these are the people who can get that checkbook down to the zero.

Jim: Kathi, let me … let me … my observation of the analytic would be, especially the husband, you probably assume you don’t have to say “I love you” that much, ’cause he got married and that said I love you enough.

Kathi: And yeah, -if it changes, -I’ll let you know.

Jim: ‘Cause they need the affirmation and that love.

Kathi: They need the affirmation. They need to know that you appreciate the details.

Jim: But how do you express it to someone who’s analytical?

Kathi: So, what I’ll say to Roger is something along the lines of, “Thank you so much. I knew that when we decided you were gonna do that task, I knew it would be done well. And so, I didn’t have to worry about it anymore.” And so, that speaks to Roger and his idea of making sure that things are done well. And I appreciate that.

You know, an analytic is very deep and thoughtful. So, saying, “I appreciate how much you thought about that before we talked about it,” because as somebody who is not deep and not necessarily thoughtful, I verbally process and that about kills an analytic–

Jim: Right. (Laughing)

Kathi: –because they want to have time to really think and consider and do the right thing.

Jim: So, you wouldn’t press Roger for an answer on something immediately.

Kathi: Well, I’m learning. And let’s just say—

Jim: I mean, ideally that—

Kathi: –we’re all learning.

Jim: Am I—

Kathi: Yes.

Jim: –seeing that correctly?

Kathi: Yeah, yes so, if there’s a big decision to be made, I have learned now that I say, “Here are the facts as I know them. I want to know the facts as you know them. But I’m not expecting an answer on this right now.” Now if we’re in a medical emergency or something—

Jim: Right, right.

Kathi: –we can do that. But if it’s something about the house or something about the kids or a decision that we need to make together, a good 48 hours makes him feel less pressured–

Jim: Right and he thought it through.

Kathi: –and he thought it through.

Jim: What are some of those words, those phrases that we talked about the expressive with the analytic that work to express love to him?

Kathi: “I can always count on you.” That is about—

Jim: That’s a big one.

Kathi: –that’s a big one.

Jim: And you’re saying, you know, I think most guys would say, “I’d like that, too, but I don’t see myself as analytical.” You’re all gonna love affection and affirmation, but this really connects.

Kathi: This really connects and to say, “I loved how much you thought about this.” And “I can see how much time and effort you put into this decision,” really speaks to an analytic.

John: Well, we’re talking with Kathi Lipp today about ways that you can understand and express love to your husband better and her book is 101 Simple Ways to Show Your Husband You Love Him. You can find out more about that and a CD or a download of this conversation with Kathi at

Jim: Kathi, we’ve talked expressive, analytic; the next one’s driving, the driving personality. And of course, there’s combos. We’re gonna get to that at the end—

Kathi: Right.

Jim: –but describe the driving personality in a husband.

Kathi: One of the …

Jim: Everybody’s goin’, “Oh, I know that one. He’s—

Kathi: Yeah, I—

Jim: –it’s mine.”

Kathi: –“No Test Needed,” (Laughter) yeah. Uh … a driver loves to make sure that either they are in control or the situation is in control. And–

Jim: And it’s in their control.

Kathi: –it’s in their control is really what their deepest desire it. These are the born leaders. Uh … they can be pretty unemotional sometimes when … especially when they’re focused on a task. Uh … but they’re dynamic and ar … active and they’re just confident. They exude confidence. They may not always be confident of themselves, but they exude confidence.

But I … as I like to say about my driver daughter, her spiritual gift is bossiness. (Laughter) And so, she—

Jim: That’s a nice way to say it.

Kathi: –she–

John: So …

Kathi: –she has … people will naturally look to her to lead. It’s very interesting that these are born leaders. And they won’t give up when they’re losing. If they have a wide spread of points, they … you know, even if it’s mini-golf, they’re not going to give up. They’re gonna play till the end.

Jim: Play another round.

Kathi: They … and they love achievement and appreciation and they love loyalty. Loyalty is very important to them.

Jim: What are some of those words that you might express to the driver?

Kathi: “I admire you.” Or “I admire the way you act.” That means the world. Admiration is very, very important to the driver. “I’m so proud of the way you …” Proud and admiration. Uh … “You have such a sense of justice for …” And so, when … a driver is fighting for a cause, it’s great to recognize that.

Jim: Huh … Paul in the Bible would’ve been a driver.

Kathi: Absolu[tely], 100 percent. (Laughter) Yes.

John: Now you mentioned bossiness.

Kathi: Yes.

John: And for a husband who is bossy, that doesn’t always go so well.

Kathi: Yeah … no, I’m … when I—

John: Well, that’d—

Kathi: –say—

John: –be a real weakness, right?

Kathi: –I … I would say that would be in the weakness category for sure. Yes, we tease my daughter about her spiritual gift of bossiness and we say, “You know what? How … being a leader is such a gift, but it’s also such a responsibility.

John: Okay, so—

Kathi: And …

John: –if Roger were the driver—

Kathi: Yes.

John: –how … how would you show love to him?

Kathi: So, some of the ways I … one of the things is, especially for me, not to die on every hill, to say, “Here are the things that I know he’s really, really good at and we’re gonna do it that way.” And to only really pick the battles and things that I’m really passionate about, because 90 percent of the time, as long as the job gets done, I don’t care how the sausage is made.

But for a driver, they need to know every ingredient. They need to know that everything’s going in. So, uh … to really only say, “Hey, I’ve done the research. This is what I need and this is … I need you to listen to what I’m saying, as well.” So, coming to a driver with facts and saying, “This is … I’ve researched the best way to do this” and that’s hard for an expressive, because we don’t research. We just go with our gut. But to come to them and say, I … to support your argument, not that you’re arguing, but to support your reasoning–

Jim: Your position.

Kathi: –yes, exactly, your position is a … a … the best way to come to them.

Jim: Okay, let’s … let’s cover amiable.

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: It just sounds like that’s the Christian place to be. All men should be amiable and of course, you said it and I need to say it again, you can demonstrate any of these attributes. So—

Kathi: Right.

Jim: –a driver, an expressive—

Kathi: I …

Jim: –can be amiable.

Kathi: Yes, but here’s what I would say. Each of the best of these personalities is reflected in Jesus. So, Jesus was a driver. He was an expressive. He was an amiable and He was an analytic. And so, when we are at our best, we are exactly who God has created us to be. And so, an amiable is somebody who loves to have peace at any cost.

Jim: Huh.

Kathi: But also, you know, it can also … it’s a double-edged sword. All of these personalities are, because maybe we don’t br … if you’re an amiable, you don’t bring up issues that need to be brought up.

Jim: You just suffer in silence.

Kathi: Right, because peace at any cost. And that’s not how we’re supposed to live either. And so, these … sometimes these are more low-key personalities, quiet, but usually with a very dry witty sense of humor. Um … they’re easygoing, relaxed and they make friends easily. So, this is a great person to be around, but sometimes they can be unmotivated, uh … worry a lot, or sometimes very, very shy and not able to really—

Jim: Express.

Kathi: –express what they … they are not able to stand up for what they need sometimes.

Jim: Huh … the … that amiable person, the words or phrases that you would use, I think this is really helpful. It can—

Kathi: Hm.

Jim: –I don’t know, I’m connecting with the phrases.

Kathi: It helps. It helps to have a little bit of a script, because—

Jim: Yeah.

Kathi: –what … when somebody says, “Kathi, you’re so much fun; I love being around you,” that speaks to me. But when I tell my husband, “You did that so well,” that’s what speaks to him and it doesn’t interchange usually. So, this is good.

Jim: And this is really … I mean, something out of Proverbs or um … the Song of Solomon. These are the—

Kathi: Uh-hm.

Jim: –knowing your spouse, knowing your mate–

Kathi: Absolutely.

Jim: –so well that you can speak to his or her heart.

Kathi: Right.

Jim: Today we’re talking about his heart (Laughter).

Kathi: Yes.

Jim: And hopefully, in the future, we’ll talk about her heart.

Kathi: Yes.

Jim: … You mentioned gift ideas again for that amiable person. What are some of the things that express love in that gift category?

Kathi: Okay, so anything that has to do with comfort (Laughter); comfort is key. Uh … an amiable will be the person who cuts the tags out of their clothes, ’cause …

Jim: Don’t most people do that?

Kathi: Uh …

Jim: Have I missed it? (Laughter)

Kathi: I …

John: Under penalty of law (Laughter), I do not. (Laughter)

Kathi: I’ve (Laughter) never done that. I’ve never done that. I believe that the … the Snuggie mar … you know, those blankets with arm holes was created for amiables.

Jim: Oh, okay.

Kathi: So, they’re the people who want to cuddle up on the couch. You know, they want to be close. Uh … CDs of favorite music would be good. But anything that has to do with comfort, uh … a—

Jim: That’s interesting.

Kathi: –favorite mug, yeah. It just … they are prone to making sure their environment is as comfortable as possible. And so, a good gift will wo … speak to them.

Jim: We’ve talked about that idea of combinations, as well—

Kathi: Uh-hm.

Jim: –because it’s rare, I’m sure that a person is 100 percent one thing.

Kathi: Right.

Jim: We operate in different ways, but there are general tendencies to operate maybe in two of the four.

Kathi: Right.

Jim: Talk about the combos as we near the end of the program here.

Kathi: Yeah, so you’re probably not gonna be an amiable driver. You’re probably—

Jim: Yeah (Laughing).

Kathi: –not going to be—

Jim: Yeah.

Kathi: –yeah, ’cause those are two very different things. Or an analytic expressive, those are probably not what you’re gonna be. I am a driving expressive. So, I’m really an expressive, but I’ve got some driver in me. Whereas, my husband is an amiable analytic. And it makes sense. You know, you’re not diametrically opposed, but to understand that people have a combination of two uh … will help you, especially with the words to say to them, the gifts to buy, the acts of love. It really unlocks some keys there or unlocks some locks to their personality.

Jim: Those are great ideas in understanding those combinations. Uh … let’s end with the 10 things you might want to say to your husband as he walks through the door at the end of t

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