What does it mean to love your husband?
Before I got married, I figured love would make everything easy.
Over time, though, I fell out of being “in love” with my husband. Once I no longer felt love—in that all-encompassing, overwhelming rush of being in new love—I didn’t know what to do.
The Bible tells me much in 1 Corinthians 13 when it says,
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (verses 4-8a)
Loving my husband means that I treat love as a verb. We think of love as a feeling, and it is—but it is so much more. It is also an action. There are times when loving my husband is a daily decision.
Loving as an action, not just a feeling, requires intention. When I’m not feeling the love, it is still important to love my husband.
So how does this actually look in my marriage?
- I think about his preferences for things. I make a point of having food he likes for dinner, and I make it in a way he likes. I fold his underwear the way he likes. (Then again, the fact that I even fold his underwear at all is an act of love!) My nightwear is what he likes. This doesn’t mean I never do things the way I want. It means that I make a point of doing things the way he wants sometimes.
- I look for my husband’s heart in his actions. I look for his actions as expressions of his love for me, even when they aren’t things that feel particularly loving to me. My husband isn’t big on taking personality or love tests, but every once in a while he’ll humor me and do one. His primary love language is Acts of Service. When he cooks, he will dish my food onto a plate and bring it to me. He usually gives me more than I want, and sometimes he doesn’t arrange the food the way I like. It would be easy for me to complain and reject his offering since he doesn’t do it the way I like—but he would experience it as a rejection of his love. So I accept the plate, knowing that it is a way that he demonstrates his love for me.
- I show him love in ways that matter to him. One of the things that totally makes his heart melt is when I prepare a plate for him, just like he sometimes does for me. It is when I serve him in some way that I can most see that he feels loved by my actions.
- I spend time with him. My husband is from a TV-watching family, so in the evening when there isn’t anything else going on, he likes to sit and watch the television. I am not much of a TV watcher. I’d rather read or be online. My preference in the evening would be to find a quiet place to sit alone and read. Instead, I sit next to Big Guy while he watches TV. I’ll have my tablet or laptop with me so I can do what I want, and I usually have my earbuds in to listen to music and block out the TV sounds—but I am physically present with him. It matters a great deal to him that I choose to be with him.
- I look for opportunities to bless him. I offer him what I know matters to him. This might mean a backrub, a special kiss, a flashing, or a sexual activity that I know he particularly loves. I don’t bless him in these ways only when he seems to need it; I look for times when he doesn’t need it as a way of helping him feel loved.
Loving my husband means that I make a choice to be generous to him. I think about what speaks love to him, and I do things that way when I can.
My actions of love have a high impact on my husband. He wakes up every morning knowing that he is loved, and he goes to sleep every night secure in that same knowledge.
When I love him, I nurture his heart in a way that only I can do. His nurtured heart, in turn, is better equipped to deal with my heart. My choice to love my husband has resulted in both of us feeling more loved.
Love as a feeling doesn’t make everything easy like I thought it would when I married. Love as an action doesn’t make things easy, either. There are times when loving my husband isn’t an easy thing to do.
Love isn’t always easy—but it makes our marriage a whole lot better for both of us.
How do you love your husband?
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