This one is for wives only. (I know; you may read this even if you're not a wife.) But here's a secret many husbands wish their wives knew: He needs you to need him.
But this is not for every wife. Some wives act as though their husbands are their personal servant, there to take care of their every whim. This is not for you. Some husbands are angry, manipulative, abusive or actively unfaithful. If that's your marriage, the help you need is different from what's in this message.
This message is for you if you're the kind of wife who always has everything under control. Or at least you like to think you have everything under control. You take care of the kids, the shopping, the family schedule, the housework, the church involvement. You run interference with extended family or neighbors or friends. You may have an outside job as well. Or if you're not the home-and-kids type, you manage things so well you never seem to need anyone for anything. You're superwoman!
Well, not really superwoman. You're also tired. And in the process, you may be robbing your husband of his self-respect. You may be leaving him feeling powerless and unimportant, an unnecessary appendage in the marriage, or like you only need him for the paycheck he brings home.
My Own Marriage
When Al and I married he was older than I, and his health was beginning to decline. As his health deteriorated, there were many things he wanted to do but could not. Thankfully, I realized how this was assaulting his self-respect. I had to intentionally be alert for ways I needed him, and allow him to help me when it might have seemed more natural for me to handle something myself.
Helping my husband feel needed meant I had to know him and intentionally see him for who he was. I had to notice what filled him up and where he felt most alive. I had to begin conversations about where we were going as a couple and enthusiastically join with him in going in those directions.
Our marriage was far from perfect. But looking back on the years we did have together, I will always be grateful for every way in which I let myself need him.
For Your Marriage
A word about what this does not mean. You are not responsible for your husband's mental health, for getting him "filled up" or for whatever God is doing in his life. Your husband is responsible for his own life before God.
But as a wife, you have tremendous influence. It is within your power to either emasculate your man or to send him from your home into a dog-eat-dog world knowing he has something to contribute, and that he has what it takes.
It may sometimes seem quicker and easier to handle things yourself. Building a marriage where husband and wife work together takes intentionality, hard work, humility and God's grace. When you rely on your husband for something, there's no guarantee he will follow through. This kind of marriage takes having difficult conversations over and over again.
If you allow yourself to need your husband, you may be disappointed. Your home and family may not always progress in the direction you originally thought was best.
But allowing yourself to need your husband may be one of the most valuable gifts you can give him. It will say to him that you see him as worthy, as capable, as enough. It will communicate to him that he is valuable, that he has what it takes. A man needs to feel that from his woman.
He probably won't respond perfectly. But many men will step up when a woman they love and respect needs them. It's how God built a man to be. You can do this best as you come to rely on God first for your deepest needs and embrace who He needs you to be to your husband in this season.
How to Do That
So what does that look like? A few thoughts.
1. Who is your husband?
Knowing your husband is a good place to start. Is he a financial wizard? Is he good at strategy and planning? Does he do magic with fixing things? Is he solid and stable emotionally? Does he sense other people's feelings? Is he a strong communicator?
What makes your husband feel alive? How could your life be richer by embracing that?
2. Be vulnerable.
This does not mean manufacturing ways you need him. But it does mean refusing to ignore places where you need or desire help. It especially means sometimes choosing to be vulnerable in the areas where he has something to offer.
Most men desire the bottom line quickly in communication. It also helps your husband if you simply ask for what you need, rather than waiting for him to read your mind. He may say no. But asking for help communicates to him that he is needed and valuable.
And when he does help, let him know how much you appreciate him! True appreciation will go a long way toward making him want to help you again.
Your husband needs you to need him. God made him that way. And you can get all kinds of benefits as a result.
Your Turn: Have you given your husband the impression that you're superwoman? Your intimacy may improve when you allow yourself to need him. He needs you to need him! Leave a comment below.
Dr. Carol Peters-Tanksley is both a board-certified OB-GYN physician and an ordained doctor of ministry. As an author and speaker, she loves helping people discover the Fully Alive kind of life Jesus came to bring us. Visit her website at drcarolministries.com.
This article originally appeared at drcarolministries.com.
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