7 Ways to Edify Our Husbands + 3 Words of Caution

Recently, I posted on my one word for 2013.

As I consider how to live a life of complete surrender to Jesus, I realize that every aspect of my life–from my relationship to my husband and kids to the completion of my to-do list–must be fully and completely given over to Him.

In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, I want to spend some time really focusing on my husband and showing him the respect, attention, and affection he deserves. I will be participating in Women Living Well’s “Be My Valentine” Marriage Challenge to help me in this pursuit.

What does it look like to live surrendered to our husbands?

First, let’s consider what the Bible says:

Ephesians 5:21-23, 33

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.
33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Living a surrendered life means yielding my thoughts, my words, my body, my everything to my husband. It means showing him respect even when he makes huge blunders and giving him my attention even when I’m tired, touched-to-death, and frazzled. It also means finding words to express the magnitude of my love when I really don’t want to.

Romantic Heart form Love Seeds
Photo Credit: epSos.de

How can we surrender ourselves to our husbands with our words?

Song of Songs 4:11

11 Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride;
milk and honey are under your tongue.
The fragrance of your garments
is like the fragrance of Lebanon.

For me, praising my husband is a real struggle.Words of encouragement and affirmation don’t flow naturally from my tongue. I have to make a real concerted effort to step outside my comfort zone and voice my gratitude for and love to him.

Aside from the personal challenge, I honestly don’t think about praising my husband. It isn’t like he struggles with self-esteem issues. But his love language is “words of affirmation,” so by not building him up verbally, I am neglecting to fill his love tank and show him the affection he needs.

We all need to hear that we are loved, valued, and needed. Even our husbands. 

7 Ways to Verbally Edify Our Husbands:

1. Compliment his appearance. If he’s been working out or dieting, let him know you can tell a difference. Tell him how handsome he is: who doesn’t like to hear they’re attractive? What drew me to my husband were his big blue eyes, so I like to remind him that he’s still looking good to me.

2. Praise him in front of the kids. This is hard for me, but the impact on our three daughters is significant. They need to see and hear positive affirmation of their Daddy from their Mommy. That means backing him up when he’s made a decision, even if I don’t agree. It also means teaching them to show Daddy gratitude for his hard work.

3. Replace nagging with praise. One surefire way not to get my husband to help with the chores is by hounding him. He absolutely refuses to be bullied into anything. Nagging is disrespectful and rude. Instead, thank him when he takes out the trash. He ‘ll start helping out more if we praise his efforts and show him we notice what he’s doing.

4. Thank him for his hard work. As a mom, I swoon when my kids thank me for something–anything–because it’s so rare. Husbands and dads need to know we see how hard they’re working for us and that we’re grateful for it. Gratitude is a great motivator.

5. Let him know you’re praying for him. God entrusts our husbands with a great responsibility as heads of the household. They have a lot riding on their shoulders. As their helpmates, we can and should pray for wisdom for our spouses. By letting them know they are in our prayers, we show that we respect them and the decisions they make on behalf of our family. 

6. Trust his judgment. Even when my husband makes decisions I don’t like, I defer to his position as spiritual leader of the family. There’s a peace that comes from knowing he is in charge, not me, and I affirm my compliance with positive words. This is especially important to do in front of parents, in-laws, and children.

7. Keep a record of wrongs rights. Oh, how easy it is for me to remember all the times my husband forgets to put the toilet seat down or drops raw egg on the floor, but to recall the numerous times he’s taken the kids so I could have a break or brought me coffee in bed is so much more important. Pull out your “record of rights” when he comes home from work and greet him with words of praise.

3 Words of Caution:

1. Watch not only what you say but how you say it. Tone is key. If I speak life-affirming words to my husband but in a condescending or hostile tone, I do not show him love. He is more influenced by the way in which I speak than the words I say. Be kind and gentle.

2. Avoid coming off as forced. If, like me, you struggle with praising your man, don’t just say something to say it. Feel it; mean it. Pull him close and let him see the sparkle in your eyes. He will know if you’re faking it. Be sincere in your praise.

3. Don’t be a naysayer. Just as you don’t want to be a nagging Nelly, don’t be a naysayer. Even if pessimism is your middle name, work on being positive Polly instead. Nothing irritates my husband more than when he comes home to Eeyore. Greet him with GOOD NEWS, not “Your son did this and this…” and “Look at the mess your daughter made!” He wants to see you’re happy, not miserable. Be positive!

As I strive to live a surrendered life this year, I pray the Lord will show me ways to humbly submit myself to my husband, giving him the verbal affirmation he needs and deserves.

What about you? How do you praise your husband verbally? What is the most effective way you’ve found to do it?

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Linking up with:  The Better Mom, Raising Arrows, Mama Moments Monday, The Modest Mom, Time-Warp Wife, Teach Me Tuesdays, Titus 2 Tuesdays, Top 10 Tuesday, Leaving a Legacy, Women Living Well WednesdaysRaising Homemakers, Raising Mighty Arrows

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  1. At least once a week, I try to put a note in my husband’s lunch. I write down a trait I love about him or thank him for an action he’s done for me, for the children, or around the house. Your 7 tips listed here are great ideas for encouraging our husbands!

  2. What a great idea, Tracey! My husband would be tickled to find a handwritten note from his wife in his lunch. I think I need to add that one to my list!

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

  3. These are great, practical ideas! The cautions are good reminders as well. I’m so glad I came by to read this today! (from the top-ten tuesday link-up) I’m going to check out the Be My Valentine challenge as well!

    • Lisa, I’m so glad you stopped by. I think the challenge is great because it’s making me think on different levels how to connect with my husband. As I mentioned in the post, verbal affirmation is not one I’m good at, yet one my husband needs desperately. Hope to see you soon!


  4. Great post!
    WE can always use encouragement in the marriage area. Valentine’s Day is a great day to make him feel even more loved! I think praising our husbands is one of the main elements of a happy marriage! I have been married for 12 years and have six kiddos. I still swoon at my hubby’s blue eyes!
    Visiting from http://pintsizedtreasures.com


    • I agree. It seems that it was so easy for me to focus on my husband and his needs when it was just us, but once the kids came along, I have to really work hard to give him the attention he deserves. I’m constantly having to re-prioritize, putting my husband before our kids, which you talked about on your blog recently, I see. What a great series!

      I’m glad you stopped by. Thanks for your comments.

  5. May God give us the grace to do all these! Great reminders for a happy marriage! Got you from Titus 2sday link up party. Thanks!

  6. Two things come to mind–that it takes a bit of adjustment to remember that men want respect as well as love–maybe more so–and that a respected husband blooms under our hands. We do so easily lapse into an attitude that says we much FIX him. Such a lie.
    I remember hearing a caller say on Nancy Lee DeMoss’ radio show years ago how her eyes were open when she realized that there was no one to marry but another sinner….

    • Oh, how true, Mrs. P. My husband has told me repeatedly that he’d much rather I respect him than love him. If I don’t respect him, then I don’t love him. Whereas, I need to know he loves me.

      Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

      Blessings to you.

  7. Great points, Keri! I’ve also put a note in his lunch. He loves it. But remember he probably opens it at work, so be mindful of your message! 🙂

  8. Great points, Keri! I’ve also put notes in his lunch. He loves it. But remember he probably opens it at work, so be mindful of your subject! 🙂

  9. Your points are excellent, and better yet, acheivable! I make it a point to go out of my way to make sure I do something noticable for my husband every day whether it be a note, dressing up, or cooking his favorite meal.

  10. Just found you on Teach Me Tuesdays and am resolving to make our marriage a priority – thought I would start on Valentine’s Day so am going to read-up and prepare in the meantime. 🙂

  11. Dear Kari,
    Your post was great! What a great tip to share with us! I would love to link back to it in a future post (in the next few days.) I am doing a
    How To Say I Love You series and linking to Valentines tips and tutorials.
    Your post is wonderful and I would love to share it. I am also doing my annual Date Night Challenge. I would love for you to come visit me and read about it you might want to do a Date Night post.
    Thanks for sharing your heart.
    Many Blessings,

  12. I love all of your ways to make our husbands feel loved. I am going to start using these in my everyday life. Sometimes we get so busy, we forget to praise those we more important to us. And your 3 cautions are great too. They are wonderful reminders. Thank you for this terrific post. I am excited to start today. 🙂 So glad we have connected through blogging.

  13. Hi, Keri,
    What great encouragement for all of us wives and wives-to-be. It is timely at any time 😉 I will be featuring your post tomorrow on the ‘EOA’ link-up and hope you will link-up often. We all need more of this kind of exhortation.

  14. Keri…ok I loved this post. My hubby is a word of affirmation guy too, and sooo not my strong point – I am acts of service all the way. I loved the advice – including the cautions. I am now following you too, thanks for all of your inspiration!

    • Morgan, I am an acts of service gal too. Unfortunately, my husband could care less about that. So, we live and learn a new “language,” one that speaks love into his soul. Thanks for dropping by and for your encouraging words!

  15. Thank you for this post! I needed to hear it today. I’ve been doing the WLW Valentine’s day challenge as well and it’s really convicted me in how and what I say to my husband. We’re their support and it’s so great to have other women to look up to in this! Thanks Keri. 🙂 -Lilah

  16. I try to put notes in my husband’s lunch box every so often. The things I write differ. Sometimes I thank him because he works hard physical labor so that we can have security.
    Other times I tell him why I respect him (respect is very important to men). Sometimes I will jot down a memory from our courtship or our life together.

    What I write does not seem to be important to him. But he loves the notes. He says they encourage him and make him want to be a better person. He is an incredible and Godly man!

    The other guys have noticed that he gets notes and asked him about the notes. He is very proud to say that they are from his wife. They have said to him “I wish my wife would too.” One of them mentioned it to his wife and she took the hint and it made the man float with happiness.

    I loved this article and am a missionary. I am working with Pastors and their wives in Peru, teaching women to use their words to build their families. Lots of great material here.

    • Thank you, Rose. Little things like love notes do more than just affirm our love for our husbands, don’t they? They boost their egos a little, show them we respect and admire them, and esteem them in front of their co-workers. You’re doing a great work serving these families in Peru. May God bless you richly in your efforts there.