TWENTY WAYS TO SAY, “I LOVE YOU” – Part 2 (by Janine Mick Wills)
If you missed the first “Twenty Ways to Say ‘I Love You’ (Part 1)”, click on this link. You will find an additional ten ways to let the man of your life know how much you care.
We all are different, so adapt these ways as necessary. Pick a couple or all of them. Just start using them today.
- Don’t nag
Nagging. We all do it. That continual haranguing of a matter we should have laid to rest ages ago.
- Nagging doesn’t work in the first place.
- It makes the nagger look like a “drip” (Proverbs 27:15 A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike).
- Nagging can cause our husbands to withdraw (Proverbs 21:9, 19; 25:24)
I know. It feels good for a few minutes to get things off your chest. But it weakens your relationship with your husband, which in turn can weaken your marriage.
Here are some alternatives to nagging:
- Present your request as a question. “Honey, what do you think we should do about the broken garage door?” Not, “Hey, you need to get out there and fix the garage door.” Husbands are problem solvers. A question encourages him to fix what is wrong.
- Write a note. Yes. He may ignore it, but a note sticks around to remind, while words dissipate into thin air.
- Don’t complain if what he does doesn’t match up to your expectations. The quickest way to get a husband to NOT do something is to complain when he does.
- Brag about him when he does what you’ve asked. Inside every man is a little boy, who still wants to please. He will be more inclined to do what you ask the next time if you praise him this time.
- Buy him unexpected gifts
Don’t you enjoy it when your husband surprises you with a bouquet of flowers, a box of your favorite candy, or tickets to a show? Why not surprise him with a gesture of love? It can be as commonplace or extravagant as your imagination or budget allows. And then watch his face light up in surprise and then gratitude.
- Show interest in his occupation
This one is not applicable for me. My husband works in a prison. He chooses not to share much of what happens there. He knows I’d either worry or be discouraged by the negative aspects of his job.
But how many times has your husband come home from work and the first words out of your mouth were, “You won’t believe my day,” or “You need to deal with your kids.”
Instead, ask him about his day. Give him a change to either vent or share the highlights. Don’t interrupt, but when he pauses, ask relevant questions to encourage his account.
You’ll be surprised how this helps your husband unwind and shows him you care about what he does each day.
- Don’t talk negatively about him to family and/or friends
I learned this early in my marriage. When Jeff didn’t meet my expectations, I was sure to tell a certain good friend (In retrospect, she probably wasn’t a good friend if she didn’t call me out on that – Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend).
One day I was expostulating about something Jeff had done. This friend said, “Oh, so he did that again?”
The Holy Spirit convicted me right then and there. Every time I had shared something negative about my husband, this friend added it to all the other negative things I’d already shared. No wonder her opinion of him wasn’t good.
Keep your negative and private thoughts about your husband to yourself. I know you want to share them. I do too (Proverbs 14:3). But the harm they cause, is not worth the instant gratification of getting them off your chest. And later, when you are not upset, the person you of whom you shared, might still hold those thoughts. That’s an unnecessary burden for you, your husband, and your friend and/or family member to bear.
Show your love by building up, not tearing down your husband.
- Occasionally do some of his around-the-house chores
Yes. You’re busy enough as is. How are you going to find time to do some of your husband’s chores? Ladies, I promise. We find time to do the things we want. I didn’t say need to do, I said want to do.
Not only can doing a chore for your husband relieve an extra burden from his schedule (Thus possibly freeing up more time for him to spend with you), but it also shows you put his needs above your own (Philippians 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others). And isn’t that what love is all about?
- Touch him often
I am not referring to a sexual touch, though there is nothing wrong with that. I’m referring to casual everyday expressions of affection.
- Walking by and tousling his hair
- Giving his hand an assuring squeeze under the table
- Planting a soft kiss on his cheek when no is watching (Or when someone is watching!)
- Patting his leg (or backside!)
- Rubbing his tired shoulders
- And on and on we could go!
There are more than 1,000 nerve endings in an inch of skin (Don’t ask me who counted those!). That’s quite a few that can be stimulated by a gentle caress. So, get touching. Your husband will appreciate (and enjoy) it!
- Let him know you love him unconditionally
“Oh, come on, Janine! He knows I love him!”
Yes, but we wives sometimes dole out our love in pieces. A bunch here if we’re happy, have had a good day, and our husbands have met our every need. A little here when we’ve had a bad day at work and are irritable or we think our husbands haven’t met all our needs.
The Bible speaks of three kinds of love:
- Eros – a sensual love between a man and a woman (1 Corinthians 7:9)
- Philos – or “brotherly love” is an intense love, such as one between friends (i.e. David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel 18:1)
- Agape – an all-consuming love that comes from God and can only be shown by one filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us…)
We should strive to show agape love to our husbands no matter what they do or how we feel. Agape love is a hallmark of our Christianity. And it’s true, “Charity (love) begins at home.” (Prayerfully read 1 Corinthians 13 for achieving agape love.
- Don’t bring up the past
As we grow in grace, we should become more like Christ. And Who is more forgiving than Him? Not only that, He forgets our past sins (Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins).
We’ve all done things we regret. And we certainly know this is true of our husbands. Who knows them better than us? But it accomplishes nothing to keep bringing those things up. Especially if your husband has confessed them to God and asked forgiveness from all wronged parties.
But what about things he’s not confessed? Should we hold him accountable for those? Not according to Ephesians 4:32, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Kindness or love can be expressed by forgiving others as our Lord has forgiven us. The past is gone. Don’t keep count of or rehash old grievances against your husband. They will only mar or destroy your marriage.
Forgive, forget, and move on!
- Greet him at the door when he comes home
This way goes hand-in-hand with way #13. Let your husband know that his coming home is your favorite event of the day. If you do, you’d be surprised how the cares of his work-world will stay outside the door.
Right after Jeff and I married, I read a book written by a Christian woman about greeting your husband when he came home from work. The picture I can’t get out of my mind is her suggestion of surprising your husband by meeting him at the door with only a smile and wearing Saran wrap! At almost 60 years old and having borne three BIG children, I just can’t see that being much of a greeting. But I am SURE Jeff would be surprised!
I endeavor to make Jeff feel welcome when he comes home. If all has gone well, the house is clean, the animals are fed, dinner is almost ready, and I look presentable. If I hear him pulling in the driveway, I even run out to meet him at the garage door. This expression of love has paid me back in spades. He continually tells me how happy he is to come home to me!
- Pray with and for your husband
It’s hard for husbands and wives to find time to share a few words, let alone time to pray together. But if the Prince of Persia (demonic forces) thwarted Daniel’s prayers for 21 days (Daniel 10:13), how much more should a married couple unite in prayer? (Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.)
Make your prayer time together a priority. Priorities are the “wants” I mentioned in Way #15. But priorities are wants with a sense of urgency attached.
Above all, lift your husband up to the Lord in constant prayer. He (and all Christians) are fighting an unseen spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places). In the event a piece of your husband’s spiritual armor has slipped (or even if it hasn’t), your prayers might be the extra protection he needs to defeat the Devil (See “How to Defeat the Devil”).
I’ve shared twenty ways to show your husband you love him. I’m sure you have more. Please share them in the comment box below. We can all benefit from each other’s experiences.