By Amanda Idleman, Crosswalk.com
Feeling seen is a universal human need. We all desire connection, purpose, and to be known. Marriage is one of the primary places we long to be noticed. I don't think that wanting to be wanted by your partner ever stops. We all want our love to keep going and growing. Yet, staying present and engaged with our spouse can feel tough as life becomes more full. Marriage tends to get pushed down the mental list of things we attend to as our plates get heavier with jobs, kids, hobbies, obligations, and more!
As Christ-followers, married couples are called to love and respect one another (Ephesians 5:33). That requires a level of uncommon intentionality in our marriages. We have to fight to keep our lover, partner, friend, and spouse at the top of the growing priority list. Sometimes what is even more challenging than prioritizing each other is forgiving each other. As the years add up, so can offenses. Even the most innocent miscommunication can sow seeds of distrust over time. We have to be radically willing to keep open and forgiving hearts toward our spouses. This commitment to grace is the best way to feel seen by each other. The second our walls go up, the ability to love each other for who we are, imperfections, and all is impeded.
Practically being there for each other is the best way to appreciate each other. Here are a few simple ways you can be present for your wife so she feels seen and appreciated:
1. Make Time to Be Together
Wives often carry a lot of the burden of planning for our families. We coordinate our kids' school schedules, sports, our work demands, and then if we have time, we often are the ones tasked with carving out time for our marriage too. Take some of this off her plate and plan time for you to be together. This can be as simple as putting the kids to bed early so you have some quality evening hangout time available or as elaborate as planning a trip away together! Showing her that you want to be together to make memories and connect shows her that she matters to you.
2. Pray with Her
So many things come up in our lives that feel heavy! Help her carry the burdens you see weighing her down by coming alongside her in prayer. Take time to actually stop and pray aloud with her so she can hear you call out to God on her behalf. This step of spiritual leadership for your marriage will be praised, and she will know you see her heart and doing your part to care for it.
3. Invest in Her
Invest thought into making her feel special! This could be a special gift that you know she will love, a note that expresses your affection for her, or an act of service that makes her day a little easier. Serving her by knowing her and then responding with things you know she will love is one of the most magical ways to make your wife feel seen and appreciated.
4. Listen to Her
Lots of us women like to talk! We want to explore all our feelings and share them, at least with the people that are closest to us. Husbands, it's your job to hear her. Hear when she's upset, listen when she expresses a need for help, and encourage her when she feels defeated. Make space for her and just be willing to listen when she needs you. You don't have to fix things; you just have to be with her while she processes everything.
5. Appreciate Her
Each one of us has unique gifts and callings. Take the time to know what your wife does best and praise her for her work. If she is an amazing leader at work, affirm that gift in her. If she is serving your family at home, let her know her efforts matter to you. When you see her invest in her friends or church, let her know that she is making a difference. You are called to be her cheerleader! Praise her as God uses her daily to bless others.
6. Forgive Her
Sometimes we can become jaded towards each other. We have to break down the walls of hurt and choose to see each other with God's heart of love. Your spouse will never love you perfectly but she is perfectly loved by God. You are called to forgive and cherish her at her best and worst. Don't hold her failures against her. Offer her grace when you could justify bitterness. This is the best gift you could ever give her!
7. Serve Her
Ultimately one of the main ways marriage refines us is that it gives us daily practice in putting the needs of others in front of our own. We are called to "serve one another in love" (Galatians 5:13) as believers. Marriage is one of the primary places we get the opportunity to offer our service. Notice this is loving service, not eye-rolling, or I'll get to it when I can service. We should be eager to be at our wife's side, helping her manage our homes and shared lives together. If there are dishes in the sink, start washing them. If there are diapers to be changed, grab the wipes and wrangle those littles onto the floor. Be present and willing to get the crew settled in when bedtime comes around. If there are meals to be prepped, cleaned, or planned, ask how to help. Don't just assume that she's got it. Be willing to see and serve her every day.
8. Share with Her
Interestingly appreciating someone does not just look like being selfless. Sometimes our own seemingly "selfish" reliance on another helps them know they are trusted and loved. Often men struggle to articulate how they are feeling. They may not want to "burden" their wives with their struggles, but marriage is meant to look like a shared life. Sharing happens when we open up and let our partner into even the toughest moments of our lives. Sharing your needs communicates value and trust to your partner. Independence builds a wall in your marriage that limits the amount of intimacy you can experience as a couple. Let her into your world. Make her a central part of your life, and she will know you value her.
Married life is an opportunity to radically share God's love with another flawed human. You'll never get it perfect, but continuing to pursue each other despite your imperfections is how we make our unions last. Take time to see each other in every season, and the joy you share will abound over the years!
Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and Podcast, Crosswalk Couples Devotional, the Daily Devotional App, she has work published with Her View from Home, on the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. She has most recently published a devotional, Comfort: A 30 Day Devotional Exploring God's Heart of Love for Mommas. You can find out more about Amanda on her Facebook Page or follow her on Instagram.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
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