50 Ways to Inspire Your Husband

There’s an old joke about one of our presidents walking with his wife, who sees one of her old boyfriends in a less-than-glorious occupation. The president looks at the old boyfriend and remarks, “If you hadn’t married me, you might be married to that guy.”

The first lady answers calmly, “If I had married him, he’d be president.”

Now, occupation is not the measure of a man. But as a wife, you do possess a unique power to inspire your husband. Your loving vision of the man he’s becoming propels him toward greatness—not necessarily by the world’s yardstick of success, or even your own, but of God’s.

When you believe in him, he is secure. He can take the leaps of faith required to surmount fear. He can bear up under pressure, pioneer new territory.

An inspired husband feels the freedom to reach the fullest potential of the man God has created him to be. He’s not merely encouraged. He’s a man who’s empowered; a conqueror. If you want to give your man some “wind beneath his wings”… start here.

1.  Initiate great sex.

2.  Send him an email. Example: “Praying for you today. Thanks for being so courageous in [insert specific area].”

3.  Give him one night on a regular basis to do something he loves.

4.  Consistently mention ways you see him growing to be more like Christ.

5.  Ask him about his “bucket list.”

6.  Give him a book, audio CD, or ticket to learn about something he loves doing.

7.  Ask him about some dreams he has — and pray about them together, evaluating them. Then ask how you can help him go after them.

8.  Text him. Example: “REMINDER: I BELIEVE IN U.”

9. Make sure he feels respected by you.

10.  Leave sticky notes in his lunch, on his steering wheel, in his briefcase, etc. “So proud of all you’ve been doing with ___.” “You are so great with our kids.” “You are my dream come true.” “You are an incredible lover.”

11.  Suggest that he take some time to go pursue a hobby.

12.  Leave a message on his voicemail: “Thanks for going to work every day to take care of our family. You are so good at what you do.”

13. Ask him how you can pray for him at work. Later on in the week, ask about his prayer requests again.

14. Be proactive about doing something together that he really enjoys: make a date, get him excited, and share his enthusiasm!

15.  Tell him areas he’s gifted in. Don’t stretch the truth; be honest so he can trust you.

16. Pray for him.

17. Initiate great sex.

18.  Start and keep a “Dreams” binder with him. Include some travel brochures or whatever gets you excited. In the back, make sure you have a “Dreams turned reality!” file.

19.  Talk with him about setting aside a small part of the budget to pursue the ways God has created him — through education or through sheer enjoyment.

20.  Post on his Facebook wall: “I love being your wife! See me tonight regarding this.”

21. Gently communicate with him about what you like in bed, and respond encouragingly to his attempts.

22.  Remember a dream that he had a long time ago. Talk with him about whether it’s still a dream — and still a possibility.

23.  Ask God to open your eyes to the ways He has made your husband and to give you wisdom about how to maximize that workmanship.

24.  Have your children write him notes or letters about what they love about their dad.

25.  Initiate great sex.

26.  Ban yourself from any nagging, the Great Life-Sucker.

27.  Ask, “If I could do one thing I’m not already doing that would really empower you and inspire you, what would it be?” Listen — resist being defensive (the hard part) — and follow through.

28.  As you think of them, remind him of specific times and areas he has impacted people’s lives: “Hey, I was thinking the other day about all the time you invested in that Cub Scout troop. Wonder what those boys are doing now. It was so cool to watch them grow with you as their leader.” “Our son has grown so much in encouraging people lately. He gets that from you; you are such a good example for him in that.”

29.  Buy him something small to stoke the fires: a journal for a writer; some carpentry pencils for a woodworker; some grilling tools for the master chef. Add a sweet note: “Just because I love the way you’re made.”

30.  Do something fun and unexpected together: paintball; laser tag; on a spring day, have a picnic, blow bubbles, and bring the books you’re reading; swing; go to a drive-in movie, bring popcorn, and instigate a make-out session.

31. Think about a way you’ve been hurting him, annoying him, or not “seeing” him. Apologize, and work hard at showing true change.

32. Initiate great sex.

33. Go to a home improvement store to plan a small, doable project that energizes both of you, even if it’s just painting a room or fixing up some landscaping. (Hint: Make sure it’s something by which he won’t feel burdened.)

34. Do something from his to-do list for him — something that he’d rather have you do anyway.

35. Find a mutually enjoyable activity you like doing together on a regular basis — even if it’s playing the Wii together.

36. Create a cheerful atmosphere when he comes home.

37. Design a date night that will help him to de-stress and have fun.

38. Discover his love language and become even more fluent in it.

39.  Pray about and pursue at least one dream of your own, talking with him about it.

40.  What’s hard about his life right now? Pray for his endurance, and encourage him specifically. Galatians 6:9 is a great start for both.

41.  Organize or clean something in your home that you know he finds messy.

42.  Send a snail-mail love note to him at the office, affirming him in his work.

43.  If there’s something on his “Honey Do” list at home that he finds overwhelming or has a hard time finding time to do, talk with him (respectfully and gently) about the possibility of having it hired out. Make sure he knows it’s not because you find him incompetent, but that you want to free him from a burden.

44.  Initiate great sex.

45. Be a student of your husband. Does he feel inspired if he’s got all his ducks in a row? If he’s got a creative space to think? If he feels verbally affirmed?

46. If he’s into dressing nice, go with him to shop for clothes in which he feels confident.

47. Let him overhear you speaking well of him on the phone, among friends, or in public places.

48.  In his area of weakness, pray about how to subtly and gently step in and help him.

49.  Tell him what a great dad he is. Be specific.

50.  If and when he messes up, respond with the kind of grace, compassion, and mercy that God gives us. Respond in a way that communicates, You’re safe with me — and I’m not going to rehash your failures. This is a secure place for you to grow … and I love the journey with you.

What about you? Help us add to the list and tell us how you inspire your guy!

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159 thoughts on “50 Ways to Inspire Your Husband

  1. Yeah, I do all that. Can we give this list to our men and ask them to do that stuff for us in return? :(

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    • I agree with JS for the most part. It would be nice to get somthing of list like for gals too! I liked this list!

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      • Serious kudos to you two (and the rest of you out there) for doing stuff like this w/o getting much of it in return.

        And I'm not just saying that. I think every time we're doing something like that for our mates, we're replaying the Gospel for the world: the idea that Jesus laid down His life and the place He deserved to love us so fiercely. Even at that point He knew the giving would be lopsided (forever). He, too did something for us before we could do a thing back.

        I have a great amount of admiration and respect for women who are playing this out in the nitty-gritty every day of their marriage. You are in some amazing company in that respect!

        Grateful for your honesty that keeps things real here!

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        • P.S. Hoping that's not getting too churchy on all of you :)!! Curious: Would a ladies' list start with "initiate great sex" for you?! What'd be on it?

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          • Well, definitely!! LOL! =D Or maybe every other one!! Hehe!!

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          • I'm thinking LaBreeska's husband is one inspired man if that's how she's inspired…just sayin.' :)

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        • this list is great! I feel I try to do little things each day (if you have seen the other post on pinterest, take an old photo frame and inside make a background that says “I love you because…” and then each day leave a special note in dry erase marker…this is a good way for your man to give you some encouragement also, for you ladies who are wanting something in return!) its really special to come home to a little note from your special someone after a LONG day. My Hubby and I have lived 2 hours apart just for a short period while he takes a great job opportunity, so sending “snail mail” or little texts here and there really helps! My hunny sent me a link to a song that reminded him of me! (I cried…it was SO sweet) and PLEASE Dont EVER underestimate the sex!!! theres a reason it was repeated so many times!!! plus, if you slide into some sexy lingere, chances are you will feel better about yourself also!!! WOMEN, come on, if you let the little surprises and things get away from you because you’re “too busy” the men aren’t going to do it either!!! Its just not who they are!!! Spice things up a bit, and I bet you’ll get a surprise in return (but do it because you REALLY want to, not because you want something back…men aren’t stupid….they WILL pick up on this!!!) Good luck girls, just remember, you get what you give!!!

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          • I did the “I love you because .” board from pinterest for my husband . Not only did it make him happy but it reaffirmed our relationship. Wonderful how just a few words a day can make a person feel appreciated and cared for. So much so that he has taken to erasing my messages in the morning and writing something special back to me . It makes my mornings something special to look forward to and propells me through the rest of my day dealing with housework, kids, crazy schedules , cooking dinner, baths, and all the trials and tribulations (and wonderful moments of giggles and hugs) of bieng a stay-at-home MOM with a husband that puts in long long hours at work . Letting him know he is appreciated and thought of daily has been a relationship saver. I encourage anyone that loves their husbands to do something similiar and see the positive feedback you recieve as well.

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        • I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes from C S Lewis: “True Humility is not thinking lower of yourself but rather is not thinking of yourself at all.”

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    • @JS- I agree with you. Where is the list for husbands? The title of this article should’ve been “50 ways to inspire your spouse.” I can honestly say that I would NEVER do many of these ridiculous things on this list. And give me a break. How many times did the writer have to mention sex? After 15 years of marriage and 3 kids, sex is the last thing on my mind! What about the love, trust, communication, friendship, etc. Relationships change throughout the years and the desire to have sex fades. . Why does the church always try to pretend that a married couple has to act the same way that they did when they were dating? It’d be nice, but it doesn’t happen. Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox. Enjoy your day everyone.

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      • Unfortunately, I guarantee that sex is not the last thing on your husband’s mind, though.

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        • This list seems like a calculated way to replace natural compatibility and the selflessness that just happens when you’re both walking with God with a more effortful, self-based way of trying to create closeness with your husband. These things would be redundant if you were both truly focused on eachother’s needs to begin with, or if your husband was just awesome enough to invite praise without having to think about it. It reads as really depressing because most of the time, honestly, women are amazing encouragers and alot of husbands just don’t measure up. That’s not the case in my marriage, actually, my husband is awesome…but I see it in so many of my friends’ marriages, the woman being awesome and the husband just being really, really lame. All I’m saying is that when you have to try to remember to tell him ways he’s awesome, it’s probably because he’s not doing something right. It’s easy to praise someone who first loves you like Christ loved the Church.

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          • I totally disagree, I am one of those people whose spiritual gift is administration, not service. I often get too busy in the other aspects of life and need a reminder about the things that are important to my husband. My husband is wonderful, and he is wonderful despite a lack of praise. I am the one who is guilty in that scenario. It is also so easy to criticize others, I appreciate this post for the new ideas it has promted for me.

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      • Dear Kim, I think it’s “50 ways to inspire your husband” because this is MOMLife! The men hear from FamilyLife other places. :) I’m so sad to hear you say that sex and romance are the last thing on your mind. I’ve been married almost 29 years, I have raised 3 kids, and my desire to have sex has never faded! It all starts with communication, trust and openness. I would like to recommend a book to you. It’s called “Kiss Me Like You Mean It,” by David Clarke. Awesome reading! Once you get things out of the way like conflict, communication difficulties, whatever, romance is a forever-thing! It’s true that communication, intimacy and marriage are forever! And, I’m 56 years old. I’m here to tell you! Be encouraged.

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        • Thank you so much for this post Suzanne. I am currently engaged, to be married in just under 5 months and I have heard and even seen many discouraging stories that say that things ‘change’ after you are married and you don’t want to be close to your spouse the same way and that is so discouraging to hear. I do want to believe that with communication and trust, as you describe, that my fiancee and I can continue to cherish that God-given intimacy for years to come. I wish more women could share the story you have shared. Not only for people like me, but for the ministry that marriage and family brings to outside observers.

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      • I think one thing we women don’t understand is that our libidos work differently than men’s. Men are aroused BEFORE they make love. Women usually aren’t aroused until we start. In other words, it’s making love that brings the arousal (when you let your head get in the game!). So we often think that if we’re not panting and turned on we therefore “don’t want it” and it would be lying to make love, or an imposition on us.

        But we just work differently! And if we women realized how wonderfully intimate sex is, and how it connects us on three levels–physical, emotional, and spiritual–we might see it in a more positive light. Instead, we tend to think, “well, he’s just wrong for needing it that much”. I just feel like women are missing out on a lot when it comes to marriage because we don’t understand how sex was really supposed to connect us.

        I’ve got a series on 29 Days to Great Sex, and I’ve written a ton about how to get in the mood in my book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex. I hope that helps! We’d be so much happier in our marriages if we realized everything that sex was supposed to be, and learned how to have a positive attitude towards it!

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        • Thank you! I love your comment, sex really is empowering for both husband and wife when it reaches the level of truly making and expressing love and it is such a blessing for both people!

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      • I think this list is a great one!!! The reason that “the church” feels every couple should act the way they did when they were dating is because it clearly states in the Bible that every couples job is to take care of EACH OTHER’s needs so that they are NOT tempted to go elsewhere for it. Your man may have quit asking for sex, but that definitely doesn’t mean it’s NOT on his mind. He may NOT be cheating on you, but trust me when I say he’s doing SOMETHING to ease that stress load. Men are made to have a high sex drives. Woman gain A LOT from having a healthy sex drive as well, and if your holding out believe me when I say your losing a great thing as well. Sex can actually get better as time goes on within a couple with proper communication.

        I also feel that if your not doing the little things for your spouse, then why in the world would they be interested in doing them for you?? I’ve always heard an old saying, “give to others the type of gift that you would like in return” or “treat others the way that you want to be treated.” To have a great marriage, it requires work!! Sometimes you may be the only one “doing the work.” However, it will be noticed even if you don’t think it is.

        This is one of the best blogs I’ve read about marriage in a while.

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      • @Monique, I just have to disagree with you. Maybe I’m not like “most” women, as you say, in that I’m not naturally an encourager, but I think that maybe there are more women like me than I suspect. I have been blessed with an amazing man of God as my husband, who adores me and our children more than we deserve. The reason I’m reading a list like this, however, is that I need to be reminded to encourage my husband in his endeavors to lead our family and be the man God made him to be. My natural instinct is to criticize, and it really tears my husband down. Unfortunately I’ve seen it happen too many times in my marriage, where my critical tone or words have created in him a defeated heart. I have also seen, however, him transform in front of me when I’ve given him a few words of well-deserved praise in front of a friend or colleague. We could get in to a long discussion about the psychology behind my not being a “natural” encourager, about how it means that I’m not as Godly as I should be, but the point is that I want to be the best wife I can be to my husband, and since these things don’t come naturally to me I can appreciate a list like this that reminds me of the things that elevate my husband and truly allow me to be his helper. Thank you to Janel for this reminder!

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      • I appreciate your honesty and am in the same boat, Kim. There is hope for us, I know. I don’t know what’s “worse,” that I believe I caused my situation or if it were something he needs to work on. Just trying to improve my behavior and responses since I can only control myself.

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      • If a wife did half of the things on this list, her husband would be transformed. I received little encouragement and even less sex, we grow apart and now there is only pain and regret. Most men hunger for their wives to encourage them, they just don’t know it.

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    • what goes around comes around……. trust that wonderful hubby of yours to reciprocate! :):)

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    • I agree, I do soooo much for my husband and he neglects to return any of this to me. it is frustrating. What about my dreams and goals?

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      • Lisa, I’m so sorry that your husband is not reciprocating your efforts. Sometimes I have found myself frustrated over the same thing, but in my relationship I have found that if I just communicate those feelings to my husband then he is eager to try to do better. Often he just doesn’t think about things the way that I do so he doesn’t always realize the importance of giving me a “pat on the back” or grabbing me when I walk in the door from work and giving me a big kiss. He doesn’t realize the goals that I have unless I tell him about them and then we talk together about how to make them happen if possible. One thing about a marraige though is that it is a give and take. Sometimes our dreams and goals have to change a little to fit with the dream we had in the beginning of having a long and wonderful life with the man we now are married to. I’m sure that your husband would be interested in doing things for you, a lot of times they just have to be told. As much as we want them to be, they aren’t mind readers. also, I would add that when I am doing things for my hubby like wearing nightgowns instead of sweats to bed, doing and putting away the laundry, making his lunch, or making something he really likes for dinner, I feel better about myself and often he responds by being more open to my requests or doing things he knows I will appreciate like loading/unloading the dishwasher or something like that. Good luck!

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        • Have you heard about the “Five Love Languages?” My husband’s is GIFTS, but that’s not mine, so I don’t think of it. I give him MY love language, which is TOUCH. Perhaps you’re not on the same page!

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    • If you have done these things and you found no results mean you did not do it with love. It should come from the heart. Love never fails. Giving food to a hungry person is common but it makes the deference how do you give it. Mean, with the good smile, caring and with concern makes the person melt his heart. You may gave sex to your husband but did you really participated whole hardheartedly? or you are a murmuring wife? Do you demanding in return for what you did for him? What you do to him let it be your nature, standard or quality of life and he will submit to your ways for the unconditional love you are showing to him every moment.

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      • Or maybe it means your husband might be an alcoholic, or he might have emotional issues, he might not be able to give and receive love, or he might be self-centered and egotistical. Let’s not blame the wife and say she did not try hard enough or did not do it with love. Christ loved his disciples and how many turned against him?

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  2. I LOVE it! #1 "Initiate great sex." #17 "Initiate Great Sex" AND #25, #32, #44- great stuff! Okay so on my list, #1 would be "Listen attentively to my rants about my day without giving me a solution unless I ask for one." ☺ What about you Janel?

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    • Awesome, Tiffany! And obviously the repetition was totally intentional :).

      I'm honored you asked. I kept thinking about it after I asked above… Well, one night a week, my husband lets me get out for the evening and go write. He and the kids have pizza and a movie, and I come back energized and ready for another week–a great deal for all of us. So I guess I would say, "Let her get out on a regular basis to do something she loves: Something that refreshes her and lets her use her gifts." (Someone you know must be gifted in photography; I love your pic.)

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      • Thanks Janel! That person who's gifted in photography would be me. It's a self portrait.

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        • Wow–okay, I am *impressed.* You ARE inspired! Keep it up, Tiffany.

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  3. Love this!! Thanks so much for sharing! Those who want something different for their marriage, must do something different!

    Already started on my list!

    ~Blessings! <3

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  4. I just texted my husband, i love this! Thanks for sharing, it's really helpful to have a list like this handy!

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  5. This is awesome! Thanks. You sound like you have it together for someone with 4 kids 5 and under! Thanks for the encouragement!

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  6. @monique…I hate to say this, (actually, not really, just trying to make you feel better), but you really need to wake up and smell the coffee…and maybe, if your husband is so perfect, wake up and make him some coffee while you’re at it. Just because someone wants or needs encouragement, doesn’t make them a lame human being. I’m sure you don’t feel that way if someone compliments you, or praises you, or does something nice for you…But if they do, and it makes you feel better, then you must be kinda lame. See what I did there? I turned your logic around on you. Might want to think things out a bit better before you start typing

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  7. This list is hilarious. But in my family, it works the other way. Keep the mother happy, and everyone will be happy. :) My husband knows this is how it works, and he has no trouble knowing the barking order around our house! He studied feminism in college and understands that a happy marriage is based on mutual respect , an intellectual, open exchange of ideas, including at times criticism of the others’ faults, not on submission or artificial “fluffing” of one’s ego at the expense of the individual and family.

    And this whole “initiate great sex” thing, based on that idea that the couple that sleeps together stays together . . . isn’t that what men want? Us to feel sexually liberated just so they can “get more action”? I’m just a little suspicious of the whole thing. I have sex when I feel like it, and that’s it. Who cares if I’m happy with only twice a month? At least I don’t have to have sex against my will, when I’m not into it. How could that be good for my husband’s ego? Congrats, my dear husband, you successfully raped your wife!

    So, maybe this list is for the women out there who don’t mind compromising THEIR dreams, THEIR bodies, THEIR personhood, and who believe that they are not worthy of the same respect they afford their dreamy, hard-working, bread-winning husbands who are so in need of an ego-boost that they need daily assurance, even via facebook, of their worth.

    But then again, like I said, my marriage is not your marriage. Best of luck to you.

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    • Oooh, someone’s feeling superior today! I’m sorry to hear that putting a little bit of extra care into my marriage makes me less of a person. I’ll admit that a lot of the direct-affirmation suggestions are a little over the top (I know my hubby would be downright insulted if I tried any of those direct affirmation messages), but to each marriage their own, as you said.

      Just be careful; when you think you’re being a cheerleader for womenkind, sometimes you’re the one being demeaning.

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      • My issue is that women this day and age already have so many things on their plate and so many expectations.n when I read things like this it makes me feel bad like I don’t do enough. My husband loves me and I do my best but I agree that it feels wrong to have sex when you don’t want to. I also agree that most women are the ones doing more and the husband not being there for them. I have four rowdy boys and I am just trying to survive my hectic life. Sometimes I just don’t have the energy or emotional energy to give anymore, especially when I don’t even have time to take care of myself. My husband will just have to have his own self esteem because i don’t have time to make him feel great every second of his life. Sorry to vent but these types of things have been popping up all over the net and they just make me depressed..

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    • @ mary, no one ever said do these things “at the expense of the individual or family”. Its just a nice thing to do for your husband every once in a while… I’m sure he does nice things for you all the time, since you buy into the “happy wife happy life” mentality. and Coming from the “bread winner” of this family, I think everyone deserves mutual happiness. And also, I think refering to having sex with your mate as Rape is COMPLETELY off base. As someone who has been through such an act of violence and hatred, I find your comment l really disturbing. Your husband is a man who you share everything with, its not about sacrificing anything, its about being intimate and sharing EACH OTHER! That is GODS GIFT to us!!!! Thats why marriges end after 20 years and the kids are gone….the hubby is sick of dealing with feminist BS!

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      • Yes…AMEN SISTER. I too am someone who has been through that same act of violence/hatred and was completely offended at the thought of giving myself to my husband as being rape. What?! Seriously? I don’t think the author’s intention was to suggest we allow our husbands to force us to have sex when we really, truly do not want to. I think the idea is that it isn’t all about us…. Sometimes there are things my husband would rather be doing but he takes care of me instead. Two way street. I may not *want* sex at a particular moment in time…but I do want to meet my husband’s needs. And he wants to meet mine.

        I honestly can’t believe the negative comments on here. I’m not saying every item on the list is for every marriage..but to say that sending your husband an encouraging text, or telling him publicly (Facebook) that you love him is ridiculous….really? Your husband would be offended by that? Because my husband would NEVER be embarrassed, ashamed or offended by me sharing any part of my heart. I can’t imagine…

        Anyways…THANK YOU for writing this! We all need these reminders. Whether we realize it or not :)

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    • Mary — I’m getting married in June and I’ve been spending a lot of time finding out what the Bible says about marriage. I had a tough time with the thought of giving up some things I want and some dreams I have in order to have the dream of being with my fiance, but I am SO glad I’ve started living selflessly with him now! I think the example of Jesus and the church is a great one to follow in marriage – I will give up my life to serve my husband. And vice-versa! Every decision he makes will be made with my best interest at the top of the list. Excited to spend my life serving him – it won’t always be easy and I will never be number one in my own eyes – but I’m really looking forward to growing with him towards God.

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    • Mary, you need to read the book Sheet Music by Dr. Kevin Leman. I had a friend suggest this to me before I got married. Its for both men and women. Most of the book talks to both at the same time but then there is a chapter for each one individually. You can find this book at pretty much any Christian Book store. It really is a good book.

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      • I disagree with the comments about this list being wrong or not fair. We are wives. This is a partnership. Guarantee me, when I do nice things for my husband, I reap a reward. Whether it be him tucking the kids in or him allowing me to go out with my friends or even him coming home with a happier attitude. As for women not having enough time in their day to “tend” to their marriage, that’s bull. I have 2 young children (1 in school who is also involved in violin, tap, and ballet), own and run a business, help my husband lead our youth at church, and keep up on my house. If you have time to be on this post you have time to do something small in your marriage. (And if you already do these things or don’t believe women should “go out of their way” then why are you even reading the post?) My marriage is still my top priority (#1 priority is my relationship with the Lord and then my marriage, which is a gift from HIM and I never take it for granted). It doesn’t take long to jot down a little sticky note and stick it on the mirror. And as for the sex…yes, as a longer married couple, frequency and desire dwindle but revive it!! He is a man with needs and sex is one of them. The biggest one in fact. And although I may not always feel like it, I love him and that’s all that matters. I don’t grit my teeth and just do it. Come one ladies! It’s your husband! Loving him should be easy! This list I feel is a great way to do something extra special aside from the everyday. I wake up every morning and make breakfast for my husband and a lunch for him to take to work. That means the world to him.
        Kudos for all who see their marriage as a blessing whether you do things on this list or other things. Keep it up. It’s important!

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    • I am not sure how taking the time to build up ones husband, to invest in him and your marriage is compromising anything. Marriage is about two people, both with needs, hopes, dreams and desires. Both parties need to be attentive to the others needs.
      This list is merely an catalyst for blessings to be bestowed on your husband. And, one should always remember that what goes around, comes around. Your reap what your sow. You give what you get. Etc. Etc. One who doesn’t give in a relationship, but only takes, is really the loser. The real joy comes from serving and blessing your spouse.

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    • @mary i know that unlike my husband the first thing on my mind is not sex and it may suit you just fine to have sex only 2 times a month however reading those types of things always makes me think of a man who once said that when he was not having sex with his wife he felt such longing and need it effected his day and made him feal like his wants and needs were not being cared for and that he could think of nothing but when she would come to him. Then he related that wanting of his wife to the way god feels when we are not submerged in his word and are not trying to connect with him on a spiritual and emotional level. God craves us to be near the way your husband craves you, why would you want to withold god and leave him wanting? why yould you want to do that to your husband?

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    • I think by “initiate” great sex, the author intended us to just initiate it. My husband always says he likes it – it turns him on – when I make the first move. It doesn’t mean I make all the moves. It’s the exact same thing as wearing lingerie. It’s to initiate a mood.

      Here’s the deal: Men like sex. God created men and women to have sex for procreation and pleasure. There times we all expect what we want. Ie: expecting men to make us happy so that our household will stay happy. Well, aren’t we just being contradicting by saying: I demand all of this of my husband but how dare my husband want sex? Wow. Let’s lay down our lives.

      Look, I’m the ultimate feminist. I grew up with nothing but feminists. BUT, I understand the physiology of men. Here’s my theory: I want to satisfy him so that he doesn’t feel the need to satisfy his physiology somewhere else. And I think it is a mutual thing – my hubby knows I need love in different ways.

      Also, this list is not about boosting egos. It’s about showing Respect. We’re all about communicating, so why NOT tell our men what we appreciate about them, love about them, what impresses us about them? If we want them to dote on us, why wouldn’t we dote on them?

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  8. I honestly don’t think you need a list for the gals to feel special. I do most of these things for my husband daily and our Marriage is amazing. He does so many great things to make me feel special. It’s like when you first start dating you keep each other in mind. Well if you do the things on this list and make him feel special you will see you reap what you sow.

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    • Going along with that, My husband is wonderful and it’s very important to me to inspire him to be his best self. I don’t want to be the reason of a floppy marriage due to my poor example. My experience has been that whenever I feel down about any aspect of our marriage, the solution has ALWAYS been for me to change something, to do more/less of something – in other words, to repent! (And I try to do so early on so no other problems arise.) Whenever I change MY actions and MY attitude I always feel better. And, whether he realizes it or not, I can tell that he gets more excited/happy as a result of it and the relationship continues to blossom.

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  9. I do think the intentions of this list are good, the spirit is good. The criticism it is getting stems, I think, from how unnatural it may seem to some of us who interact with their husbands differently. It is important for my husband to know I respect and admire him, but if I put that on Facebook he would be so embarassed he would probably pull it down immediately and confront me about it later. Same thing with love notes, writing on mirrors, cutesy craft projects– it just seems so totally false for us, because that isn’t how we “do” things. People are just different. God knows this, and this is why he has provided us with partners that complement us in very specific, beautiful ways. There is a lot I can take from this list in terms of ideas–sex, prayer, communications, time together, encouragement– but then I have to do the work of finding a way of doing it that communicates my love to him in a way that is natural for us. Not to say that we shouldn’t try new things every once in a while, but it still has to be natural, otherwise it does the opposite of what it intends. Also, nagging husbands about dreams, goals, aspirations is still nagging. Women and men are motivated differently. I know my husband hates when I try to launch into some discussion of his dreams and aspirations, because he is tried from working and wants to rest, plus he can tell that those conversations are usually motivated by my desire to achieve something, or to have him achieve something. There are tiimes for these discussions, sure. But you need to reconsider your reasons for doing something: do I want my husband to achieve his dreams/visions/etc. for himself? Or do I want him to do it because I want a husband that is more successful/rich/adventurous/etc.

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    • Dear Palg, you just took the words out of my mouth ! thank you !
      I think the list can be a good reminder that a marriage needs “maintenance”, but my husband would say this list is way over the top, especially the permanent love notes and emails as you said …
      About sex, well I don’t like to read “men need sex” because I believe women do, too. At least I do. It is partnership like the other things that make a relationship work, and both my husband of 20 years & I like it spontaneous, number of times in the month don’t count, no specific plans, no schedule…
      Most importantly, all marriages evolve and the art is to accept that, and sail your vessel the best you can, as a couple, as a family but also as an individual.
      Thank you for the debate.

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  10. LOVE this!! Thanks for posting!! We’re expecting our first baby, and my husband is soooo excited! So I can use this since I can’t have our kids write things yet ;)

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  11. I think this is great. I started doing such things with my husband a year ago, changing what I could control – Me and my attitude, and he slowly started responding in a similar fashion. I can honestly say my marriage is the best it has ever been. Not that we do not still have our moments, but they are further apart and do not last near as long.

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  12. Thank you so much for posting this! I am getting married and August and I have been drinking up anything I can find on successful marriages and I love this list! Some of the things on it seem to be things that would be easy to forget or to take advantage of. I usually don’t respond to blogs I read but this really spoke to me! Thank you for putting this out there. I can’t wait to start implementing them into my life. It is refreshing to see something that mentions sex in a positive way as well. So many times I feel like there is a negative view of sex in things regarding marriage and honestly I hope (that once I experience it) I can learn to enjoy it and to appreciate its importance in a relationship!

    Thanks again!

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  13. This is so awesome! I love how specific these ideas are! Thank you for sharing!!!!

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  14. While I agree with some of these, I do however respectfully find that “initiate great sex” to be well not necessary. I am athletitic and still in great shape with a sex drive that would rival the greatests ever known, however, I do not want my wife to initiate great sex just to please me. Just as it was with our first kiss, and remains with the passion her and I share, I only want her to share that with me when she wants. I love my wife so much that she is not just an object for me to use and discard once my pleasure have been met. I find the greatest pleasure in life making my wife smile, whether by sweeping her off her feet, making a romantic candle-lit dinner just for us, or writing our love story just for the two of us to read, I love my wife, I love my life. As great it is when she supports me, I to support her, because for far too long she had to sacrifice, to please another, she never was able to discover who she truly was. I am not saying the women who follow this are wrong, I am certainly not saying that I am right or perfect, as my wife can assure you I am far from perfect, however my wife is independent, intelligent, wise, sexy, athletitic, strong, and stunningly beautiful, I thank god every night, and smile every morning I wake next to her,she is my better half. I do not live to serve her, but to be her partner, and savor every moment I get to share with her, I support her in everything that she does, and I can not tell you the pride I have watching my wife accomplish something she has never done before, just as I work my butt of for her to be proud of me. My only advice that I can offer is to try and be the absolute best you can be not just for your partner, but also for yourself. I will always have my liberal mind to go with my loving heart, and with every breath in my lungs I love my wife.

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    • Jeremy — you are awesome!!! I agree that it’s not okay for women to feel like they are an object to their husbands in regards to sex. When I read that I got a totally different idea than it looks like you did, though, and I hope my view might help clear it up a bit.

      I am getting married in June and I can imagine that my future husband will want to have sex quite a bit more than I will – just another way men and women are different. He will likely be sensitive to that and not push me to have sex if I really don’t want to, but this post encouraged me to get in his head a little bit – step into his shoes and be with him in one of the ways he receives love most. It will be a joy to be with him in that! I think/hope that’s what Janel meant! I’ve been at a few marriage conferences with my fiance lately and that was a big topic – a lot of men feel unwanted and that’s one of the main ways that they receive love best, so when we can, it’s great to encourage them in it!!

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    • Jeremy, my husband makes me WANT to initiate sex with him often. He makes me feel that way by realizing that sex doesn’t start when the lights go out and the bedroom door is closed. He hugs me, kisses me, touches me throughout the day. He whistles every time I bend over and makes sexy comments to me all day. He sneaks peeks inside my shirt and tells me I’m hot. Basically, he flirts with me and makes me feel desirable. After having four kids, it’s nice to know he finds me sexy. By the time we go to bed each night, I am very much “in the mood”. I don’t initiate sex as a favor to my husband, I initiate it because I enjoy the physical intimacy and the expression of love I have for my man.

      I feel sorry for people who say they never have sex when they aren’t in the mood, and their husbands just have to deal with it. Having sex leads to wanting more sex, which is why God made it so pleasurable. It isn’t just for procreation. It is a way to share an intimacy with another human being that you don’t have with anyone else. It is an expression of love so great that you want to share everything with that person – your mind, soul, and body. The act of sex itself is enjoyable for sure, but the act of making love with my soulmate is what I find to be even more enjoyable.

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      • Hey Jessica,
        I just read your comment that put into words exactly why I don’t feel like initiating sex “when the lights go out”… because my husband is often cranky during the day – he isn’t affectionate with me until he wants it. I went through this list thinking, “Yes, I can do so many of these things.” … but really struggle with that one.
        I was in an abusive relationship when I was younger and even though I realise that my husband is not ‘that man’, I cannot bring myself to have sex with someone who acts like they don’t like me outside the bedroom.
        It’s just not always so simple.
        And I am totally jealous of you.
        If anyone has any advise, I’ll gratefuly hear it.

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        • Sandra, that’s great you can be so honest. Sorry to hear you feel jealous and hurt. It’s not easy living with an angry husband. I know life, and married life, is often harder than one expects. In recent years I have founder it harder to live with my value of serving my husband. And I too know that some of these words and discussions aren’t easy to read. But I do hope you’ll find a strength and joy in giving in ways that work for you, and that your husband will be healed and find peace amidst his busy/cranky days. My husband and I are still on a journey, but it will be nice when our relationship is restored to the same freedom these girls, like Jessica, talk about ;)

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    • Jeremy,
      Thank you so much for posting. You are truly a man, with confidence that can’t be shaken. (See, there’s a difference between men and boys. Boys are arrogant and men are confident. You can be 50 years old and still be a boy.) Far too often, women end up with boys, not with true men like you.

      Your wife is very lucky to have you! Your post literally made me cry because it was so beautiful. I’m sobbing as I write this :) It gives me hope to know that there are at least a few good men out there!

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    • My poor husband sounds patient like you, Jeremy. Maybe I need to get medically checked because he’s been waiting a long time… Keep being a great hubby :)

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  15. Hi Janel – I stumbled upon this post via Pinterest and I wanted to say THANK YOU! I am getting married in June and my fiance and I have been getting a lot of great advice and support from members of our community and other Jesus loving couples who have stuck together through hard times and also by going to marriage conferences. I know it won’t always be easy to encourage him when he’s not encouraging me, but you’re right – it’s a great example of laying down my life for the man God has allowed me to serve. Thank you for posting! Keep it up! I’ll be following your blog regularly now. :)

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  16. @Jeremy: So, you are either a) a newlywed who will soon fall from the haze of irrational expectations or b) a female masquerading as a man to express your unrealistic albeit unmet emotional needs in your marriage or c) you are a man on crack.
    Regardless, a completely selfless individual who praises their partner at all times and in every instance is not a natural response in a relationship, and frankly, an irrational approach to marriage. Your “ostrich-with-its-head-in-the-sand” point of view can actually prevent two individuals from finding balance in a REAL marriage. I’ve been happily married for eleven years. I still have disappointments and trials in life, even though my husband is amazing and I love him dearly. We still disappoint one another. That is reality.

    Also, “initiate great sex” does not imply an unwillingness or or forced display of affection. It simply means to take initiative in expressing affection. If I have to ASK for my husband to buy me flowers, it kind of spoils the whole idea of an expression of endearment, right? It appears an obligation. Initiative in physical expressions of love speaks volumes to your partner about your feelings towards them. I see nothing wrong with the author exploring selfless expressions of love for her spouse, including an emphasis on intimacy. The natural tendency in all of us is to meet our own needs first, and focusing on our spouse’s needs before our own selfish desires is a practiced and worthwhile effort.

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    • Kate,
      Why is it unusual for a man to appreciate his wife in every aspect? I thought Jeremy’s words were sweet and reminded me of my own husband, to whom I have been married to for SIX years. Every day he makes me smile, I still love seeing his scruffy face first thing in the morning (even after enduring a night of his adorable bear-like snoring haha). Are we happy all day every day? No, of course not. We annoy each other, we disappoint each other. That’s inevitable. But every day, even if it wasn’t our happiest moment or best day with each other, we are grateful for our life, our marriage, and each other.

      I guess our newlywed phase just never ended and we’re doomed to live in a beautiful haze of irrational expectations :]

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    • @ Jessica, thank you!!! You nailed it on this one!!! My husband does the same, and there are times I may not feel “in the mood” and he knows exactly what to say or do to flip the switch and make me feel so wanted and sexy! I feel sorry for the women out there who don’t know this feeling!!! I guess we are just to attracted to our men… I’ll take that “problem” anyday!!!
      @kate I’m going with option B! And you nailed it also!!! Couldn’t have said it better!

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  17. I love this list! I am so blessed to be married to a wonderful man who accepted me for who I am, became a great father for my three children (from a previous marriage), and is also a great father to our own little one. He once told me that all a man really wants is to feel appreciated by his spouse. I have always remembered that and I make sure I tell him often how much I appreciate everything he does for us. Having been in a bad marriage before, I recognize every little thing he does that shows his love for us and makes my life easier and more enjoyable. He is the love of my life and I thank God everyday for bringing us together. And PS – I initiate great sex with him as often as possible! He’s too darn cute to keep my hands off of him. ;)

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    • @Jessica….glad to have found your reply! You give me hope!!

      My comment on the article……wonderful advice BUT I must say….only give these things to a man who deserves them!! I was in a marriage for 5 years (3 kids) that started out bad….and ended up horrible….where I did all of this and more for a very undeserving husband because I felt that as a Christian woman married to a “Christian” man, it was my duty and responsibility to constantly lift him up and support and encourage him. But you know what? He still cheated on me, abused me, accused ME of cheating on HIM constantly, had low self-esteem, was suicidal (attempted suicide twice and threatened to kill me as well)….and even now as we are separated , i have a restraining order, he’s being charged w/ domestic violence, and I’m finally filing for divorce, he’s happily dating other women and “celebrating” his “freedom” while I care for our kids on my own. I say all this NOT to sound bitter or anti-marriage….like @Jessica, I look forward to the day I meet a man who deserves this treatment AND who will treat me AND my kids the same way in return…..I still agree that a deserving husband should get all of these things and more….but doing these things won’t turn the WRONG man into the RIGHT one. Like my sister-in-law said to me “Yes, Jesus told you to love your husband…..but he didn’t tell you to be no fool either” =)

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  18. @ Kate, I am not a newlywed, nor am I a female. I am a hopeless romantic. I’m sorry I should not say that I’m not a newlywed, as it is all relative, I have been married 6 and a half years, the best years of my life. No I do not go through life with blinders on, we have our disagreements, we have our debates, but the thing that makes it so great, is a mutual respect we have for each others opinions. I am not attacking, nor implying that none of you also share that, I am saying between my wife and I, we have this respect for one another. She was hurt by someone that she had entrusted, she had been lied to, betrayed, cheated on, and emotionally manipulated, that for me one of the most important aspects to our relationship was earning her trust, her respect, her love each and every day. I work very hard, fire fighting and a paramedic, but I work just as hard if not harder at my marriage. To this day I still work my butt of to earn her respect, her trust, and to still make her fall in love with me. I was not implying that by initiating sex that you were being demeaned, that you were not a person, I was simply trying to say that she has been hurt and I don’t expect this “great sex” when ever my body wants it. I love our sex life, and she trusts me that she knows that I won’t hurt her, and as result, we are so much more open about our desires and fantasies. She is my partner and her needs are just as important as mine. And all of you are right, life is hard, it is work, it is a struggle, that is why it is so important to me that I do my best to make her smile just as she does for me. Another person implied that I was inferring that you women are meant to be turned on like light switches and bow down to your husbands every whim, that is simply not case. I love foreplay, it is not just the moment right before, but the things that I do for my wife that make sex so incredible. I love my wife in her Victoria secret sweat pants and one of my big t-shirts on, I can’t tell you how sexy she is, and her hair pulled back, with lil to no make up on, I love that. Cuddling up on the couch and reading to her, or in the park where we had our first date, blanket layer out and our junior mints by our side. I dont know if you have ever kissed while eating a junior mint, but wow. I love my wife dearly, I love every thing about her, down to the smallest of details. I wouldn’t want her to change one thing, I love how she continues to grow, to learn, to train her body to run harder and faster, to lift weights to mold her muscles into the way she has always envisioned herself. So a gift I try my hardest to share with her….. Well it is to give her the very best of me just as she continues to give me the very best of her. And through the disagreements, the arguments, we always learn from it and grow closer as a result of it. But my wife and I work very hard to grow as individuals, so that we can grow together, and grow closer together. She deserves the best, and that is what I try my hardest to give her, everyday. I have never not once lied to my wife, and I have been honest with her about everything from the moment I met her, and no the two are not the same. So to all of you who think that I am naive, or disillusioned, or even a doormat, I share this with you, fairy tales do exist, but only if you are willing to work your butt off harder than you have ever worked before. I Love My Wife, and I thank God for crossing our paths and opening our eyes to see what our hearts were feeling. I Love You With All My Heart, thank you for being My Wife. <3

    P.S: If I offended any of you with my previous post, I sincerely apologize, I did rather enjoy the list, I just felt that the sex did not need to be emphasized so much. To all of those men and women who enjoy their sex lives, I applaud you. I love mine, and would not change a thing about it.

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    • I think this is a great list. I was quite amused by the repitition of initiating sex. I was also a little suprised by the negative comments…to me I found it a great reminder. My husband and I have been married for 6 1/2 years with no kids. I think he is amazing, and I do tend to do some of the things on this list or my own spin on them such as texting how amazing he is and how lucky I am to be married to him. I do think sex is an important part of a relationship, and that it should be consensual, however like many women a lot of the time I wait for my husband to say or do something. I know there have been several times where he has said something about sex and I responded that I had wanted to have sex for hours/days, but he didn’t know since I hadn’t said anything. So to me it was just a nice reminder to communicate better, and if I am in the mood that I can be the one to take the initiative to make things happen.

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    • @Jeremy~ Thanks! You have opened my eyes. I appreciate your view. It’s truly amazing what a little chocolate kiss can really do. Thanks for reminding me of that.

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  19. To those thinking of getting their needs met…it is amazing what happens when you stop looking at your own “needs” and look at your husband’s. In very difficult times in my marriage, I was reminded that if I will look at my husband’s needs (put myself in his shoes) and see things as he sees them, I will have all my needs satisfied. When we stop thinking that he should be meeting our needs, we realize there is greater satisfaction in meeting his. God works it out so wonderfully.

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  20. Very interesting. Love the list. Jeremy, I can appreciate what you are saying…its taken me 31 years to share SOME of your feelings, however the ache will never go away. I cannot resist a response, and this issue is precisely what lead me to click on this “teaser” topic.
    I’ve learned that people will say things on a blog they would never express in person, and brute honesty is frequently exposed. Permit me to speak somewhat metaphorically since sometimes saying things straight out can easily offend.
    I am a happily married male, with a beautiful wife whom I love dearly. We have five wonderful children, all happily married. My wife is intelligent, enjoys simplicity, and takes pride in the fact the she is not “high maintenence.” Nevertheless, for 31 of the last 32 years, her message has been, “It’s not necessary. I want to be thought of in ways other than sexually. Find better ways to spend more time with me.” I have always found that logic interesting to say the least. With physical intimacy at less than twice a month for many years, is it any wonder the result is what it is? What she doesn’t seem to realize is, I have spent the last 31 years avoiding her in the small and meaningful ways because I do not want to engender urges and desires that will not be met, and that is exactly what small and meaningful things do… they engender desires and urges. Instead I have tried to meet her expectation. And that is how I best perceive to serve her. I can only wonder at what we are both missing out on.
    Christian missionaries learned long ago that a hungry man will not be receptive to their message as long as he is starving. Preach your femenisim…the starving man won’t hear it. Preach 50 ways to inspire and motivate your husband, and he will hear, and be more than happy to reciprocate in meaningful ways. You see, I didn’t make me. I just have to deal with me. Trying to change her is not the answer. But changing me is not easy. I still have be around her when she dresses, showers, changes wardrobe, smiles, laughs, and winks at me. You just as well put a horse in a pasture with belly high grass and command him to ignore it. You might as well make a large batch of cookie dough, set it out on the table, and then expect your man not to want any. Nether is going to happen. Ladies, one of the reasons I married was for the hope and enjoyment of physical intimacy. To borrow from the old Indian story about the young brave who carried the snake down the mountain at the snakes insistence that he wouldn’t bite him, only to be bitten at the bottom of the hill, “You knew what I was when you picked me up” could easily be changed to, “You knew what he was when you married him.” So to make a fuss over the frequent reference to “initiate great sex” seems self defeating in my opinion. But I am only one man. There are a few Jeremy’s out there too. I would certainly like to be one.
    For 31 years, I have been sent out into the world every morning ill prepared to meet the challenges of billboards, checkout stand magazine racks, lingerie adds, commercials, cleavage and low necklines with the expectation that somehow I would return unaffected. Like a horse in a barn, I wait for my owner to come every day, open the gate and take me out to romp and play and let off steam, only to be disappointed again, and again. Still I wait. But in the last month, I have concluded that I can best serve by no longer seeking for her physical companionship but rather avoid it all cost, against all odds. I continue to pray daily that I do not encounter someone whose arms seem more willing. If someone else opens the door to the barn, most horses will readily leave. They won’t if the owner comes. The wise owner won’t let them.
    To all: Make sure you nail it down as a couple early in your marriage. When menopause comes, things will change. At that point, it will either be too late, or you will have a great foundation to work from.

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    • @32years: If it is truly so painful to be around your wife for fear of unleashing your unmet passions, then seek counseling because she deserves more than a husband who can think of nothing but being so very unprepared to face the daily throng of “billboards…and low necklines” tempting you towards sex. Please, this is just insulting. If you want more sex then ask for it and, LISTEN when she tells you what she needs. I suspect she has needs…sexual, emotional..that aren’t being met either and this is keeping your intimacy in the dumps. Seek counseling. But to threaten that you are just waiting to break down the barn doors, so to speak, when a willing participant comes along demeans your whole marriage. Plenty of women contend with all manner of real issues in their marriages…to insinuate that you will cheat when someone willing
      comes along just makes me wonder how much you really value your marriage. The best marriages I know
      are based on a whole lot more than sex.

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  21. Great list! We try so hard to always say and do what will bring out the best on our children
    Wouldn’t it be great it we worked just as hard to help nurture our husbands?
    A confident husband would probably be the best gift you could give your children!
    I find that when my husband and children feel properly nurtured, they freely give me live and honor.
    Thanks for the great reminder!

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  22. 32 years: your post was a perfect description of what men must go through. You sound like a very patient, kind man. For the first ten years of my marriage I thought sex was a nuisance, and had no idea of its importance in my marriage. I wondered why there was so much contention, why my husband wasn’t happy. A good friend lent me a book that turned my thinking around. I finally woke up! We expect our men to be faithful, we don’t want them looking at other women, but we insist on denying them the one thing they need. It is so unbelievably selfish to think you can deny your husband sex, yet expect him to provide for you and take care of your family, and stay faithful. If you don’t feel like it, do what it takes so you DO feel like it. Read Twilight, or watch The Notebook. Take a long bath, dress in your favorite lingerie. Make yourself feel sexy first. It is a great feeling. My marriage has never been happier (22 years), and I wish someone would have told me much sooner how CRUCIAL it was for my marriage to figure out a way to want sex, then do it! For crying out loud, we are only talking about 20 mins at a time here. Not much time for something that will save not only your marriage, but the happiness of your marriage.

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  23. I am so sick of every marriage article’s focus on sex. “Initiate great sex”. Great. Fantastic advice. Except there is a sizable portion of us women who would love to initiate great sex with out husbands but they couldn’t be less interested. My husband is on medication for diabetes and high blood pressure, both of which kill his drive. I wish for once that a marriage article would tell me how I am supposed to deal with a husband who is fine to live without physical intimacy when I am not. Instead, I once again get to read about how I should be open and willing to share my body with him. Why can’t someone ever address those of us who are starved for physical attention, or inform our husbands that they have a duty to fulfill our needs as well? Yes, he is wonderful at emotional intimacy and that does help. Yes, we have a great, fulfilling and solid marriage. Yes, he knows how I feel but that has certainly not changed his actions because there is never any article for men that say “initiate great sex”, in fact, they all say the opposite. I just get so disheartened when every marriage article tells me to offer my body to my husband instead of offering me some piece of useful advice on how to pray away my physical desire for my husband. In defense of the article, there are some really great ways to inspire my husband and I plan to use several of them. It just hurts to see that I am doing what I am supposed to without the expected outcome.

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  24. Oh Lord, that should read “women who would love to initiate great sex with OUR husbands” not with OUT husbands. Oh gosh, now I come off as bitter AND and adulterer! I promise it’s not true! hahaha!

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  25. This is beautiful and an ideal worth striving for. I am quite fortunate to have a husband that returns many of these acts of love in kind. We have five children and have been married 24 years. Some days it was very difficult to find the energy or the desire to muster up the effort to do anything on this list! Those were the days when it was needed and appreciated the most! This list is a conduit for both partners to receive back tenfold what is put into our marriages! It is something I practice with my children as well. When you feel appreciated and valued, not to mention safe and loved, you have an opportunity to love back wholly, fullheartedly and deeply. I know of a few marriages that failed and I often hear “I wish I would have____, more” I have known others who have lost a spouse and WISH, regret and grieve for lost opportunities to do any number of the things on this list! They wish they would have done them MORE often! Some of my friends can only regret that they didn’t try hard enough with their children (or even their own parents) to give and receive from them honestly or be present in their lives enough. I do not view myself as subservient, I do not like the word SERVE at all when it comes to marriage and relationships. I choose to HONOR my husband and the sacrament of marriage. I am “all in” when it comes to experiencing life and God’s gifts! I do not wish to have regrets and look back feeling grief for not sharing myself to the fullest, most rewarding , wife-mom-daughter-friend… I can be. when I stand in front of God I want to say -” I used all the gifts you gave me. I spent it all”!!!

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  26. This article might be a jumping off point for some marriages, especially those just starting out. Having been married 20 years to someone I have known for 25 years, I can say its not quite so generic.Also, men are decidedly NOT inclined to look for equivalent articles on how to husband, because the CHurch teaches them that women exist to service the man.
    I had to overcome years of physical and sexual abuse in order to have a healthy physical marriage, only to find my dh had hidden a pornography addiction for many many years before I ever met him. On one hand he was told it was okay to “look, as long as he didn’t touch” but then on the other hand he knew enough intrinsically to hide this from me. The day he admitted it was the last day I could breathe for many years.
    Not everyone has a husband who is even in the game. Some of us desperately wish we had a partner still, but when we look for ours he is sound asleep on the floor from a bottle of wine and his ‘hard day’
    I have 8 children, yes that’s eight. If I get anywhere near him to ‘initiate’ this is what happens. lol! I have survived a child being abused, 4 years of legal and medical struggles from that, a profoundly disabled child, 9 years of brutality in dealing with insurance and medical agencies for year, seizures on a daily basis, breastfeeding while tending to seizing child, torn back muscles to the point where I can’t walk, nasty neighbors, invasive state programs for disabled children, undiagnosed depression and his sleep apnea and now his drinking. Yet I still want him to be the man he needs to be for my and for my children. Encouraging? When you drain your partner of every drop of life blood they have ever had, remove from them the hope of even a modicum of a decent life, crush all their dreams and aspirations, and take all good there ever was for yourself, to spend 20 years sound asleep at the drop of a hat-its not likely you will find much encouragement from your partner. There comes a time when the well simply runs dry. There is no anger or bitterness, its simply all gone. I would give ANYTHING to be wanted physically again, but I am always brushed off because the big strong man is ‘too tired” Where is the article for wives forgotten?
    Articles like this are pointless and put so much burden on already overwhelmed wives with selfish husbands. Its sad, neither the church nor society want to pretend there is anything other than a cheap hyper sweet answer to life’s biggest challenges. SO wives remain broken and articles like this just heap more guilt on their already brutalized souls.

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    • @RM: I am so very sorry for what has obviously been a very difficult marriage for you. You exemplify great courage and strength by facing each day, continuing to take care of your family. My heart goes out to you.

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    • Dear Mom, Janel’s post was directed to Moms in normal, healthy relationships, and to those Moms and Wives who wanted to try to make fairly good marriages a whole lot better. It was not directed to Moms and Wives in abusive relationships. Any woman in an abusive marriage should seek pastoral and/or professional help. That is simply beyond the intended scope of the post. There is also a “Ask for Help” button on the http://www.MomLifeToday.com web page that will take you to someone who is waiting to correspond with you and pray for you. We are not here to minimalize your situation or make you feel worse about where you are. An anonymous forum such as this is just simply not the place for you to find the hope and help you need. I hope you will take advantage of the “Ask for Help” function and find encouragement there.

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    • My heart breaks for you and I am praying for you! You deserve better and this is not the life Christ intended for you… As far as God is concerned, you are His precious, beautiful daughter… and at the same time you are the breathtaking and adored Bride of Christ… I pray that you are comforted and that you know there are Christians who love you without knowing you and are reaching out in *some* way to say “we’re the Church. We’re here for you. We love you.”

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  27. Dear Denae, I am really glad that your marriage is working out so much better. However, we are not here to judge any Mom or Wife. We simply cannot know what is going on in her life that is not going on in yours. It does all of us good to give grace to others and ask that they give grace to us. It’s a good spiritual discipline, and it’s usually good for us when we need it. I have found that when I least expect it, I need grace!

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  28. Dear Mom, Please know that Janel’s post was not intended to discourage or oppress anyone. Nor was it directed to anyone living in a physically or verbally abusive situation. Janel’s post about how to encourage and inspire your husband was directed to women in normal, healthy relationships. Our desire was to encourage moms and wives to give respect and encouragement to their spouses for the purposes of encouragement and respect. In Ephesians 5, wives are commanded by God to give their husband unconditional respect, just as husbands are commanded by God to give their wives unconditional love. Marriage is a relationship intended to represent the redemptive relationship between Jesus Christ and His Body of believers. So, how much should we be willing to work at it?

    I hope that this helps to clear up some of the misunderstandings. Never do we encourage women to enable abusive men.

    I hope this is helpful to you. I pray that those of you involved in abusive, or destructive relationships with see either pastoral or professional help, or contact us at http://www.familylife.com, then, click on “find help.”

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  29. I think this list is a wonderful idea. In this crazy world today we should be more concerned about our family life and keeping things together each in our own way. Not everyone does the same things or has the same relationships as everyone else in the world. So i think this a a great list, and if you object to any of it then at least it can give you an idea of coming up with your own list of things you want to do either all the time or every once in awhile. Why would you read the list if you didn’t want some advice on the topic? I do little things like the notes all the time. This list just reminded me that there are other ways to show your husband how much you love him. Thanks for the time you put into this.

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  30. I agree that the list definitely goes both ways. Respect. Bucket Lists. Dreams. These things all matter for a wife too. And the “great life-sucker” for a wife is probably being talked down to, patronizing lecturing. The Number 1 on the List would probably NOT be the same for many wives, however, it might read something along the lines of “affection without strings attached.” Even if he wants it and hopes for it, the trick is to *not let her know* that is why he’s being sweet. She KNOWS. She always knows he will never turn it down! I guess

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  31. I am a 27 year old wife and mother of a 2 year old son, and 1 year old twin daughters. Yes, they are 11 months apart! Not to mention my husband works a dangerous, stressful job all over our state and is gone Monday-Friday. This is a good week! I am a stay at home mom, and the stress of taking care of children, while still trying to maintain my marriage is hard. HARD! I’m so glad the Lord is a wonderful one! I rely on him for everything. Here lately I have found myself in a little slope of trying to keep the “magic” on my marriage alive. It’s Friday night, I’m home alone with our children and came across this list. I know God put it right in my face for a reason. He had perfect timing. Thank you for this. Just wanted you to know you were part of God’s plan today :)

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  32. After reading some of these comments I realize how lucky my husband and I really are to have each other. We both do most of these things for each other on a very regular basis. Lucky us!

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  33. Bake him something he likes before he gets home from work! It always puts my husband in such a great mood! ;o)

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  34. not many men have responded to this, but i find this to be EXTRAORDINARILY good. i would love it for my wife to try this. i feel like some of the women who have problems with their husbands not wanting to be physical with them. i would be a much better man if i had a wife that supported me like this. i would carry the world for her if she would. Sorta makes me sad….thanks for the list.

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  35. Pingback: ::Link Love:: |
  36. Janel (I love the name!)

    Thank you so much for posting this list. I have been praying about specific ways I can encourage my husband and I feel like this list was written for me. Thank you for letting God use you to encourage other wives!

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  37. If the wife God may one day give me did 5 of these things…ever. I would be happily willing to die for her and serve her will everything I have.

    -a young man pursuing Jesus

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    • I hope you marry a wonderful woman who will inspire you in ALL of these ways.

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    • Start praying for that in your future spouse, and also pray for things for her future spouse that you would like God to work on in your life. My husband didn’t think there was a woman out there who met his list (which on top of high Christian standards includes the physical sides to a marriage)… now I think he’s crazy, but somehow he believes I measure up and so every day I pray to be more like the woman he saw in me, because the woman he wanted and saw is Proverbs 31 plus a million more, and I know that is *not* me, but could definitely be Christ *in* me, if I allow Him to have control… which is why I am *more* than willing to “inspire him” for 50 days…. and Lord willing, 50 years on top of those 50 days.

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  38. Thank you for the ideas on your list–they have inspired me to do a few things for my husband. I believe we should do things for our spouses simply because we want to. I like to come up with fun ways to let my husband know I love him simply because I want to. I don’t expect him to have to “return the favor.” He is who I married and I can’t expect him to change. After 11 years and 5 kids he has morphed some. Now he does the dishes more and he helps with the laundry (I think it’s because he can’t find any clean socks :) ) That’s not because for 11 years I’ve been telling him that he needs to do more, it’s because he feels loved, valued and appreciated for who he is and not what I want him to become. He can also see I am busy and tired too. When I do things for him that he appreciates he will often find something to show his love back. But, really whether he does or not–is not the point. The point is if you love your husband and you value your marriage you show that love and you treat your marriage with respect it deserves. Which means sometimes we do things we don’t like, but we always feel better when we’re finished. I don’t love cleaning, but I sure feel better with a clean house then knowing it still has to be done. Our marriages need a little “upkeep” too, but if we take the time to give to our marriages we will reap great rewards. We’ll have marriages that last 50 years not just 10 or 20. Marriage is now just about you, it takes commitment and a whole lot of team work. It’s about learning to understand and relate to your spouse and caring for them. Sometimes it takes years, but as you put forth the effort your spouse will too.

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  39. I don’t agree w/ more than 50% of this. And I’m curious as to why so much of this is repeated in different words. And why initiating sex is on there so many times. A wife should make her husband feel sexy which often has zero to do w/ sex. It helps him feel more confident in more than just the bedroom, but all aspects of his life. I found that leaving my husband little notes in places he’ll find them in explaining what I love about him or how I appreciate him is wonderful too. When he finds a new one rolled up in his socks or laying in his lunch box or taped to the mirror . I also make a point in looking at him and paying his special attention or complimenting him openly to others when a man he feels is more successful or attractive is in the room.

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  40. Seems like all your readers and commenters need to watch Mark Driscoll’s series The Peasant Princess! (http://marshill.com/media/the-peasant-princess) Btw, ladies, if you are withholding sex from your husband (and that includes “I don’t want any right now so too bad for you”, you are sinning!!! 1 Corinthians 7:5

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  41. Women please work on loving yourselves developing yourselves this alone will inspire your husband. Pandering to him and putting yourself behind him will only stifle him and make you feel more like a burden.

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    • Of course you have to have respect for yourself, but your respect for yourself comes from God, it comes from trusting Him, and knowing that He has made you in a perfect way. These things are to boost your husband, and if you’re not expecting anything in return, then you have just done something that’s called “unconditional” love. Since when did life become about “what’s in it for me?” Are we that selfish?? If he sees all that you do, and you’re not expecting anything in return…you will see he will gladly return the favor in other ways. This is part of what knowing your husband’s love language is all about. Trust me, I love myself, but it’s because I know i’m worth it, and I need to be respected, honored, and have my voice be heard. I wouldn’t be this confident if I didn’t find the confidence in Christ, by knowing I am a sinner and He died for us to redeem us. If I use the same love that Christ gave me to my husband, you’ll understand. But, if you’re mommying him then you’re not being a wife, you’re not complimenting him, you’re being his mom. God can show you how to love yourself, how to respect yourself, and He can show you how to love everyone else. After all, isn’t life about loving one another, enjoying life, helping the hurt, and needy?? without expecting anything in return?? Anyways, God bless you. I hope you found out that women do love themselves first, and because we love ourselves we want to show our husbands how much we love them.

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  42. I loved the list. In response to those who thought the list was too cheesey or that wanted a list to give to the spouses…I think you are missing the point! I know that when I initiate love and nice things he responds. And thought I’ve been married only 4 years my parents who have been married 25 plus years totally agree that sex is still a huge factor in their marriage. LOL! Know that you will only be truly satisfied if Jesus is the lover of your soul. You can’t expect your husband to be everything, everywhere, all the time. That is Jesus’s job. Thanks for the list, I need to pray more for my husbee.

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  43. I like this a lot however, number 20…. Not so much. Well not for me at least. A lot of my husband’s friends are from his job on Facebook and they’re not mutual friends of mine. While I want the world to know I love my man, I’d rather his co-workers not have a reason for our love life to be the topic of the day. Everything else is so legit!

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    • An idea for day 20… do you make him lunch on a daily basis? If so, slip in a note with the same message written on it… then it’s private and he gets to see you on the matter later that night… and if you don’t usually make lunch for him, make him lunch that day, just so you can slip him the note! My honey loves it when I add an “ILY and thanks for being a great hubby” note to his lunch, so I may do it this way just ’cause it seems more personal.

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  44. I can’t get past #1… :D I had done it spontaneously a night or two before I read this… So I had to start over ’cause I skipped day 2… and now, for the second day in a row, I forgot #2, so I fell back on #1… I personally think that the initiate great sex should get more than just 5 days… just saying… and so does my husband.

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  45. All of these things sound great, but how do I even bring myself to start when my husband and I are not in a good place? Instead of saying he’s the most wonderful man I know, like many of you have stated above, mine is the most selfish man I know. He puts his hobbies and interests above our family, leaves me to do all of the heavy lifting in the household, caring for our 3 children, and when he is here, he sits in front of the computer or TV 24/7. So I am at the point where I am fed up, and the thought of doing all of these nice things for him makes me a bit ill. I honestly would like to know how to get past all of that, and to make our marriage better, but all of my efforts so far seem to be pretty one-sided. Of course when I initiate sex he’s all over that, but then the next day things are the same.

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    • A month or two ago, I was in the same place as you, except I was ready to leave my husband… I had a couple of wonderful Christian women call me out… they’d noticed I seemed to demand everything I “needed” and by that I mean wanted and told me I needed to change my perspective and behaviors… now I’m not saying that your husband is in the right, and mine isn’t 100% of the time either, but if you look at him as a sinner that Christ died for, and a man that as wives we are commanded to love honor and serve and *try* to do this challenge, it might make you feel less ill to serve him in these ways and even change your heart so you *want* to, and it may even open his eyes to what he can do to change… I’d also recommend watching Fireproof… it’s story that is based on “the Love Dare” and is very similar to this challenge.

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  46. I have been writing on this topic for years. I find that many of the responses are status quo. When women allow men to be men, and let them captain their own ship they are happy. When he is happy he will treat her like a queen… When she is nagging and demanding, he will be non responsive. It pretty basic and simple as that.

    I am not shocked to see the “If I do that for him what do I get?” attitude. How about giving from your heart and seeing what is returned to you. What about letting him be the King of his castle and the head of the household, what about thanking him for working hard. What about making him feel needed for more than a paycheck. Just a thought…

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  47. throughout the list, I was going “aaawww” and “yeah, that is a good one” and “glad I was taught to do that”…. these were all GREAT reminders to be that soft pillow that we are to be for our husbands (even if we feel like brick sometimes, but that’s where God comes in and gives us strenght). I have been married for almost 3 years, and I am so blessed to have such an incredible, dedicated, hard worker, loving, respectful, and honorable man in my life. Our anniversary is coming up, and i’m so excited to share some of these tips starting with 44, then 32, after that 25, then 17, and lastly number 1. Listen women, initiating turns them on! It’s super fun, I can think of a million ideas.and I know so can you, so go for it and don’t fear. We also go to this coffee shop together on Saturdays (when he’s free, and when I’m free), and we sit together me with a book, and him w his ipad, or the both of us in the ipad and enjoy each other’s company. My husband does photography for a hobby, he’s got a big camera that I have no clue about, and I’ve been curious about it, since he paid about $2,000 for it. So, we’re getting together after coffee to go to parks, and learn about composing a picture, lighting, shutter speed, aperture, etc. I am also from Costa Rica, and he’s from Portland Oregon so we grew up in different cultures. Regardless, he and I have made the effort to learn about each other, grow, respect, and not get mad about hidden expectations. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had our fights about those hidden expectations but we’ve overcome them, moved on, and said I’m sorry. I encourage everyne to get into a hobbie that your hubby is into, it’s amazing…then you can do a 44, or 32, or 17, maybe 25 or a 1. just saying. :)

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  48. what if you can’t stand sex, it feels dirty to you? i have great difficulty in seeing it as a “beautiful thing”. i realize it’s a basic need for men but i could truly do w/out it. if God made men w/such a strong need for it, why couldn’t he have given us the same? my libido is non-existent, i could totally care less. sex is another chore on top of a long list of other chores. yeah yeah, i’ve felt the big “O” but i don’t need it. the only thing i want to do in bed is sleep. i have been married 15yrs, we have 4 children, ages: 14yr, 12yr, 9yr, & 15mths. i do adore my husband but this is one area i struggle with. there’s so many other things id rather do. i go thru the motions bc i know he wants it & i know that’s awful but im just never in the mood.

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  49. Great. Many od this points I really make. But woman are like this. I think man should have this list and look at here often than woman.

    If both of sides take care of each other and make some of this little things abow love will last forever.

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  50. lol — i noticed the “initiate great sex’ in the list several times.. lol that is funny..
    =)

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  51. I believe if a women treats her husband as she should– she will get treated with love in return. It makes a world of a difference when a husband feels/gets respect from his wife. Don’t do things just to get rewarded and don’t think always about yourself. Always put your husband second (God, being the obvious first.) We are to honor and respect our husbands.–if we put God first in our life it will come naturally to treat our husbands with respect. With God’s help may we all live Christ like marriages!

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  52. Great list. I agree with most if not all. I have done many of these things with an open heart but my husband, now ex, sabatooged the relationship. I loved him like no other. I feel he just used me. It’s terrible to not have this list reciprocated :(

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  53. I agree with the listing and I am a woman! I believe initiating sex is just as important to a man as it is to a woman. The difference is men are usually the ones initiating it and I have come to learn that my husband also needs to feel like I am still attracted to him just as I need to still feel him attracted to me….we are just more vocal about it. I believe a successful marriage requires GOD first and secondly falling in love over and over ALWAYS with the same person!! ❤HAPPILY married after 8 years of marriage and 6 kids❤

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  54. I do those things on a regular basis. My husband does do things around the house for me (stuff I can’t do myself) but when is enough enough. In the last month I have put a note in my husbands lunch box once a week saying I love him and proud I am of him etc. little things like buying a candy he likes or something i know he’ll enjoy i do regularly. He tells me I’m pretty and stuff but I don’t feel sexy. I can’t say I don’t feel appreciated because he does tell me thank you for the things I do, but in the 3 yrs we have been together I have only gotten flowers once and that was over a year ago. I don’t get little I love you notes or little I love you gestures. The honey do list doesn’t count because that list consist of things we NEED to do around the house that we recently moved into and he created that list. I want to feel special. Its hard to be in the mood or even to be in the same room with him sometime when i feel i step out to make sure he feels special and get nothing in return. if the man is unable to provide that in the partnership along with his wife or vice versa you bet love will run dry. My mood is not a light switch, it’s a connection of intimacy with my husband that I don’t get. I can see how married couples go years without making love and I don’t wanna be that way. But like you said it’s a two way street, the signs hear read…One Way

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    • Why not take a step back and let his surprise you out of the blue? That way, you will know it is genuine and not “payback” for what you gave to him. Also – just ask for what you want. Men can be clueless, even if they are sweethearts. Tell him you like flowers and wait – you might just get them sooner than you expect.

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  55. To inspire my husband, who is on the road all day, I send him text messages of encouragement. I let him know I miss him and we (the kids and I) but mostly me are counting down the hours until he comes home!

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  56. I’d love to believe all this. However, seeing all the too pervasive man-hating mindset today, I just can’t see this as realistic. Too many women today are convinced that guys bring absolutely nothing to the table in any relationship.

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  57. The most important thing missing from this list is respect. If you are treating your husband as if he is a puppy dog who needs to be coddled, treated with kid gloves, and who pushed like a mother pushes her kids to “achieve their dreams” then you are not treating your husband with the dignity and respect he deserves. Husbands want women, not groupies, as their wives. If you love, honor, care for, and respect your spouse, all of these things will come naturally if you remind yourself to kind to your spouse. Otherwise, this list of forced encouragement is patronizing. I’ve been married for a long time and the number one thing men want, as I have seen, is respect, love, alone time, and self-determination, not a wife who acts like it’s her job to make something of her man. Give him the respect, love and support which allows him to do it himself. Your husband is not your toddler or your puppy, he deserves more respect than that. And the best way to accomplish that is to respect yourself, and maybe get a hobby. After all, Christ created all of us to live with dignity, including women.

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  58. I initiate great sex!! Love this list. It’s a reminder of the things God enjoys us doing for the men He created for us :) thanks!

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  59. One way I’ve been able to inspire my husband which he loves ifs when working on a project outside he lives if I take the time to be outside with him. Not necessarily helping him just watching him! You’d be amazed what it does to them. Also act interested in what he’s doing even if you could care less…you might learn alot by being silent and they love it.

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  60. my soon 2 be husband will laugh me in the face if i tell him he is been more and more like christ x) haha..
    mostly becus he is a very logical person and do not belive in god. and does belive jesus was just a regular person :)
    non of these christian points on the list will work for me :P
    I’m looking forward to our wedding tho. out minister is great.
    I liked him from the moment he walkedin to the room when we met him. he carried a WWF reusable grocery bag ;D a christian that knows climate change is human made is a great christian.becus they understand that god made people with a brain, to make their own desitions. and we should use our brain to help the earth that we are ruining now;D

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