1. Just say it. Those five little words, "I'm so proud of you" are sometimes difficult to spit out, especially if it has been a while since you've said them. They may feel awkward at first, even "cheesy," but once you begin, this little phrase won't seem so strange anymore. But don't just leave it at "I'm proud of you." Tell him why: "I'm so proud of you for spending time with our son. That means a lot to him and to me."
2. Brag about him to others. If you have children, you already have plenty of bragging practice. If little Suzie wins the county spelling bee, you put her trophy in a place of honor and tout that your little girl is a genius. But we wives often forget that our husbands crave the same type of praise.
Did you show off the new paint job he did in the bathroom? Did you buy a frame for the certificate he received at work? Have you shown your friends the lawn or garden he nurtured all summer? While bragging to others, don't forget to include his parents. Not only will they feel proud to know that their son is a great husband, but they will also feel encouraged that his wife recognizes it.
3. Dream with him. Early in our marriage, my husband would often tell me of his visions of entrepreneurship. I'll never forget when he told me about his plans to build a hotdog stand. He even had a name picked out and a logo developed. He also had several other business ideas in mind, like a coupon book and a local magazine—he thought they were ingenious ideas that were eventually going to make him rich, rich, rich! Of course, all I could see was my security flying out of the door.
But then my mother's voice called back in my mind, echoing her premarital advice, "Remember to dream with him." Men often enjoy dreaming about the future, even when it's not currently possible, while women tend to think in the present, counting costs, roadblocks, and impossibilities. I used to think that if I allowed David to dream that I was non-verbally giving my permission for him to begin. In reality, I've found that the opposite is true. He actually begins to see the practical side of things for himself.
4. Listen to your husband when he tells stories in public...and don't correct him! Have you ever been at a friend's house when your husband tells a story wrong? He may get most of it right, but he leaves out some interesting sideline or he gets the person's name wrong. The standard response is, "No, that's not the way it went. Here, let me tell it." And then he's left looking like a moron in front of your friends.
Let me challenge you to stop disagreeing with your husband on the little things. There may be times when he gets some details wrong, but no one is taking score about who gets the fine points right most of the time.
5. Look him in the eyes and smile. Just the way you look and react to your husband can give the impression that you are honored to be his wife. Think about what it would mean to him if you stopped what you were doing, looked him in the eyes, listened and smiled. This action sends the message, "It pleases me to spend undistracted time with you and to hear what's going on in your life."
Looks like I'll make this in three posts, rather than five....so the last one will be in a day or two. Take care and don't forget to hug your husband tonight!
By Sabrina Beasley
Taken from the September 2005 issue of The Family Room, FamilyLife's online magazine. www.FamilyLife.com/familyroom. Copyright© 2005. All rights reserved. Used by permission