How to Treat Your Husband Like a Man


How many husbands are secretly thinking, “Hey! What about me?”  I know mine was—because he told me!  During an argument… I mean, a discussion, he said, “You know, you do a great job taking care of the kids, and you always want to make things fun, fun, fun for them. But the things I need from you get pushed to the bottom of the list.”  Not easy to hear, but he was right.

What about you?  What do you put ahead of your husband?  Your kids, your pets, your friends or hobbies?

Well think about this, if you don’t put your husband first, who will? Sadly, many men will look outside of their marriage for someone who will put them in the top spot.

Did you know that your husband craves your respect and admiration? In his book, Hidden Keys of a Loving, Lasting Marriage, Dr. Gary Smalley provides several practical ways to express admiration for your husband.

1. Seek His Advice.

By involving your husband in decisions, you are showing him that you respect his opinions and decision-making skills. Ask him his opinions on home decisions. Give him a few options for the dinner menu. Show him you value his advice by occasionally asking for it. However, Smalley warns, “Don’t overdo it though, for it might indicate to your husband that you are becoming too dependent and uncreative. Rather, maintain a balance by looking for special opportunities to seek his opinions and advice. As you carefully evaluate his ideas, he sees you consider him valuable.”

2. Remember His Requests.

Sometimes just simply remembering a comment in passing by your husband, then following through with it later, will make him feel incredibly special. Think back to a time where you casually mentioned an item you wanted and your husband surprised you with it. You felt special because he not only listened to you, but he made the effort to meet your need. Your husband is no different — he will appreciate signs of caring as well. Smalley explains, “Some facts about human relationships are as predicable as the laws of nature…. no one can continually ignore considerate, loving actions. If you make your husband feel special, you increase his desire to do the same for you.”

3. Brag on Him.

Casually lift your husband up in the presence of other people. This is not to say that you should obnoxiously brag about him to the point of annoying other people or embarrassing your husband. But simple comments to others about something nice he did for you, taking interest in what he says in group conversations, or a sincere compliment will go a long way toward making your husband feel appreciated. And be sure to always praise your husband to your children.

4. Understand His Job.

Take an active interest in your husband’s career and his feelings toward it. Smalley explains, “Many men are frustrated with their jobs, feeling that no one really appreciates their worth or value, their talents and abilities. When you appreciate what your husband does, you may become his only hope for achieving genuine self-worth. Until he really believes he is worth something, he will have difficulty focusing his attention on the worth of others — including you.” Smalley warns not to ever belittle his job, its importance to him, or his daily work activities. Smalley says, “Nothing destroys a man’s self-esteem more than to hear his wife cutting down his efforts to support her.” So show interest in your husband’s world of work, support him in his struggles, discover what he does on a daily basis, find out which projects he enjoys and which ones he doesn’t, and discover how he interacts with his co-workers. Don’t bombard him with questions all at once, but over time get to know who he is in his work life. And make sure he knows that your questions are meant to show interest in his life, not to pry or to imply that he loafs on the job. If you notice that he is unhappy with his job, Smalley advises, “When a man feels unimportant because of his job, it tears away at the very heart of his being. Help him discover the value of what he does.”

5. Be Open-Minded.

Listen to your husband’s decisions. This is not blind obedience, but rather open-minded listening. Rather than stubbornly holding on to your own wishes and immediately shooting down his wishes, discipline yourself to withhold your reaction and let his ideas sink in before you respond. By showing your husband that you respect his wisdom and leadership, you will be communicating that he is valuable. It is difficult for many of us to practice sacrificial love, and it is all too easy to make sure our own needs are being met, but try to show your husband you love him by respecting his leadership.

6. Express Admiration Verbally.

Who would you rather spend time with — someone who never says thank you or acknowledges your efforts to please him or someone who is considerate and makes you feel special? The same goes for your husband. He’s seeking affirmation and verbal appreciation from you. Smalley advises “Don’t let two days pass without expressing appreciation for at least one thing your husband has said or done during those forty-eight hours.”

7. Express Admiration Nonverbally.

According to Smalley, studies on marital communication show that verbal communication only accounts for 7 percent of the total communication between a husband and wife. The rest is comprised of voice tone (38 percent), and facial expressions and body movement (55 percent). That means that only a small portion of your meaning is conveyed through your actual words — the majority of your communication is in how you say it. So as you communicate with your husband, show you admire and respect him by reflecting it in your tone of voice and your body language.

8. Support His Goals.

Keep an eye out for your husband’s personal goals. He may not openly state them to you, so pay attention to his comments and actions that may reflect his deep desires for his life and your family. Give him plenty of support as he pursues his goals — whether they are advancing within his career, pursuing a higher educational degree, or enjoying a hobby or sport. For example, even though you may not particularly enjoy the social functions through his job, attend the company dinners with him to show you support his career. Or if he is actively involved in sports, attend his games. Encourage him when he feels like giving up on his dreams, and praise him when he accomplishes his goals.

9. Seek His Forgiveness.

Sometimes it’s difficult to admit we are wrong. Whenever you wrong your husband, don’t avoid the situation or blow it off with a casual, “I’m sorry.” Through sincere apology, acknowledge how you wronged him and seek his forgiveness. The best outcome of conflict is the strengthening of your relationship, so make sure conflict ends peacefully, and not as an unresolved issue. Show you respect and admire your husband by seeking reconciliation with him.

10. Concluding Thoughts…

Sometimes your husband may annoy you, and sometimes he may offend you, but Smalley says, “admiration looks beyond what he does to who he is. It’s unconditional.” And because men gravitate toward those who admire them, you will not only be meeting a need of your husband’s, but you will be improving your relationship as well.

This article is based on the book, Hidden Keys of a Loving, Lasting Marriage by Dr. Gary Smalley.


  • Stephanie

    This is good, I’ll keep this for when I get married! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Marisa Davis

    “This only works if these suggestions go both ways. I think more women are guilt of following these recommendations and receive little of the same in return.”

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  • MC

    This site continues to baffle me by posting articles that are titled by gender and just list things that everyone should do for everyone. Can we quit acting like there’s this huge gender gap? Can we quit perpetuating male/female stereotypes and just let people be who they are? And can we also not ignore same sex couples? Ok end rant.

    • Jay

      If you dont like it, dont read it. Not everything you read has to apply to you. Stop being self centred, our journey in life is about helping others if we can.

    • rsgirl

      Men ARE different from women. Biologically, emotionally, and yes even how they are wired. This isn’t stereo typing, this is communicating how we do hear things and see things differently.
      Everyone is not the same. We ARE individuals, yet we do process things differently. Vivre la difference!

  • Nugent’s Baby

    As for ignoring “same-sex” couples, this is a Biblically-based site, run by Bible-believing, born-again Christians. You’re not going to find anything supporting “same-sex” couples here, nor should you. Keep up the good work,!

    • adela

      Thanks for the input. I learn more about my husband every day. Married 10yrs and it’s still so far from easy. But reading your site is helping. There is hope.

    • truthful taco

      actually, a heck of a lot of christians are on board with the same sex marriage thing. but yeah, men and women are different. for example, a man will be a crybaby when mom has lots to do already. and get articles about ego boosting written for mom by christians.

  • Lindsay French

    Hard to support goals when he has no goals. He relies on me financially since he either goes through several jobs or gets stuck in a dead end job where I financially take care of almost all of the bills myself. I have to be the one to bring finances up a few times just to get him to talk about it. I try to give him ideas on classes or certifications he takes and he never follows through on it. I even offered to help pay for it for him. I gain weight, he gains weight, I lose weight and he loses weight. He makes frivolous purchases instead of showing concern on how he can help more around the house financially. I am lucky to be intimate with him at all at this point. 2 times in 7 1/2 months just isn’t cutting it for me right now. At what point do you say enough is enough and get your crap together or get out. I have been in my relationship for over 10 years. I cut him slack when he told me his ex died in a car accident the night he was going to propose to her so I knew that was something messing with his difficulty of communicating and expressing himself. Turns out he lied to me and it never happened. He used it as a cover for years but at that point it was too late. We had a child together and were living together. He went over a year previously with no job and blew through 10k. We almost became homeless due to his lack of work after I was laid off from my job and had to start over with new work. It was a struggle just getting him to apply for anything.

    • Felicia Shelton

      I feel like you and I are living the same life!! If I wasn’t a Christian I would have already packed my bags and left plenty of times ago.. the only thing that is saving my marriage is my relationship with God. I made a promise to love him and protect him, richer or poor, better or worse.. sadly I got the poor and worse end of the deal.. but I keep holding on to the fact that one day things will get better and turn around. Pray for him Daily!!! Stay in prayer, for God to change his heart!! And for him continuously give you strength and patience.. I also pray daily for God to grow my desire for him, for God to repair our sex life.. it’s a struggle but with God we can do it! And for just for the sake of not giving up, YOU AND I WILL BE BLESSED! ❤️✝️

  • Ruby Price

    I know this post is incredibly long, but it is important to me lately. There are a lot of things Id never given much thought to until recently. I’ve been thinking a whole lot lately about how I can be a better wife.

    We’ve had a very hard month, we lost a dear family friend of over 40 years to cancer & then found at that at only 32 I’m in Premature Ovarian Failure, aka Early Menopause, only 20 or so years too early. It has me on an emotional rollercoatser like no other I’ve ever experienced, both from hormone imbalance & because of what it means for me. We weren’t planning on having more children unless our financial situation drasticly improved, like winning the lottery type of improvement, so not likely, but it was OUR choice though! We thought we’d have at least 10 more years to decide, my mom had 2 babies in the 1st 3 years of her 40’s. I’ve been crying nonstop between mourning our friend and mourning my lost womanhood/youth. Ive been having what is called crying spells. I know how it sounds, I truly never thought something like this would upset me so much, especially since I’ve been joking about how I must be starting menopause ever since I was 25, when the hot flashes & irregular cycles started. Cruel irony. My husband has been an angel through all of it. He just holds me, let’s me cry, wipes my tears, and listens; it’s been almost a month straight now. I was in a strange depression the past few years, which is a common symptom of peri-menopause & early menopause causes exaggerated symptoms rather than having it at the normal age. When my friend died I just sort of snapped out of my strange depression, I felt like I’d been sleepwalking the past couple years. I’m thankful to be back, but I feel I wasted my last year’s of my youth, femininity, and baby making years. It’s not a rational thought, but I feel as though I’ll be less of a woman, it makes me feel like a much older woman, when just a few weeks ago I had still felt like a girl. It’s thrown me for a loop, to put it mildly.

    I’ve been doing a lot of clear headed thinking, that brings many tears also, and panic attacks (another symptom) an almost paralyzing fear of death, feeling like I’m having a heart attack.(more symptoms of Menopause, yay! A panic attack can feel like you’re having a heart attack, it’s a cruel effect that DOESN’T help!) I realize only now how I’ve treated my husband and treated him without enough care, love & most importantly respect. It can be easy to forget that love is a verb, it’s something you do, not just say.

    I found some information randomly about being a submissive wife. (I feel it necessary to add that I am agnostic, although my husband is a Christian, raised by godfearing good folks. I truly appreciate his parents, they raised an absolutely outstanding man! I felt it necessary to say I am not doing this from a religious perspective, it’s truly my own choice & free will & what I feel nature intended the roles between man & wife to be, even if society is trying to make everyone forget. Hey, different things work for different people, I completely! I don’t ask for anyone else to do as I do, I merely want to share my recent realizations that took me way too long to arrive at!)

    I verbally submitted to him the other night, I asked him to forgive me and allow me to take my natural place as his wife & be the “1st mate to his Captain,” so to speak. He doesn’t know what to think, I’ve always been very strong willed, outspoken & outgoing, I’m afraid our dynamic is set in stone. I told him to not see it like he broke me down or anything, quite the opposite, really, see it as I love & respect him so very much that I trust him with every fiber of my being to steer us anywhere we go. I am willingly & happily submitting to his leadership based on love, trust & an incredible amount of awe and admiration! He truly is the better part of our equation.

    I know women can’t admit they are submissive wives nowadays without other women melting down, I get it, I really do, they tell us early on that all we need/ want as women is equality, but nature better equipped men to handle the stress & responsibilities of protector, provider. I think if the true spirit of feminism is choice, then this as my choice should be protected & respected, my fellow ladies. Not that I’ve ever cared what others think, what others think of me is none of my business!! I gave him my submission because I think he has more than earned it, he has never asked for it, and he still isn’t sure what to do with it. LOL

    Since I can’t ask or expect him to change, all I can do is change how I act, so I’m playing the “act as if” game. I just act as if he is leading the way dominantly all the time, I speak respectfully to him especially in public, when he speaks to me I stop whatever I’m doing to listen & focus so he doesn’t have to repeat himself, doing little things to make his life easier in any way I can, respecting the gravity of his responsibilities, etc. I’m hoping it will lift him up & make him feel more confident, enough to start walking tall again, to give him the confidence of a man that knows his worth.

    My husband and I have been married for 9 years, together for 11, we can count all the fights between just 2 of our 4 hands. (Not counting petty, minor squabbles, but even those aren’t common, really.) Despite all the hardships, we’ve gotten along exceptionally well over the years & we’re becoming closer & closer, not growing apart. I can only imagine the level of togetherness we will achieve now that I am very conscious of my role towards him.

    I know this comment is so very long, probably no one will even read it, but I needed to write it & get it off my chest! I also felt I needed to encourage other women to really ask themselves if they show their husband the respect they need. They teach girls very early on that men are to respect women, respect their consent, etc. Why aren’t we also teaching our daughters to respect the men in their lives that deserve it? It is a very important aspect to a man’s feeling of self worth. Don’t emasculate him, ESPECIALLY in public, just don’t do it at all, that is one of thee biggest No-No-Nevers!! He isn’t married to a perfect person either, always focus on the positive, try to fall in love with him more everyday, find something new to love or something old to love even more!! Never go to bed angry, and always say I love you!

    We only have so much time here, don’t waste a single breath of it!

    • BJ_Foster

      I read it. Thank you for sharing your story. Sorry life has been so painful, but I was touched by how beautiful your relationship with your husband is in the midst of all of that difficulty.

  • Destinified

    Splendid write-pu

  • sarah custer

    The sad thing about this article is the statement “Well think about this, if you don’t put your husband first, who will? Sadly, many men will look outside of their marriage for someone who will put them in the top spot.” Wow…really? MANY men will commit adultery if they aren’t getting their needs met 24 hours a day? What a terrible perspective and expectation to have of an entire gender. I’m really sorry for you, that that’s your perspective because there are a lot of women who have cancer or other illnesses, or who are unfortunately raising sick children or have any other varieties of life issues in which they cannot function like the portrait of the super human being you paint in this article. What a sorry concept of men the author must have to think that they are not mentally, emotionally, or physically beyond the level of a child. Also, using fear right off the bat to introduce the article is a red flag for me (…ladies, if you’re not near perfect he might leave you). Should Christian women really use fear as a catalyst? This article is so misinformed, short-sighted, and miserable. I’m sorry for the women who read this kind of instruction and really believe they have to live in constant fear of the human being they married betraying them based on their behavior. If “many men” are like that, it seems that there needs to be an article about how they need to take responsibility for their behavior and character because it is DEFINITELY not anything near what mirrors even a mediocre Christian.

    • Sarah, I think you have a very rational point that there are many times when because of difficult situations, like a sick child, we cannot put our husband first. The author did not address those situations. I know the author/counselor Greg Smalley and I think he would agree with you too. I believe the context of this article was on a whole/in general it is easy to overlook close relationships like the husband/wife relationship. I actually think we often taken for granted our parent relationships too.