Happy Marriage Tips

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.

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  • 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, imom.com!

    • 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.