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9Marks Explained : A Letter From Mark Dever

A Surprising Way to Love Your Wife

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The below is a guest post from Brian Croft.  Brian is the senior pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky.  In addition to contributing to the 9Marks blog, Brian writes regularly on his own blog at www.practicalshepherding.com.  Brian is married to Cara, and they have four children.

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What might be a surprising way to love your wife?

While in Grand Cayman last week for our 15 year (early) anniversary trip, we had an amazing time with great discussions throughout the week.  One particular conversation came from this question I try to ask regularly, but had not for quite some time.  The question was, “What is something practical I can do to make you feel loved and appreciated by me?”  Husbands, are you ready for the first thing out of her mouth?

“Be mindful of the little things you do day to day so that they do not undo what I have spent all day working on.” 

Huh??  That’s right guys.  No..bring me flowers.  No…leave surprising romantic cards.  No…take me out on a date regularly.  The answer above was the surprising first thing out of her mouth.  I inquired more.  She explained how she spends so much time cleaning and picking up after the kids throughout the day only for them to continue to destroy it. 

So, she helped me understand the discouragement she feels if I come home for dinner and the first thing I do is carelessly sit all my stuff on the table she had already cleaned 5 times that day.  She helped me realize when I do those things it communicates to her I have not been mindful at all of what she has done to try and keep our house a warm, picked up, restful place.  She was right.  The point was rammed home when she said, “It would be like me sitting down at the end of the day and erasing a page of your sermon, because what I saw you were working on did not look important.  Ouch.  She had made her point.

My wife would admit I have grown to be faithful in bringing flowers, cards of encouragement, and date nights out, which she appreciates very much, but what I had failed to realize is how that card of encouragement is less meaningful if in the process of giving her the card I throw my books and bag with sweaty clothes on the dinner table with a complete disregard for her efforts throughout the day. 

The lesson to learn, gentlemen, is to make sure we are not making efforts to love our wives and in the process doing something else to make them feel unappreciated.  It would be similar to taking our wives on a date and picking a fight with her.  Or bringing her flowers and making an ugly comment about where she chose to place them in the house.

Therefore, I come back from vacation hopefully a wiser man and more grateful than ever of the precious woman I married almost 15 years ago.  Those obvious, creative, and romantic ways and efforts to love our wives are good and we should be making a habit of them in our marriages.  But, do not miss the little things.  Just because they may not matter much to us, does not mean they do not really matter to our wives who spend most of their day working to serve and care for us and our children.

So, brothers, ask the question this week…if you dare.  Then, continue to ask the question as her answer may change over the years as you move into different seasons of life.  You might stumble upon a very surprising way to love your wife you never knew or had dismissed as insignificant.  Although it may be a surprise, trust me you will still want to know…if you really want to know how to love your wife in ways that makes her feel loved and appreciated.

Ladies, you have my permission to sent this post to your husband to nudge a conversation that is possibly long overdue.