Who’s ready to get a little bit better? I get this question so many times from masterminds and coaching calls: How can I be a better husband? Now, ladies, everything I’m getting ready to share is completely transferable for you.
How can I be a better husband? We’re asking that question because it feels a bit mysterious, a bit unattainable at times to be a better husband. Have any of you felt like I’m trying, but it’s not working. It can really feel ambiguous. It can really feel like, Oh, there’s a secret sauce and I haven’t found it.
How many of you have ever thought somebody told me to do this? I’ve been married for 21 years; I haven’t learned at all. I’ve watched my parents be married for 55 years or so. And I’ve learned a lot from the people in my life and from my own journey. I haven’t learned everything, but I have three things to share with you.
If you do these three things, you’re going to be a better husband (Or better wife, ladies):
- Love Better
It is really that simple: love better. Not just love better, but love more intentionally, too. Oftentimes, we’re leaving it all up to chance when it comes to how we love our spouse. We’re not being intentional. We’re not being even methodical. That might sound a little weird when we’re talking about love, but we’ve got to get intentional at a much higher level. We have got to stop leaving it to chance, to circumstances, or to how you feel.
If you only love when you feel like it, you’re in trouble already. Can I give you the most practical way for you to know how to love your spouse, because some of you think you’re loving her. You’re not loving her the way she wants you to. I recommend this great book; The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. You can go online and take The Five Love Languages Quiz. And it’s free. You can take it. You definitely should. You and your spouse should both take the quiz, and it will tell you about the five love languages: 1. physical touch, 2. words of affirmation, 3. acts of service, 4.quality time, and then 5. gifts (I could never forget Gifts, because that’s my wife’s number one love language). And the results will also tell you how you can love one another better!!
I had a massive epiphany about this last summer while we were on sabbatical. I thought I was doing great on this gift giving love language, because we had bought a bunch of stuff. She’d ask for something and I’d say, yes. I hadn’t said no very much while we were on that trip. I thought I knocked it out of the ballpark and then, I came to find out because it was not a gift, because it was not wrapped… Or that it was thoughtful. Or that it was premeditated. None of that counted. I didn’t know. And so the way that you love your spouse better is to love her with her love languages. It’s easy to love her with yours, but that’s not what she wants.
My love language is words of affirmation and physical touch. I could give that to my wife all day, every day. And I do, but what she really wants is quality time and gifts. When I give quality time and when I give gifts that fill her love tank. And that’s what I have to give her. So love better. Get intentional. Take the Love Languages Test so you can love your wife better.
- Listen Better
Oh my goodness, men, we have a problem. I know we do, because I do, too. We, men listen so that we can… (hint: 1 word, three letters) Fix it. Yes, I know because that’s what we do. And that’s what they want, right? No, they don’t want you to fix it. They want you to listen. And if you want to be a better person, you need to listen better.
One of the greatest keys to do that is to get better at asking questions. So when she talks, you can’t just wait for her to get done so you can say what you were thinking and you can’t just nod your head and smile. Like gentlemen, come on. Now we are famous for this: just nodding our head, smiling and moving on… YOU GOT TO STOP THAT!
Ask her questions: How did that make you feel? What are you really saying? Like I heard you say this, but I’m not sure what you mean. Ask clarifying questions, probing questions. What are you thinking about that? When you ask her questions she will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are listening.
Here’s the other thing you’ve got to seek first to understand rather than to be understood. Listening means that I’m giving her my undivided attention. Now, ladies, sometimes the guys don’t feel like you’re listening to them either. We all could get better at listening. So seek first to understand, not to be understood. That is a powerful thing. If someone feels known, heard, valued, significant in your life; if you do that for your spouse, it is going to increase the quality of your relationship. It is going to bring greater joy and fulfillment. And who doesn’t want greater joy and fulfillment? So, love better, listen better and this is huge and some people are resistant to…
- Get Some Help
You can’t do this on your own. You need to get around some people who’ve done this a little bit longer. And they have maybe had some experience. It’s good to have some people that are right where you are at navigating the same things in the same season, but you also need some people who are going to mentor you, who are going to be able to give you wisdom, who you can use as a sounding board? I’ve got all kinds of people in my life who’ve been married longer than me who are wiser in their experience and their marriage so that I can ask them questions and say, am I going crazy here? Give me a little help.
You need to seek out and pursue mentorship and relationships with people who can help you be a better husband, be a better spouse. People that can relate to you and if you’re a believer, like me, or let me just say it this way, you need to find people who align with your values. If you’re going to allow them to mentor you in this area. There might be some people that have a great relationship, but they’re not going to mentor you in business, but they have a great marriage relationship and they need to align with your values as well. Seek that out.
Even my camera man, he’s an awesome dude, a great friend of mine but I know several years ago, he’s younger than me and he and his wife got intentional and said, here’s a couple couples that we want to make them our friends. And not only did they set that intention, they put it in their calendar. They’ve pursued it.
Some of you all are waiting for some people to help you, but you’re not willing to do any work! Go out there and pursue the right thing: the people that can make you a better husband, a better spouse. And I’ll tell you what, if you do these three things; if you make a decision to say, I am not satisfied with where I’m at. It’s not a mystery. It’s not ambiguous. It’s actually pretty simple, but you have to execute these things with consistency and intentionality.
How do you become a better husband, a better spouse?
- Love Better! Tap into the Five Love Languages and figure out what your spouse’s language is and pour love into her.
- Listen Better! Stop talking so much. Ask some questions so that you can hear and understand. Resist the urge to fix and lean in to the necessity of listening to your spouse better.
- Get Some Help! Get mentors, get a coach, get a counselor. My wife and I will leave for a week at the end of this next month. We’re leaving for a week of intense marriage counseling to have help. Like we have a great marriage. I love my wife of 21 years, but you know what? We’re going to get some help to see what we can’t see on our own. And you should do the same thing. Get some help.
Listen, you guys are amazing. You should go out there right now and give your greatness to your wife, to your husband, to the people you love most. Give your greatness to them today because they need what is on the inside of you.