I put on my pjs, took off my makeup, washed my face, and brushed my teeth. I crawled into bed next to my husband, but I didn’t turn off the light. I wasn’t quite ready to go to bed yet.
I had things on my mind; important thoughts I had gathered from the day that I needed to talk about.
Propped up against pillows, I made myself comfy and started to talk. I could tell my husband was fading fast. His eyes grew heavy and within minutes they were closed. No, no, NO you don’t! I thought to myself. I took my finger and lifted his eyelid. “Hey, I wasn’t finished yet!”
Does this ever happen to you? When you’re dying for your husband’s undivided attention, but you just can’t seem to get it? I’ve actually joked with him, “Can you pencil me in on your calendar so we can talk?!”
Over the years, there’ve been times I’ve worked so hard to get my husband’s attention. But in the process, I was completely overlooking how much he needed mine.
Then one day while listening to a podcast, I discovered some words that were sadly missing from all my “important talking” to my husband. Eight powerful words I could say that would turn that man’s head, and give me his undivided attention...
The show is called the “Male/Female Hour”, co-hosted by Dennis Prager and Alison Armstrong. Speaking to her female listeners, Alison grabbed a hold of me right through the radio when she said, “Wives, if you want your husband’s attention, I’ll tell you how to get it. Ask him this -
‘Do you know what I love about you?’
And then tell him. Tell your husband something you love about him. He’ll be hanging on your every word.”
Woah. Now I’m a words of affirmation girl - that’s my primary love language. But this was totally new. I’ve affirmed my husband and told him I loved him many times. But I had never said it like that - Do you know what I love about you?
I felt incredibly humbled. There were so many things I loved about that man. But how often had I taken the time to tell him?
I also felt a little intimidated. Because Alison’s words were different from the standard “I love you”, or “you’re my best friend”, or “you’re such an amazing dad”, or even “I’m so thankful for you.”
Her words required vulnerability.
I practiced saying them in my head, imaging my husband’s face before me. Just the first three words felt weighted - “Do you know…”
Mouthing those three words felt like unlocking a secret he could hardly wait to hear. I know everything about him - his greatest strengths and weaknesses. And in those split seconds he’d be waiting in suspense to hear what I was going to say - what I love - about him.
Several months ago I wrote a blog called If Only. I never imagined it would be the most popular blog I’ve written so far. But I can totally understand why.
Because every woman has wrestled with that discontented desire - if only my husband were... At some point in her marriage, every wife has wished her husband to be someone else; someone he’s simply not.
So friends, what if we focused on who he is? The man we fell in love with in the first place? The man we’ve watched him become? Sure, maybe he’s got room for growth. Heck, maybe he’s got LOTS of room for growth. But don’t we all?
If you have a son, I want you to think about him for a minute. Fast forward to his future wife and future marriage; the day when he’s no longer in your arms but someone else’s. When he’s looking to his wife for the answer to the question he once asked you, “Who do you say that I am?”
Now imagine his wife - choosing on a regular basis - to look into your boy’s eyes and say, “Do you know what I love about you?” Can you imagine the impact that would have on him? How happy, fulfilled, and confident he’d be - so secure in his wife’s love?
When I think about the kind of wife I long for my son to have, it crystalizes the kind of wife my husband longs for too.
I have played this out in my head many times, girls, and THAT future scenario stops me in my tracks - every time. It brings my mission right back into focus. Clears away my poisonous negativity. Crosses out all my “if onlys”. And MOVES ME to a spirit of gratitude for the man I love.
The problem is, we can feel gratitude in our hearts and yet never share it. Because revealing what’s in our hearts requires vulnerability. Even for me - to look into my husband’s eyes and tell him what I love about him - feels a little uncomfortable. But it’s so worth it. Because I’ve got that man’s full attention. And we’re drawn one step deeper into the kind of intimacy God so desires for our marriage.
Now you may be wondering, isn’t my husband supposed to find his identity in what God sees and loves about him? Instead of me? Yes. He is. But who says God can’t speak to him through you? Who says he can’t meet God in you?
Because here’s the thing. If your husband feels like he’s not enough in your eyes, he just might figure he’s not enough in God’s eyes either.
Encourage one another and build each other up.
(1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Let’s not underestimate the power we have with our men. Let’s not forget the mission God has given us to encourage them and build them up! They’re looking at us, far more than we think they are, and they’re wondering, “Who do you say that I am?” “What do you love about me?”
So the big question is - do we have an answer? Do we know what we love about our husband? Who do we say he is? This is one of the gifts of the Mother's Prayer Companion - it offers us a sacred place to write down all the gifts and strengths we see and love in our husband, so that we can thank God for who He's created him to be.
If you have the MPC, I hope you have taken the time to do this too. And if you haven't, maybe today is the day to start. Search your heart for every last thing you love and admire and cherish in your husband.
But we can’t stop there. If our husband has no idea what we’ve written on his page, then it’s time to tell him.
Let’s not keep what’s in our heart a secret any longer. Let’s look for a quiet moment - to get close to him, look him in the eyes, and and share one of our heart’s secrets… “Do you know what I love about you?”
Then find another moment on another day to tell him something else you love. I’m pretty sure you’ll melt his heart, and send his spirit soaring.
I’ve tried it. It works. ;)
I urge you to try it too.
See what happens to that man of yours. And don’t just try it once. Do it again, and again, and again. Let it become a part of who you are, a wife who encourages and affirms. This is the kind of wife the Lord desires you to be. And it’s desperately the kind of wife your husband needs you to be.
Maybe the secret to winning his undivided attention is giving him your undivided heart.
So turn his head, and I bet you will turn his heart too. Closer to you and closer to the Lord. Sounds like a total win to me.