Making Your Husband a Priority

Priority

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24 NASB

The relationship of marriage is unlike any other earthly relationship. The only comparison is the relationship between the church (believers) and Christ (Ephesians 5:31-32). It is the core of the family. Children are born and raised as part of that family unit, but when they are grown they leave that unit and create their own family with it’s own husband/wife core unit. That isn’t to say that grown children cannot be close with their parents, but the priority shifts from the parents to the new spouse. When that happens, so many mamas have “empty nest syndrome” and feel like they don’t even know their own husband, anymore. Why is that?

Most husbands feel that when little ones arrive, the role of “wife” gets usurped by the role of “mama”. It’s so easy for most of us mamas to agree that, yes, marriage comes first… until our everyday lives get in the way! Little ones are sincerely dependent upon us 24/7. They legitimately need us for survival. During the season of having littles, it can be so hard to remember that our husbands need us, too. No, not for survival (though I’ve known some men who might not survive if they had to cook for themselves!), but for relationship.

When a baby is born, mama is exhausted. Most of us go into survival mode and just try to make it through until we’re able to get enough sleep to think and function normally. During that time, the easiest thing to let slip is the marriage. After all, he’s a grown man and he’ll be fine until I can give him more attention, right? Wrong. Yes, expectations need to be adjusted and a “new normal” needs to be found. Things won’t be the same as they were pre-baby. The problem comes when the season of survival creates habits that last a lifetime. We may not intend to shuffle our husbands down the list of priorities, but it will happen by default, if we’re not intentional to make them the top priority (after God).

What does it really mean, in practical terms, to “put your husband first”? Does it mean ignoring the kiddos? Does it mean going on a date night every single week? Does it mean taking care of his wants before the children’s needs? No. It’s about knowing what you can do that really means something to him and making an effort to do it. I believe that putting our husbands first will look different in every single marriage. It will even change from season to season within each marriage. It depends on what is important to him, what tells him, “You’re special to me”.

I can almost hear all of you tired mamas with little ones pulling on your pants leg saying, “I can’t even keep up with the kids real needs! How am I supposed to find the energy to do extra things for my husbands?!” I hear you. I’m one of you. I’m tired, too, and I understand. But ladies, this is really important. Our marriages matter. Our husbands matter. You don’t need to be perfect and do it all, just try. He will appreciate the effort and nurturing your marriage really is worth it. :-)

Before you jump in and start doing little extras for your hubby, please be sure that you aren’t wasting your time doing things that don’t mean anything to him. How will you know? Ask him! Find out what you already do and what you can start doing that would really matter to him. And don’t assume that something he told you ten years ago still applies. We all change and it’s important to allow that in our husbands, too. I’ve been guilty of saying, “But you told me once that you liked this meal.” Well, tastes change in a decade. I’d been making food I thought he liked and he was just tolerating it!

Ask Him for Input!

So, ask him if there is anything special that would really bless him. Some men have a hard time thinking of these things on the spot (or working up the courage to say them!), so I’ve included a list of ideas to get the conversation going. Show it to him and ask if any apply.

  • Making (or not making?) certain meals.
  • Giving him “downtime” for a few minutes when he gets home.
  • Packing a lunch for him the night before.
  • Making an effort to keep a particular part of the house clean (kitchen? bedroom?).
  • Taking part in his favorite hobby.
  • Taking a nap/rest when the kiddos are napping so that you’re not “too tired” in the evening. ;-)
  • Wearing (or not wearing?) certain clothes. (My hubby loves my yoga pants, which are a comfy alternative to sweatpants, ladies!!)
  • Planning fun family activities.
  • Allowing for more family “downtime”.

These are just a few ideas to get the brainstorming started. If you are in a particularly demanding season of life and he’s asking you to do more than you can handle, don’t panic. Let him know that you’d be happy to do what he’s asking, but something else will have to be given a little more grace. For example, if he would appreciate the kitchen being kept really clean, then the rest of the house might not be as tidy. If he’d love for you to have more energy left at the end of the day (hint, hint- this is on the top of many husbands’ lists!) maybe he could do the dinner dishes with the kids while you lay down for half an hour.

This isn’t a post about demanding more from an already drained mama, it’s about changing where you put a little bit of your energy so that you can show your hubby how much you love him.

How do you make your husband a priority? Do you have any ideas to add to this list?

Comments

  1. I love this post! I have a daughter who is 2 1/2 & it’s been hard to make time for my husband. But I’ve learned that I set the mood in our home. If he comes home to a happy wife and (mostly) clean home then he’s in a great mood! You get what you give. I always try to make his fav meals and always fix his lunch the nite before. Oh and he loves yoga pants too! ;) Its easy for us over-stressed Mommas to put our Hubby’s on the back burner. But I try to remind myself that he had a huge part in making me a Mother. God has blessed us.
    Thank you so much for this post! You inspire me :)

  2. Good thoughts! My husband and I don’t have children yet, but I find myself struggling already with taking care of his needs along with my own. We’re newly-weds, so such things haven’t become habits for me, but I’m hoping to get into good habits before babies come along!

    Regarding yoga pants: I love them and so does hubby. They’re often very figure-flattering and can be paired with a pretty camisole for a comfy, feminine, around-the-house look.

  3. Getting into good habits from the start is so important! It’s so much harder to break bad habits than it is to start with good ones. I loved the book “The First 90 Days of Marriage” by Erin and Lesley Ludy. We got a ton out of it, even though we didn’t read it until we were well into our marriage. It would be especially helpful for all you newly-weds out there! :-)

    Thanks so much for the comment! Oh, and backing me up on the yoga pants- love, love, love yoga pants! ;-)

  4. Thanks so much, Andrea! And you’re a fellow yoga-pants-wearer! Those things are just a win for everybody. ;-)

    That’s so true about us ladies setting the atmosphere in our homes. Sure, he might have a rough day at work, but coming home to a happy and calm wife will almost always brighten his mood. Thanks for pointing that out and sharing with us!

  5. This is SO good!!! And even when your kids get to be teenagers and you are going crazy with running them places and all their hormones, keep your husband first!!!

  6. Courtney says:

    I so enjoyed this and will apply many many of these tips to my everyday life! I was basically a single mom for 15 years before I met and married my husband. We are celebrating our 1 year anniversary on Easter Sunday this year. Let me tell you it’s been a very interesting year! Juggling learning how to live with another adult…and that adult being a man!! plus chasing after a 5 & 16 year old has been rough! As we approach our 1 year anniversary I feel that I have learned a lot but there are days where I feel like I can’t keep all of my balls in the air. I am so thankful that I have found this blog! Thank you!!

  7. loshini shashidharan says:

    and your words had just inspired me Andrea..thank you :)
    lots of love

  8. Justyn,
    I have been married for 15 months and my wife now says that she believes that a mothers role changes “when she has children” : the children become No.1 Priority for her, and husband becomes No. 2.
    After clarifying that- that is what she really means- I am wandering what I can do to to get her to consider the priority of our relationship inspite of children… without sounding like a shouvenist pig!
    (We are both commited Christians- she is from an Eastern Europeian background with a love for her customs and parental values.)

  9. Hi James,

    What she really needs to understand, in that situation, is that a strong marriage is what is best for the children. If she can see that she cannot be the best mother and you cannot be the best father if your marriage is weak, that would probably get her to at least move in the right direction.

    Most women think that all the needs and *wants* of the children should go above all the needs and wants of their husbands. Children are going to have legitimate needs (safety, food, etc.) that are things a husband can handle on his own, if necessary. It’s when those legitimate needs end up including all the wants and it all ends up taking priority over the husband, that the problems come. Many women aren’t able to see the difference.

    Here’s what I would suggest trying.
    1- Try to explain that the two of you cannot be the best parents possible if your marriage isn’t strong. Strong marriages take work and time. The most important thing you can give your children is a strong, godly marriage.
    2- Talk about the differences between wants and needs, both for yourself and for the children.
    3- Ask if she would be willing to put more time and energy into building a stronger marriage if you were to take over meeting some of the children’s legitimate needs. For example, if she’s too exhausted at the end of the day to give you any time and energy, “take over” as soon as dinner is done. Clean up the dishes and kitchen and get the kids ready for bed while she reads a book or takes a bath.
    4- Keep reassuring her that you’re not trying to leave the children without proper care. Don’t act resentful towards them or she will probably react by trying to defend them. Continue to point out how important it is to have a good marriage for the children.
    5- Always be flexible and understanding. If you say and show your appreciation for any and all effort she makes, it will help her to know that this isn’t about you being selfish. Let her know that you love her and want to be close to her. Let her know that you’re on her side and you’re working hard to be a good husband and a good father.

    It sounds like she was raised to see marriage as a secondary relationship to parenting, and that will take a lot of time to change. If she can see the benefits for the children, having a strong marriage will become more important to her. Try to make friends with couples who have children, but put their marriage first. If she can see it in action, that will make the most difference.

    Blessings!
    Justyn

  10. I would really like to know how a woman with a full time job can practically make her husband priority number one? I honestly cannot be everything to everyone and the only solution I have is to quit my job. Any practical advice is appreciated.

  11. Cindy, u can’t be everything for everyone! That’s not your job, but it’s our Heavenly Father’s job. Yours is to put Him first then your family. There are practical ways that you can make your husband feel loved, pls remember that before your children came, it was just you and him (I’m assuming this is the case…) set aside time, maybe 20 mins daily, to just be with him. Depending on your kids’ ages, you can have time to talk with your hubby maybe while making dinner or after you get kids to bed, while getting ready for bed, catch up with him. Doing couples’ devo, praying together before bed is a practical way to be closer as a couple and to be closer to God. Taking a shower together can also be a special time together that you can both look forward to (this doesn’t necessarily lead to sex). Asking him to help out with chores, can save you both time n energy. If he craves time alone with you (which most husbands do), he will do things to help you so that you can do just that. I speak from experience and my heart when I say that your marriage should be 2nd only to God…I have 4 kids (less than 2 yrs apart each). I had to learn to shift my priorities. I also work outside the house out of necessity. If you are able to connect with other moms, do it. You need support from women who are your same situation, not to mention, you also need a break for yourself. You cannot pour out yourself for your family if you are empty ;0) hope this help a little

    Blessings to you and your family,
    Leni

  12. I’m a newlywed wife and don’t have kids yet, but being in college and working part time still has my schedule rather full, and it’s very common for me to be very stressed and emotionally worn out. He won’t admit when I’m not doing good enough, and usually thinks that it’s his fault if something goes wrong. I still have time that I can spend with my husband, but what might be some things that I can do to help him feel more loved and happier in our home? What might be some good habits for me to form for when I do become a mother?

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