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In Good Times and in Bad

5 Ways to Support Your Husband in Tough Times

by Danielle Bean 

If work stress, job loss or some other challenge has your man down these days, you as his wife – the one he looks to most for love and affirmation – are in a unique position to help him feel like a hero again.

Here, some practical ways wives can build up their husbands during difficult times:

1. Hear him.

Sometimes, your husband just wants to express his thoughts and feelings to a non-judgmental listener. If he vents about difficult people in his office, the evil boss that laid him off, or the lousy weather, let him do it.

Keep in mind, though, that men communicate more directly than women. Don’t interrupt with your own observations or “listen” while you change the baby’s diaper and sweep the floor. Your man will feel loved and listened to if you maintain eye contact and do nothing else while he speaks.

2. Feed him.

Food might not be the only way to a man’s heart, but it surely is an effective one. Is there a recipe your husband enjoys that you haven’t made in a while? Find time to make it this week. Is there a dish he always orders at a nearby restaurant? Get it “to-go” and surprise him with it tonight.

It’s not so much the food itself as it is the thought behind it that will make your husband feel loved. You can make sure he has a hot breakfast, bring him a beer, or simply set the table and light some candles to make ordinary fare more enticing.

3. Touch him.

It can be difficult for us women to understand sometimes, but sex really is the primary way most men communicate love. If your husband’s ego has been bruised, initiating intimacy, or even just being a little flirtatious, is a sure way to make him feel like the powerful, attractive man you know he is. Give him an unexpected kiss, offer a backrub, or send an e-mail to let him know you’re thinking about him and can’t wait to spend time alone with him.

4. Serve him.

What are some little things you can do to make your husband feel cared for? You might de-clutter a spot in the house where he likes to unwind, fill his drawer with clean socks and underwear, make sure the shower has a fresh bar of soap before his shower, or take out the trash without saying a word. His life is rough right now. Think of these small acts of service as smoothing some of the rough edges and helping him relax.

5. Pray.

It seems obvious, but sometimes we get so busy we overlook the obvious. If you want blessings for your husband, you should head straight to the source – ask God to shower him with grace. You might also think of some small cross you regularly endure (carpools, folding laundry, dealing with tantrums) and offer it up for your husband’s intentions. That way, when these small sacrifices present themselves, you will not only have something to offer up for your husband, but a built-in reminder to pray for him as well.

If all else fails, talk to your husband. Show him this list and ask for his input. Tell him how much you want to support him and ask him how you can best do that. Just knowing that you are in his corner and you honestly desire to love and support him might be exactly the kind of encouragement he needs.

Danielle Bean, a mother of eight, is Editorial Director of  Faith & Family. She is writing a series of columns for Fathers for Good that explore the relations between husband and wife