By Heather Frank
After ten years and (a few) counseling sessions into our marriage, I have learned what husbands need to hear during “pillow talk”…and it may not be what you think.
There is a phrase counselors like to refer to when diagnosing problems in a marriage, such as “what is making the house catch on fire?”. At our first counseling session our answer to that question was money. Fast-forward sixty minutes, and we discovered some deep rooted issues that actually caught our proverbial house on fire: I wasn’t valuing him the way he needed to be valued.
The Need for Verbal Admiration
I have been gifted with a man whose heart is filled with Jesus and integrity, and work ethic that is composed of grit, determination and sacrifice. He is also a man (like a lot of other men) who needs to hear that what he is doing is bringing value to our family.
Not only did he need to hear verbal praises time-to-time from me, he needed appreciation of his hard work by how well I stewarded our finances. This is not to say I was spending recklessly; rather, he needed to know I would honor what was brought in by intentionally spending with our goals in mind. This was the action he desired that followed the verbal support.
I learned that when he would come home from work, defeated from the day he needed his wife acknowledging the hard but holy work he is doing. Just like I need verbal recognition for the holy work I am doing in our home with our children, he yearns to be reminded that after ten years he is still valued in my eyes. By this we are able to come together, connecting deeper emotionally with the rest of the relationship (like the physical connection) naturally following.
4 Types of Verbal Admiration He Needs
- We set intentional time alone together. Before kids, we had the luxury to have date nights whenever we felt like it without the burden of finding a sitter. Now, we intentionally set one day a week to be alone together. Sometimes that looks like helpful grandparents watching our kids, and other times it looks like catching up on the couch once they go to bed. However it plays out, we make sure we have one evening a week to intentionally pour into each other.
- Compliment for deep connection. At least once a day, I aim to verbally praise my husband. Whether it’s “I’m proud of you for making it through that tough job” or “Thank you for running that errand for me,” I do my best to let him know how much I appreciate him. Not only does this lift his spirits, he desires to make me happy more than needing to hear a good word himself. When we aim to please each other, we both win by forming this deeper connection.
- Pray together. This may seem like a no-brainer but we never understood the power of coming to God together until we actually did it. The majority of our marriage we were really good at approaching the Lord independently. When we intentionally came together in prayer, we experienced unity the way it was intended to be: strong, powerful and steadfast.
- We meet with a counselor. We are a team and we have come to appreciate the value a trusted, Jesus-loving counselor can bring to our table. Much like a car needs a regular oil-change, our marriage needs regular assessments that our counselor aids in. Without her wisdom and guidance, it would have taken us a lot longer to figure out how to speak each other’s love language.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:9-10 (NIV)
It’s never too late to give your husband the verbal admiration he needs, which will bless your marriage!
Wife Step: Ask your husband what kind of verbal admiration he most wants from you, then give it to him.
Heather Frank is the wife to a small-town dreaming entrepreneur and mother of two. She is an advocate for mental health wellness and spreading the Gospel. Heather published her first book, “Gracefully Navigating Anxiety: Gospel Direction for a Peace-filled Mindset” shortly after laying down a successful photography business.
Heather is a published photographer, writer, and creative with a passion for women who feel broken and community that can be the hands and feet of Jesus.