Showing Appreciation to Your Wife

Gary Henry

I CAN FLY HIGHER THAN AN EAGLE . . . but you are the wind beneath my wings." So went the refrain of a recently popular song. How many wives heard that and thought for a wistful moment how nice it would be if their own husbands would say something like that to them?

The unappreciated wife is the victim of one of life's saddest injustices. And the horsewhip is about all a man deserves who is either so unfeeling or so stingy with his praise that he will not regularly tell his wife how grateful he is for her. Yet, Christian husbands by the thousands, this writer included, will have to admit that they have not tapped the tongue's potential to brighten the life of their good wives. What can be done to deal with this habit of neglect?

DO APPRECIATE HER. Wives need real gratitude, not play-acting. In fact, wives hate nothing more than to be patronized. The suspicion that a man may be expressing appreciation merely because that is what he is "supposed" to do will breed resentment. What is needed is something more than a husband who will talk and act as if he valued his wife. The man who substitutes the carrot for the stick just to get more work out of his "maid" deserves the contempt he will eventually get.

The only worthwhile way to solve the problem of non-expression of appreciation is to solve the problem of non-expression itself. Words of gratitude are hollow insults if a man's heart is not involved. Candy on Valentine's Day is nice, and so are flowers on Mother's Day. but tokens of appreciation are cheap if they are not given in genuine love. If our wives do not hear enough about how much they mean to us, it may be because we have forgotten how much they actually do mean to us. And we can begin remedying that by rediscovering just how special our wives are.

COUNT HER VIRTUES. Husbands would do well to spend some time fairly frequently reminding themselves how many praiseworthy attributes their wives possess. The chances are good that the qualities are still there which originally prompted a marriage proposal. These have probably deepened with the passing of time and been enriched by the addition of still other wonderful characteristics. These need only to be remembered consciously to be appreciated. And when he is counting his wife's virtues, the average husband can head the list with the benevolent generosity she demonstrated in marrying him!?

The husband who meditates on his wife, prays about her, and enumerates to God the things about her for which he is thankful will sooner or later find himself being more expressive of these thoughts to his wife herself. If he counts her blessings - the way in which she has been uniquely gifted by God - he will be well on his way toward showing his appreciation more openly.

WALK IN HER SHOES OFTEN. Helping his wife with her work is a surefire way for a husband's appreciation to increase. It is not exaggerating to say that the average man could not hold up, physically or emotionally, under the load that she carries seven days a week. but if he will offer to help her now and then as opportunity permits, he will get a dose of reality that will do any marriage good.

Even the routine things that wives do are not only demanding physically, they require a range of skills that a husband many well underestimate until he has tried his own hand at a few of them. A man who is serious about learning to be more expressive of his appreciation needs to take advantage of every chance he gets to experience life as she lives it. Just let him make a fool of himself bungling his way through tasks that his wife performs with ease and expertise and he will be a rare man if he can continue to take her for granted.

Express Appreciation NOW. There is no grief more heart-rending than that of the husband who loved and appreciated his wife dearly but allowed her to go to her grave without letting her know how he really felt. As he weeps before her lifeless form in some funeral chapel he may well be tormented by the memory of the years he robbed her of the affection and gratitude that could have brightened her way. but his chances to show her his love are gone forever.

"If you can find a truly good wife, she is worth more than precious gems! . . . Her children stand and bless her with these words: There are many fine women in the world, but you are the best of them all!" (Proverbs 31:10,28f, Taylor). Christian husband, you have it within you to express your thankfulness for your wife. Do you love her? Do you appreciate her? Then tell her about it - before it's too late.

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