The Husband’s Priorities (Eph. 5:23)

The Bible declares in Ephesians 5:23: “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.” Then, to build on this pronouncement, verse 25 proposes: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.”

The implications of these passages are intriguing and challenging. For, if the husband is the head of the wife, as presented in the Bible, and husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her, then husbands have a pretty awesome responsibility to be in their marriage what Christ has been to the church.

We find it extraordinary that social scientific research is in agreement with the Bible on what a husband can do in his relationship with his wife. Dr. John Gottman, one of the leading marriage researchers in the world, indicates that women need to feel respected, heard, and connected to the men in their lives, and for this to be a reality, among a husband’s priorities, a man needs to be in tune with his wife. Gottman refers to this concept as “attunement”; in essence sharing that a man’s relationship with his wife would completely change if he did the following:

Attend: Give her your complete attention when she needs to talk to you. Put away your mobile phone, turn off the game on television, show by your actions that you care about her and about what she is saying. Even if what your wife is saying seems unimportant to you, it is important to her and it is an invitation for connection. And if you are out for dinner at a restaurant with her, direct your attention to her. Do not scan the room to check out other women. Attention equals affection, and ultimately how you express love.

Turn toward: Physically turn toward your wife when she is speaking to you. Show genuine interest in what she is saying. Look at her at when she is speaking to convey genuine attention.

Understand: Regardless of what your wife is saying, your goal should be to try to understand her. By the way, understanding does not mean trying to fix the concern she is sharing. Rather, ask how the situation makes her feel and what it really means to her.

Nondefensively listen: If your wife is upset about something you said or did, do not overreact or act defensively, simply listen. Tune in to her feelings and convey that you heard and understood her by making statements like: “I am hearing you say what I said really made you angry.” Even if you do not agree with what she is saying, communicate your interest in listening to what she has to say.

Empathize: Listen nondefensively, even if you do not agree with what she is saying and show empathy and compassion for what she is communicating.

We guarantee that any husband that gives attention to these priorities and makes them a part of his daily interactions with his wife will experience a positive growth in his marriage relationship. We encourage you—if you are a husband—to try this and experience the quality of your relationship going from good to great!

* Gottman, John Mordechai. The Man’s Guide to Women: Scientifically Proven Secrets from the “love Lab” about What Women Really Want. New York, NY: Rodale, 2016.