(The first post on The irresistible man covered the first of a wife’s three major needs: security. This post will handle the other two: acceptance and emotional connection.)
Photo by Tina Vanderlaan
When it comes to acceptance, every man should take a page from the Song of Solomon and apply it to his marriage. You see, Solomon knew the importance of elevating his wife’s beauty, her appearance, her dignity, her worth, and her value as a woman. As you’ll see in a moment, he carefully chose his words to communicate how beautiful she was to him. Such praise and affirmation are essential for a woman to hear. Acceptance begins with an understanding of what your wife is feeling about herself.
Does she feel good about the way she looks? Her hair? Her clothes and shoes? Her weight? Her skin tone? Her body image? Her teeth? Her overall attractiveness? Chances are good that she compares herself to the airbrushed models of perfection she sees every day. From the covers of the magazines in the checkout line to the advertisements she watches on television, your wife is constantly made to feel inferior, unworthy, and unacceptable.
Solomon recognized his bride’s need for affirmation and didn’t hesitate to go beyond mere acceptance. He lavished praise on her. He said, “I liken you, my darling, to a mare harnessed to one of the chariots of Pharaoh” (Song of Solomon 1:9). Now, before you try that line on your wife, keep in mind the context. The picture was of Solomon’s finest mare, most likely an Arabian beauty, a dark creature of unquestioned magnificence. It was the finest horse that money could buy. This exotic creature would have turned heads—maybe even caused a stampede because of her exquisite beauty. In other words, Solomon used poetic language to tell his wife that she was magnificent.
But that’s not all.
Solomon quickly added, “Your cheeks are beautiful with earrings, your neck with strings of jewels. We will make you earrings of gold, studded with silver” (Song of Solomon 1:10–11). He not only accepted her and saw her as a woman of great beauty, but he lavished jewelry on her. When was the last time you sprang for a new bracelet? A necklace? A ring? Like Solomon, let your wife know you esteem her greatly by giving her something extraordinary.
When Barbara and I were first married, I realized early on that she needed to be cherished for her beauty. When we started to have children, her body began to change. She wondered if she was still physically attractive to me. I worked at praising her beauty at that stage in our marriage. And now that we’ve moved into the empty nest years, I can’t coast. I understand how important it is for me to continue to praise her. The truth is, I think she’s spectacular!
In the same way, your wife longs for unconditional acceptance. She secretly hopes you’ll notice and commend her various qualities — her receptivity and obedience to God, her personality, her faithfulness in raising children and making a home. Because you are the most important person in her life, your affirmation and acceptance unleash an inner beauty and a confidence that radiate.
Marriage is a partnership that takes teamwork. Some men fail in their partnership because they don’t make an emotional connection with their wives. Heidi, who attended one of FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember getaways, writes, “My husband does nothing to help me around the house. I am just plain tired. I do all the laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, everything after working all day … oh, we’ll stay married, but I just know we could be happier.”
Did you know that when you participate in family life by sharing in some of the daily duties, you connect with your wife on an emotional level? Men spell romance s-e-x, but women spell romance r-e-l-a-t-i-o-n-s-h-i-p. Working together around the house or in the yard (Barbara’s other domain) is a great way to communicate your love for your wife.
Another way to connect emotionally is to compliment your wife. Proverbs offers this pointer: “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones” (16:24 NKJV). How often do you praise your wife for what she does? Consider a few of these compliments to brighten her day:
- “Dinner was great! Thank you for always making creative meals, even when you’re tired of cooking.”
- “I love the way you read books to our kids. That’s so much better for them than watching TV.”
- “I’m grateful that you carefully budget our paycheck each month.”
- “I admire the way you handled yourself with that rude salesman — you have such a winsome approach.”
- “The flowers you planted make our home so much more inviting. I appreciate your hard work.”
As you work to make an emotional connection with your words and actions, go below the surface to the real issues of life. How? Start to talk with her. For some, this involves a conscious choice. Share with her, for example, what goes on at work — what you’re doing well, where you’re struggling, the people you’re working with, the people you encounter. Most women love hearing all of the details. You’ll also discover that she can provide wise counsel on different issues you’re facing.
Finally ask your wife questions about what she is feeling, and then listen to her. One way I do this with Barbara is to ask questions that can’t be answered with a “yes” or “no.” For example, I might ask her, “How did that exchange with our teenage son make you feel?” Making the effort to know specifics about her background, her favorite things, and her dreams all communicate to her, “I want to know you. I want to be your soul mate.”
A favorite question that I asked Barbara was, “What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done in your life?” Try that question on a date night with your wife, and give her time to think about her answer. You might consider sharing how you would answer the question. Here are some more questions to help you make the connection:
- What is one of your earliest childhood memories?
- What is one thing from your past that you struggle with?
- What was one of your proudest achievements before we met?
- What was your relationship with your dad like? How about your mom?
- At what time did you place your faith in Christ as your Savior; what were the circumstances?
- What would you say was our best family vacation, and why?
- What is your favorite book in the Bible? Hymn? Why?
- If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you like to live?
- What dreams do you have for our children?
- What do you long to experience with me in our marriage?
- What do you want to accomplish after the kids are grown?
As you study your wife and learn how and when to build security, acceptance, and emotional connection into your relationship, you will become an irresistible man. And let me make one last practical suggestion: When you come home from work, here are four of the most romantic words to say to your wife: How can I help? You’ll never go wrong asking this question any time of the day or night. Those words are music to her ears because they demonstrate that you desire to connect to her world. Why not try it — and mean it — tonight?
You just finished reading the Stepping Up blog post, “The irresistible man” (part 1 & part 2) by Dennis Rainey
What aspect of relationship do you need to work on: security, acceptance, or emotional connection?
Plan a date with your wife and ask her one or more of the questions listed immediately above. Listen like you mean it.
If these personal exercises are helpful, tell a friend what you did. Share this article with him so he can connect with his wife.
Adapted by permission. Rekindling the Romance by Dennis and Barbara Rainey, ©copyright 2004. Thomas Nelson, Inc. Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Copying or using this material without written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited and in direct violation of the copyright law.