Last week we talked to the ladies, but this week it’s all eyes on men. Husbands, listen in to hear five phrases your wife needs to hear often.
Ryan: So last week we talked about five… I think it was five surefire ways to emasculate your husband. [both laughs] And that was just a creative way of titling. We should have titled it like this: five things your husband needs to hear. [both laughs]
Selena: Emasculate just reminds you just… I just think of an axe. Just chop. Like just chop off the masculinity.
Ryan: If you haven’t heard that episode, go listen to that, watch that. Go back one episode on the Fierce Marriage side. You might find it interesting.
But for this week, we’re talking about five phrases that every wife needs to hear often. So this should be good. We’re going to pick on Selena a little bit today. That usually goes well for me. [both laughs] We’ll see you on the other side.
Selena: These five phrases I would agree with, but I do have some caveats because I don’t feel like I need to hear them that often.
Ryan: It’s because you just hear them so much-
Selena: I just hear them so much.
Ryan: …and you take them for granted.
Selena: It’s probably true. It’s probably true. [laughs]
Ryan: I mean, define “often”. Once a year? [Selena laughs]
Selena: Once a lifetime. [laughs]
Ryan: There’s a story that we heard. I heard a story. I’m just gonna read it. “I heard a story of a man and his wife who were having difficulty communicating. She felt undervalued and he felt that nagged. [both laughs]
Selena: The definitive communication issue in a marriage.
Ryan: “She felt that his love for her was fading, and he felt like she was getting overly needy. [Selena laughs] Flustered, she explained, ‘I’m not sure you even love me anymore!’. In response he quipped, ‘Honey I said I loved you the day I married you and if that ever changes I’ll let you know.’” [both laughs] So do you need to hear more often than that?
Ryan: I said I love you when we got married.
Selena: I’m good.
Ryan: If that changes, I’ll let you know.
Selena: You married a very self-efficient woman, whatever.
Ryan: You’re so self-sufficient you don’t need to be corrected at all. [both laughs]
Selena: Oh, my gosh. This is how it goes. We’re going to talk about a little bit of scripture here. But I think that, I mean, as you’ll see, this boils down to a communication issue. It’s important for a wife to be affirmed and to be assured and to be loved and to know that she’s loved and to hear that.
Not everybody needs to hear it every day, but some wives do. But we need to know that we are loved. We need to know that we’re valued. Otherwise, your marriage is gonna grow cold, your hearts are going to be hardened, the friendship is not going to be there.
Ryan: I honestly think this and other communication topics, they offer the quickest, most fruitful way to improve your marriage. If this is not your culture in your marriage to say these things to one another or to go back even to what a husband needs to hear, if it’s not within your culture and your habits to say those things, just learning and applying just these tiny, little tips that we’re giving you, I think is the quickest way to see a very significant improvement in the life of your marriage. So let’s just read a passage, unless you had something else you want to add to that.
This comes from Proverbs 18 starting in verse 20. “From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.”
Selena: It’s quite the progression there. [both laughs]
Ryan: Yeah. Yeah. It’s funny because I included the first verses there because it’s talking about how… It’s almost as people—okay, it’s using the word “man” but I think he’s talking about human—we have to sleep in the beds we make verbally. That’s why it says, from the fruit of a man’s mouth, his stomach is satisfied.
If you think about that in the proverbial context, if you’re running the mouth in a foolish way or you’re running it in the wise way, your stomach is either gonna starve or you’re gonna be satisfied because of the way that you’re going to land in the marketplace of ideas. In the literal marketplace, not just in life in general.
And then it goes on to say that more clearly. He says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” In other words, those who value the tongue and what it produces will eat the goods of what it can produce on the good side of it.
But what really interested me about this passage is that it immediately… So you have this passage that… If you’ve been in church for a while you’ve heard this: death and life are in the power of the tongue. You know, speak life, don’t speak death. Don’t destroy with your words, build up with your words. And those who love it will eat its fruit.
And then immediately it goes into this… It’s like it pivots. But I don’t think he’s pivoting. I think he’s doing something intentional. He says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” So what…
Selena: Well… Sorry.
Ryan: What does the power of the tongue have to do with finding a wife?
Selena: Well in other Proverbs [00:05:00] when they’re talking about a wife, they say it’s better to live on the corner of a roof than to live with a nagging wife. There’s all these associations of this annoyance and dripping of… like the drops-
Ryan: [inaudible 00:05:12] faucet.
Selena: Yes, the wife who is a faucet. So there’s obviously something that is there, somewhat innate, I think, in women to have this tendency to, you know, possibly complain, possibly nag. So hearing some of these phrases dispel some of that. Not that it’s on all the husband to say these things. But I’m saying the wife… maybe I’ll stop nagging if you tell me you love me more. [laughs] I’m just kidding.
Ryan: But I think it’s getting the communication nature of a man.
Selena: Of course, yes.
Ryan: That’s why it doesn’t say, “he who finds a spouse finds a good thing.” It’s not. Now, we’re talking in generally. Death and life are in the power of the tongue. By the way, he who finds a wife finds a good thing. The context needs to be examined here more closely. But there’s a reason why these verses are knit together like this.
I think I posit that could it be that this passage is speaking to the communication styles of men and their implications on how they’re married, like how they conduct themselves within marriage.
Ryan: I don’t think wives are brought this close to the passage on life and death by coincidence. It’s meant to put husbands on call. So let’s perk up our ears. So death and life and the power of what we say. We always say this about the wife. We said this all last week, right? The wife’s words hold immense power in the heart of her husband. Well, she’s gonna tear him down or build him up.
Well, in the same exact way, a husband can be loving and nurturing and puts you in a place of security and a place of never doubting your place in the orientation I have towards you and therefore your security within our covenant, even in reorienting your eyes on Christ and the security that you have in Him.
Selena: It’s good.
Ryan: I think this is just an affirmation to guys. If you’re watching this, you’re hearing this, perk your ears up because your words will either give life or death to you, to your wife, to your kids, friends-
Selena: Well, in Ephesians 5, you as the head will be held accountable to present your bride. No pressure there. [chuckles]
Ryan: Well, some guys will say this. I mean, to go back to the joke we said at the beginning, I told my wife I loved her back then, I’ll tell her if anything changes. That’s kind of funny. Some guys will say, “I’m just not that emotionally expressive. I love my wife and I think she’s the best but I don’t tell her because I just don’t think about it. I don’t need to tell her because I don’t feel the urge to tell her. She already knows because of the way she carries…” I guarantee you the way your wife carries her may not be the way that she is internalizing things in mind.
Selena: Right. Right.
Ryan: Or some guys will say, “Oh, I forget to tell her what she means to me just because I’m so busy.”
Selena: If you forget to tell your wife how you feel about her, there’s some deeper issues going on there.
Ryan: No, I’m telling you, some guys just aren’t wired this way.
Selena: Okay. I guess I could say the same because I’m not-
Ryan: Don’t take offense at this. Okay? We could probably go like a week without kissing and it wouldn’t bother you. Maybe four days. Maybe after four days, you’d start to be bothered.
Selena: Yeah. You like kisses.
Ryan: I’m like, “This is how I show you my love. I’m gonna give you a kiss.”
Selena: And if I don’t-
Ryan: I expect kisses in return.
Selena: And if I don’t, then he thinks that I don’t love him.
Ryan: Because you don’t.
Selena: That’s how you interpret it. [both laughs] Let’s begin. Five phrases every wife needs to hear often. There’s a lot of qualifiers to those things there which we won’t get into. Okay.
Ryan: Number one, I love you. This one sounds very simple but I’m always surprised at how often wives write in saying, like, “My husband…”
Selena: Yeah. If a wife is starved of this, those very words can just melt her and bring her back to life. If there’s been no expression of love, hearing those from her husband’s mouth is very disarming. It can stop her in her tracks. You make eye contact. We talked about the 15-second kiss, which is still I think by far our biggest…. or our most-read blog post.
Ryan: Biggest blog post.
Ryan: Most words. No, I’m kidding.
Selena: No, it’s the most read.
Ryan: It’s actually very short. If you’re in the habit of already saying I love you to your spouse, then the encouragement here is maybe say it differently. And what I mean by that is I think I oftentimes do this to you and you’re like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” I don’t know, I’m probably the more affectionate one.
Selena: So funny.
Ryan: Because I’ll be like, “Selena, I love you to the moon and back.” [both chuckles] Or I’ll say something like, you know-
Selena: Super eloquent.
Ryan: I’ll try to be more eloquent. I won’t say it is eloquent. I will try to be eloquent. I’ll just kind of expand on what that means to say, “When I say I love you, it means that there’s no other woman-
Selena: “I would die for you.” [both laughs]
Ryan: There’s no other woman [00:10:00] that I feel anything remote to what I feel toward you.
Selena: And I’m like, “That’s how it should be. And I love you too.” [laughs]
Ryan: You’re not wrong. Just not very romantic. [both laughs]
Selena: Sometimes the words can be right, but the tone and the approach can be completely wrong, right?
Ryan: If you’re not in the habit of doing it, get in the habit of doing it. Highly recommend that. If you are, then just get a little more expressive. 15-second kissing sort of dimension. What that is, is kiss for 15 seconds. Like try to do that every day. Like taking that challenge and do that every day. 15 seconds is a long time to kiss when you’re not in the middle of more kissy things. [Selena laughs]
If like you’re trying to head out the door or you’re just getting home dinner’s on the stove, the kids are running around, 15 seconds is a way to really calibrate that thing and say, “I love you,” without actually saying “I love you”.
Okay, number two, I love you the way you are. Now what do we mean by this?
Selena: I felt like this portion should have been updated or something. You wrote this part.
Ryan: Like seven years ago.
Selena: I don’t want it to sound like it’s an enabling statement. Right? “I love you the way you are, you don’t have to change.” Like just be who you are. No, as Christians-
Ryan: This is a whole parenting episode on living your truth. It’s not what we’re saying.
Selena: Right. It’s not talking about, you know, just staying where you are and staying stagnant because as a couple we’ll just continue to drift. “I love you the way you are” goes with actually number four. I think is more of like a reassurance statement. Right? The husband have a unique way of validating their wife.
Ryan: Okay, clear example right now, and this is what I meant by this, is right now, Selena, you’re 38 weeks pregnant?
Selena: Almost. Yeah.
Ryan: So, you need to hear from me like I love you at 38 weeks pregnant. I think you’re beautiful. I think you’re wonderful-
Selena: God is miraculous.
Ryan: You’re a warrior. Your body is unbelievable to me in terms of what you’re doing right now [Selena chuckles] and the fact that you’re doing this for our household, for me, to carry my child. And then after you have the baby, and then the months after when you’re feeling all this, whatever, the let down from the hormones, the body changes-
Selena: This is when you need to hear these phrases.
Ryan: “I’m not fantasizing about anyone else. Like I’m not dreaming about some other woman. I love you the way you are.”
Ryan: That’s what we mean. It’s not I’m gonna enable you to sin. I’m gonna enable you to all sort of stuff.
Selena: Because no doubt we as wives are always dealing with insecurities, whether it comes to our physical looks, or our own personalities, or emotional kind of just instability, or whatever we’re facing. So to have a husband that is continually reminding us that they love us, they will always love us no matter what we look like, what we achieve, what we fail at, it’s a reflection of I really feel like the love of God that is unconditional.
Ryan: I think it’s been hilarious. The last week or so you’ve had those socks. What are those socks called?
Selena: Oh, the compression socks.
Ryan: And like to get those things on…
Selena: I can’t do it on my own. [laughs]
Ryan: Because you got a big belly and you got a baby in there. And I’m helping you do it.
Selena: The tight socks.
Ryan: And it’s hilarious because every time we do it, like I need all this leverage. You need to be like in a chair that’s not gonna go anywhere. I have to ace all my strength open those things up.
Selena: It’s this sign of love. It really is a sign of love.
Ryan: And I’m looking at you, it’s like your ankles are holding more fluid than it normally would, and I’m saying, “Man, I just love these ankles so much.” [laughs]
Selena: These cankles. [both laughs]
Ryan: What they hey represent-
Selena: And what they represent.
Ryan: And yes, I’ll help you put your compression socks on.
Selena: Number three. This phrase I think is so important, especially if you do have children or you carry a lot of responsibility in your household as a woman or as a wife. The phrase that “I’m grateful for you,” phrases like “thank you for everything you do from parenting to being my wife.”
When he says that, “I’m thankful for you,” it’s not that my identity isn’t wrapped up in making him grateful for me. It’s more of, wow, he sees my effort. He sees that the Lord is working on my own heart. He sees me failing. He sees me being sanctified straight up face to face. Nothing’s blocking that. I’m not just posting a beautiful picture for him to see on Instagram. He sees the reality of my failings and shortcomings and still he says, “I’m grateful for you.”
I think that does a few things. It models gratefulness for our children, and it starts forming that vocabulary within our household. But also it stirs off grumbling and complaining within our relationship, I think.
Ryan: I mean, go back to that passage in Proverbs. It says, the man who finds a wife finds a good thing. I think a man who sees his wife correctly will inevitably be grateful for her regardless of what they’re going through. [00:15:00] Like a wife truly is a good thing.
Selena: It also ward’s off temptation.
Ryan: Yes. Well, yeah.
Ryan: The encouragement to husbands here is… You know, if you’re finding yourself not being grateful for your wife, that’s a big problem. That’s something you take up with God and take it with other men in your life and find out where your heart is at and why the ungratefulness is there. Because a wife is a good thing, not your wife’s gonna be perfect.
Ryan: And we’re not just grateful for each other when we’re on good behavior. Granted, you know, I think we like each other more in those moments, but our love is, you know, it’s based on… Love is not from us, it’s from Him.
Ryan: Number four.
Selena: Number four.
Ryan: In whatever category of things.
Selena: Yes. Which I thought number two kind of went with… This is taken from one of our blog posts, but it was talking about how I’ll always love you no matter what, or I’ll never leave you. It just kind of fell into the phrases that really touch my heart and speak to me of these just reassurance.
I don’t have to question if we’re going to work out. I don’t have to question if he’s going to be there. I don’t have to question him leaving walking out. I don’t question his commitment to me. I’m very assured in mostly everything in our life.
And sometimes I might have to say, like right now, can you remind me, when we’re bringing this baby into the world, that God is my strength, that you’re here for me? You know, there’s things in my own mind that I rest in his assurance, and I am confident that He’s gonna say these things and be with me.
Ryan: It took me a long time to learn that about you, to be honest, to go out of what I normally think you might need and to say, like… I’m just gonna say this to bank the statement for later. Even if doesn’t connect with it right now, I’m just gonna get in this habit of saying, like, “We’re gonna make it. It’s all gonna be okay.” Not that we’re relationally gonna make it.
Ryan: But whatever the circumstance is, it’s going to be okay. It’ll work itself out. Kids are being frustrating, like we’ll get through it together. We’ll work together.
Selena: We’re a team. We’re on the same team.
Ryan: And you husband, you know what your wife needs reassurance over. The line you have to tread here is like we’re not codependent, in that I’m not just going to tell her a bunch of things that she refuses to believe on her own.
Ryan: The point is that we’re helping bolster faith. But there has to be faith there. You know, I’m not just a broken record because you refuse to believe it. But I’m here to encourage you because sometimes we struggle to believe it.
Number five. My favorite one. You’re beautiful. You are beautiful. I wrote this post a long time ago. It’s one of our first blog posts. And I think it’s called My Wife, My Ultimate Standard of Beauty. And I had this idea, years ahead of that. And it was just this idea that the best way for me to assuage any sort of temptation, whether it’s pornography stuff, or living your life, and people are in your life, and there’s all sorts of other women to look at. I realized like all of that is vapid, sinful. Pornography is sinful.
But like any sort of entertaining of the thoughts that like, “Oh, that person is also beautiful,” whatever, they were fruitless. They were fruitless and unhelpful. I just started reorienting my heart around my wife and saying, “Wait a second. I appreciate this woman that God’s given me.” And she happens to be Five feet eight.
Selena: Four. [laughs]
Ryan: Five feet four. [laughs] I was gonna say six. And I went up two and she’s essentially gone down.
Selena: Man, wow.
Ryan: I love five-four. My wife has dark, beautiful brown hair. I love dark, beautiful brown hair. She has all these different features. I love your face. I just go through the things that I love about you. And that becomes my standard of beauty. And anyone who deviates from that, in other words, if it’s not you-
Selena: Yeah, anyways who’s not me-
Ryan: …falls completely short. Some of it is mental gymnastics. Some of it is just like, you know… But it’s about disciplining your mind to say, what God has given me is good for me. It’s more than good enough. And I’m gonna tell my wife that that’s what I think. Now, it needs to be true. When you say, “You’re beautiful,” you have to mean it. Right?
Selena: Yeah. I think what is so amazing about things like this is that it does become, like we talked about, cyclical, you know. When you-
Ryan: You tell me I’m beautiful when I say you’re beautiful. Because she says, “You too.”
Selena: You too. No, but you know, it encourages a wife to really step into the role or step into any area that maybe she was feeling insecure and to walk securely in that. To know that my husband thinks I’m beautiful, that I’m the standard of beauty. I am not worried about him looking or going anywhere else or entertaining any other thing which, again, makes me want to be the wife that he sees and that he wants and he desires. [00:20:00] So there’s less holding back, I guess.
Ryan: You know, I wrote this article a long time ago. But what I want to say now, because you know that I think you’re beautiful, but what I want to say now and as we’ve lived life alongside each other this long is I want to say to you, you’re more than enough a woman for me. [Selena chuckles] Right? Because you are enough woman for me.
And like when do you say to me, “You’re man enough for me, you’re more than enough man for me,” I puff up. Because, I don’t know, there’s something about your beauty that is far more than what you look like.
Ryan: Seeing you teach our daughters and instruct them in the word and seeing you teach the word in instances like these, that shows me how truly beautiful you are. So don’t just get hung up on the externalities of it.
Ryan: This is maybe another piggyback on that “I’m grateful for you” piece. What beauty do you recognize in your wife? Articulate those things if you have to. Which by the way, I have a book coming out. Selena has a similar book coming out. Not sure when they’re gonna come out together or what because we’re editing. But it’s called How a Husband Speaks.
And one of the things we talk about is how to get through some of these… You know, you want to say these things to your wife, you don’t know how to say them. So one of the chapters is called To the Pen and why writing is such a cool tool for that. But you’ll have to get the book when it comes out if you want more on that.
So there they are. The five phrases a wife needs to hear often. Number one, I love you. Number two, I love you the way you are. Number three, I am grateful for you. Number four, always love you. Things like reassurance phrases, “I’ll never leave. We’ll work this out,” if you’re in a fight or something like that. Number five is, you’re beautiful. So that’s it. Any other things to add?
Selena: No, I think that’s it. I think just don’t underestimate the words, husbands, that your words have on your wife’s heart and your wife’s mind and her state of being. Not that it is all up to you to keep her sane and keep her going-
Ryan: Confidence needs to come from Christ.
Selena: Our identity… yes we’re anchored first and foremost in the Lord. Our marriage is one of the sources that we can go to, I think, to be built up when we’re being sanctified, to be encouraged when we’re repenting, and then going to the Lord with our sins. You know, we’re not there to throw in each other’s faces. We’re there to say, yes, repent and believe, repent and believe.
Ryan: Which, by the way, husband, wife listening to this, if you go through and read through any one of the Gospels, right, so the books in the Bible, Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, and you look at what is Jesus preaching… Our world has this view of Jesus that, frankly, just is not Jesus. They’ll say that Jesus is basically this buddy of mine that will affirm everything that I want Him to affirm. He’s just kind of like, “Here you go. I mean, best… He’s a cheerleader. He’s in our corner.”
That’s not the God of the Bible. It’s not Jesus of the Bible. Jesus of the Bible, Selena, you used this word repent, His first call is repent. In other words, what’s repentance? It’s metanoia, I think is where the word comes from. It’s like turning away, changing. Turning from this one-eighty back toward Christ.
So if you’ve not repented to God and said, “Lord, forgive me, I’ve sinned against you. Help me turn from my sin,” then I am sad to say that you are outside of God’s grace. And when we repent to Christ, we put our faith in Him, then we are forever within His grace.
And that’s what I’m saying. I’m not saying that if you’re a Christian and you put your faith in Christ, and you’ve forgotten to repent, that’s not what I’m saying that you’re outside of his grace now. What I’m saying, if you’ve never repented to Christ, you’ve not placed your true faith in Him, then you will be found wanting on that day you stand for your Creator.
So we want to encourage you to place your faith in Christ, not just to be saved but to have Him be the Lord of your life because He is worthy of every ounce of your being and He is the very fount of joy, of love, of hope, of peace. Everything that every human wants is found in Christ. But we must turn our life over to Him.
If you don’t know what that means and you want to find out more, I encourage you to talk to a pastor, talk to a friend who’s a Christian, or go to this website, thenewsisgood.com.
Let’s pray. Lord, we thank You for the ability to use words to build each other up in marriage. Thank You that communication is such an uncommon grace that you’ve given us to be able to share the ideas and thoughts from one soul to the next.
I pray that we would wield that gift wisely. That we would use our words to speak life and that husbands would know that if they have a wife, they have found a good thing and that it is up to them to use their words to build up their wife.
Lord, I pray that You would remind the husbands and gently poke and prod them to do that, and lead them. Lord, may they submit to You, may they obey You gladly, and may their marriages flourish as a result. May their wives be like a fruitful vine. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Ryan: If you haven’t done it yet, please check out fiercemarriage.com/partner. We rely on our patrons to help us keep this thing ad-free. Because ads are the worst. Ads are lame. We wanna keep them out of here. This is a clean, clutterest podcast. So if you enjoy that aspect of it, even like two or three bucks a month goes a long way. I don’t usually say that but the consistency is what really goes a long way. So we would appreciate praying over that if you feel called to join.
Otherwise keep coming around. We’ll keep putting the content out there. You are welcome to it and we hope that it blesses you.
That said, this episode of Fierce Marriage is—
Selena: In the can.
Ryan: We’ll see you again in about seven days. Until next time—
Selena: Stay fierce.