A Letter to Husbands: Killing Your Wife with Kindness

Letters to Husbands Michelle Lindsey October 11, 2014

Dear husbands,

Do you feel spent? Are you reminded daily of all the things your wife wants from you? Do you sometimes want to give up because nothing you do is good enough? Maybe you struggle with anger and your temper gets the best of you. If so, then you aren’t alone. You might think you are the only one feeling this way, but you are in the company of many men, and most of them aren’t very good about sharing their emotions. Helplessness can lead to anger.

It isn’t a secret that many men have a hard time connecting with their wives. You might feel helpless and defeated because no matter what you do, your wife is still feeling alone and frustrated. She wants to have meaningful conversations with you, but you are coming up empty. You don’t know how to make her happy, and you wish she would stop griping about everything. The more you push her away, the more angry she seems. Which just feeds into the crazy cycle.

Do you feel like you are lacking the most basic and proper tools needed to fulfill your wife’s needs?  Do you wonder if  you were absent when the good Lord handed out emotional intellect? Why is it so hard to make her happy?!

I could tell you she just needs to lean on God more. That is true, but that is a whole different post. I could tell you to go read some marriage books, and memorize some scripture. That would be beneficial, but there is a larger picture. It’s not so much about what you haven’t done, as it is about what God has done.

In your worst moments, when you were low, and hate-filled, God showed you kindness. He loved you and picked you up, even when you didn’t deserve it. And that kind of affection speaks volumes in this angry, rebellious world.

She clamors for your attention and it leaves you feeling inadequate, so you build more walls. While she tries to kick the walls down, you add more bricks. And while she wails at the door of your heart, you retreat further away from the noise. But the thing is, your wife needs this connection, and so do you. Having a friendship with your spouse is nothing short of life-giving, if you can be brave enough to allow her in, you will find one of the greatest joys of your life…intimacy.

You really do need to be heard and understood. You need the kindness of a best friend.  Instead of looking at your wife as needy, see yourself as needy right along with her. Touchy-feely stuff isn’t just for her. It’s for you too.

I know this because I have sons. And I’m pretty sure men are just grown up boys. My boys need connection and meaning in life. This need doesn’t diminish with time, it just gets forgotten. Men happen to look so darn independent and capable, but on the inside, they are fragile and in need of unconditional love as well.

We all want to be known on a deeper level, and to be loved no matter what. I believe that your wife wants the chance to know you. If you feel smothered, it might be because you are shutting her out. Consider giving in. Think about letting her see your weaknesses and fears and let her have a shot at understanding you.

Does your wife nag you and complain a lot? This might be code for. “I am feeling alone.”

It’s not so much about having all of the right words to say to her. It’s about being vulnerable together and asking God to help you trust the process. I can promise you something. A little affection goes a long way with most women. The smallest text message, or an extra squeeze at the end of a hug can make her think of you all day long! If you feel overwhelmed with expectations, cut yourself some slack because you can reassure her of your love for her in mere seconds.

It takes hardly any time to say the words, “You are amazing.” But if your wife truly knows you think she’s awesome, she will rise to the occasion. And it blesses her to hear encouragement from you. (Talk about a lot of bang for your buck.)

Does her harshness wear you out and make you mad?  Kill her with kindness. Smile and wink and tell her she is cute when she is upset. I am not kidding. Few women can resist such charm and this kind of bantering can quickly diffuse an emotional bomb. You might be surprised over how much this will bridge the gap between you.

So what is the big picture? When we are hard-hearted and selfish towards God, he lavishes us with grace and love. We don’t deserve the kindness He offers. When you view your wife in light of the Gospel, and you realize all of the good things you have despite your failures, you can more easily love your spouse the way God loves you. You can call her your friend even when she isn’t being friendly. It’s amazing how that works itself out.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. —Ephesians 4:32

This might sound too easy. But if you find yourself in a vicious cycle of bitterness, and your days are full of strife, just try being nice. Extend small expressions of affection. If you get rejected, and she hurts your feelings, forgive her and start anew. Leave it at the Cross, where all hurt is atoned for. Because it’s the only place any of us can really go to find redemption and healing. We forgive because we are forgiven much. 

In Christ,