Today I was riding in the car with my husband when I bravely asked him, “Honey, I want you to think about this, then let me know how you honestly feel. I want to know how to be a better wife to you.”
Silence filled the car. But, I was okay with it.
Actually, I’m not afraid at all of what my husband would say…because…this isn’t the first time that I’ve asked him just how to be a better wife to him.
But…I haven’t asked this in awhile. So it was time.
If you truly want to know how to be a better wife—simply doing this 1 thing—will easily let you know what needs to happen. It’s true, it will improve your marriage!
But…honestly if I told you that you just have to do this one thing—ask your husband how you are doing as a wife—and things will instantly be better…
I’d be reckless with my words of encouragement.
What do I mean? Here’s more of my story.
The first time I asked my husband this question—that I wanted to know how to be a better wife—our son was two years old. At the time my life was literally consumed by our son, that I was feeling like our marriage was starting to suffer.
So I did what a mentor had suggested for me to do.
“Just ask. It’s the easiest way to improve your marriage!”
But with that advice, came the encouragement for me to humble myself in the asking. And I have to tell you…I was so incredibly thankful for the humble yourself part especially.
Now I didn’t really know what “humble yourself in the asking” meant at the time—but I really wanted to find out. So I sought the Lord and asked for His wisdom in prayer. As I read my Bible, it turns out the Bible has a lot to say about humbling myself as a wife.
By the time I did eventually ask my husband, how to be a better wife to him, my marriage did changed instantly. And just so you know…it wasn’t easy to hear the response that first time. But I was prepared for it, because I had humbled myself.
So you might be thinking…I don’t know…if I could EVER directly ask my husband how I could be a better wife to him.
Or…maybe you’re wondering…
Does asking your husband the question “How can I be a better wife to you?” really improve your marriage? Or will I just feel terrible afterward?
Well, I can tell you my experience.
When I asked how I was doing as a wife, my relationship with my husband become simplified. It went from complex to clear. The same will be true for you, instantly, you will hear your husband’s needs, desires, and wants. And, you’ll also discover how you are doing as a wife and ways you can improve your marriage.
You’re gonna wish you started doing this earlier to improve your marriage. Asking your husband what he thinks about you, will uncover specific ways you can know how to be a better wife.
It really will be good for you and your marriage.
And I promise, I know it sounds a little nerve wracking to do this, but don’t worry. By the time you finish reading this post, you’ll feel more encouraged and at ease to take one step at a time. Then at some point, you WILL be able to ask your husband with strength and softness just how to be a better wife.
So let’s get started.
First let’s talk about how to be a good wife—and what that looks like in scripture. It’s a firm and trustworthy foundation for how to be a better wife and to improve your marriage.
How to be a good wife according to the Bible.
1. What is a good wife?
In the Bible, we can read in more detail how to be a good wife. Proverbs says a man who finds a wife is blessed (Prov. 18:22).
Proverbs 31:10–12 (NLT)
10 Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies.
11 Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.
12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
In other words, the Bible says a good wife is a treasure to her husband. An easy way to say this—how to be a good wife—is to respect, honor, and appreciate your husband. He believes in you and he trusts you. He knows that who you are and what you do makes his life so much better.
2. What’s the contrast to a good wife?
In Proverbs 27:15–16 (NLT) it describes a quarrelsome wife, or a nagging wife.
15 A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day.
16 Stopping her complaints is like trying to stop the wind or trying to hold something with greased hands.
This picture of the nagging wife is something completely in contrast from the good wife. Since studying more scripture about how to be a good wife, I’ve since been able to see the nagging wife in myself from time to time.
And I am getting better at recognizing it sooner—but it’s still a struggle from time to time.
I Thought I Knew How to Be a Good Wife
Years ago I didn’t really see myself as “the nagging wife”. I truly thought I was the one who knew how to be a good wife—definitely NOT the nagging wife.
Then one day I clearly saw the nagging wife in one of my friends. And…seeing it in my friend got me thinking.
Do I do that with my husband?
My friend was a young mom of 4 kids under the age of 6. She was exhausted and desperately needed her husband’s help. Although I began to notice that every time he tried to help her and support her—she responded by correcting him.
In turn, I watched as he started to shut down emotionally towards her.
I could tell he didn’t feel appreciated and it was almost like anything he did do wasn’t good enough for my friend. It was like he didn’t matter or he couldn’t do anything right.
After awhile, he stopped trying altogether.
Thankfully their marriage did turn around, and she learned how to work on being a better wife. But it took nearly 4 years for them to work through things. It was so hard to watch them go through this in their marriage.
Looking back, I really think that me being able to see my friend go through this helped me to realize that I was no different than she. I thought I was a good wife. But I needed to learn and work on how to be a better wife just as much as she did. And I needed to start one day at a time.
How to be a good wife one day at a time.
Now, I’m not trying to pin everything on my friend and that her being a nagging wife was the reason she and her husband struggled in their marriage. But, she definitely had a few years of “constant dripping on a rainy day”.
I may not tend to be that nagging wife from an outward standpoint, but if I don’t take care of my self talk, then it’s easy for things to head that direction in my mind.
I can start to get critical because I feel like others, including my husband, are not doing for me what I need from them.
So there’s something that I’ve learned just in the past couple of years, that truly develops those “qualities of a good wife” material. It’s a simple thing that has helped me clearly communicate to my husband that I appreciate him.
And it also has helped me to walk more in that how to be a good wife as described in the Bible. I only wish that both my friend and myself had this information years ago.
What is it?
It’s the power of two simple words: thank you.
Shaunti Feldhan, a social research expert described in the best way to tell your man you appreciate him, besides sex.
“…a man’s greatest desire is to do something well—but since he doubts himself, his greatest need is for what he does to be noticed and appreciated.”
Feldhan also noted that the happiest couples she interviewed for her book The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages, were those who “found the little day–to–day things that make the other person feel cared for.”
Still wondering how to be a good wife one day at a time?
Girl…you got this!
Even if you’re exhausted—you can do this. Just genuinely say thank you to him. Start today even—take notice of the things your husband does and sincerely thank him.
It’s will improve your marriage! I promise!
When you make a genuine effort to say thank you—you start to change your thoughts about him and you’re directly speaking to on of his greatest needs. I’ve noticed that when I do this, I’m also less likely to complain in my head, or verbally to him about what he is doing, not doing, or how he is doing something.
We’ve talked about a firm foundation of how to be a good wife—a wife who honors, respects, and says thank you. Her husband can trust her. And we’ve talked about how you can practice this every day—to improve your marriage—even when you feel exhausted.
Now let’s talk about digging deeper into that humbling yourself part. So that you can build on that foundation of how to be a good wife and grow in knowing how to be a better wife!
How to work on being a better wife.
1. Excellent Books to Be a Better Wife
Of all the books that have helped me to be a better wife, the one I learned a lot from is the Bible. It truly describes the key foundation for how to be a good wife. And the more I read and prayed, it became very clear to me that how to be a better wife—really was about transforming me from the inside out.
How to be a better wife—started with me being humble by being soft, but strong.
Let me be clear, being soft doesn’t mean you’re a doormat and being strong doesn’t mean you’re better than your husband.
In addition to the scripture example I shared above and other verses throughout Bible, God has brought two very specific books into my life that really helped me to know how to be a better wife.
Both books were not only very insightful but practical and they helped me to take immediate action.
The first how to be a better wife book was The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian.
And honestly, until this morning when I heard another mom stumble upon this book for the first time, I thought everybody knew about this book! Girl, if you don’t own this book—buy it right now from Amazon!
One of my favorite parts about this book is that it lovingly and gently led me to humble myself by first praying that God would change me. It truly showed me how to be a good wife and build on that foundation with prayer.
The whole first chapter covers in depth how I was feeling at times—that I was not good enough—all the way to feeling like my husband was the one who needed to change. Then it led me in a prayer that met me right in that place.
If you read and pray through this book that is rooted in biblical principles—you will become a humble, soft, but strong woman with a prayerful warrior heart for your marriage and your husband.
I’ll touch a little more on prayer and how to improve your marriage in the another post, too.
Another how to be a better wife book that helped me to better understand the concept of being soft and strong is, Strong Women Soft Hearts by Paula Rhinehart. This book really helped me to see how this even goes beyond marriage.
Being soft and strong extends to how we treat our Christian brothers too. And I’ll tell you—if you do this—you will feel so free in your identity as a woman.
2. Treat your husband like you’re a team.
You have strengths and your husband has strengths. If you struggle with the first point I mentioned—being soft and strong—then this second idea of living like your a team might be more of a challenge.
Remember how I shared earlier that my friend was constantly correcting her husband?
She really struggled with this idea that she and her husband were a team.
Unless you’re able to humble yourself by admitting that you have weaknesses—you will not be able to see that you and your husband are a team. And you will not easily be able to improve your marriage.
Please hear me out. I’m not elevating your husband here—he has weaknesses too.
But the truth is that you both do things differently and that’s okay. Once you change your mindset to “we’re a team” then as you work together it will improve your relationship.
You might even notice that the best way to get things done might actually be a combination of what the two of you do together. If you start thinking and acting like you’re a team, you and your husband will both feel valued, respected and loved.
Zig Ziglar sums this up well.
“Many marriages would be better if the husband and wife clearly understood that they are on the same side.” – Zig Ziglar
3. Develop a healthy communication language.
Something that has really been helpful for my husband Joel and I, is that over the years we’ve been really intention to be aware of the outside stressors that impact the health of our marriage.
It’s much healthier for our relationship to talk through these things rather than fight about it. And honestly, unlike many people say is necessary in marriage, we don’t really believe that you have to fight to have a great marriage.
You can read more in my post, The Ultimate Showdown in Marriage.
Over time we’ve worked together to create a language to describe how we handle these stressors and how we set healthy boundaries for our marriage and our family. When you do this—it will improve your marriage—in many ways! (Like regularly talking to him about—the how to be a better wife question!)
The 5 Stressors of Marriage are:
- Family / In-laws
4. Look for ways to encourage him.
Maybe your husband doesn’t always see his strengths or feel like he’s good at something. Be his cheerleader encouraging him in his strengths. Help him to see that you’ve taken notice and help him to believe he is good at it.
5. Date him again.
Okay, I will admit that this is something that we’ve struggled with as a young family. To add to it, we haven’t been able to lean on family to watch our son so that we can have regular date nights together. For us we’ve also moved a lot and it’s been hard to establish trustworthy relationships and baby sitters.
All that put aside…
It has been extremely important for us to schedule time together as a couple—apart from your kids. And…we’ve found that if we’re not intentional to schedule it—it doesn’t happen. This one is definitely something on my list this year for how to be a better wife.
So these 5 things I mentioned are very practical ways that you can really improve your marriage and help you to become a better wife.
Knowing How to Be a Good Wife is a Life Long Process
Even after reading scripture about how to be a good wife—and learning practical ways for how to be a better wife. It’s still a on–going learning process for me.
I really like how Graceful Abandon describes how to become the Proverbs 31 woman:
“Becoming a Proverbs 31 woman is not a matter of checking off a list of accomplishments to attain the perfection of the virtuous woman in the Bible. Rather, it is studying the virtues described and living a life where they are evident. The real Proverbs woman is one of virtue and character.“
It’s a great encouragement to me, because that nagging wife…she still rears her head in my life from time to time.
In fact, I was a nagging wife just last night on the way home from Wednesday night church, agh!
Our son was acting up in the car and my husband was handling the situation. He said something that I didn’t think was a good thing for him to say…and so I said something to him.
They were like a sharp dagger straight into my husband’s heart. When I realized what I had said, I watched him physically become frustrated, rejected, and shamed—because my words hurt him deeply.
How to be a good wife, how to be a better wife, and growing in ways to improve your marriage is a life–long process. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate changes. Trust and know that God is at work even if you don’t see it.
My Husband is so Good to Me
I started by telling you that I asked my husband the question—how can I be better wife? And…it was a few days before we talked about it again.
I’ve learned that when I ask this question, he doesn’t respond right away. And it’s not because he doesn’t have anything to say—or because he doesn’t want to hurt my feelings.
It’s because my husband is so good to me.
I know that my husband genuinely loves me and wants to think about it with prayer and intentionality. Because, the heart of my husband, the man I love, and the reason I married him—is that he longs to help me flourish as a woman.
But, this time when we talked about it, something new came to light. And this is BIG, girl, so pay attention.
You and I want to know how to be a better wife.
But when you ask your husband—how you ask is important!!! Don’t ask your husband how you can be a better wife to him—he will tell you—and most likely it will be what you’re afraid to hear.
Want to know what my husband said to me?
He said, sweetheart, it probably would’ve been better if you said, “How can I help you as your wife?”
This is so important—because this exactly speaks into my husband’s love language: acts of service. My husband feels most loved when I do things for him.
So, instead of saying, how can I be a better wife, ask your husband using words that reflect his love language.
A Prayer For You To Flourish
As I finish up writing, my prayer for you is that your heart will be captivated to be a humble, soft and strong woman. And also that the heart of your husband would be to help you flourish as a woman and as his wife.
Do you think after reading what I shared, you know how you would ask your husband? What is your husband’s love language and what would you say?