If Only He Knew

If Only He Knew: Understand Your Wife

If Only He Knew

by Gary Smalley


  • Two reasons why many marriages fail:
    • Expectations – we think that marriage should look like a romance novel or that our spouse will always give us whatever we want, etc.
    • Difference – men and women are different. They have different goals, different emotions, different desires, etc. We don’t understand each other because we are different. Physically (on average, while men have 40% of their body made of muscle, women have 23%), sexually, relationally, emotionally, etc. Men and women are very different from each other.
  • We all change over time, whether hair, physical, mental, political views or in other areas, so we must base our marriage on unchangeable qualities.
  • Our ability to love is based on our maturity.
  • Who’s the best person to teach you on how to love and comfort your wife? It’s not me as the author nor is it you, it is your wife. So ask her and learn from her.
  • Give her your shoulder, not your mouth – criticism, sarcasm, fixing it, or commenting about it, will many times only lead into bigger problems.
  • One of the wife’s greatest needs is tenderness, not lectures.
  • Ask your wife how you can help her and what you can do to comfort her. Practice practice practice
  • Listen to your wife with your 3rd ear – figure out what she is trying to say when she speaks or doesn’t speak. What is her emotional thought right now.
  • When your wife is stressed: rest, massage to relax muscles, get out and exercise, etc.
  • Sex is a barometer of marriage; if the bedroom is hot, you will have a good marriage.
  • Sex is so much more than the physical aspect; it is mental, physical, emotional, and more. That’s why sex can become better after many years of marriage.
  • If you as a husband you are unhappy, it is 100% your fault. You have unreal expectations for what you want out of your marriage or from your wife.
  • You cannot change your wife going “head to head” with her, you must allow God to change her.
  • Quit trying to work on your wife and work on yourself. You are the only person that you can change.
  • Women need time to prepare before sex – emotionally and physically. A man is like a microwave and a woman is like a crockpot. If you hurt her feelings she may still be hurt when the man is already over it and wants sex.
  • Women have a need for appreciation. When was the last time you praised your wife? Criticism will hurt your wife much deeper than you realize. Instead of saying she did not make a sandwich the way you like it, why not turn it around and thank her.
  • A woman could not resist praise and appreciation.
  • Criticism devastates a person — Proverbs 15:1-4.
  • Everyone loves praise and appreciation. With appreciation, children become happier, students become smarter, athletes play harder, and your marriage will become better. Learn to appreciate and praise your wife.
  • Just as you would never want to go on vacation with a boss or friend that always criticizes you, neither will your wife joy spending time with you or want to go somewhere with you if you always criticize and correct her.
  • What kind of praise would you enjoy receiving from your boss at work? Well try that praise with your wife and it will encourage her just like it would and does you.
  • Never bring attention to you’re wife about her negative flaws —weight, gray hair, etc. It does not help anything and only hurts her.
  • If you learn to praise your wife genuinely, specifically and consistently, you will see the great change in your marriage.
  • The key to listening is repeating back to your wife what you think she is saying – she will correct it if you’re misunderstanding and that way you could know her feelings.
  • Most men believe that if they listen to their wife’s suggestions than they are not the leader in the house… but that is false.
  • Learn to accept criticism and correction; it will make you a wiser person.
  • A wife loves a husband who admits when he’s wrong.
  • When you hurt your wife, she draws back mentally, physically and emotionally. But when you ask genuine forgiveness and are willing to learn, she will open back up.
  • You can cherish your wife by protecting her. Protect her not only physically but emotionally as well. Find the things that make her afraid or that stress her out and take those things off of her plate
  • A husband should understand his wife’s fears and limitations.
  • Understand your wife’s goals and help her achieve them.
  • Learn to pinpoint your wife’s needs, fears and limitations.
  • Stress will take a very big toll on your marriage. Learn how to detect and remove stress from your wife. Also learn to ask your wife about what stresses her out. Take the stress out and have a better marriage.
  • When there is a big decision that will affect all of the family, list the pros and cons for your marriage and family. For example, if you’re moving jobs or houses, etc., than show your wife how this new place will be better or harder on your family… you both need to be involved for the good of your marriage.
  • We forget that a husband is commanded to submit to his wife (Ephesians 5:21) before the wife is commanded to submit (Ephesians 5:22).
  • Family outings is one of the greatest ways to spend time together as a family.
  • Belittling suggestions have never changed anyone… and are the cause of many divorces.
  • The more you talk about wanting your wife to change, the less probability that she will change.
  • Here’s how you can change your wife, and yourself as well:
    • Change your attitude. Admit that you need to change.
    • My happiness is my responsibility. I cannot change anyone but myself.
    • When you quit trying to change your wife and begin changing yourself, but she will change and your marriage will become better.
    • Share your feelings and said demanding how she should feel.
    • Wait if you are set.
    • Convey a loving attitude.
    • Empathy is seeing another persons point of view. Can you see that from her point of view? I don’t see you statements.
    • Avoid the adjectives for you, always, I told you so, never come etc.
  • The lion can roar and growl but it takes a real man to say something tenderly and nicely.
  • You do not have to solve the problem in just one conversation, learn to listen and understand.
  • Never assume you have a good or perfect marriage; always be working at it.
  • Never, never, never give up working on your marriage.

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