Every wife’s life story is different, but every wife shares the same need for unconditional love and acceptance. That became clear to us when a majority of our female survey respondents said that the need for unconditional love and acceptance was their number one love need.
That’s not surprising when you think about it. We all need love, but we need it most when we deserve it least. In these situations, ordinary love must become extraordinary love. Imagine your spouse loving you completely, without even hesitating over your mistakes. Sounds just like Christ, doesn’t it? It is. That’s the core of unconditional love, and he is the exclusive source of it.
I (Barb) remember when I first felt the power of God’s unconditional love for me. It was during my sophomore year in college when I realized that I was close to failing two classes. I had no one but myself to blame for the situation; I had simply spent more time with my friends than I had with my homework. But I couldn’t bear telling my parents, who were sacrificing financially to put me through school.
My brother, Barry, was a new Christian, and he encouraged me by telling me how God’s grace covers our worst mistakes and how his love for us is unconditional—he loves us even when we are guilty.
That night, as I wrestled with my inner feelings and Barry’s words of spiritual direction, I tasted God’s unconditional love. And in the years since then, God has reminded me again and again, in many ways, of his unconditional love for me—especially through the times my husband has loved me when I didn’t deserve it or when I was actually hurting him.
When you love your wife unconditionally, you reflect God’s love to her. That love will reap enormous rewards in your marriage. It will, in fact, transform your marriage.
There are several common areas where women need unconditional love and acceptance.
When your wife fails or disappoints you or others, your first response—your words—will determine whether she folds under the pressure or rises above her circumstances.
The power of unconditional acceptance during a time of hardship or failure can heal a woman’s wounded soul. Because these soulful messages connect your heart to hers, they can literally feed and nourish your wife... and your marriage. Such encouragement heals broken hearts. It soothes the aching aloneness that gnaws at a person’s spirit.
Stand with Her
Every woman struggles with insecurity from time to time. When that happens, she has to decide whether the problem she is struggling with will shake her up and hold her captive or whether she will get control of it.
The worst thing a husband can do is use this kind of situation to exert control over his wife. Instead, step closer to her and to find out what is going on inside her. As you do this, you gently and comfortingly express your unconditional love for her, assuring her that you will love her no matter what.
When your wife feels insecure and self-conscious, you can compliment and affirm her. All women want to look good and feel good about themselves, but when women look in the mirror, they tend to notice what’s wrong with them rather than what’s right. That tendency can rob your wife of joy.
So pay your wife a compliment! Tell her specifically what you love about her. Speak affirming words. Be sensitive to her. Compliment your wife on who she is - Her actions and character are as important as her looks.
Respect Her Opinion
When your wife is expressing her opinion, love her by listening. Validate what she says. Such positive statements reinforce and affirm the presence that she is in your life. When your wife says things that you may disagree with, before trying to “fix things,” express your unconditional love by being willing to hear her out and ask questions. That kind of acceptance and understanding will allow her to process her thoughts, unload her anxiety, and respond positively to your response.
Talk With Her—and Listen
When your wife needs to talk, it’s essential for you to create a safe environment for her. Don’t minimize how important your role is. Set the tone by turning off the TV, putting down your phone, or telling the kids you and Mom need few minutes to talk. Initiate discussion times between the two of you. Remember that practice makes perfect.
When your wife is confident that you are listening to her and that you understand her (or are trying to), she will have a soul-deep intimacy with you.
Be Tender with Her
Do you find it hard to love your wife when she is cranky and irritable? We realize it’s impossible for you to understand fully what women experience with their monthly mood swings and fluctuating energy level. All of the physiological factors cause most women to feel irritable. Some change personalities altogether! When “that time of the month” hits for your wife, stand back and let her express her feelings. Anticipate her menstrual cycle, and recognize that her hormones are affecting her emotions.
Don’t take her moodiness personally. After the inner storm has passed, she may even apologize if she acted in a manner that was not Christlike.
Spend Time with Her
When your wife’s days are full of hard work and the unending needs of family, when she is pouring out more than she is taking in, she needs time with the most familiar, trusted, comforting man in her life. You won’t believe how refreshing that can be for her. Make that time together happen.
Gary’s willingness to serve me— in big and small ways—convinces me on the deepest level that no matter what comes our way, no matter what flaws I have, no matter what I might do to disappoint him, he will love me unconditionally.
Take the risk. Ask God to help you love and accept your wife unconditionally—in the midst of her pain and vulnerability and weaknesses. Love her even if she annoys you, even if she disappoints you, even if she doesn’t deserve your love. Love her with the kind of love that Christ shows to you.
*If you want help to better understand your mate, check out our book, The 5 Love Needs of Men and Women. It’s available in our online bookstore!