What habits form your life? In the course of most people’s average day, a huge percentage of decisions aren’t decisions at all, but actually habits. In Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit, he cites a report by a Duke University researcher that “more than forty percent of the actions people performed each day weren’t decisions, but habits.”
To be extremely simplistic, with Duhigg’s work, habits are formed by a “cue” that launches a “behavior” followed by a “reward” that is established over time and choice into habit. For example, “When I get up (cue) I brush my teeth (behavior) and enjoy the fresh breath and smooth teeth (reward).” If the reward is good enough, I’ll keep up the behavior and form a habit!
As part two of our “Habits of An Effective Husband” we’ve included five more habits that we believe are vital for a husband to build into the rhythm of his life. Add your suggestions and insights below, too!
1. Protect her
Be vigilant about her safety. Simple things like being sure the house is secure when you leave and at night. Take care that the garage door is down. If you are walking along the street with her, be sure she is closest to the curb.
It’s been said that “a shared burden is half a burden.” What are the burdens of her heart or fears she carries that you can shoulder? It is a way of protecting her heart and her mind when she knows that she doesn’t have to be the sole bearer of those concerns.
Protect her by being pure in what you watch and do. Watching porn, role-playing fantasy in your mind, or flirtatious relationships all threaten her security. She can never live up to the fantasy and you will subconsciously build resentment toward her as a result. Remember, “Your purity protects her security!”
2. Be the spiritual influence
We often say that the husband doesn’t have to be the Bible expert, but he does have to be the spiritual catalyst in the home. Everyone else will follow suit.
So on Saturday, set the tone and expectation for going to church. During the week, take the reigns for the two of you to read the Bible together regularly (3, 5, 7 days a week?). Initiate spiritual conversations about what God is doing in your life.
3. Be the lead servant
Tend to your wife. If she mentions that she’s thirsty, go get her a drink! If there are certain chores around the house that she doesn’t enjoy, take it upon yourself to take them off her plate. Offer to clean the kitchen. Be involved in putting the children to bed. Do what you can to make her life easier.
4. Romance her
More than knowing her love language and speaking it, do the things that she appreciates. Bring home a rose. Send her a card in the mail. Plan a fun overnight getaway. Put a love note on her pillow or in the car. Give long periods of focused concentration as she talks. Research romantic movies and make a list, suggesting that she choose one for you two to watch together. This is about connecting with your wife’s heart and her desire to feel special to you.
5. Be understanding
The Bible challenges husbands to “live with your wives in an understanding way.” (1 Peter 3:7a) This requires empathy—to feel what she is feeling. Put yourself in her situation. See the world through her eyes. What are her needs? Her weaknesses? Her perspectives? This will set you up to respond sensitively to her so that you work as a team and not as competitors.
What other habits can you think of for husbands? Men, build these habits into your lives and you will be empowered to build your marriage!