how to help my wife

When You Can’t Give Your Wife What She Needs

Maybe you’ve seen the video It’s Not About the Nail, a funny skit that shows the different ways men and women approach the same problem. The gist of it is a woman complains about some troubles she’s having. Despite the nail in her head, which the man points out, she says it isn’t about that. Check it out sometime. It’s hilarious.

Unlike in the video, there are times and circumstances when what a wife needs or is struggling with is less obvious and is out of her husband’s control. We feel helpless. “I just don’t know how to help my wife” races through our minds. No matter how heavy the moment may seem, you do have options. Here are 3 ways you can help your wife.

1. Give her space.

Whatever the circumstance, it clearly has your wife’s attention. Honor her by leaving room for her to talk, breathe, and process. You can still be present, available, and accessible during this time, but allow her to lead the conversations. Do not rush to jump in with a quick-fix hero attempt. Instead, be patient and simply focus on listening. Take advantage of the times she wants to open up more. Make room for those conversations. And if she tells you she doesn’t want to talk at the moment, respect that too. You may try asking, “What can I take off of your plate?” Taking on some of her tasks may give your wife much-needed physical, mental, and emotional relief. It’s also another way for you to express your support and encouragement.

2. Grieve with her.

Here’s where it can get really hard. Over the past couple of years, a friend and I have leaned on each other a lot. We both have wives with medical conditions that take tolls physically and emotionally. Whatever your family’s struggle, be aware of and prepared for the fact that you may not get an answer for why what’s happening is happening. Dreams die. Loss is real. Tell your wife, “I don’t know what this is like for you, but it sounds really hard.” According to Brené Brown, “Empathy is feeling with people.” See it from your wife’s perspective. Accept the reality of the situation and don’t minimize her pain. Hold her. Cry with her. This may not heal the bigger problem, but when your wife feels understood and assured that you’re there with her, it will bring much-desired comfort.

3. Give her your best.

One of the most sacrificial ways a husband can love his wife is by setting his personal interests aside.

Even as I write this, I am reminded of the vows I took on my wedding day. I looked my wife in the eyes and repeated the pastor’s words: For better or for worse, in sickness and in health. What about you? Did you do the same? How do you live that out today? The song Lead Me by Sanctus Real is based on one man’s real-life struggles. Toward the end of the song, you hear his heart’s cry: I’ll show them (his family) I’m willing to fight and give them the best of my life. One of the most sacrificial ways a husband can love his wife is by setting his personal interests aside, even if temporarily. You will definitely have to leave your comfort zone. But in the end, I cannot think of any greater reason for a man to do so than for his marriage.

Sound off: What do you do to support your wife when life gets really hard?

Huddle up with your wife and ask, “What do you need most from me?”