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Wives Need Their Husbands… To Push The Right Buttons

Jay Payleitner is one of the top freelance Christian radio producers in the United States. He has worked on Josh McDowell Radio, Today's Father, Jesus Freaks Radio for The Voice of the Martyrs, Project Angel Tree with Chuck Colson, and many others. He’s also a popular speaker at men's events and the author of the bestselling 52 Things Kids Need from a Dad, 52 Things Wives Need from a Husband, and One-Minute Devotions for Dads. He has also served as an AWANA director, a wrestling coach, and executive director of the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative. Jay and his wife, Rita, make their home in the Chicago area, where they’ve raised five great kids and loved on ten foster babies.

Here are some things my bride likes: fireworks, parades, a company bathroom that’s welcoming, babies, cute babies, goofy-looking babies, well produced television commercials with cute or goofy-looking babies, scones, sparkly glassware on her Thanksgiving dinner table, hanging out with her children, bling for Christmas, warm feet, lying on a beach with a book, fresh flowers, fresh snow, frozen Cokes, lightly buttered popcorn, drinking straws, craft magazines, etcetera.

It’s a good list. And I’ll probably think of a few more things in the normal course of life. I’ll have to make sure my editor checks with me right before going to press to see if there are a few more things to add. Actually, just writing this list has been a valuable exercise. Th inking about what my bride likes literally strengthens my marriage.

A couple of things worth noting about this kind of list. It focuses on the positive. I could have included items such as “chili that’s not filled with cayenne pepper” and “kitchen countertops without a bunch of appliances.” But that would essentially be a list of things she doesn’t like (spicy chili and cluttered counters). Everything on the list gives off mostly positive vibes. Of course, we husbands should be well aware of what our wives don’t like, but that’s not the point of this chapter.

The other thing about this list is that these are not emotional needs or love languages exclusive to the husband-wife relationship. These are things Rita likes anytime, anyplace, no matter who provides them. If a scone, fresh flowers, or craft magazine mysteriously appeared on our kitchen table, she would enjoy that thing simply because she likes it. Sure, part of the fun of parades and fireworks is sharing them with others, but I’m pretty sure Rita would enjoy them in the company of strangers.

You probably know where I’m going with this. A wise husband will make a similar list particular to his own wife. Using it and updating it frequently. In random order, provide one of those items to your bride once a week for the rest of your life. Be intentional about it. Find a scone bakery on the way home from work. On movie night, make sure you have some microwave popcorn in the cabinet. Book a beach vacation.

Or better, keep the list at the top of your mind and allow it to trigger spontaneous moments when you provide your wife one of her favorite things. While you’re waiting for a prescription, if you notice a craft magazine, pick it up. If one of those cute-baby commercials comes on when she’s in the kitchen, pause the DVR and play it for her when she returns. If you notice the sun glinting off a fresh snowfall, stop what you’re doing and share the moment with your bride.

The goal here is not selfish. It’s easy to think, If I give her what she likes, she’ll give me what I like. That’s not it at all. The goal is to fully integrate into your marriage the “two becoming one” idea from Matthew chapter 19. Maybe think of it this way: If I give her what she likes, it gives me joy as well.

Making sense? No? It makes total sense to me, but perhaps that is because I started this chapter out with a list specific to my bride. I’m pretty sure that if you make a similar list for yours, it will all be clear. Don’t just do it in your head. Get out a yellow pad or open a new Word doc and just start thinking about what makes your wife smile. Your mind may start to wander to the stuff that ticks her off or launches an unwelcome bout of nagging, but don’t go there. Stay positive.

I promise, just making that list will give you all kinds of fresh insights, warm fuzzies, and a new appreciation for your bride. You’ll begin to see her as only a devoted husband can. There are things you know about her that no one else does. Which means only you can intentionally and regularly provide those moments of joy. Only you can prompt that intimate smile that makes marriage different than any other relationship in the world.


The longer you’re married, the more you know how to push your wife’s buttons. Which ones to push and how often is really your choice.

Excerpted from 52 Things Wives Need from Their Husbands by Jay Payleitner. Copyright ©2012 by Jay Payleitner. Excerpted by permission of Harvest House Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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…to look after orphans and widows in their distress. James 1:27
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