As you may know from my prior blog posts, my wife, Susan, has had quite a series of challenges with her heart, beginning in high school. She wrote about her journey in her blog, Only 3 Things Matter in Life. So naturally, as we’ve walked together through her many surgeries and procedures, I’ve learned a lot about the human heart.
Your heart is about the size of your two hands clasped together, slightly larger than your fist. It beats 86,400 to 144,000 times per day. Your heart pumps about 1.5 gallons of blood every minute. Your heart is a carefully coordinated muscle with four chambers that all need to work, in sync, to keep the blood flowing. The blood it pumps sustains us but only if those four chambers are working right — filling and emptying and filling and so on.
That got me thinking about my wife’s heart and the need to fill it with life. As Susan and I talked about that idea, we determined that there are four ways to fill the four emotional chambers of every women’s heart that, all together, provide love and life to her soul.
Chamber 1: Being Understood
Hearing her leads to her being understood. When my wife, Susan, is communicating to me, she wants to know that I’m hearing her, first of all. But this chamber of her heart is most full when I not only hear what she’s saying, but I also demonstrate that I care about what she says and want to know her better through the hearing. Good listening skills are crucial to a spouse knowing that what is being said is not only heard, but also understood.
For example, if we’re having a discussion about something, and Susan is on a roll about her feelings and thoughts on the subject, I might think it’s enough to nod my head and throw an occasional “Mm-hmm” into the mix. But what’s even more important to her, even if I don’t agree with her, is that I demonstrate a genuine curiosity about her, wanting to understand her.
One way to do this with your wife: Repeat back what you think you heard her say and what you think it means. Ask her sincerely, without sarcasm or anger, “Is this what you’re saying? Help me understand you better.” Here are more tips on being a better listener.
Chamber 2: Being Valued
Consulting and appreciating her leads to her being valued. Sometimes it’s tempting for us men to want to figure things out, fix our messes, and solve our problems on our own. While that may seem like a loving gesture to keep some of those burdens off of our spouse, it can inadvertently communicate to our wives, “You have nothing to offer to this situation, problem, or issue.”
Susan knows that I value her when I seek her advice on matters that I’m dealing with. She also feels valued when I express my appreciation to her for the talents she has and unique role she fills in our relationship.
Have an issue you’re dealing with at work, with friends, or just in your own heart? Try asking your wife, “Honey, I’m really wrestling with something, and I would really appreciate your perspective. Would you mind giving me your thoughts and ideas about it?” More often than not, she’ll be glad you asked and glad that you think highly enough of her to bring her in on matters you’re dealing with.
Chamber 3: Being Protected
Cherishing and safeguarding her physically and emotionally leads to her being protected. When I remind Susan that there is nothing I wouldn’t do to keep her safe, I’m establishing a sense of security that fills another chamber of her heart. My wife wants to know that I’m always looking out for her.
Cherishing and safeguarding her physically and emotionally leads to her being protected.
We also need to understand that this sense of security and protection extends beyond just physical safety. She wants to know that you are a safe place— a protector of her heart and emotions too. When a woman is attacked verbally, ridiculed or criticized, it makes her feel very unsafe emotionally. A lack of trust in a relationship can also create an unsafe emotional environment for a woman. So be sure to avoid these 5 Toxins of the Tongue , instead focus on these 5 Types of Powerful Words.
Chamber 4: Being Desired
Pursuing her leads to her being desired. Reminding Susan that I find her attractive is an important chamber of her heart that must be filled. She wants and needs to know that the man who promised to love and care for her “till death do us part” still desires “to have and to hold her.”
She also needs to know that I desire her more than just sexually. I need to pursue her for companionship, for her skills, for her friendship, for her wisdom, and for her heart.
This post on how to make your wife feel beautiful may give you a few more ideas on how to fill this chamber of your wife’s heart.
*As we thought about this list, one final observation hit me. I’m usually good at one or two of these, but I’m not always mindful of all four areas. And Susan needs all four chambers of her heart filled. Just like the human heart, all four need to be pumping and working for everything to be right. Together, these four chambers of your wife’s heart lead to life-giving love in your relationship.
What are your thoughts on these four chambers of a wife’s heart? Let me know in the comments!