Christ needs to be “first” and at the center
Frequent Mass, regular Confession, and personal prayer are essential for gaining the necessary graces for a strong unity and charity in marriage.
The wives need to see that this is way men connect and communicate with women…they need this validation. It should not be used as a weapon (unless there is a really serious reason) or as a means of manipulation to obtain what you desire. It does not always have to be romantic and a big production.
Men need to understand that for most women, this is an act of charity towards their husbands and they find more validation in emotional and conversational connection and affirmation. It is easier for a wife to meet his physical intimacy needs if her emotional needs are also being met.
Date night/time together
It may be expensive to go out to a nice restaurant, a hassle to get dressed up, and difficult to have quality conversations, but in the long run this will be cheaper and less time consuming then paying for counseling or even divorce settlements. This shows that your marriage is a priority and gives the husband and the wife the necessary quality time to bond. It is so important to do things together and to make sacrifices to make this work (learn how to play golf, tennis, go to the opera, etc…). Guys also need time with the guys and gals with the gals!
Husbands need to listen with sincere love, focused attention and warm empathy to their wives as long as needed…and wives should respect their husband’s need for cave time, avoid nagging and prodding when he is obviously not doing well. The words that you say matter!!
Love them in the way that they need to be loved, not in the way that you prefer to love.
I recommend “The Five Love Languages” as a great resource to discover your spouses love language (Words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, receiving gifts, physical touch).
Unity in parenting
To have each other’s backs and to avoid making one spouse the perennial “bad cop.” Kids needs to see that you are governing from a united front!
Respect and recognition
To value the effort and love that each spouse makes in both parenting and providing for the family. Don’s focus on the negative or what is missing, but value and affirm the positive and express it often. You can never say “I love you” and “I am so grateful for who you are and what you do” enough!! Try writing out a love letter, expressing this gratitude in a sincere and heart felt way.
“His Needs, Her Needs” by William F. Harley, Jr.
“The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman
“For Men Only” by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn
“For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldhahn
“Captivating” by John and Stasi Eldredge
“Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge
“Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Fr. Michael Sliney, LC