Recently I watched a cooking show where the celebrity chef and her husband were celebrating a milestone anniversary. The cook shared her “recipe” (ha!) for a strong marriage: “I try to make him happy and he tries to make me happy and it works!”
As far as I know, this woman is not a Christian, but she unwittingly shared marital wisdom straight from Scripture. Proverbs 31:12 describes the godly wife: “She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.” We should do our husbands good—try to make them happy—all the days of our lives.
How simple is that! We don’t need to go through each day with a mental marriage checklist, trying to figure out if we’ve ticked off all the boxes, feeling guilty and discouraged when we miss or mess up. We don’t have to remember a long list of do’s and don’ts. Instead, we can wake up each morning and ask: How can I make my husband happy today? How can I do him good? And then do it.
While it may be simple, this wifely enterprise is not easy. Easy is something “achieved without great effort,” but to do our husbands good requires deliberate, intentional effort. It takes thought and planning. It calls for tenacity so that doing our husband good doesn’t get buried under other responsibilities. Making our husbands happy is not going to happen serendipitously or on the fly; but if we are intentional, and put in the effort, we will get happy results.
Even if your husband is not seeking to make you happy, God’s grace is still at work in your marriage through your faithful, daily obedience. As it says in 1 Peter 3:1-2: “even if some [husbands] do not obey the word, they may be won without a word, by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.” Your good for your husband can be used by God for the eternal happiness of your husband.
The good we are to do our husbands is not an exhaustive list of benevolent deeds; rather, we are to do the specific good that blesses our husbands. We are to do him good. So ask yourself: What defines “good” for my husband? What makes him happy? That’s the good you are to do. What blesses my husband might not be what blesses your husband. So personalize this verse. Put your husband’s name in it.
And a wife is to do her husband good “not at first only, or now and then, when she is in a good humor, but perpetually.” Remember how it was, at first? Nothing made us happier than to make our husbands happy. Then come kids and bills and life gets complicated and overwhelming, and our desire to do him good takes a back seat. We still want to do him good, it’s just not as important as it used to be. But even though “good” might look different in different seasons, we are to perpetually seek to make our husbands happy. When is the last time you thought, how can I do good to my husband today? Let’s make this our simple, daily goal.
As of today, I have been married for 15,627 days. And I’m painfully aware that I have not done my husband good all of those days. Instead, some days, I’ve done him harm. Some days I have been selfish or impatient. Some days I have been disrespectful or ungrateful. Some days I have been intent on getting the speck out of his eye, all the while sporting a log in mine.
Thankfully, and to my surprise, my husband doesn’t seem to remember those days. Even more amazingly, God doesn’t remember those days. “This is the great mystery of the gospel in the blood of Christ,” wrote John Owen, “that those who sin every day should have peace with God all their days.” The only way we can do good to our husbands all the days of our lives is because God does good to us. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” (Ps. 23:6).
Each day that you do good to your husband is like pouring sugar into a cake batter—it makes your marriage sweeter and sweeter. Some days will be harder than others, but if you persevere in this simple goal—to make your husband happy—you will get much happiness in return.