Seeing me for the first time after getting home from work one day, my husband remarked, in sort of a caught-off-guard, delighted kind of way, “I really like your hair like that.”

Again, at dinner, “You look so beautiful with your hair like that.”

Settling into the small sitting area in our bedroom later that night, again, “Your hair looks really pretty like that.”

Glancing my way as we watched a show together, “You’re so beautiful.”

I smiled and thanked him each time, but with every compliment, I heard what he wasn’t saying and made a mental note: Shauna, you need to blow dry and straighten your hair more often.

When the demands on my time exceed the hours in my day, spending a lot of time on my face and hair just isn’t that important to me. If I get distracted before I change into day clothes, you might find me working or schooling in my pajamas at 2 p.m. Or I may have enough time to slip into exercise clothes, but it’s late in the day before I eek out the time to actually do something physical. If nothing on my schedule requires a public appearance, my face is most often au natural with my hair in a pony tail, messy bun, or simply air dried with a little bit of natural curl.

When he couldn’t get over my hair that night, I realized I might need to make that little extra effort just for him.

I took note, instead of taking offense.

Thankfully, James doesn’t expect me to look like a runway model from morning to midnight (truly, thank the Lord!), and my “home” look is not something that bothers him. But when I do intentionally style my hair his favorite way, or wear his favorite jeans when we’re going out, or his favorite nightie for bed, it delights him. And that’s very important to me.

It’s not that these things take a lot of extra time; but they require me to be intentional.

I know what pleases my husband. He loves to come home to smells of dinner simmering on the stove or baking in the oven. The way to his heart is definitely through his stomach, and he’s thrilled when food is not just tasty, but its presentation is “custom.” Like the salad I served a few weeks ago. The only thing special about it was the recipe for the sliced beef on top, and that was super simple. But I nested colorful greens in my Tuscan-looking pasta bowls, sliced all the veggies just so, and fanned them neatly around the edge of the bowl, mixing up the colors so they’d pop. I sprinkled shredded carrots in the middle and piled sliced beef on top just so. It was beautiful, and an ordinary salad became an exciting surprise. He loved it!

He also loves a clean kitchen and a fluffed up bed, which I haven’t quite mastered, but I’m working on remembering to make sure both details are tended to daily so his home doesn’t add to the frustrations of his day.

I don’t do these things because he’s standing over me in his animal hide toga, wooden club resting on his shoulder as he demands, “Woman, make your hair pretty!” or “Woman! Cook me a custom meal!” (grunt, grunt, grunt).

I pay attention to the details of what he likes because of the pleasure he expresses when I do. Because I want to treat him special, because he is.

I’m not proposing that we elevate looks, tasks, and performance to a place of ultimate importance in our marriages. What I am saying is that we, as wives, can pay attention to what our husbands say, as much as what they don’t say, and we can love them by taking note. By making changes. By remembering how much they loved a particular outfit or meal or way something was done.

I do it because I believe Proverbs 31:30: “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” One application of fearing the Lord is loving our husbands as scripture instructs us to love them: Submitting to them. Honoring them. Serving them.

When I sat down to write today’s blog, I wasn’t sure I’d even have 500 words to share, but then I ended up in Proverbs 31, studying the values we can adopt from the wife described in verses 10-31 and the characteristics that bring her praise. She is impossible to become, but what she stands for is very much within our reach in Christ and by the working of the Holy Spirit within us.

So a single day’s thoughts will continue next Thursday as I share what God is showing me in this passage and how it can be applied in our marriages. I can’t wait! Please come back, and bring some friends. I believe you’ll be so glad you did (and so will our husbands).

Lord, thank You for the standard of Your word. Thank You that what You expect of us You also provide for by Your grace and the power of the Holy Spirit. Please transform each one of us as wives into Proverbs 31 women, who by fearing You win the praise of our husbands and children, for Your glory, not ours, as we become more wholly Yours today.