We are exploring two key ingredients that make great marriages. Last week, we examined what every husband needs from his wife — respect. This week, let’s find out what every wife needs from her husband.

Here is what every wife needs from her husband: LOVE. In that great passage on marriage, Paul instructs the husband to love his wife (Ephesians 5:25). The kind of love Paul describes is not sexual, or friendship or partnership. The type of love a wife needs is a serving, nourishing love. Not just once and done but a lifestyle of serving and sustaining love.

Paul explained that Jesus sacrificed everything for us — His status, achievements, throne, heaven, and He even gave His life for us. Likewise, husbands should put their wives before their careers, ambitions, friendships and preferences. Men, she is to come first.

Husbands often deceive themselves into thinking their workaholic-ism is for their family, but it isn’t. Workaholics work to satisfy their personal thirst for status and significance. All the while, what the wife wants is for her husband to love her unconditionally.

Not only did Jesus sacrifice everything for us, but He loves us unconditionally even when we don’t deserve it. He never holds back His love. Likewise, husbands should love their wives without reservation, regardless of how the wife responds or even if she deserves it. Men are to put their wives first in their hearts and on their calendars.

Your wife is more than just the mother of your children or someone who cleans the house or washes the clothes. You said in your marriage vows that you would love your wife “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, until death do us part.” Work so that you keep that promise. Men, here is a five-question test to gauge how well you love your wife.

(1) Do I tell my wife daily that I love her? (2) Is my “pet name” for my wife a genuine reflection of my love? (3) Do I know what makes my wife feel loved? (4) Do I continually strive to make my wife feel loved? (5) By my words or actions, have I made my love conditional?

Men, if you want a better wife, show her a serving, nourishing love. By doing so, she will move heaven and earth to keep your love.

Allen Tilley is senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Carthage.