In our marriage, God comes first, our marriage comes second, and our children come after that. Even after losing a child I would still say that. Our marriage is the foundation of our family. We started with my husband and I, and it is so important that we care for that, so when our kids leave the house(which is my goal to raise productive members of society that want to leave) we will not look at each other and wonder who in the world we are married to?
I know I will keep learning. That’s the one thing I have learned in marriage, I will keep learning, and I will have to learn over and over and over again. I will have to try and try again. To forgive and forgive again. And COMMUNICATE. a lot.
I have learned a lot of the 8 years so far. But it’s been pretty recently that I feel like I have understood my husband, his needs, and our marriage better. I read Dr. Laura Schlessingers book “The Proper Care and Feeding of a Husband”, and it really hit home a lot of things I didn’t realize.
I don’t take everything from her book, but the few things I did take really made an impact for me. I didn’t ever really comprehend before how much “power” the woman has in the relationship. It’s kind of scary. I used to think that I could just say anything to my husband and he was just a rock that things would bounce off of, and not affect him. Sometimes they were just things I needed to get off of my chest and sometimes they were frustrations I had. But for some reason I was under the impression that none of it ever bothered him, or he never thought anything of it. But I realized that he is not my garbage dump when I have emotional outbursts. I want to treat my husband with respect and love. I’m not always perfect at that, but it’s what I strive for. I strive for having our arguments in a more civil manner, a place room for everyone’s opinion, and love.
I have learned that sex for a man isn’t always just a “need”. Like I had this impression that it’s a need that he can just shut off, and just get over it. I know women get connected emotionally by talking and that’s how we feel love and show love. And a man feels love and shows his love for his wife through sex. And I had a hard time comprehending that. Even after reading many different books on how men and women are different, I still didn’t get it. I still don’t in a way, because I am not a man. But I understand enough, that I try to make it a priority in our lives.
I have learned, that my husbands need are really very simple. He has told me for many years, that all he wants is for me to be happy. I never listened to that. And as soon as he got in the door I was ready to pass the kids off to him, usually crabby at one thing or another, or crabby that he was home late. When I think about it now, no wonder that’s all he wants is his wife to be happy. But I think he started to get a little nervous to come home, unless he knew I was in a good mood. I think I thought I could be crabby and it wouldn’t affect him. Then I would get crabby at him when my crabbiness affected him. SOOO, now I try to meet him at the door with a smile. I don’t harp on him, immediately needing this or that. I try to let him be and not boss him around. It’s a big game changer I really think that.
This whole thing on how your thoughts—>feelings—>actions—>results has really impacted the way I deal with my emotions surrounding my husband. I struggle with getting frustrated or angry at him easily. I think I have really high expectations. I set high expectations for myself and high expectations for my husband. I don’t always communicate those, and sometimes they are very unrealistic. So when I realized that my thoughts are what create my feelings it has been game-changer. For example, something I have communicated many times with my husband is that if I leave for the evening, I really appreciate a clean house when I get home. Otherwise it feels like my “break” was not really a break. Sometimes I get home and the house is messy, and I’m immediately grumpy.
Here is my first thought process:
“Seriously?!?! I have asked him so many times to clean the house, can he not clean the house? It’s not that hard to pick up after the kids go to bed. Now I have to clean before going to bed, AND I have to catch up all day tomorrow because it’s an absolute disaster.” Etc. Etc. I can really make it a big deal in my head. When I think these thoughts I am IMMEDIATELY very angry, annoyed, and frustrated. My whole night away feels like a waste of time and I go to bed very grumpy or chewing my husband out.
Now, I can try to insert these thoughts when I come home to a messy house instead.
“Hmm, Justin must have had a busy evening with the kids since he didn’t get around to cleaning up. I know he knows how much I like it, so he’s probably very exhausted. Poor guy, I’m glad he got to bed instead.” When I think those thoughts, then I have more empathy for him, I’m not grumpy, and I have energy to just deal with it in the morning.
It’s absolutely amazing how much this changes my moods.
I know why I love my husband most of the time, but I sometimes get caught up in the negative things that I can easily forget why, and get frustrated at everything that’s done “wrong” in my eyes.
I know I get tired as a mom, as a wife, as a caretaker of all of them. I get frustrated and I’m ready to be done. But I have to remember that my husband also gets up early, is gone making a living for us all day, deals with things he doesn’t always want to deal with at work either even though he loves his job. So it’s good to remember to communicate our appreciation both ways. I want to tell him that I appreciate all he does for our family, and I really like when he tells me I’m doing a good job and he’s thankful he has a wife that stays at home. I’ve learned that a man really needs respect and needs to feel needed. So telling him how important he is to me, and doing things for him that make him feel loved really helps us out.
A lot of these things I have learned or implemented in my marriage have been mostly from me. That I need to give more, ask for less, ask my husband what else I can do to make him know that I love him. What can I make a priority for him we can stay connected and engaged?
We have not always stayed connected and engaged. There have been periods in our marriage that have been more distant, more busy, and detatched. I’m sure it will happen again in the future as well. But I really want to strive to care for our marriage as the priority because we are the foundation of our family. If we do not have a loving relationship, our kids can feel that, and they know that. It can make them feel unsafe and scared, and I want to strive to have an honest and loving relationship that our kids can feel secure in their own home.
What can you do to love on your husband? What thoughts can you change so you are not frustrated with someone that is not going to change? What areas in your life can you let go and what areas can you step up your game? It really comes down to looking at yourself, not what you husband can do better and what he’s doing wrong. You start it, and I promise if you man is a good man he will return the good back to you.