SOOO, I kind of owe my husband an apology.
My husband supports me in just about anything I do. From coloring (or not) my hair to blogging to working outside of the home to exercising to photography and to mothering our children. I am a wife who cannot complain. He likes my hair no matter what it looks like (even in the morning, and believe me, it’s bad, folks), he helps with the children without being asked and reads everything I post on my blog. AND he lets me wear his t-shirts to bed and around the house, which inevitably leaves them smelling girly. Guys could easily get their man-card revoked if their shirts smell like roses.
I have found/made quite a bit of time for blogging lately. Unfortunately, as an adult and a mom, I don’t have endless amounts of time to spend in front of a computer screen or doing any one thing in particular for that long. Something has to give and lately, it has been my free time that I could spend with my husband. This apology is of my own volition after a realizing this during a simple conversation we had the other evening. He wants me to blog, he supports my writing adventures. But I haven’t been appreciative of his support and have allowed myself to be distracted.
I’m sorry, hon.
Yesterday, as I was watching my children play in the yard…
…I became overwhelmed by the realization of just how good I have it. I am home with my children every day. I don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn and contend with the daily grind of work on top of wrangling fussy kids. I get a decent bit of free time to relax, exercise or pursue hobbies, like….eating ice cream. And I realized that this is probably exactly what Rob wants for me. For us.
He wants to have a joyful, happy wife who has had a wonderful day with the kids. Who is unsoiled (so to speak) from the world. Being mother is the hardest job I have ever had. This isn’t to say that holding down a regular job isn’t hard. But there has been NO GREATER JOY that I have gained from my work outside of the home as I have from the work that I do IN my home. Each and every day.
I wouldn’t have it any other way. And I don’t have to, thanks to the efforts of my husband to be not just the monetary provider but a provider of stability, security and protection. These things in turn make for a joyful wife who can, with much less effort and worry, love and raise up her children everyday. Which in turn makes for a peaceful, connected and harmonious home for the daddy to come home to.
That is a circle of life I’m good with being a part of.
This 5 Things Thursday edition belongs to the husbands. Read this with an open mind and an open heart. I am addressing the wives this time. I will be honest and say that I am speaking from personal experience and observations within my own marriage. You may end up not agreeing. It’s totally cool – I won’t be offended.
5 Ways To Be More Intentional With (and For Your) Husband
1.) Say, “thank you.”
Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? It is and it isn’t. Doing this only on Father’s Day isn’t enough, much like I wouldn’t be happy if I only ever felt acknowledged for my efforts once a year on Mother’s Day. With littles at home and with Rob beginning to climb the corporate ladder, these are tough years in our home. We are both working quite a bit, everyday. This may look like your home, or perhaps your kids are older and your husband’s career more established. Perhaps you have a career, as well.
Regardless, each and every day is an opportunity to live within and act out gratitude. Every day that is rough for me while I’m at home with the kids, my husband stops and looks at me and simply says, “thank you,” and he means it. Most women may be thinking, “well, he SHOULD say thank you.” If you are thinking that, here is a newsflash for you: we shouldn’t wait for them to say it first before we say it. We should say it because we genuinely feel it and can’t wait to tell them. Don’t wait.
I think as a mom, I am sometimes envious of the amount of time my husband has outside of the home and of the time to himself – even to use the bathroom by himself. But when I really stop and think about it, the less appealing that time at work actually seems.
This is what Rob’s day looks like: Every day he gets up early, puts on a suit, contends with traffic and difficult drivers, handles irate or annoying customers, is interrupted by a constantly ringing phone, gets to crunch numbers, tediously fill out forms, mass produce letters people will just throw away without reading entirely, attends meetings, tries to leave on time, fights every red light on the highway to be home to steam his suit and iron his shirt for the next day, and for all his efforts is greeted sometimes by fussy, irritated babies and a fussy and irritated mommy.
Suddenly, the vision I have of my husband just skipping out the door to go to work in the morning and enjoying a quiet car ride and a corner office filled isn’t quite so accurate. Just say “thank you.” This trend will permeate his heart and will set a tremendous example for your children. And maybe even for him. Don’t wait until he says it. Start with you.
2.) Spend time and energy doing something HE wants to do.
Spend time washing the car or snuggling and catching the gam with him. You might fall asleep before you know what the final score is (how many touchdown thingies?), but I promise that he will notice. Don’t do it with any expectations. Go with the flow and be in it solely to spend time with him. My husband likes company when he does just about anything Especially if it is a repair project or chore – I really don’t even need to life a finger. He’s just grateful for the company. And when he is talking to me a ton about a work project from the office, or an idea that he has, I can tell having my attention, support and approval means a lot to him. My husband is a math whizz. I can’t always follow the conversation enough to know what he’s talking about. But I can be excited when he is excited. And I can lend an ear to bounce ideas off of.
Lately, I have been trying (key word there is ‘trying’) to get up earlier and at spend at least a small amount of time with Rob before he leaves for work. He isn’t trying to deprive me of my sleep. I want to do this so that we can have that much more time together. It may only be 20 minutes, but it’s something. Whether it is company (or assistance) when doing a chore or offering my two cents about a work project, I am showing him that I see and notice what he is doing. I’m showing I care. Acting out love in this way will only cultivate a deeper connection with your spouse. Not sure where to start? ASK
3.) Offer up respect.
Before you go, “whaaaaa???” let me explain. I get and proclaim freely that both men and women deserve and ought to be treated with respect in any relationship. That said, it should come as no surprise that men operate a touch differently than us gals do. At least, quite a lot of the dudes I know. When they are with their friends, there is most likely a mutual, unspoken amount of respect between dudes. It’s how they roll. It speaks to them.
So that said, you too can make it evident even just in your actions that you willingly give your guy props. I feel like in current day culture, we celebrate brazen and sassy women. We equate sassiness with strength. We equate loudness with leadership. We celebrate feminine independence while pushing aside and minimizing the role of strong, masculine men. I don’t think that this is healthy for how we perceive working relationships. It is more than OK to show your husband that you respect him. This may shock some women. I think this goes against a large part of everything that we are taught as women. Respect isn’t a sign of weakness. If anything, it shows we are woman enough to give credit where it is due. I love my husband, I need my husband and I am lucky to have him. It’s ok to need, appreciate and respect your man. And it’s ok to admit that in public. I’m whipped. I’m taken. And I’m good with that.
4.) Sometimes, they need to swept off their feet, too.
I sometimes think that we as ladies get the idea in our heads that the men should be doing most, if not all, of the romantic legwork. Flowers, candy, spontaneity are all supposed to be things that the men are concerned with, right? Not exclusively. It should be mutual. It should be reciprocal. If I found a baby sitter only to take Rob to Subway to get a spicy Italian BMT, he would be stoked.
Sometimes, he may prefer to get a pack of Reese’s Cups, put on Pandora and snuggle on the sofa. All I have to do sometimes is take the lead. A great way to know where to start and get ideas from is to figure out what his love language is. Acts of service really speak to Rob. Sure, he would love it if I bought him a 6-pack of beer (honestly what dude wouldn’t enjoy that?) but if I cleaned out and washed the car or baked him a carrot cake from scratch, he would be over the moon. Other examples of love languages are: Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Time and Gifts. Doing something romantic is great. But doing something romantic that will intrinsically speak to your guy is beyond amazing.
5.) Speak Encouraging Words.
This may be something in the course of your relationship that has never occurred to you before now, so I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: YOU are his biggest confirmation in life. I cannot say enough about the words you say to your husband – or don’t say. If he comes to you with a problem – listen. If he’s worried – offer up encouraging and truthful advice. Use your words carefully. Apply them thoughtfully.
This isn’t to say that if he is wrong then you can’t be honest. This isn’t the same as ‘sugar-coating.’ But words can either be careless or they can be productive. You can’t steer clear of every argument. You won’t always be able to hold your tongue and neither will he. But the power of a wife’s words over her husband cannot be emphasized enough. Husbands will retreat, emotionally and sometimes physically, from a nagging, persistently unkind and verbally pushy wife. Wouldn’t YOU? Wouldn’t you want to run from your husband if you felt like you could never catch a break? I know I would. Try to make your words count. He asks and confides in you before all others because your opinion and affirmation mean more to him above all others. Try not to let him down.
There you have it. My 5 Things Thursday for the week. I hope that you have read these things and found encouragement. These aren’t here to make you feel bad, they’re here to help you as they have helped to benefit my marriage. My relationship isn’t perfect. It will constantly take work, but that is OK. You’re never going to be in a place where that won’t be a good thing….
…even if he does buy you lots of Reese’s Cups or you’re one of those magical women that love beer, NASCAR and bacon – especially when you combine them.
Ladies, enjoy your guys. Husbands, love your ladies.