The one thing you should do for your husband

Don’t you just love date night?

Holding hands. Conversation without interruption. Being out and about together. Taking your time for everything – especially that glass of wine. Acting as if you normally dress like this and have makeup on and are showered (yea, right? That would be something huh, moms?)

How easy our married lives would be if we could always live in the glow of date nights. If laundry and work and cutting the grass and toddlers and making sandwiches and paying the bills didn’t remind us that we have actual responsibilities. 

It’s hard to maintain the afterglow of date nights when life happens. I always resolve myself at the end an evening out that I am going to keep these carefree feelings alive and show my husband how much I care for and love him EVERYDAY. Not just once a month, when we sneak out for an evening together.

Then my dreams face plant into reality.

In my usual frame of thinking, I am much too busy to put myself out there with my husband because the kids need a bath and their teeth brushed and to be put into bed. I have to clean the dishes. I have to feed the baby. I am much too busy to be expected to give anyone else anymore of myself.

Then by the time the kids are in bed, and there is any sliver of a chance of connecting with my husband, I am much too tired. It becomes one more chore on a checklist of things that require something of me. Doesn’t that just sound so romantic? 

I struggle with being needed. And because the children sometimes scream like banshees and are relatively hard to ignore, I go out of my way to meet their needs (because I want the voices to stop.) That means I’m less inclined to make myself available for my husband, because his needs, theoretically, can wait. Because I’m exhausted.

Day to-day life, especially with children involved, is hectic and certainly not always romantic. And you’ll swear that your children are purposefully blocking any and every attempt at romance that you and the husband can muster. 

I’m not talking about being a door mat for our husbands. I’m not talking about always putting them above ourselves. I’m speaking practically about the ways that we can love them, and put effort into our marriage, which is always a good thing. I’m talking about encouraging the romance and affection that you need, too, ladies.

It’s probably pretty difficult to get your mind into a “romantic” setting after you’ve cleaned up from a massive diaper blowout and you haven’t caught a shower. For me, sometimes the one thing I’d like most, connection with my husband, just doesn’t seem possible after a long day.

I need a slow build to get my mind in the right settings for romance. But, ladies, we need that connection with our husbands. And, to be frank, we need intimacy with one another. So often, we relegate it to the back burner when it should be a priority.

So, how do we live our married lives like we are in a state of perpetual “bliss”? How do we choose romance?

Show your husband that you care.

Simple as that. Right?

Not always.

Here are a few ways to pursue your husband:

1.) Be glad to see him when he gets home. 

I’m not talking about being June Cleaver. I’m not talking about the house being pristine and having a hot dinner on the table, which is already set. I’m not even talking about having real pants on, and not the sweats you live in for three days at a time.

I’m talking about stopping what you’re doing for two minutes, and welcoming your husband home. Ask him how his day was. Look him in the eye. Give him a peck on the cheek and a hug. Get close enough that he can smell your perfume (or your staleness, if it’s been a long few days since a shower.)

Don’t look at your husband like he is just an extra set of hands when he walks in the door, though I have been guilty of this on plenty of occasions. Look at him like he is your husband. Acknowledge that is there, acknowledge that you missed him. Then smack that booty.

Let him know you care. 

2.) Do that thing that he wants you to do

Get your minds out of the gutter. 

My husband loves it when I wake up early and keep him company while he gets ready for work. That sounds painful, doesn’t it? Parting with an extra 45 minutes of sleep is an effort for me. I don’t always succeed.

I’m not saying it’s this exact thing for the two of you, but there is probably something your husband would be bawled over if you did for him or with him. 

Watch the game with him. Play chess with him. Keep him company while he washes the car. Make him his favorite dinner. Watch the t.v. shows he wants to watch. The possibilities are endless.

Don’t know where to start? Ask him.

3.) Be romantic with him. 

Now your minds can be in the gutter. 

Ready?

Initiate. Initiate the romance. Don’t wait. Don’t wait for him to guess what you’re thinking. Don’t send subtle signals. Put the kids in bed, then wait a bit (probably more like an hour to be sure they’re really asleep, if you live in my house.) Then pounce. Or meander over. Or, you know, wink at him. 

Game on. 

4.) Give him a break. 

I know what you’re thinking. 

You’ve been cooped up with the kids all.week., mostly inside because it’s been raining or someone had a cold. And YOU want a break from children. 

Guess what?

Your husband just spend 50 hours at work this week, doing the same things over and over. He just had his bosses come over and tell him to do that report he spent two days on all over again. He just answered a telephone call from a less than pleased customer. 

Newsflash: your husband does stuff, too, while he is out of the house all day. 

So, sometimes, he wants to get out of the house and feel like a human being that isn’t running the endless rat race of the 9-5 (or shift work) work-force. Sometimes, he wants the house to himself for an hour so he can watch wrestling and wear the sleeveless shirts he doesn’t want anybody else to know that he has. 

Sometimes, he wants to be Al Bundy, sit with his hand in his pants on the couch, drinking a cold one, watching the television. 

He’s a peacock, you gotta let him fly. 

5. ) Treat him like a person

Don’t nag him. Cus he’s grown. 

Ask. Request. Suggest. Encourage. Talk to him like an adult.

Don’t nag him like he’s an extra child. Don’t harp on him. Don’t expect him to do things the EXACT way that you would do them.

Especially when it comes to how he interacts with the kids.

Let him learn to navigate the art of fatherhood all on his own. The kids may be wearing mismatched clothing and still be awake at 10:14 when you get home from a night out with the girls. He may not have touched the dishes you asked him to do. He may forget to take out the trash.

Whatever it is. Calm down.

Don’t treat him like a paycheck. Don’t act like your staying home with your children is a favor you’re doing for him. Don’t act like he owes you for everything (except for when you clean up profuse amounts of dog poop or puke.) Don’t act like he couldn’t get by without you. 

Just be grateful when he’s there. The way you want someone to be grateful that you’re there, catching vomit at 1 a.m. or cleaning the goldfish crumbs out of the back of the van when it’s 90 degrees out. 

Forgo the martyr act, and treat him like a flesh and blood person.  

 

There you have it, ladies. Go and have some fun with your man…just Maybe shower first, if you can? It’s funner for both of you that way.
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I’ve seen you do both

I heard the alarm. Felt the bed move as you sat up and swung your feet over the edge. You were sitting there in the dark, eyes foggy, head cloudy. Probably wondering why 3 a.m. even exists, anyway.

I listened as you dressed in the dark. Felt you lean over to my side of the bed while you whispered to me to have a good day and felt a kiss on my face. I watched you leave the room and begin to descend the stairs in your uniform. Heard the hum from your car as it started.

It may have seemed like I just went back to bed at this time every day, but in truth, I never could until I was assured that you were completely gone. I always laid there and listened to the engine of your car fade. I always waited. I had to hear it. And I couldn’t wait to hear it again nine hours later.

You returned later that day smelling of oil and grease and sweat. Cover off of your head, finally free from your blouse. Boots still on your feet. Smiling.

Somehow, I feel like I remember you always smiling. 

I’m sure it wasn’t always that way while you were in the service. I actually know now that it wasn’t. And that a lot of those times that you were smiling you were actually heavy-hearted and carrying so much on the inside.

I remember your fledgling days when you first separated from the service. Flung back out into a world that didn’t exactly understand, full of people with different priorities than you, who felt the weight of responsibility differently than you. Appreciated all that they had a bit less than you.

I remember what it was like to watch cable news with someone who took its content seriously and even personally as events unraveled and transpired in the middle east. Your frustration at a nation who was slowly forgetting herself and that what makes her great is what makes her distinct. And her choice to always genuinely strive to be the best. Something that you have done time and time again.

You probably never told anybody how in the pit of your stomach you worried just a bit if you could do this. If you could find a nitch in the world again that felt right. If you’d find friends who could understand you, that you could understand in return.

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It’s been almost eight years since we drove home. Since we said goodbye to the golden state. And you jumped in with both feet. If you were scared, I never really noticed at the time.

People always seem to think that women are the only ones who are an ocean of complexities, secrets and hopes unseen. How wrong they are.

I see you.

And as the years pass, I see you in ways that I have never seen you before. Even the you from eight years ago. The me of now appreciates and understands and sees just a bit more of the you from then. How I sometimes mourn the fact that I could have been smarter, more intuitive, better equipped to help you, to appreciate you at the time.

Now that you’re the father of my children, I see it all so much more. I have seen you be man and Marine.

I’ve seen you be strong. I’ve seen you be brave. I’ve been comforted by you when you were the one about to deploy into God knows what for who knows how long. How you reassured me. How you assured me that it would one day be in our rear view mirror and we’d be passed it and be all the better for it. I remember that I didn’t want to admit that I believed you, because admitting it meant I had to accept that you were going to go away.

I’ve seen you be vulnerable. When you’d tell me stories about those who didn’t make it back, when you’d wonder if things could have turned out different if you had done something different. The things that you saw and heard and how at times they wrenched your insides, and how they steeled your resolve at others. How the smoke and the destruction and the crawling through the mud and the calloused, tired feet and the obstacles made you remember time and time again that you made the right choice.

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I’ve seen you be gritty. I’ve smelled grease in your hair and the sweat on your neck. When you worked long days, mastering a skill set that you now don’t get to use but at the time was a matter of life and death, efficiency and necessity. You spent your days working with foul-mouthed Marines and, let’s be honest, you yourself were foul-mouthed, too. But you all understood one another. There was affection and brotherhood amongst you grisly, brazen men. 

I’ve seen you be gentle. With our baby girl. With our son when you showed him how to plant green beans in the backyard. With our daughter when you run a comb gently through her cascade of golden knots, and braid it before bed time.

I’ve seen you lead. I’ve seen that fire in you. The kind that looks calamity and danger in the face and says, “not today. Not on my watch.” I’ve seen what made you a Marine, even in the ho-hum of everyday life. I have seen the type of person that would leave everything behind for a passion and cause that he believes in, like those men in the history books who decided that they would give up their lives if that mean securing safe passage for the mantle of freedom to the next generation. I have seen that men like that are still alive today.

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I’ve seen you submit yourself to education and instruction and the leadership of others. Showing that true men know when to lead, but also most assuredly know when to follow. Because sometimes, following, and learning and seeking wisdom make you better. I have seen you give credit where credit is due.

I’ve seen you in a uniform. Dress blues or cami’s. For a Marine Ball or a dining out banquet. Spending time and using the discipline it takes to ready yourself, full of admiration, respect and care for the uniform and for what it means.

I’ve seen you in casual clothes. Where one would only know that you were a Marine if they had a trained, astute eye for such things.

I’ve seen you laugh. This is probably my favorite. How someone who has walked through so much, seen so much, done so much can still love so much. Can still live life in such a way that he still smiles and takes joy in all he sees whenever he can. At his child who just learned how to wiggle his bottom. At his daughter and her affinity for standing with her hands on her hips, barking orders. At your wife, who puts butter in the cabinet by mistake because she is clueless.

You’ve never given that up. You have never given up on us. And I hope that you never do.

As the years pass, and we move further and further away from your dates of service, my understanding of it changes. When we were in the thick of it, it felt so different. It was something that slipped on like a glove. It was what it was. It was our way of life. Because we were around people of the same mind. There wasn’t the need to make a fuss.

Now that it isn’t our daily way of life anymore, and the uniforms are tucked into the back of the closet, the plaques sitting on the shelf in the study, the way that things go when they are sometimes quietly forgotten about I just feel the urge to tell you every day that I remember. Remnants of a season that has passed. Though the dust of time may settle, though you have gone back to quietly living your life without much fuss and have even made a new life for yourself, I remember what you did. I feel the urge to revisit it. 

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To tell you that you really were right. That time is now in our rearview mirror.

And we really are all the better for it.

9

I know that posts about relationships sometimes bug people. I get it. So, if you’re one of those folks that can’t stand to read about couples/relationships/marriage, you might want to change the channel for the next few minutes.

It’s time for some sappy stuff. It’s my wedding anniversary this week. Rob and I got hitched about this time, nine years ago. It’s been a whirlwind for us – doesn’t everybody say that?

I could lecture you all on what it “really means” to be in a relationship. About what you really “need to do” to make a relationship work. That’s what people tend to do in these situations. Not that they’re entirely wrong for doing so. 

I feel like if you’ve been fighting the good fight for almost a decade (or more), then maybe, just maybe you might have something worthwhile to share after all of that.

The only thing that’s worth while about this whole thing for me has been my husband and these two kids of ours. I don’t live to dispense advice. I live to love them. And sometimes, I like to talk about how much I love them.

This is a simple “thank you” post to my husband. This is what has worked for us and maybe what hasn’t worked for us. This is how he has loved me. This is how I have tried to love him. This is how we are slowly synchronizing and becoming one as the years pass us by. This is how we both have grown individually and how our passions and individual pursuits work to make us better together. This is how we fight over the refrigerator door being left open, juice left on the counter and shoes being left in the middle of the floor.

This is how we roll.

Thank you for messaging me on AOL for the very first time. Recalling that moment makes me realize that even though I think I do, I really don’t know any better. How close I was to “ignoring” you (for whatever reason) shows me just how close to stupid I am on a daily basis.

Thank you for being better than any suitor I could have ever dreamt up on my own. Seriously, tall, blonde-haired, blue-eyed guys are overrated. Hazel eyes are in.

Thank you for asking me to marry you when tons of people probably thought that we were ridiculous and too young and foolish, but you didn’t care anyway.

Thank you for not really caring what other people think. That when you know something is right for you, or for us, in your heart, you don’t need to vainly defend yourself to the peanut gallery, but you self-assuredly walk the walk.

Thank you for proposing to me twice.

Thank you for that 24 hour period. You know the one. The one where it made me realize what I wanted, and that if I wanted it, I needed to say so or be willing to move on and wait for the right things because I was tired of having ephemeral things. 

Thank you for being God’s loving, perfect response to those ephemeral things. For being the best forever-thing I could have ever found on Earth.

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7.17.05

Thank you for going with me to traffic court when we lived on base, and for speaking up for me to that scary Master Sergeant guy who was going to take my license for 30 days. You were the only husband that I saw there with their wife that day.

Thank you for always being my advocate, even when I’m really not worthy of your support.

Thank you for not killing me for leaving the juice out on the counter all. of. the time. And for not making me feel totally useless when I also leave some spilled, too.

Thank you for being so easy to love. The only thing difficult about loving you is knowing that I’m not loving you in the way that you deserve and should be loved. You deserve better, every day.

Thank you for maxing out your credit cards on me before your deployment, and for assuring me that everything was going to be alright and to just be quiet and eat my sushi.

Thank you for being the kind of father for my children that I could only have ever hoped to have. For loving them, for nurturing them, for playing Lego’s with them, for making faces with them, for teaching them how to play rock-paper-scissors. For all of that, the stuff they’ll always have.

Thank you for making me watch all three Karate Kid movies.

Thank you for being a man. Not a macho man. Not a verbose man. Just a man.

Thank you for providing for us and running the rat race when I know that it means you occasionally spend crappy days behind a desk or on the phone with people you might not want to be on the phone with. This before you come home, peel off your suit and still cut the grass. You’re so immensely talented, you could do just about anything you decided to do. But you do this for us. 100_2641 Thank you for hardly ever complaining about it.

Thank you for making me do things. For telling me to keep going. For being the first person to tell me when I’m good at something.

Thank you for saying “thank you” for every. single. lousy dinner I make for you.

Thank you for teaching me that when things don’t go my way I’ll still be alright. That I will live to fight another day. That it isn’t worth getting hung up on. That it’s okay to not have every throw pillow at Pier 1.

Thank you for being the kind of person that makes me want to be a better person. Even though I know it might never be enough.

Thank you for never giving me a hard time about the house being messy. For the floors being messy, the dishes being in the sink, the laundry coming out of our ears. Thank you. That deserves a double thank you.

Thank you for sometimes letting yourself be the butt of the joke when we are out socializing with people. Sometimes, that takes more class and effort than being the one cracking them.

Thank you for not telling people the truth when they ask me how I “put up with you,” that it’s actually me that needs the most putting up with. You’re entirely too gracious.

Thank you for not divorcing me instantly when I threw that raw chicken at your head one time.

Thank you for letting me get a goat one day. <— now it’s public and you have to let me do it!

Thank you for giving me two already amazing children.

I mean, really....

I mean, really….

 

...Look at them GO!

…Look at them GO!

Thank you for giving me what will be our third amazing child, come this fall.

Thank you for never making me feel like I’m in this entirely on my own. You’re always there with me and for me. Every step of the way.

Thank you for loving The Princess Bride as much as I do.

Thank you for letting me ramble on to you about paint colors for the last six weeks. Even when I know that you don’t always get it.

Thank you for being the first to go without if it means that the kids and I can go with. For always being the first willing to go without. For taking one for the team without being asked. 

Thank you for telling me when I’m wrong.

Thank you for being the kind of husband that does dishes, vacuums floors, wipes down toilets and helps out.

Thank you for being the kind of husband who doesn’t call it babysitting when he spends extra time with his children, but instead is excited about it.

Thank you for being the funniest person that I have ever known. Except for that one time you made me cry.

Thank you for giving me a place that I know that I can dwell safely. For always making me feel safe and secure in your hands.

Rarrr...

Rarrr…

Thank you for being a place that I can dwell safely.

Thank you for loving and accepting me even though I’m shaped differently after having our children. For never making me think that your love was contingent on how I look on the outside, but always about how I look on the inside.

Thank you for dancing with me in the kitchen. And the dining room. And the living room. And the yard.

Thank you for being the wall of protection around my children and I. Knowing that we have someone who’s only interests are our best interests is a treasure in this world not afforded to many.

Thank you for not throwing me out of your parent’s house when you saw me take a bite of that cake straight off of the platter with my fork.

Thank you for watching me drink three extra Dr. Peppers to prove my point to you that it IS more economical to buy a larger size. And for laughing at me when I said my stomach was upset on the car ride home.

Thank you for teaching me about Jesus love. For loving me even when you might not want to, for loving me when I’m being ridiculous. For shining the light of grace into the darkest areas of my heart and still accepting me as I am.

Thank you for loving me. Just, thank you.  

There you have it. I love you, Robert William. Except for when you eat my potato chips. But mostly, all of the time.

So, “bye, bye, bye and there ya go, Charlie!”   Here is to, hopefully what will be many, many more! Sorry!! 🙂