Things I've Learned About My Husband
When we first got married, I really didn't have a clue about how my husband works. I mean, I had some idea. We were never the couple that got along perfectly. We both have strong personalities and clashed often. But even though we had already hashed out a lot of problems when dating, I still had a long way to go to really understand him as a person. I think the reason for that is that when you are dating, you tend to view your beloved less as a real, regular person and more as an ideal, THAT person you have been looking forward to your whole life, someone whose presence will benefit your life in X amount of ways. You're often really busy fitting that person into your preconceived boxes of who your husband is going to be.
Then you get married and you figure out that he is actually his own person, will never fit in your boxes, and that in love, you will have to figure him out and learn to live with and around the aspects of his character that are difficult for you. Same goes for the men in reference to their wives, obviously, but as a woman, I'm writing to women, specifically.
Most likely not everyone is like this but it takes me a while to really wrap my head around how somebody other than myself functions, probably because I tend to be self-focused and think everyone is like me. But slowly, surely, I'm learning things about my husband and I want to share them in the hopes that it can help other wives relate to theirs.
Some of the things I'm going to share are specific to him; my purpose in sharing those things is that you are encouraged to make it your goal to understand the unique character and personality of your spouse. Why?
Because a huge part of loving someone is truly knowing them.
That's why you can't truly love God if you don't take the time to know Him and in the same way, you can't truly love your spouse to the best of your abilities if you aren't taking the time to try to know and deeply understand how he or she works.
Some of the things I'm going to share, I believe are universal to most men. I hope that they give you some insights into your husband and the men in your lives in general and help you relate to them better! The good news, ladies, is that men are actually pretty simple and straightforward with a lot of their needs -- we tend to be the complicated ones! :P So without further ado, here are some interesting things I learned about my husband:
He Likes To Talk On His Own Terms
This probably falls into the "specific-to-my-husband" category, and yet I know that having deeper conversations with your husband is a more common marital struggle. The truth is that a lot of guys are just not big talkers. My husband does not like to talk about work when he gets home because he doesn't need to relive his day. He doesn't come away from a social event such as a wedding or a church thing with this need to verbalize all of his thoughts and feelings on how people were dressed, what they did, and what they said. And when I'm feeling emotionally needy for some face-to-face "date" time and I beg him to sit down with me on the couch and just talk, I get a silly, shy, blank stare and a very quiet, awkward man who has nothing to say.
Here's the thing though -- I need to talk.
If my husband and I are not sharing our thoughts, feelings, ideas and dreams, I feel emotionally disconnected and like our intimacy is lacking.
As I've pondered this disconnect, I've come to understand that it comes down partially to his personality and partially to a "man thing," covered in a really insightful way in the book Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs. According to Dr. Eggerichs, men don't do well with face-to-face interactions, and there's fascinating psychological reasons behind this which I encourage you to read about in his book. They do, however, like shoulder-to-shoulder interactions, and are much more likely to engage in conversation if they can focus on doing an activity with someone and with a little talking on the side. So I've learned that taking a walk, running errands, or working on a project together results in much more fruitful conversations between the two of us.
Here's something funny, though. There is one place that I've discovered my husband LOVES to talk. Like you can't shut him up. And that's the car. In his words, he's stuck in one place with nothing to do so might as well talk -- so he turns into Chatty Kathy. Which, truth be told, is really annoying to me because, of course, the car is the one place I don't like talking. Like not at all. I love the rhythmic sound of the engine and the bumping of the road and it makes me feel low energy. Plus, you're stuck in one place with nothing to do, right? What a great time to be on my phone and zone out the world.
The sinful, fleshly response to this scenario goes something like this: my husband won't make the effort to talk to me in the way I want to, so why should I make the effort to put away my phone and engage with him when he's bored and wants to talk? But that's a truly foolish way of thinking. The loving, Christlike response is far different. It may seem selfish of my husband not to talk to me when I want him to, but if I am to think about him charitably, he has a genuine weakness/inability to carry on a conversation when he feels put on the spot. Sure, part of refusing to even try might be selfish, but we are not called to judge our husbands for their actions nor to "get back at them" when they do make mistakes. Rather, we are called to love unconditionally and self-sacrificially. To love our husbands AS THEY ARE. So if this is how Nate is, and this is what it takes to get to know him and have emotional intimacy with him, this is what I have to do.
Not only this, but Christ also gives us wisdom as wives to know how to build up our family and not tear it down. Taking my situation as an example, while avoiding talking in the car might be more comfortable and also provide me with feeling of justified revenge, I'm shooting myself in the foot because I am losing my one opportunity to form a deeper and more connected relationship with my husband. Proverbs 14:1 always is powerfully motivating for me to make the right decision in these moments. It says, "The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down."
There are things that may be costly to us wives in the sense that they require dying to ourselves in order to bless our husbands. What is crucial for us to understand is that in blessing our husbands we are building up our home and blessing ourselves.
No woman wants a home life fraught with instability and conflict -- but only a wise woman will understand the key moments and sacrifices it takes to achieve a home that is a corner of heaven.
He Likes The House To Be Clean And Food On The Table
You might be thinking...duh. Or you might be thinking...well, that's his job too. Or you might be thinking, yea, sometimes, if it's possible.
You're right. It is obvious that that is something men want but if I'm honest with myself, that doesn't always happen. So it may be "duh" but it's not going to happen on its own. And yes, it is his job too sometimes, especially when you both are working full-time or there are other special circumstances like your back is messed up and you're super pregnant (me currently lol). And yes, no one is asking you to be Superwife or Supermom -- so that stuff only applies if and when it's possible. Your husband will 100% at one time or other in his life come home to a messy house and have to make himself a sandwich or order takeout.
So I'm not addressing those situations. What I am learning is that out of laziness or wrong priorities, I minimize in my own mind how important these things are to my husband. I tell myself it's no big deal if I waste time on my phone instead of taking a half hour to straighten up before he comes home from work and lighting some candles. Or it's no big deal if I keep working on a blog post instead of meal planning for the week and we end up spending too much on groceries or scrambling for dinner ideas all week. The truth is that it is a very big deal if it is happening consistently and if you are, as a wife, consistently prioritizing other, personal things over your duties in the household.
Don't beat yourself up too much, because this society does NOT gear you for success as a homemaker.
Instead, you are groomed from a young age to care about things like scrolling through your friends stories to see how their life is going. Researching future vacations or binge-watching Netflix shows. Taking time to put on hair masks, do your gel manicure, and shop online. Your mind gets all fuzzy from the constant, rapid influx of digital information and your body gets tired from sitting still. So then when you put away your phone or laptop or get up from wherever you were lounging thinking dang, I have to start doing housework or figure out this or that, you are set up to fail.
Of course, not everyone is like this. Some of you are naturally industrious and really good at getting things done. But the truth is that not all of us are, and for those of us who are not, this is a real trap that we can fall into. The days slip away from us with us giving only a half-hearted attempt at maintaining a well-run, clean home, making sure our husband has hot meals that were planned with thriftiness and care. Again, maybe you get a little training at home, but nowhere in society are we trained for this or is is imprinted in us that this is something very, very important to our husbands, though they may not say it. When we are taking care that the household runs well, it frees them up to do what they are called to do. There may be some theological disagreements here, but I believe that while I like to blog and take photos, while I may participate in ministries at church or try to work some sort of job, none of those things are my priority.
My primary calling is to make sure that my husband can fulfill his calling by being a helper to him. When I neglect this, I am being unfaithful to my calling as wife.
I believe that if we transform how we think about this, we can truly grow and improve in these areas as wives. Failing in this area is caused by essentially disobedience to God/rebellion against His design even though we may not be conscious of our desire to rebel. But the truth is that if I personally look at my life and match it up to the Proverbs 31 woman described in Scripture and I fall far short, it is because I am making daily choices to rebel in little areas like how I spend my time, energy, and attention. The sin of rebellion is always addressed by prayer and repentance.
I also believe that we behave wrongly in this area because of wrong priorities. We feed ourselves the lie that if whatever we are doing right now instead of doing the laundry or prepping for dinner, it's more important and more satisfying than doing our duty.
In these moments, I ask myself "What is it I truly want right now? Looking back at the end of the day, will I have wanted that I kept scrolling through my Instagram and felt stuffy, annoyed at myself for being lazy/wasting time, and neglected my husband's needs OR will I wish I had put it away and done something productive?
God can truly help us to realign our priorities and help us realize our true desire is to follow His plan and benefit from the amazing results His design always brings.
He Sometimes Needs Me To Be the Queen of Happiness and Magical Fun
Yea, you read that right. And I'm probably not quoting it right, but I read it once in an article about what men want from their wives and though I cannot for the life of me find the article again, the concept stuck with me ever since.
Before I explain what I mean, I'd like to emphasize the word sometimes. This is not something you can be all the time, nor should you expect it of yourself. We as women have a lot on our mind, and I can imagine even more so if you have kids. You have to be the secretary, the calendar/planner book, the meal-planner, dish-washer, stability-keeper. We tend to get really focused on keeping things running well, so we may look stressed a lot. We also tend to be the ones with more anxiety, so we can be worried a lot. Oftentimes, we are also more verbal, so we can complain a bit more (obviously this doesn't apply to everyone). All in all, we can kind of become...a stereotypical, nagging mom person in their life. You know, not super fun, very mom-ish, maybe a little more critical than necessary or a little more controlling than pleasant. And while all of these things can be done to sinful extremes, oftentimes it really is our job to keep a lot of things together.
But crazy thing, something I've found that Nate, and I believe most men need, is for us to sometimes be the girl they remember dating.
You know, smiley and girlish, a little flirty, not taking anything too seriously and laughing a lot. Ready for an adventure, spontaneous, often touching his arm and and complimenting him. Not worrying about much, too in love to be critical, too trusting to try to control. That girl. I'm not saying every day and I'm not even saying for more than a couple hours.
But ladies, men need you to be that person ever so often. I don't understand their psychology, but they need to see you as someone fun to be with rather than a scolder or a work partner.
When you are the Queen of Happiness and Magical Fun, your husband will soften and relax with you -- he will remember that amid the chaos and stress of life, you still really, really like him and even better, that he still really, really like you.
Don't be shocked if you try it and your husband looks super thrown off. It may have been a long time since he has last seen this side of you. But I challenge you to try it whenever you have the energy to, and see if it doesn't bring a breath of fresh air to your relationships.
I could honestly go on and on with the things I'm learning. I'm so grateful to have a person that God is teaching me to love on and that He uses to daily challenge me to be more Christ-like. Let me know if you would like a continuation of this post topic! Meanwhile, I'd just like to wrap up with the reminder that Satan is actively creating temptations for your family and your relationship to fail. He is the enemy of unity. So we as wives have to be actively pursuing a Christlike love for our husbands through deepening our relationship with the only Person truly able to love selflessly. The more we dig deep into the Word and spend time in prayer, the more we will see Him loving through us and building up our homes to be glorifying to Him.
The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
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