Monday, May 9, 2011
If I could go back in time and shake that newly married girl and give her some advice, what would I tell her? Probably nothing she would listen to (the stubborn thing).
Talk to your husband before you make a decision that affects him. Wow, that seems basic, but I can't tell you how many times I made plans with friends or relatives just assuming my dear husband would be just as excited about it as I was. He rarely was and he got his feelings hurt that I didn't consult him first. Unless I have talked with him about it first, I will wait to confirm plans until I've spoken with him.
Let your husband answer questions directed toward him. I came face to face with the ugliness of this not long ago. A newly married woman was constantly answering questions I lobbed at her husband. The husband was the strong but silent type and I tried to pull him into the conversation by asking him a few questions. The dear wife was probably trying to save him the trouble but ended up making him look whimpy. He looked helpless as she answered the questions over and over. That's the last thing you want to do ladies.
Ask your husband's advice and then follow it. Yes, you have to do the last part. Start with something small. Your husband knows you better than anyone on the planet. God has given him wisdom to be your husband. Trust that! I can't tell you how many times I have been so blessed just listening to what my husband was saying and doing it. He isn't always right, but it goes a long way when he sees me taking his advice.
If you are having marital difficulty, follow this one simple rule. Pray for your husband. If you can, pray together outloud for each other. It's awkward and weird at first. It gets better. You build intimacy for whom you pray and with whom you pray. This is the number one advice I was given and now I give.
If your husband is a basket case, pray that God would change you. What???!!! Yup. Let me tell you it works. As God works on me and my heart, he works on my husband in the background. God does it perfectly. Much better than our "suggestions" and nagging ever would.
Speak praise about your husband to others in front of him. Make a special effort to speak about the wonderful things your husband does for you. Make sure he hears it. Husbands need to hear it often. Don't assume your husband knows you appreciate him. They don't. If you are going through marital difficulty, this can be especially challenging. Find something, anything, you can praise him about. Matching socks or that he flosses regularly is good.
Remember what drew you to him. You picked the guy out of a crowd. There must have been something wonderful that caught your attention. Tell him about those special things that you admired when you first started dating. Look at old pictures together. Think about your dating days yourself during the day. By the time he gets home... Ahem!
Don't forget to date each other. My husband and I have been awful about this one. Paying for a babysitter is expensive. Now that our boys are older, we have no excuse. Recently we resolved to go out every month after our second paycheck. If your kids are still at the age they need a babysitter, trade off with another couple. Keep track with poker chips (1 poker chip for each hour) so that no one is taken advantage of. We so love dating one another again. I wish we had done this sooner. We also have a hobby we do together. If you know us, you know that is riding a motorcycle together. It is something we did when we were first married and we do now. My dear friend told me that she noticed a "spark" between us since we started this. Blush!
Maybe you were not exposed to a good marital example growing up. Make friends with older couples that you admire. Just remember, they aren't perfect either. Maybe there is a nugget or two they can share with you that will make your marriage stronger. A good marriage takes daily work. If you are coasting along, your marriage is dying. Resolve to not let a day pass without doing something positive for your spouse.