To Wives Everywhere

8:40 AMHeather

This past Sunday was 22 years since my first date with my husband.  It's always fun to think back on those early days when I worked so hard at winning and keeping my man's affections.  

And, it's also convicting.  Because I have a confession to make.  In these years of working full-time, and then mothering full-time, I tend to let my husband fall to the bottom of the list.  When I'm operating in "the squeaky wheel gets the oil" mentality with all the demands on me, it's rather easy to neglect the man who demands little and gives so much.

I'm very blessed with a husband who routinely asks what he can do for me.  Servant-hearted doesn't begin to cut the description of my husband.   He's a rare breed, and I am one blessed girl.  Yet, still, I can be rather neglectful in working at our relationship.  And, I know I'm not alone in that.  

When we both worked full-time, pre-children, I can remember the long hours I devoted to work, and the feeling of absolute fatigue when I finally got home.  Not much left to give my husband.  Funny.  That didn't change or improve a bit once we had kids.  In fact, in those infant through preschool years, it intensified.  Now that we are in the middle and elementary school years of parenting, I find myself worn out from playing Taxi Driver and strategic planner of all things laundry, cooking, cleaning, and errand running.

Different reasons but same outcome.  My marriage isn't given the same attention it deserves.  As I look ahead, I'm realizing my oldest hits high school soon and we'll be on that "downward slide" of parenting. I KNOW I must turn the tide here.  If I want to be able to look at my husband in our empty nest years and be able to enjoy and know him, then I need to do a better job now to invest into that future.

Please hear me.  This is not a guilt trip.  I know spinning all our plates and expectations and demands isn't easy.  I'm not trying to add to your burden.  But, I am asking you to join me in prayerfully considering something you can do different.  Just think about some tiny ways you can make a better effort.  How can you make sure your man knows he has your respect, love and devotion?  

Here's a list of a few things I've contemplated and/or tried to do better lately.

1.  Pray for my husband.  Yep, as I pray for my kids, my day or those pressing needs of others, I'm trying to be more intentional to pray for my husband.  The great thing is that you can do this while you fold laundry, cook dinner, wash dishes or run carpool.  We're multitaskers, aren't we?

2.  Send him Scripture.  My husband has burdens to deal with, just as I do.  I can get pretty self-focused on my own burdens.  But, I'm trying to do better at sharing an encouraging word with my husband.  If you have a smart phone and a Bible app, this is super easy. Lately, when a verse comes to mind, I look it up on my app and text it to my husband through the app's easy breezy "share" button.  I used to do such gestures all the time in our courting days?  And there were no smart phones back then.  I had to actually WRITE it out.  Certainly, I can muster the energy now.

3.  Ask his opinion.  As I am working harder to pay more attention to my husband, I'm realizing I want to be more intentional to show him I respect him.  Men need this.  In fact, research shows that this is the number one need of men--to feel respected.  So, on little things about the kids or such, I'm trying to do better to ask my husband his opinion.  I can be rather guilty of feeling like the kid expert after all these years of being a SAHM.  But, he is their dad and I should let him know I value his opinion on how to help our children with their dilemmas.  Or his advice on something that's on my mind.

4.  Laugh.  Yep, trying to refocus myself from complaining and venting to my ever patient husband to finding ways to laugh with him.  This involves self-control and lots of tongue biting.  But, I am working at this--to just find little things to laugh about.  Suggestions?  See the humor in the every day.  Or even seek out laughs with a favorite show.  May I suggest Duck Dynasty, for instance?  Uncle Si always makes me giggle.  Happy, happy, happy.

5. Remember.   After all these years together, one of the most profound aspects of our marriage is our shared history.  It can remind us of all that God has brought us through when we sit and reminisce about our first date or early years.  Our kids even love for us to share these funny stories.  It brings them a feeling of security to reflect on our bond.  You might even want to pull out old pictures or videos.  Or, look up old songs on iTunes from when you were dating or first married.  Certainly, our young new love was exciting and wonderful.  But, the bond and certainty of all our shared experiences brings a whole different beauty to our love story.

Will you join me in turning some of our attention from our kids' and their demands back to our husbands who stand by our sides?  Sometimes, I admit, I feel as though I just can't do it all.  And, I remember that my husband needs attention.  I trust him implicitly, don't mishear me.  But, not giving our men the attention and respect they need gives the enemy a foothold to turn their attention elsewhere.  This thought drives me back to where I need to be, to making an effort to fight for and build up this marriage I've been given.  It's not perfect, and neither are we.  But, I'm terribly blessed to have him.  And, he needs me to remind him of that.

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