Usually my posts are directed to guys talking about some way they can love their wives in a way that reflects God’s calling to them in their role as a husband. But today I’m going to mix things up. I still want to promote husbands loving their wives, but I want to address a VERY important aspect of developing this. And that is…their wives!
There is a type of marriage relationship that grieves my heart, and unfortunately it is very common. Let me paint a picture of it. The husband works all day and comes home in the afternoon. When he gets home, he’s minimally interested in spending time with his kids or connecting with his wife. The family eats together and the evening is spent with the husband and wife doing separate things. Then they go to sleep and the next day is the same thing again. The couple feels more like roommates than best friends and lovers. They WANT a better relationship, but don’t know how to get it. The work seems too hard, so they don’t bother. Maybe there is a lot of stress at home too. Maybe the wife is frazzled because she’s doing all the housework and all the taking care of the kids. Maybe the husband doesn’t feel like it’s his job to do those things because he “worked all day”, and his wife has been home doing “whatever she wants to”, and as a result there is tension between them. But addressing it just leads to fights, so it’s generally left un-dealt with and is repeated again the next day.
The posts I write on my blog are mostly focused on encouraging the husband to break this cycle. I try to find different ways to share ideas for men to love their wives. But, I feel probably the BIGGEST thing that can help with this problem is communication from their wives. At my job, one thing I often tell people that our group works with is, “the only problem we can’t fix is the one we don’t know about.” This is true for marriages too. A man can’t take steps to fix something unless he is aware that it is an issue. So…ladies…here are some things you can do to help your husband love you…
- Communicate about workload at home: Many guys grew up in a house where their mothers did ALL the housework, so that’s what they feel is normal. Many guys are tired after working and if their wife stays home, they feel she should take care of ALL the cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc. Also, many guys are selfish (trust me on this…firsthand knowledge here!) and just don’t want to help out. If this is happening in your marriage, you need to talk about it. If your husband is at work “all day”, he needs to understand that you are all work “all day” too…either working a job or working at home. We are very blessed for Julia to be able to stay at home, and I think she does more work than me during the day! For a husband to come home and assume HIS work is done is show his selfishness and lack of respect for what his wife does. Sometimes fixing this could be as simple as a bit of communication…simply asking for help…telling him you feel like the expectation placed on you has been unfair.
- Kid responsibilities: This is pretty much the same as the above paragraph. Does your husband share the responsibility of taking care of the kids (feeding, diapers, taking to sports, baths, putting to bed, etc)? Just like household chores, this should NOT just be the wife’s responsibility. If your husband is leaving what feels like an unfair amount of this work to you, have a talk about it.
- Initiate dates: Ideally I’d like to see guys doing this, but if they’re not, the important thing is for you two to get some time together. If your husband is not taking the lead in it…give it a jumpstart and set it up yourself. Maybe after going out on a date or two, he may realize the importance. Then, maybe you can encourage him (in a loving way) that you’d love it if he was more proactive in scheduling them too.
- Tell him where you “love tank” is at: It’s important that you occasionally let him know how your “love tank” is doing. Is he showing you love in the ways you need? If not, sometimes it just takes a conversation to help remind him of what you need.
And probably the most important point to make about this ideas is the need to make sure communication is done WELL. By this I mean respectfully and with love rather than with accusations, sarcasm or spite. For example…
- “Why don’t you get off your butt and do that yourself!”
- “Maybe if you’d take me out on a date every once in a while…”
- “Maybe I should just go buy myself flowers sometime, because you’re obviously not going to!”
- “She’s your daughter too! Why don’t YOU change her diaper sometime!”
- “Hey honey, I realize the bathrooms haven’t been cleaned in a while, and I’m sorry that I haven’t gotten to it. It’s been tough because I’m so busy doing other things during the day. I know you work hard too just like I do, but do you think we could maybe come up with some sort of plan to divide up some of the chores around the house? Because right now, I feel alone in taking care of them.”
- “Hey, I really miss us getting time alone together to go out. I’d love if we both tried to make it a priority to go on dates together. Are you interested in organizing them, or would it help if I helped plan them?”
- “Hey babe, I’m having a really rough time taking care of our daughter. I’m exhausted every day and REALLY could use more of a hand in sharing the responsibilities. Do you think you would be able to help with…”
***IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER*** – Now what if you’ve DONE these things, but your husband doesn’t seem to hear you or care? What do you do then??? This is a very real problem and I’m going to talk about it in my next post, so stay tuned!
My challenge to you:
Ladies…if there is an issue in your marriage, don’t just write it off because your husband is lacking in something. Find a non-threatening way to bring it up so you can talk about it. Generally men will be receptive to hearing what you have to say, and actually doing something about it…if they are able to understand where you’re coming from…and don’t feel like you’re attacking them.
Men…if your wife talks to you about something, don’t get your back up. Listen to what she has to say, try to understand her perspective, and think about what you can do about it.