How would you rate the health of your marriage? Now check with your husband for his perspective. My husband’s cup is always overflowing and mine tends to be half full. Today I’m continuing with the series Life is too valuable to merely be a spectator, shape up and become a participant. We’re looking at the H in SHAPE.
Husband – Growing in the Relationship with your Husband.
- Keep romance alive – Couples should not just date to get married rather they should get married to date. Make dating each other a priority. Do you want to know WHY? Never stop having fun together.
- Communicate Daily – Set aside a daily time to talk so as not to become isolated. Communication means both talking and active listening. Listen with the intent to understand and not just to reply. When our girls were young, Jon would call to let me know he was headed home which was a “cue” to get the girls settled so we can have time to catch up. The girls and I would pick up toys and find a video to watch or books to read. They excitedly would run out to greet daddy and then would watch a 30-minute video so Jon and I could catch up face to face. We would also call or email each other during the day. Even when Jon travels, which was over 100 days last year, we will talk daily. Are you struggling with good communication? Last night I watched a brilliant Ted Talk 10 ways to have a better conversation.
- Ladies, respect your husband as our love is not enough – Men would rather be alone and unloved than feel inadequate and disrespected according to research by Shaunti Feldhahn in For Women Only. Emerson Eggerichs wrote Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs which I highly encourage couples to read. I’d been married for 20 years to a wonderful man that I thought I was respecting. I never realized, however, how many little things I said and did that made him feel so belittled. (And he certainly didn’t know how to share that with me!) It wasn’t until we were at a counseling session and had to share ways we thought we had offended each other, yikes!!! I remember praying that God would reveal the many ways I had hurt or offended Jon. I was shocked when the word disrespect came to mind so I asked God how I had disrespected Jon and, let’s just say, it wasn’t a short list. I can vividly see myself asking Jon to forgive me for being disrespectful. He sat shocked but then as I shared how I felt I had disrespected him, he began to weep. I share this only because it was a turning point in our marriage. Are you questioning if you truly respect your husband? Ask him what respect looks like and be ready to listen.
- Be covenant keepers, AKA committed – Eliminate the word DIVORCE from your vocabulary as it plants seeds for potential marriage failure as well as causing stress, anxiety, worry, and fear that the other person may just pack up and leave. Marriage only survives the difficult times when divorce is not an option. Have the attitude that FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION.
- Invest in your marriage – A good marriage is worth the investment of time and money. Don’t be naïve thinking a few weeks of pre-marital counseling prior to marriage is all you need; continue to be teachable. Need ideas on investing in your marriage? (otherwise known as fireproofing your marriage) I’ve been married 30 years and I still have much to learn. Jon and I attend a marriage conference every 2-3 years such as A Weekend to Remember, Art of Marriage, or a seminar like Love and Respect, or do a book study, or bible study with a community group. Find an older couple whose marriage you admire and ask if they would meet with you. How about a marriage cruise? Family Life Today will be hosting their 5th year of Love Like You Mean It, Marriage Cruise You will hear some of the best speakers and experts on marriage. Jon and I went three years ago and truly recommend it. A good marriage is worth the investment of time & $$$. Seek professional help when needed. The Center for Relational Care, in Austin, Texas, has great counselors and incredible marriage intensives which are costly but not nearly as costly as a failed marriage and attorney fees. Jon and I use CRC occasionally for a tune up like we did 10 years ago when we unexpectantly went through many changes (turning 40, loss of a job, selling our dream home to start a company, Jon working 60+ hour work weeks, a new baby and home schooling, insurmountable debt, etc.).
- Hard times will come – So be prepared & unified. Persevering through the struggles can bring you closer together than you were before. I often tell others that when you are in the midst of a storm you are so busy trying to stay afloat that you don’t remember the calmness of where you came from and often you can’t see the rainbow just on the other side. Keeping a gratitude journal will help your remember God’s previous faithfulness to you.
- Appreciate your man – It’s a hard world out there and our husbands need to know that we believe in their abilities. Show and tell your husband how much you love and appreciate all he does.
- Have sex!!! – Men spell love S-E-X. Plus, intimacy brings couples together better than anything.