Wives, Love Your Husbands

Do you know this man?

At Christmastime with my Chunka-Chunka Burnin' Love Nephew, Liam

At Christmastime with my Chunka-Chunka Burnin’ Love Nephew, Liam

He’s my husband and my partner and the love of my life.  He’s the person who makes me laugh the loudest, on whose shoulder I cry the hardest, and with whom I tackle my Life Tasks, from the mundane to the unimaginably complicated, on an everyday basis.  I’ve had friends tell me how lucky I am to have this amazing man. I am and, yes, I do know it.   I’ve wondered before, though, if somehow they think that I hit the husband jackpot and landed Mr. Right.

The truth: Kevin isn’t perfect.  Not by a long shot.  (Sorry, babe.  It’s for the sake of the world, I promise.)  But our marriage works well because we both subscribe to a very simple Marriage Philosophy.

Give each other the benefit of the doubt.

Think “complementary” rather than “different.”

Don’t speak ill of each other in public.*

1) Give each other the benefit of the doubt.

You’re familiar with the concept, no?  Much easier said than done, of course.  I don’t know about you, but I’m more likely to give the benefit of the doubt to people I don’t know, however – the guy who cut me off in traffic, the rude woman at the checkout – than I am to my own husband (and children).  Is that right, I ask you?  I will answer myself:  NO, that is not right.  So I give my man the benefit of the doubt.  Or, because I myself am not perfect, I try to give him the benefit, and when I forget, I say I’m sorry.  Right away.

2) Think “complementary” rather than “different.”

Oh, Lordy.  When they said “opposites attract,” they were talking about Kev and I!  He’s neat and orderly, I’m a Tasmanian devil of disorder and chaos.  He’s measured and thoughtful, I’m impulsive and excitable.  I see the big picture, and he sees the minute details. This used to drive.me.nuts.  I would be intent on cleaning the house  and leave him alone in the kitchen.   Come back 45 minutes later to find the top of the fridge (which, incidentally, I cannot even see because I am not a giant like my hubs) perfectly spotless, and the rest of the kitchen untouched.  This type of cleaning behavior caused many a fight in ze Darr Haus, let me tell you.

But here’s the thing.  Over time, I’ve come to see the balance we  bring to each other.  There have been many (many many many) examples of Kevin talking me down from [insert rash decision here], and equally as many moments when I’ve prodded Kevin to take a step we felt was right but that he hesitated to pull the trigger on.  (See: moving to South Korea.)  Now that I see how we influence each other, I’m much less likely to get upset when he “does things wrong.”  I see the gifts he brings to the marriage, and  how he “fills in my gaps” and how I do the same for him.  Not just different: complementary.  It works.

3) Don’t speak ill of each other in public.*

Please, please, please don’t speak badly about your spouse in public.  Not on Facebook, not to your moms group, not even to your very own mom**.  If your husband, strong and virile and unflappable as he may seem, gets dressed down by you in any public forum, you’ve hurt him and you’ve hurt your own marriage.

Need to vent?  Sometimes I do too.  Here’s what I do.  First, I try talking to him.  If that doesn’t work, I find someone that knows (and more importantly) loves us both.  That way your friend (**or mom, if she does in fact love your spouse a whole boatload) will know that you’re just venting and isn’t likely to misconstrue what you say as being a precursor to a divorce filing.  And ladies, really, truly, I beg of you: keep it simple, and make it clear that you still love your husband.  Venting is healthy and can give you ideas of how to approach a difficult situation in the future, but when it devolves into gossip, it’s time to steer the conversation to another topic.

*This post is geared toward typical marriages with generally loving spouses.  If your husband is abusing you in any way, emotionally or physically, please do not keep quiet about it.  The National Violence Domestic Hotline can help.  

 

So there you have it.  If I don’t share about our struggles much, it’s not because I married Mr. Right, or that we never fight or have difficulties.  It’s because our Marriage Philosophy says: I got your back, babe.  Don’t get me wrong: Kevin is great, and I love him with my whole heart.  But even more than the love I feel for him is the promise of love I made to him in our wedding vows.  We are a Team Darr, and we play to win.

What’s your Marriage Philosophy?  How do you and your spouse keep the peace?  I love reading suggestions for a better marriage, so be sure to share yours in the comment box.

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Comments

  1. Great post Micaela! We have pretty much the same philosophy Especially #1. I thnk that is the most, most, most important. The other really important thing for me is to “take the speck out of my own eye first.” I am so far from perfect, that whenever my husband does someting that annoys me, I just think of all the annoying things I do and all my faults and it makes it so much easier to just forget about what is annoying me and be thankful that he can look past all my faults.
    Amelia @ One Catholic Mama recently posted…My Journey Towards AttractivenessMy Profile

    • Ohohohoho, me? Annoying? NEVER! ;D Kevin recently started doing ALL the laundry. As in, all of it. Not only was it a great help to me, but it is a really tangible and obvious reminder of his sacrifice for me. So, no, I cannot complain. Not even a teeny tiny bit.

  2. Loved this post! It affirms what my husband and I try to do in our own marriage. I fail sometimes (and well, he does too :) ) BUT, we are open with our feelings and tell each other when we hurt one another and when we love one another. I love receiving words of affirmation (that’s one of my love languages) so I try to remember to give those same kinds of words back to my husband so he knows that I noticed his giving and caring heart. Marriage is a lot of work for sure, but so worth it, as I see friends’ marriages break down around me. It’s heart breaking to see dysfunction in friends’ relationships, but it motivates me to work harder at my own and never take my husband’s love and selflessness for granted. :)
    Tracy Bua Smith recently posted…7 Quick Takes: LostMy Profile

    • You know, I really need to read 5 Love Languages. I feel like I can kind of guess my husband’s, but it sure would be nice not be guessing all the time. :)

      And I couldn’t agree more about being honest when you’re hurt. I have a tendency to bottle things up because I don’t want to be perceived as a nag or a whiner, but it really only makes it worse. The more honest I am, the better our relationship is. :)

  3. Yes indeed friend. This post rocks. Right along with your number 1 is my marriage helper. Whenever and I mean whenever I find myself getting irritated for something he didn’t do, I first have to ask myself “Is there a reason why I can’t do that instead?” Because if I can, I can’t get irritated. It’s worked for us so far. But I also feel that common culture has lost what marriage is and that is so sad.
    Madeline recently posted…The Past 4 DaysMy Profile

    • What a good point, Madeline. If I can do it, I shouldn’t get annoyed with him. I can think of a few situations where that advice would have been helpful.

  4. What a great post Micaela, I think it’s a really good thing opposites attract or else it would make life so boring. And we’d probably still fight.
    Christy recently posted…The Bookish Mum: Reading to Feed Your Soul and Intellect – A SeriesMy Profile

    • Oh, we’d definitely still fight. I know this because the things that my kids do that drive me the craziest are the things I don’t like about myself! So I’m certainly glad I didn’t marry a carbon copy of me. :)

  5. #1 definitely for me. And I would add not holding grudges or giving the silent treatment. Both of which are faults I am working on in this marriage. My husband does neither, God bless him. Thanks for sharing!

    • Ah. Silent treatment. I’m not so much about that as I think I’m doing some good by holding my tongue. After all, I don’t want to be that nagging wife, do I? Meanwhile I passive-aggressively stomp around and pretend nothing is wrong. Yeah, um, no. Doesn’t work very well. Good advice, Aileen. :)

  6. Yes! I agree with all of them, but especially love #3. It really bothers me to hear other women husband-bashing when in groups. Also, I used to be a couples therapist, and my biggest tip was to not take things personally. I have to work on this one myself all the time, but it helps! Thanks for the great post.
    Amy recently posted…How I Really Found God – My Messy BeautifulMy Profile

    • Not taking things personally: perhaps the most difficult thing to do in the heat of the moment, but really and truly worth the effort. I totally agree, Amy. Thanks for the insight. :)

  7. Love this post. Mike is always careful not to criticize me, especially to his work colleagues, and I try to do the same. But I think the most beneficial thing for our marriage had been for me to try to defer to him more. It really makes him feel validated, and it really doesn’t matter ( even to my perfectionist soul!) how he loads the dishwasher or what he feeds the kids when I’m not around. Sometimes, even with big decisions, we disagree, and it’s good for me to just trust him cheerfully and not insist on my way at all times. (This, by the way, does not come naturally to me!)

    • Oh, deference. How do I detest thee? No, but really. Deferring to Kevin is something I struggled with for the first 11 and a half years of marriage. Which is to say: I still struggle with it. However, when I make a conscious effort to practice it, I can see all the good it does to our relationship. Put it this way: humility is a lesson God is bound and determined to teach me, and I keep giving Him opportunities to do so. :)

  8. I really loved this post, Micaela. I especially can relate to no. 2 – my husband and I have such different strengths & weaknesses, yet we complement each other so well, praise God. Thanks for sharing this.
    Elise recently posted…Would you pray for us?My Profile

  9. Could this have been any more timely for me to read? I think not. This speaks volumes to me this week.
    Gina recently posted…Homeschool Planning, Racing to the Colosseum, and a {Giveaway}!My Profile

  10. Beautifully written! I agree with this completely. Sometimes it’s hard not to vent, but that’s a very good reminder to be wise when needed.

  11. If you don’t subscribe to point #3, you don’t have a relationship of trust and everything else is built on sand. Honoring your spouse before others is SOOO important, and it always shocks me when I hear someone dissing their spouse (unfortunately there’s one of those in my own family).
    Anna recently posted…Nuthin’ much – what’s new with you?My Profile

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