There are many things I’m terrible at. 13 years ago I added another thing to this sad list; Being a Husband. Sure on the outside looking in being with my best friend and wife for over 16 years (including dating) seems like success, but don’t let the numbers fool you. I am selfish, lazy and a terrible communicator and to be frank it is a miracle from God that my house key still works when I come home from work. However, even in my spousal deficiency I have learnt a few things that make marriages happy.
I was raised in a “traditional” Christian home. My father worked hard at providing for us and my mother worked hard at making everything function well (My mother worked part time once we were old enough to not need mom home all the time). I knew the cliché bible verses about the husband being the head of the house and understood it’s a wife’s job to do whatever the “boss” leads the family to do. Thanks to the great example of my parents and some good teaching I now realize there’s a lot more to those verses then a blueprint for dictatorship.
Marriages all have their ebbs and flows. We all have seasons. Some seasons are hot and fun like a summer long weekend. Some are cold, desolate, dark and lonely like a prairie winter. My wife and I had a winter experience when our second child was born. Before we knew it my wife and I had spent zero time together. Her goal was to keep our youngest alive and growing, and mine was to keep our oldest alive and loved. Two months in my wife and looked at each other and realized without knowing it we had transitioned from Husband and Wife to roommates. We had our roles and were doing them fine but the foundation of our family was being ignored.
I see this happen a lot within my circle. Life brings carrier changes, babies are born and a new stage of life brings with it things we weren’t prepared for. By focusing more on our new stage then our foundation, without knowing it, we find ourselves in winter. The best case scenario has both of you in winter at the same time. The worst case, your wife is freezing alone while you ignorantly keep doing what you’re doing…Usually in this case we think we are helping, when in reality we’ve been using our snow blower to clear the snow in our life not noticing that we’ve buried our wife in our piles of “help”.
My wife is the greatest person I have ever met. She is patient, kind, loving and intelligent. She is all these things even when I don’t display those same traits. She with
out realizing it has led our household to the success and love we have today. I am grateful for our partnership and her leadership. She exemplified this leadership before we had children. We were driving one day when she said to me matter-of-factly that our children were always going to be second to our marriage. She explained to me that we started this together, and we when it’s all over and the kids move out we will be stuck with just us. She taught me that our job as parents is to show our boys what love is. She taught me that if we show our boys the importance of keeping the foundation of what we’ve built our family on strong, they will be able to do the same when it’s their turn. Ever since then my wife and I have made conscious decisions to get away and make time for just us. Sure our boys take a lot of time, as they should. They are busy and need attention but the only way we can give them the love and attention they need is if we have been giving each other the love and attention we need.
So husband’s stop “helping” and start listening. Love your wife and pay attention to her. You want to be a great leader in your home? Serve. Stop jumping at every “fix it” opportunity with your new baby, job or “priority” and start jumping to serve your wife. Your wife was given the ability to have a baby, I’m confident she has been given the ability to do much more then you can (and no you don’t know better). Your job is to help her, respect her, serve her and love her. If your instinct is anything other than “what does my wife need/want?” I’m afraid you might be making a pile of snow burying your wife inside it without even knowing.
Want your family to be happy? Love, respect and serve your wife. Stop “fixing” and start listening. Allow no priority to be placed in front of your wife, not even your children. As my dad told me once, “very few things are an emergency”. Even if the baby is crying, or the boss is calling. You will find that when your time has come, serving your wife was the best thing any Father can do for their family. It’s the best example your family could have.