My husband and I were married at the unseasoned ages of 19 and 20. I can't even tell you how many people told us that we shouldn't get married, that we were too young, or needed to live more, that we needed to find ourselves before settling down, we should finish college, date other people, the list goes on... Obviously, we didn't listen.
We did a lot of learning and growing - rather growing up together in the first several years of our marriage. There is a lot of work that has gone into our marriage thus far. I can't say that we have coasted.
I can say without a doubt that I love my husband more deeply and intimately now than I did 12 years ago today when we said our vows. He is a strong, godly man - exactly what I desire.
Over the years I've come to realize some things are more important to him than others. Through conversations with girlfriends, books, experience, and most importantly asking my husband himself, I've come up with a list of six things that are hugely important for husbands and their well-being.
So without further ado...
This is three fold.
- By nature men are quieter than women. They don't usually have a need to talk in quite the same way as women. Therefore, sometimes being quiet and not talking is important. Sitting in silence rather than trying to fill the void. Sitting together quietly instead of delving into a deep and *not always* meaningful conversation.
- 15 Minutes! When my husband comes home from work I am more than ready to see him. I am often ready to hand over the reigns of responsibility. I've learned though, that 15 minutes of time for him (sometimes 20) is needed. He's had a long day too, maybe not in a way that I personally understand, but he hasn't been napping and playing video games while at work. He's been out earning money for our family. When he comes home he needs to breathe for a moment so that he is refreshed and ready to be the husband and father I want him to be.
- Just like I need to get out of the house to work out, shop, or hang out with my girlfriends, my husband needs to spend time with friends and indulge in hobbies too. It's a give and take relationship here and recognizing the need that my husband has for other social interactions and activities is extremely beneficial to him and our relationship.
#5 Shared Recreation
"The couple who plays together stays together." Most of us have heard this saying. I honestly think most couples gloss this over, though.
At the beginning of a relationship most of your time is spent getting to know the other person; partaking in activities that you both enjoy. After you get married, it's easy to slip into real life - jobs, kids, house, etc, and the activities you practice together become more about "relaxing" (i.e. me time), and less about continuing to get to know each other. Continuing to express an interest in your husband and the things that he enjoys will go a long way in reinforcing your relationship.
The quotes below are from this article.
"The correlation between fun and marital happiness is high, and significant. For men, the connection is even more important, the researchers say. They found that men are more likely than women to call their spouse their best friend."
#4 Don't Keep Score
This is another one that we've all heard and it really doesn't require a long explanation. If something has happened in the past work through it and then afterwards let it stay in the past. Forgive and move on. It will bring you both so much more satisfaction than holding onto bitterness will.
The dictionary defines respect as:
admire (someone or something) deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements.
The longer you're in a relationship the more qualities you are able to see up close and personal. Unfortunately it is usually those that we are closest to that we treat the worst. We are given a close up look at all of their good (and bad) qualities. Often, instead of looking past the qualities that we find less than appealing we point them out and focus on them.
Your husband needs your respect in specific ways. If you're so busy focusing on the things that you dislike about him not only is it difficult to give him respect (admiration), but transversely it can be easy to do things that are disrespectful such as talk about him behind his back.
a. Don't put your husband down to your family and friends.
b. More importantly don't put your husband down to your children!
Even more than that though, respecting someone you love is in many ways putting yourself in a position of service to that person. It is taking a backseat when you don't always feel like it. It is truly listening to them all the while not being dismissive. For your husband, it is taking up a posture of a love.
"Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives." -C. S. Lewis
Touch is extremely important. All kinds of touch. Hugging your husband when he comes home, being receptive to him when he reaches out to grab you, holding his hand, rubbing his back, and especially sex. Your husband wants to know that you love him. He wants to know that you are attracted to him. If you aren't physically letting him know these things he is going to notice. Touching him, every day, multiple times and in multiple ways will make your marriage bloom.
#1 Prayer Together
Praying is awesome. Praying with your spouse is a game changer. My husband and I have struggled with this in the past. We haven't always been comfortable praying with one another. Honestly? At first it felt really awkward - and sometimes, if we haven't prayed with one another in a while it can feel awkward all over again.
Speaking aloud is harder for some people than it is for others. Prayer aloud can sound very formal as opposed to the prayers you say when you're alone.
The things is, prayer is personal. Therefore, praying in front of your spouse requires you to be informal and open about things that perhaps you feel foolish about and therefore scared to share. It causes you to be intimate with your spouse in a way that you haven't experienced before - allowing them a window to the inner workings of your mind and soul.
Bringing God into the midst of your relationship and marriage is incredible. It brings a level of closeness that will translate in all other areas of your marriage and relationship.
My husband and I have a nightly devotional that we love by Dr. James Dobson and his wife Shirley. It has really helped us open up in our marriage by way of personal questions, conversations, and prayer. It proved a very simple way to bring prayer more into focus within our marriage.
My husband makes each and every day special for me in the big and small things he does to show how much he loves me. After twelve years of marriage I cannot say that I know all there is to know about making my him happy, but I can say that one of my ambitions is to try my hardest. The above are some of the things I've discovered so far. I look forward to learning much more in this adventure of ours we call marriage.
And as a side note: