Men, I need your attention for a moment. If you’re planning to get married or have already “liked it and subsequently put a ring on it”, I need to chat with you.
I do not consider myself to be a marriage counselor or relationship expert by any means. Honestly, I’m not-so-great of a husband (depending on who you ask), but I have quite a few things on my heart that I want to share with the current and future husbands of the world.
In my opinion, there isn’t enough material or representation of what is truly expected of a husband once the vows are read and the honeymoon is over. Most of what we’re taught from an early age is “you’re going to find a nice woman to settle down with one day..” “if you find the right woman, you better treat her right..” etc etc.
You know what doesn’t happen most of the time? We don’t get honest conversations about what we’re actually supposed to do to make a marriage work. Sure, some of us have great role models that simply show us what a good marriage looks like by being good parents, family, friends, or whatever…but a lot of people never get to see that.
There are plenty of men that never find themselves in the company of “good marriages”. So where do most men learn how to be husbands? Probably some crappy movie that shows the ‘man’ of the house sitting on the couch asking his wife to make him a sandwich while he ignores her because the game is on. Or the show where the husband is cheating on his wife with that girl from the office/church/school/Walmart/(insert your favorite place) because that’s just what guys do.
Do these scenes sound familiar?
It is all too common for men to be portrayed in the media as lazy, inattentive, insensitive, domineering, dishonest, and aloof in their marriages. But somehow, even with all of these faults, their wives are still living the happily ever after that they were promised an engagement ring would bring.
Newsflash: That Sh*t Does NOT Work in Real Life
I’m going to share what does work for me though. Again, I’m not the best husband by any means, but I make it a point to keep learning and working towards becoming a great one because that’s what my wife deserves.
Listen, my dudes, you have to hear me on this one. Patience is a virtue. Not because it is a cliche saying, but because it will be one of the most important things for you to learn EARLY in your marriage. It doesn’t matter how perfect you think that new bride of yours is, she most definitely is not. Neither are you my friend, and I can just about promise that you will both do something(s) to piss each other off. This happens mostly because you’re learning how to live with someone new, learning their quirks, and their likes/dislikes. This is the point where a lot of guys will make the mistake of thinking that things will always be like that.
They won’t be.
And you can make sure of that by doing your part and developing the patience to work things out and honor the commitment you made to each other.
“You act like such a b*tch sometimes.” “God, why did I marry you?” We all know that words can be used as weapons if a person wants them to be. I’ve never said anything like that to my wife, but I bet there is man reading this that has said it or a woman that has heard it.
How do I know?
Because people are mean. We try to make excuses and say “Oh, I just said that in the heat of the moment” or “I’m just being honest, isn’t that what you want?” The truth of the matter is men have a responsibility to their wives. Our words have to be used in ways that uplift them, that inspire them, that truly convey the fact that we love and cherish them.
If you’re saying things to put her down or diminish her in any way, then you’re only asking for a broken marriage. It might make you feel powerful for a few seconds, but you’re actually just being a weak man creating a weak marriage.
How many times has your wife gone off on some tangent and at the end of it she says “Do you know what I mean?” or “Hey, did you hear what I just said?” I’m willing to bet that it’s happened quite a few times, and if not, it’ll happen soon.
I struggled with this at first because I don’t come from a very talkative family. My wife on the other hand…let’s just say, she is not one to shy away from a conversation.
She doesn’t drone or nag or anything, but she likes to talk. As in, actually hold a conversation, not just say a bunch of things and only expect a “Yeah, that’s cool” or silence at the end. I have learned that most women don’t speak to be heard, they speak to be understood.
They want us to understand who they are and how they think so that they can feel truly close to us in a relationship. You have to be willing to pay attention though. It might take you a while to get this one right (especially if you’re anything like me) but if I can do it, you can too.
The best tactic is to put your listening ears on and respond to what she’s actually saying. Think of what you want to say and avoid saying things just to respond. And if she is asking you to do or change something, listen to her reasoning because she may have a point.
This goes for everything in your relationship. Time, gifts, advice, affection, love, acts of service, etc. We’re conditioned to expect so much out of women that we often forget that we have a part to play as well. We want women to tell us we’re handsome, smart, funny, and good in bed. We want them to cook for us, clean the house, take us out for our birthdays, and be intimate with us.
Did you know, these things will just about automatically occur when you put in the effort to do them as well? See, marriage is not a one way street and I think people tend to lose sight of that along the way.
It goes from “Oh, I’m doing a lot of nice things to get her to like me” to “I don’t need to do as many nice things anymore because she already likes me”.
Once you get married, that’s when the real work starts. You have to be generous on purpose and you have to be generous just for the sake of being generous. This means doing nice things for your wife with no expectation of receiving anything in return.
Right: You know she loves when you cook a nice meal for her so you have dinner ready when she gets home from work on a random Wednesday.
NOT Right: You know she loves when you cook a nice meal for her but you only cook for her when you want some booty.
Women are always portrayed as these delicate flowers that need a man’s protection from the evils of the world. Yes, I believe that men should protect their wives, but I also believe that there are levels to this.
To me, protecting my wife means that I will protect her heart from people that might try to tear her down. I’ll always be there to build her back up and help her heal whenever she needs me.
Protecting my wife also means that NOBODY is allowed to make her feel less than the queen that she is. I don’t care if you’re her family, childhood friend, or a stranger in the street. If you wrong her, and it’s intentional or you’ve received your last forgiveness for something you continue to do, then I have no problems stepping in.
I believe that as men, we have a responsibility to our wives. They should feel comforted in knowing that even if all else fails, they still have at least one person in their corner that’s willing to stand up for them.
Your wife should always feel safe in her marriage.
Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. Granted, those are just a few of the things that I believe contribute to becoming a great husband. Are there plenty of other lessons and tips that can be shared?
Sure there are, but if you wanted to read a book then you probably wouldn’t be on this site right now.
I know I only spoke to men in this post, but at the end of the day, we have to remember that marriage is a continuous learning process. I believe that both partners play equally important roles in making their relationship a success, so it’s up to both people to make things work.
Words to live by:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 (NIV)
What else could I have added to this list? I’d love to hear from both men AND women on this subject. Deposit your two cents down in the comments section below!
Thanks for reading. Share with a friend!