I have been blessed to know a lot of women who are good wives. I don't mean good mothers, homemakers, or money managers. I mean women who love their husbands beautifully and treat him as a gift from God. Specifically, I think of my Aunt Ange. She and I talk all the time about marriage. She has about a 12 year head start on me. I want our daughters to know this wisdom if God calls them into marriage. So, if for some reason I am not around when they are wives, I want to write to them this wisdom.
1. I try to give John 30 minutes when he gets home without asking anything of him. Nothing. I want him to be glad he's home and not put directly to task.
2. They have been working all day and are HUNGRY. Most of the time, dinner isn't ready, so try setting out cheese, crackers, and a beer. I remember being excited to do this when we were first married, but have forgotten to the more children we have had. I want to return to that. Even if it is carrots and dip or chips and salsa, I want him to have something to munch on while I finish dinner. More importantly, you are saying "Welcome home, thank you for being here."
3. My aunt told me that it is so easy to forget that after a baby is born and really anytime in general, your husband needs a break too. I specifically said after a baby because that is when I feel most overwhelmed and occupied. Their lives "seem" to not have changed as drastically as the mother's have. They go to work like usual, sleep through the night like usual, but they have changed. They have another soul they are responsible for, a wife to hold, comfort, and encourage in the early days of postpartum. Mainly, I just want John to know that I am not taking him for granted. I know it feels as though I've not looked at you in the face for a couple weeks, but I SEE EVERYTHING YOU ARE DOING.
4. Please take time to notice all the small things your husband does. THIS is up there on the most important. From sweeping the floor, holding the baby, making a bottle, warming up the car, dropping you off so you don't have to walk in the cold, getting your coat, bathing the children, putting people to bed, reading a story, offering to help, taking the trash out, telling you how nice you look, always giving you the bigger portion. Please notice and say thank you.
5. Never correct your husband especially IN FRONT OF PEOPLE. No one likes to be humiliated, but why would you do this to the person you took vows to and promised to love until the end of your days. It is our job to correct our children, not our husbands. If something needs to be discussed, it should be done in private. I remember an incident once when we were with friends and our husbands were involved in a very loud and crazy athletic game. We were all staying in a hotel and I remember a lot of the wives really chiding their husbands for being so loud and inconsiderate of others in the hotel and made them quit playing. I may have agreed, but I do not feel it was my position to put John in his place and tell him to stop. He is a mature, considerate adult and can decide those things for himself. I said to myself, "He wouldn't be partaking in this if he didn't think it was appropriate."
6. Never, ever bash their job. It would be the same as them bashing our motherhood. It is much more personal to them than we know. We are to be their voice of encouragement, not their voice of doubt. It may require being content on a meager salary, but being their support will only create strength.
7. Be content with what you have. Most men want to please their wives and give her beautiful things. To make them feel as though it isn't enough, will lead down a path that has no end. What's next? It is a trap. You cannot say to yourself, "Once I build a beautiful home, then I will be content." No, we must be content with what we have now and make that beautiful.
8. DO NOT NAG. DO NOT NAG. DO NOT NAG. DO NOT NAG. DO NOT NAG. It will only make him flee if not physically, he will mentally. He, like you, will make mistakes. My friend was so angry at her husband for wrecking their car. Really? Since he did it, on purpose? No, it was an accident. Say to yourself, "He would never hurt me on purpose." He will do things that you think are wrong. Guess what, you will do things that he thinks are wrong too. DO NOT NAG. DO NOT NAG. DO NOT NAG.
9. The teenage years are about YOUR MARRIAGE. My mom says that nothing tests your marriage more than teenagers. Please remember what really is going on. The devil is trying to ruin this marriage, to separate us, to put us at odds against each other. "Divide and Conquer" is his motto.
10. Lastly, but most importantly- Intimacy. My aunt and I have talked endless hours about this issue. I do not want to seem unladylike to even bring up such an issue on a blog, but the value of understanding this issue in marriage is so very important and so very personal. You want your husband to know that "I am always here for you, to love you, to know you." So unless I am in the Emergency Room or have the flu, you want your husband to know that "I, too, want to be with you." Please do not misunderstand my words. Life presents itself in many different forms, but the underlying message is that you want your husband to not feel this is a source of contention between the two of you. The world paints this issue as "that selfish husband who doesn't understand his tired wife." No, really, he just wants to be with the one he loves most and that is his perfect form of expression to her.
Love your husband desperately. The time, effort, and love you put into your marriage will only produce beautiful fruit. It is easy to be a good mother. Loving your own offspring is natural. It is saintly to be a good wife. It is against our nature to give so selflessly, so continually, so diligently to someone whom we didn't produce. Nurture your marriage. Protect your marriage. Your children will come and go, but we will always be with our husbands. Cherish that.