You know the saying “hindsight is 20/20”? Well, it applies in marriage also. The following is a few things I wish I could have gone back in time and told myself when I was first starting out on this husband journey, almost 9 years ago:
When she’s hormonal, don’t take everything she says at face value. – Here’s the deal, she’s going to get hormonal, and most of the times she has NO IDEA what she just said. Now telling her that at the time is NOT a good idea, but when I was first married, I actually thought she MEANT what she was saying (or ranting about), and what I have come to find out is that while she is forming the words, most times WHAT she is saying is propelled by a huge hormone rush, and she doesn’t mean at all. This is something our wives WISH they could control, but can’t at the time. So, if it’s “that time of the month”, and she says “You need to sell the boat!!”, Don’t put up the for sale sign just yet. Wait a few days and then ask again. (I had my wife read through this post before I published, and she wanted to add the following, addressed to the wives that may be reading this post: Ok, ladies, here’s the thing, I know when I am hormonal I say things I don’t mean, or even remember later. While I am very glad Mission:Husband has learned not to take it personally, please know that it doesn’t give me an excuse to fall into this sin. Don’t take the statement to your husband as an excuse or someone saying it’s okay. It’s not! While I struggle with controlling my words when my hormones are out of whack, I know it is still sin. I have been working on fixing this. I’ve been trying to line everything I say up with Ephesians 4:29 “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Remember, even if your hubby doesn’t take it personally, it still should be our goal to build him up at all times, and not justify our sin just because it is easier.)
Enjoy the “pre-kids” stage. – We have four kids, and I wouldn’t want to go through life without ANY one of them, but BEFORE I had kids, I didn’t understand that once I had kiddos, the lazy mornings staying in bed with your wife, or the “Hey! Let’s go for a 2 hour drive to the lake on the spur of the moment” days were going to change for a while. Not that they won’t come back someday, but just learn to enjoy the “pre kids moments”, before they’re gone . They will fly by.
It’s not in her “hardware” to be horny like you are, all the time. – Ok, so maybe we’re all a little naive when we first start out, but I had the idea that my bride was going to want sex as much/often as I did. I mean come on, she thinks I’m hot, right? Well, yes, she may think I’m hot, but after a few years of kids, diapers, getting gum out of hair, and trying to keep 4 kiddos alive, fed and bathed, it’s a little harder to get her motor running at the drop of a hat. Here’s what I’ve learned. We as guys go from thinking about it, to wanting to do it. The wives need to be touched/reminded about sex, letting their mind clear the other 10 things off of it, and THEN becoming ready to do something about it. I would spend days wondering why she wouldn’t come on to me/pursue me, and until I learned that it was MY job to pursue/remind/touch her – allowing her to then respond – I was one frustrated hubby. Bottom line, the only time your wife is going to be “aggressively horny”, is when she’s ovulating. The rest of the time, while she’s most likely to not be AGAINST the idea, she’s not going to come seeking it out. YOU have to get through your ego, and play your role in pursuing her.
Your wife thrives on communication with you – So I knew that girls like to talk, but I had no clue that my wife DEPENDS on communication with me, to feel connected, and close to me. Set aside some time AT LEAST every other day, to turn everything off, and talk with your wife. Let her know what’s bothering you, what you’re stressed about, what you need prayer for. And let HER talk about her day, and the things that we guys go “why do I care about what happened at the grocery store?!”. Really listen to her. You are showing her you care about HER and what matters to HER.
Watch out for the “wall builders”. – There are certain issues, or even day-to-day things, that slowly, brick by brick, cause a wall to be built between you and your wife. It may be little things like if she said no to sex, or you blamed her for something she didn’t do, etc. You HAVE to be on the lookout for that wall starting to come up. Keep it torn down by keeping the lines of communication open, and being willing to say I’m sorry often, and really mean it. Life is way too short to try to keep score, and focus on the little stuff.
Find time to pray together in the morning before the day gets going. – This is HUGE, and is something we figured out just recently. Praying together about the day, and things that are on your hearts, keeps you on the same page, and makes you feel like you’re on the same team. It’s like starting your day off on the right foot. Being able to seek the Lord together as a couple, and let Him lead/show you where/what he wants you to lead the family he has given you, is crucial to maintaining the “God first” lifestyle we need to have in our families.
Kids are temporary, your marriage is with you the rest of your life. – Make time for your marriage, even during the “small kids” years. Make time to get away for a weekend. Make time for date nights. Make time for Romantic dinners/picnics. Here’s the bottom line. Someday your kids are going to make it through high school, and then move on, and out of your house, leaving you with either a dead marriage, or a marriage that has been taken care of, nurtured, and made a priority while the kids WERE in the house. Don’t let the kids become your life, and lose the very relationship that the kids were created from. My worst nightmare would be one where my wife and I get all the kids moved out of the house, and are left with trying to live in a relationship where we don’t even know each other.
Sex doesn’t always have to be earth shattering. – Before marriage, (we waited to have sex until our wedding night), I had this picture of sex being something AMAZING every time we had it. And while yes, there are times where it takes 10 minutes to catch your breath afterwords, please hear me when I say this; it doesn’t have to be that way every time for you to feel like you “did it right” or were “successful” or “passed the test”. As men we tend to judge our performance like it’s some sort of competition or something. It’s not. It’s you and your bride, coming together in a way that only you and her can, and if it’s not perfect, or simultaneous, or chandelier swinging, or 4th of July fireworks-e, it’s ok! Don’t buy into the “this is how sex should look/be” world version of it, but instead remember that sex is something that God created for the both of you to keep you close though the hard times, the good times, the exciting times, and even the times when you can’t seem to find the words through the sadness. Sex is so much more than Hollywood. Sex is part of your God designed relationship with your bride. Enjoy it. Learn about it. Treasure it, and fight like hell (sorry) to protect it from the things (porn, affairs, etc) that try to come inside that boundary, and destroy what God created to be so special between you and your wife.
How about you? What are some things that you’ve learned along the way, that you would have loved to learn a bit earlier?