What Does He Need From You?

Something happened at work today that was not good. This thing that happened  brought out my insecurities. I had to work very hard to keep a positive attitude all day. My coworkers commented that I was very quiet today. What they did not know was that I spent most of my day praying and intentionally guiding my thoughts so that this “thing” did not derail my joy and turn me into a cranky jerk.

Over supper, hubby and I discussed the “thing” and how I had dealt with it. It was a positive conversation but still awkward and uncomfortable (although necessary) for me. We finished with the topic and moved on, but I still kinda felt funny. We were heading home when my husband started trying to distract me and make me laugh. I had no clue what he was up to. He joked around and got me to laugh. By the time we made it home I had completely forgotten the awkward conversation.

About a half hour after arriving home, it dawned on me what he had done. I asked him about it and he just smiled. So I thanked him for what he had done.  He gave me exactly what I needed. This got me to thinking, what does he need from me that I am not currently doing?

I want to give him what he needs from me. In order to do that I have to think and pray about what that might be. He is after all, a man. And I am a woman. We need different things.

For example, after some discussion over the past few months I have found out that after work he needs me to talk about things other than work. His job has been stressful lately and when we leave work he wants to leave work at work. This is not what I would have guessed he needed from me. I would have thought that he would want to talk things out, but that is not something he needs from me.

So what else does my husband need from me? What he did for me today meant so much. It reminded me that I need to be thinking about him and his needs often. What can I do to actively love him more.

What about your husband? What can you do to actively love him and give him what he needs? Spend some time thinking and praying about it. I am sure we can all come up with some way to bless our husbands.

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Remember Who Is Writing Your Love Story

Image Courtesy of ClipartPanda.com

Image Courtesy of ClipartPanda.com

When I was young, my favorite fairy-tale was Cinderella. Why? It is such a silly story. She meets some guy at a dance and they fall in love forever…not likely.

I think I equated falling in love and getting married to prince charming and happily ever after. Anyone who lives in the real world knows, this just is NOT the way life works.

The truth is that no matter how great your marriage is, it is not perfect. We are human and none of us are purely awesome all the time. Happily ever after is just a good ending to a fake story. That doesn’t mean that our love stories will not be great, but there will be at least a few bumps in the road. There will be some mistakes. Every now and then there may be some hurts that we have to work through. There is a saying floating around on the internet that goes like this…

“Don’t compare your love story to those you watch in movies. They are written by script writers, yours is written by God.” – Author Unknown 

In today’s world it is normal to be exposed to all the love stories in books, television and movies. But even the ones that are based on a true story are doctored to make them more appealing to the readers or viewers. Watching a movie or reading a book that has a love story in it is not the problem though. The problem comes when we allow those stories to cloud our view of our spouse.

If you find yourself reading or watching these stories and then comparing it to your own story…please stop. I have heard of so many women getting an attitude of wishing their husband was more like a character in a book or on screen. According to dictionary.com, here are the definitions of discontent:

not content, dissatisfied, lack of content and a restless desire or craving for something one does not have...

Do these stories that are crafted by writers leave you with a restless desire or craving for something you do not have?

Let me put it another way. What is one of the biggest reasons women do not want their husbands looking at other women and their physical bodies?

We do not want them looking because we know that we do not measure up. We do not look like those airbrushed girls in magazines. We do not have personal trainers and plastic surgeons. Our full time job is not looking beautiful in front of a camera. We do not want our husbands daydreaming about what those other women look like and wishing we were just like them.

So how is that different than those fake love stories that can plant seeds of discontentment in our hearts towards our spouse? Imagine this…you bring home some book that all the girls at work are raving about. You have been talking about it for weeks. Your husband knows you are dying to read it. Maybe he even buys it for you.

You take a relaxing weekend and dive in. Hubby knows you love to read and you have been waiting forever for this book. So he keeps the kids distracted, takes them to the park, visits family, whatever. Sunday afternoon you read the final ‘and they lived happily ever after line’…you look up from your book and start to come out of your dreamy, reading coma.

                                                           And there stands your husband, who is far from                                                    perfect and is a real human being.

Is he any less perfect than anyone else’s husband? Probably not. He is most likely a normal guy and he gave you all weekend to read a book you have been waiting for. So how does your mind react to this? If you have enough control of your mind to keep the fake love story under the ‘not real’ tab in your brain, then fine. But what if you can’t?

God created women with swooning hearts. It is one of the things that makes us women. It is the reason that when we find out the true story of the love that Jesus has for us, we just melt. We were designed to desire to be loved like that.  That is the ultimate love story and marriage is to be modeled after Christ’s love of the church.  But…

What about the other stories? What if you find yourself wishing hubby was a little more romantic? What if you start to look at him as if there is something lacking and the more fake love stories you read or watch, the more he lacks? Now what do you do? Silly untrue stories about fictional characters have altered the way you look at your spouse. This could change the way you both react to each other. This could possibly lead you down a path that could be heartbreaking.

I know that all of this sounds so extreme, but I have seen it happen. Marriage is hard work. Why make it even harder?

Do I read books or watch movies that have a story in it?  I used to, but rarely do anymore. I am not talking about the little love story that is just a tiny part of the rest of the story. I am talking about the full on, this is what the whole movie/book is about love story.

My husband made a comment when we were first married about a book that all the women at his job were just raving about. He heard them compare their relationships and he could hear the discontented attitudes getting stronger. Before he mentioned this, I had never paid attention. Now I do and I really think he was right…those love stories can cloud our view of our own story.

I think in the love department, it is much more helpful to keep our eyes on Jesus and to make Him the center of our relationship. Maybe you are able to immerse yourself in a love story for the weekend and come out the other side without it having any effect on your view of your own love story. For myself, I really just do not want to risk it. Marriage is not always easy and I want to give mine every opportunity to thrive.

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Out of Control Birth Control

Sometime last year my husband and I decided to make a change in our birth control. We spent time talking about our decision and also prayed about it. Last September we made the switch. Everything was fine at first. Then slowly, over the past few months, I have begun to experience some very unpleasant side effects…

mainly it was my mood that changed.

It started with me having what we call the weepies. Then, there were little outbursts of agitation. Agitation turned into anger. The weepies turned into a lack of interest in my own life. Everything snowballed. The last few weeks I have been having mood swings that went from strong anger one minute to hating life the next. It has been a brutal few weeks. Even my coworkers have noticed.

I have also struggled with nausea. A little here and there is one thing. Although it started out that way, it went from the occasional bout of nausea to spending half of my day feeling nauseous. My eating slowly became irregular because I had a hard time stomaching regular meals. I cannot survive on crackers. Many times when I would eat, I would immediately have regrets as the nausea would quickly return. It was awful.

All of this led up to yesterday and a story of just how blessed I am.

I came home from working a little overtime because my husband had been ill and missed some work. All day at work I had been praying about how to approach my husband about the birth control. The last thing I wanted to do was to be demanding and disrespectful and just flat out say that I was stopping the pill whether he liked it or not. Although I understand that some women may feel that it was my body and therefore my right, there is just no reason to be a jerk. I would not want to be approached this way and I know he would not want to either.

We laid down for a nap because I had gotten up at 3:30 that morning. This was so good for me. He held me as I fell asleep and was holding me when I woke up. He knew that something had been bothering me, he had been putting up with my mood swings for months. When I woke up I started to tell him about how miserable I had been feeling and apologized for all of my horrible moods. He told me that he had noticed and to immediately stop the pill and that we would use a barrier method and I could do the NFP method as a back up.

I almost immediately felt a huge weight lift off of me. I was so emotional. I cried and just let all the tension go. It was very therapeutic. He was so understanding. I am blessed to have a husband who is genuinely concerned and wants what is best for me. God is good.

But…

What would have happened if I would have approached him differently. What if I had gotten an attitude and been crabby, demanding or blamed him for the whole thing? The end result may have been the same, but what good would have been done to approach him that way? None. None at all.

So many times I think husbands and wives would respond so differently to each other if they were approached in a different way. I hear wives complain so often about the way their husbands respond and when you ask them what they said to him, their response is “Well I just told him how it was going to be!”…or something along those lines.

I understand what so many of them are saying. As in the example of the birth control situation yesterday. Yes, it is my body that was having to suffer through the effects of what the birth control was doing to it. Yes, it is true that the birth control did not have any side effects on my husband (besides dealing with me). And yes, I understand that there are some men that won’t take any responsibility in the birth control department. I know there are some men who refuse to help their wives out in this situation.  I have heard countless women talk about this before and it is a truly awful situation and I did not know for sure how my husband was going to respond.

He could have said he wanted me to stay on the pill because we do not want to get pregnant yet and he did not want to deal with a barrier method. He could have told me to suck it up. This is not his normal character, but I had no idea how he would respond after all the stress I have been putting our family through the last couple months. None the less, nevertheless, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I approached him calmly and explained what was happening and how I was feeling.

I did not…

raise my voice, use a smart tone or assume he would react a certain way.

I gave him the information and listened to what he had to say. That is such a simple concept! Even though it is easy, sometimes we forget and get worked up before there is anything to get worked up about. We think about the stories of our friends, neighbors and coworkers and almost expect disaster. So then we go into the conversation with a defensive mind set. How could I expect him to respond in a gentle and loving manner when I approach him that way? The truth is I can’t. That would just be silly.

This morning I woke up without feeling nauseated. I was over the moon excited. I know it might take a bit for the pill to be out of my system. Still, just having the nausea gone this morning felt like such a blessing. I am looking forward to feeling like myself again.

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