For many of us women, it is easy to carry around a subconscious ideal about what our husband should be doing for us, only to be disappointed when our expectations are unmet, and assume he doesn’t care. Right?
Like, “He didn’t take out the trash, so he must not care that keeping the house clean is important to me.” or “If he cared about me, he would pull himself out of his funk and come talk to me.” Sound familiar? There’s nothing wrong with sharing our needs, and hoping our husband will meet them. But most men are wired differently than we are, and some things we think should be easy are actually quite difficult for them. But we still want them to learn, and to try. Well, you know what? Our men have needs, too. They have certain things that are very important to them, too.
For example, men deeply need to us notice what they do and say “thank you” without getting defensive or thinking that we’re pandering to their egos. They need us to recognize and appreciate their compulsion to provide. They need us to let them be the dads that they want to be, rather than telling them to parent the way we want them to. All those things matter so much more than we realize. All those things tell them that we care. Sure, just as they don’t always meet our needs, we don’t always meet theirs.
But for a happy marriage, it is so critical that we try. It is so crucial that we be willing to learn. Just as we hope they are willing to learn. Even when it is tough, and we want to stand on our rights instead. I saw a comment on Amazon from a woman who was willing to take that hard step. Our whole team was impressed by this review on the For Women Only page, since it reflects the approach we all should try to have when we encounter a challenging truth:
It was a little hard for me to give this book 5 stars, which means “I love it.” Honestly, I didn’t “love” a great deal of what was in this book…. It’s heartbreaking to read about what you’ve misunderstood your entire marriage, especially if you’ve been married for many years (15 years for me). Every single chapter made me groan, realizing that I’d gotten things very wrong– and how much conflict could’ve been avoided if I’d only known earlier. For me, it’s been like being very nearsighted and then having Lasik surgery– everything is suddenly clear and in focus. And trust me, not everything looks pretty! There were things that I didn’t like reading… However, “ignorance is bliss” does not help a marriage grow and mature. If we want our husbands to understand us and learn how to be better husbands, we’d be wise to take our own medicine. I only wish I’d read this book earlier in my marriage, and saved me and my husband years of frustration and heartache. I look forward to moving forward with clear vision.
Instead of tethering your husband and marriage to the subconscious notion that he should be the one to change but that you are doing just fine, take a step outside of yourself and consider what you don’t know about him. Allow him to fully be himself.
Learn what he needs, and show him that you see him for who he really is – and appreciate him for it!
Yes, it can be difficult. Yes, sometimes it can feel like “medicine” to focus on what you can do instead of what he needs to do. But try it, and you will find that it is good medicine. A treatment that is exactly what was needed to restore your marriage to the vibrant health you wanted all along.
Want to learn more about how men think, feel, and process the world around them? Check out the Through A Man's Eyes video series and workshop for expert advice and insight on how to understand and communicate with the men in your life.