Most of my Facebook friends are female, and the three biggest variations of their status updates include how they’re bored, how they’re annoyed, or how they’re frustrated. Usually these statuses involve men in one way or another. Either their husband, or their boyfriend, or the boy they like wronged them in some way, and they’re taking out their ire in the best way they know how, through social media. I follow the conversations generated from those status updates, and usually these emotions are seconded, and thirded, and fourthed (sure, those are all words) by other females who seem to feel the exact same way. “You go, girlfriend,” or “What has your man done for you lately?” are echoed on the walls and timelines of women near and far. Are men really that irresponsible and neglectful? Do we take women for granted the longer they’ve been with us?
So, I decided to look at my own relationship to see how it worked on an individual level. Are there things I do that contribute to my wife being frustrated or annoyed? And the startling answer is yes, but I can’t leave it there. What can I do to make sure that doesn’t happen anymore, or to limit that from happening? So I made a list…
- Sometimes I am oblivious
- I lack a certain amount of common sense
- Sometimes I don’t “sense the mood”
- I say I’m a romantic but I don’t always do romantic things
- Communication is sometimes lacking
- I get caught up in daddy-mode instead of spouse-mode
- I need to be an every day husband
But what does that mean, to be an every day husband? I wish there was a manual they gave to every guy who was even considering marriage, something that told us what to expect from living with a woman, something that told us how we can adjust, and that told us what to say and do when she’s angry, or annoyed, or frustrated. The only problem is that every woman is different. There can’t be a manual because you should KNOW the woman you’re marrying. You should be intimately knowledgeable of every single detail that makes her HER before you get married, right? That’s not realistic, either. So what can we do?
And the “experts” lie to us, saying we can change. We can’t change. We can only tap into that part of ourselves that has been lying in wait, dormant until it meets someone who can wake it up and take it out into the sunshine. And it matters that we care enough to tap into that part of ourselves or it will never happen. The right woman nurtures that part, and draws it out, but we have to work hard on it, too, and the first step is recognition. The next step is compromise. So, make that list, and then see what you can do to shorten it. And do those things every day.
Being an every day husband means talking to your wife, communicating your emotions and feelings to her, and listening to her emotions and feelings in return. She shouldn’t have to bring those things up on Facebook where the world can see her frustration, but she does it because those lines of communication aren’t open. You should be her outlet, the rock she can lean on, and if she can’t lean on you, you have to ask yourself why. Then you need to figure out how you can change that, how you can be there for her, and how she can be there for you in return because of course it is a two-way street. When your needs are met at home, you don’t go looking elsewhere, not even to Facebook, modern psychologist that it is.
And it’s a work in progress, being an every day husband. There are still some major points left on my list, but that list has gone down as the lines of communication have opened up. It’s not an exact science. It takes being flexible, keeping two open ears, and asking for clarification if you don’t understand something. It means taking time to just talk, about anything and everything, about being there for her but about also giving her her space if she needs it. It’s about doing the little things, because to her the little things are just as important as the big things. But most of all, it’s about being there every single day, never taking a single one for granted, because she chose you, and that’s huge. Remember that. Every single day.