The perfect marriage doesn’t exist for any couple, yet many couples have been married for 20, 30, 50, or more years. What formula exists for them, which hasn’t worked for others? There isn’t one key ingredient, but there is one area where I initially failed early in my marriage, to only figure out where my thinking was going wrong after a few years and many tears. Through conversations with other women, I discovered I was not the only one struggling with the same issues of desiring my husband to be my best friend. It was that my husband could be my best friend; he just couldn’t be my best ‘girlfriend.’
We women operate from a place of emotion and feelings, and we try to extend that part of us into our conversations and time with our husbands. Men are more straightforward, desiring to move from one task to the next. They like action, where women enjoy a casual stroll. Growing up with brothers, cousins, who were all boys, and many uncles, I learned at an early age they don’t like doing the same thing as girls. Their conversations are different, and they deal with problems and emotions differently. Analyzing this after a conversation with a girlfriend one day, I began to approach my husband in a new way.
Here are a few things that changed in my approach:
- Letting my husband be the leader in every aspect of our marriage, and completely supporting him even when he makes the wrong decision.
- Spending time praying and reading Scripture with him.
- Joining him in the areas where he likes to have fun. Golf? Fishing? Whatever it is, being there to have fun with him.
- Truly being okay that my husband doesn’t want to join me in the fun things I want to do. Once I got to this point, he offers to do more of what I would like to do more often. There is value in letting go and letting him chose without unpleasant consequences, such as a fight.
- When asked how my day has been, I only shared my story and not the story of others. For example, if I talked with a girlfriend about issues she is working through, I don’t share it with my husband. Our time is limited, so I stick with my stories and not other people’s stories that don’t involve me.
- Learning to appreciate the strong sexual desire God instilled in men, and not being annoyed that my husband is one of those men. This is an area of marriage often neglected. It shouldn’t be ignored, but rather given the attention it deserves. The bond between a husband and wife is strengthened through their sexual relationship, and it is important to a healthy marriage.
- Realizing he has only one mother, and it’s not me. There is no “honey-do” list in our home. He has his own list, and I have mine. For example, his list contains taking out the trash. Taking out the trash is not on my list. If he forgets and misses getting the trash out for trash pick-up day, it’s his problem. We don’t discuss it. He’s a man and can figure it out on his own.
- Never, ever talking about my husband in a negative way with anyone.
Our relationships with our husbands are different than with our girlfriends. Women tend to cut their girlfriends more slack than they do their husbands, which I have found myself guilty of on many occasions. As an example, if we have a girlfriend who doesn’t like to shop, but loves to get together for coffee, we don’t nag her about not shopping with us. We meet her for coffee.