I’ve had to figure out the hard way that I have been unfair to my husband. I assumed that when we wed, all of my husband’s “flaws” would eventually be corrected under my
constant correcting gentle guidance. I’m not sure if I was deluded into believing that there was some kind of transformative power in our vows or what, but I have yet to be able to correct a single flaw. I didn’t realize how much I had been on his case until one day, the hubs asked me to write down specifically what I expected from him. Everything. In detail. Ladies, what an eye-opener.
I realized how selfish I was and how much I expected out of him to make life easier for me. I would start to write something down and when I really thought about it, I had to erase it or throw the thought out of my head completely.
We cannot establish impossible expectations for our husbands. When we do, our husbands will always feel like a failure and we will always be disappointed with them. It pained me to begin seeing how I was setting the man I love up for failure every single day of our lives. For the sake of your marriage, and both parties’ sanity, if you have the following expectations for your husband, throw them out!
1. I expect him to read my mind. Ok, I know this sounds crazy, but isn’t this what we really expect when we give him the silent treatment and think that he should know why? Or how about when he says something that was not intended to offend you, but it did and when you read him the riot act he looks like a deer in the headlights? And the one that has probably brought me the most grief is when I hint at things I would like for him to do and he doesn’t get the hint. It isn’t fair. He doesn’t think exactly like we do and we can’t expect that from him.
2. I expect him to know when to just listen and when to jump in and fix things. Most guys are problem solvers. So when we come to them with a problem, and we just need someone to let us vent, we need to say so. I can’t count the number of arguments that we have had because the hubs started rattling off “solutions” to my problems and I shot them all down because I just wanted a shoulder to cry on. Trust me, ladies, save yourself and your husband from unnecessary stress and tell him from the outset what you need from him.
3. I expect him to develop similar interests. Let me be clear – I will never, ever be a fan of racing. Ever. So how on earth can I expect that he will suddenly develop an appreciation for classic literature? Of course it is very important for you to find common ground with your man, but that might mean that you learn to like something he enjoys. Be willing to explore his interests instead of forcing yours on him.
4. I expect him to stop obsessing about sports. No. Period. This will not happen. Some men are hard-wired to love sports. If your man is one of them, you are going to learn real quick which sports are played during which season. You can then decide to become a fan or start a new hobby, perhaps one that you can do while he rattles off sports statistics. 😉
5. I expect that he will check his baggage at the door. Let me ask you something. Did you bring any emotional damage from your past into your marriage? Yes? So did your husband. He will need help learning to let go of some things from his past and you get to be the one that helps him. This can be a challenge regardless of what kind of baggage it is – abuse, divorce, insecurity, etc. – but don’t think for a moment that simply being married to you fixes everything.
6. I expect him to check his attitude at the door. We all have bad days, and for the most part we have a rule that a bad attitude is not to follow us home. However, some days your husband will need a little extra grace. When he has been hounded all day long and comes home a little grumpy, it’s ok to let him know that he is making it clear he has had a rough day, but give him options. Perhaps offer to serve him dinner in the bedroom if the kids are a little rambunctious that evening. Or maybe take the kids outside for a while so he has time to relax and calm down. Perhaps offer to go in another room and let him vent to you. We all have those days that are overwhelming and sometimes we need a helping hand getting our act back together. Your husband is no exception.
7. I expect our parenting styles to be the same. This has been a real trial at our house. Because we were raised differently (and you default to what you know) we have bucked each other many times because I am too soft or he is too harsh. Both have been in the wrong. There needs to be a lot of communication about what each of your childhoods were like, the things that you agree are effective, and the things you agree will not be employed. Let your Bible be your foundation and keep talking. As your children age, your parenting skills will improve and your tactics will have to adjust as your children grow and change.
8. I expect his spiritual life to meet or exceed my own. The Bible teaches us that the man is to be the spiritual leader of the home. But I have learned that this can be a daunting task. If you are more advanced in your spiritual walk, encourage your husband, pray for him, demonstrate respect and don’t speak negatively to him or about him in front of your kids. In doing these things, you are setting him up to take the wheel with success once he is better established in his faith.
9. I expect that we will never go to bed angry. For the first few years of our relationship, we adamantly clung to this idea. And there were mornings that we went to work with an hour or less of sleep. We would be exhausted, frustrated, and unable to resolve issues well. Sometimes, you need to go to bed. You need to cool off. Trust me, the Bible says not to the let the sun go down on your anger (Ephesians 4:26) but what are you supposed to do if you are angry after the sun goes down? Don’t ignore it, but go ahead and take some time to calm down. You will listen to each other better and find a more effective solution than one you agree to when you’re half unconscious just so you can go to bed.
10. I expect that I won’t have to repeat myself. If I tell my husband that something bothers me, he should make a permanent mental note to never do it again, right? Like chew with his mouth open. Or bounce his leg and shake the couch when I am trying to read. Or speak loudly when the baby is sleeping. You get the idea. We all need reminders and we need to remember that our pet peeves are usually not their pet peeves and so they won’t remember them well. Especially if he is eating chips when there are two minutes left in the half and his team is down by a point. Yeah. He’ll blow through all of those in one shot.
In other words, give the guy a break. He loves you and he is trying to do what he can to make you happy, but he is (and always will be) human and prone to imperfection. So did I miss any? Do share!
Abide in His Grace,
Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife. Proverbs 21:19
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