Monday, April 15, 2013

Are you a Gem of a husband?

I recently had dinner with three wonderful friends I met while attending ASU.  We are all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we each hold a batchelor’s degree or better and we all are mothers and were or are married for more than ten years.  The thing that makes us different is that two of these women are divorced.  One of them I have only known since after her divorce.  She is beautiful, intelligent and devoted and among her other talents.  She has always been (to me), happy and content with the direction her life is going.  That isn’t to say it has been easy, but where she is today is more peaceful than when she was married.

My other friend has only been divorced for a few months.  She has always been beautiful, intelligent, devoted and insightful but only until recently did she seem happy like my other friend. Her countenance had significantly changed and the light was shining from her like I hadn't seen before.

As some women do, we were talking about the ups and downs of marriage (nothing specific, but general thoughts).  I was quiet as I listened to the adventures of the dating world and we discussed the world of men, both single and married.  I was fairly quiet as I listened to my divorced friends talk about the sadness that accompanied their marriages.  I will admit that I even wept for them right there over my prime rib and sweet potato.  My heart just ached for these women.  My married friend talked about health problems that can also cause hiccups in an otherwise good marriage. 

He's not perfect but he's a gem.
I almost immediately wanted to run home into the arms of my husband who was at home wrestling with our little ones and getting them ready for bed.  I wanted to tell him how lucky I was to have him.  As I listened to these women, I knew I had a gem of a husband.  Don’t get me wrong, my husband isn’t perfect, but I will clean up his homemade popcorn and diet Mountain Dew messes forever if that is the worst of it.  So for the last few days I have been trying to come up with a few things that make a good husband great.  Would you believe I only came up with two?

Put God first.  Whether you are a member of my faith or any other faith, Heavenly Father needs to be first in your life. It isn’t just a matter of saying you do, but acting like you do. Do you fulfill your callings at church to the best of your ability?  Do you have personal prayer and scripture study regularly?  Do you lead righteously as head of your family by calling for Family Home evening, family prayer and scripture study?  Do you honor your priesthood by serving in your quorum?  Do you do your home teaching?  I have found that out of all the extra-curricular things my husband does (and there are a lot of them), I have never been upset or frustrated about him not being home when he was out doing the Lord’s work.

Second, family always comes first…after Heavenly Father.  I have found that if you are putting your faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, this will naturally happen.  You will WANT to be with your family and serve them because of your desire to serve God.  I think sometimes men in general, because of the traditional demands placed on them to be providers for their family sometimes forget that their wife comes first.  Yes, coaching your kid's baseball team is important but not as important as your relationship with your wife. There will be a day when the kids are gone and you and your wife will be the only ones left.  What kind of relationship will you have then?

Above all, make sure you date your wife regularly.  I’m not talking every other month or so.  If possible, take her on a date every single week.  She needs it.  She wants it.  She must have it.  As the mother of eight, I can tell you that the sacrifices we had to make because of finances, babysitter issues and scheduling conflicts were always absolutely worth it.  Our outings are rarely expensive and I have shared many times how when we were younger, we spent our entire date night budget on the babysitter (there wasn’t that much to begin with.)  We shared a soda and sat in the car under the runway on the military base and watched the jets take off while we stared at the stars and just talked about stuff.

In addition to family first, please respect your wife as a person and her responsibilities at home.  If you think being a stay at home mother is easy, I challenge you to send your wife away for a week and see how you do.  It is tiring, it is mentally and emotionally draining and sometimes it is extremely lonely.  Add to that, many women are working part time or full time jobs as well.  Clear the dishes and load them into the dishwasher, run the vacuum in the family room or surprise her with pizza for dinner.  Thank her for being awesome even if by the looks of the house you wonder if she was on Facebook all day. (You could send her a FB message telling her how awesome she is and she would love it.)  Hold her hand and tell her she is beautiful.  Remind her that she is and will always be your favorite member of the family and tell the kids how much you love their mom.  Make out on the couch in front of them once in a while.  They will be embarrassed but your actions will say a thousand words. 

Lastly, she is not your mother, she is MORE IMPORTANT than your mother.  No matter your relationship with your mother, ALWAYS choose to be on your wife’s side of family matters.  Please put a picture of your wife on your desk, next to your bed or as your screensaver.  Hang your wedding picture where your kids can see it.  Honor your wife  the way you want her to honor you.

I think most everything else falls into one of these two categories.  Put God first in your life and your family next.  It won’t be easy at times; there will be hiccups in your life that cause you to lose sight or get off track from what is important.  Repent and move back to the right choices immediately and don’t be so proud that you can’t ask for help either.  Ask a friend, your Elder’s Quorum or High Priest leader.  

How about asking your wife?!?!?!?! 

Now get off the computer and go kiss your wife…right now. 

1 comment:

  1. This is a thoughtful, insightful column, Stacy. I remember a similar lunch with two friends, both of whom were discussing "my first husband, my second marriage, my third time around...." They realized I wasn't participating and looked at me. I answered, "I've only had one husband, but we've had about three different marriages. We've had to renegotiate the deal as circumstances have changed."

    Truly, being flexible is one of the things that can make a marriage last. Change in life is inevitable. When the marriage partners can BOTH change to accommodate, it's much smoother than when one goes blithely along and expects the other to handle the bumps alone. I have really appreciated my husband's willingness to adapt.

    He too is a gem. This June marks our 43rd anniversary.