The Unknown Damage of a Well Meaning Wife

I love my husband and I love my family. I love being able to be a stay at home mom and raise our young children. But here’s the thing, I have grown up in a culture that diminishes the worth of men as weak or inadequate; and I know that I’m not the only one who has been shaped by these thoughts without even realizing it. You see, although I love my husband, I have not necessarily acted like it because I have bought into a lie that marriage is all about me and making me happy.

We have been married for four years (so clearly I am not an expert on marriage). In those four years, I have diminished my husband’s feelings, devaluated his opinions, and treated him with hostility and contempt when I didn’t get my way. Now, some may be reading that thinking, “Wow, she’s a pretty crummy wife. Her poor husband.” But I think we all do it in one way or another, and unless we make it a point to lift our husbands up, we will continue to bring them down.

I am currently reading a book by Dr. Laura called, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands. This book has given me more insights about what he needs from me and the kind of wife I need to be, than anything else. I’m not even done with the book and I can’t even begin to tell you how much I have cried, been convicted, and gotten angry with realizing how much negativity I have brought into my marriage.

Men are simple creatures. All they want is know that they are appreciated and respected and in return they will show us, women, the love we have been searching for. I nag and I complain and I tell them that he has hurt my feelings…but did I ever stop to consider how he’s feeling? I’ve known many women, along with myself, who get upset that “men don’t have feelings.” In reality though, what we’re really getting upset about is the fact that men don’t feel like women. Men DO have feelings, they just simply don’t need to talk about them and process them and want to get input on them the same way women do. Men are simple and we often just can’t understand how their brains would possibly work that way because ours are so complex.

Men need to feel appreciated. So often, we think that we are entitled to put our feet up and do nothing once our men come home from work because we’ve been working hard around the house all day cooking, cleaning, and caring for children. What many of us forget is that he has worked hard all day too. Just like I have spent my day caring for the home and our children, to ensure that the family is nurtured and the home taken care of, he spent the whole caring for and nurturing our financial wellbeing. So guess what, he’s tired too!! I am a stay at home, I chose this job and I chose to be with our children and I can’t ignore the responsibilities that come along with it. Just as my husband chose his job and he needs to fulfill his responsibilities and actively choose to do his work, even when the days are hard, he’s tired, or he’s sick. Unless he wants to lose his job and thus lose the inability to provide for his family, he has to do his job whether he likes it or not. Many times, I complain about his job to him, he works too much, his boss is rude, his company doesn’t give the right benefits…whatever the complaints may be, complaining about is job is, to him, an insult on his identity. Instead of minimizing what he does or how he feels after a long day of work, how about praising him and thanking him for his hard work in providing for the family. Thank him for all he does. A little gratitude goes along way with men.

If he quits helping as much around the house, can I blame him if, when he does do things I criticize everything about the way he does it instead of thanking him? I’d quit helping out too if my actions weren’t appreciated. I can’t blame him at all!!

They feel loved when they feel appreciated and respected. The more appreciation and respect I show my husband, the more love and affection he will show me. I can’t assume that he feels loved the same way I do. We’ve bought into the lie for too long that men who aren’t like women are wrong. Men are men and women are women. We are different, even though many in our culture would try to convince you that the only difference is anatomical.

Men are more geared toward provision, protection, and respect, while women are more geared toward nurturing, relationships, and love. We need to live in such a way that we accentuate and support these qualities in each other, rather than tear down natural, God given desires. The Bible tells men to love their wives and tells women to honor and respect their husbands. Why is that? Because men are geared towards respect and women towards love and that is what each of us needs to be able to feel in our heart that we are loved. Just because I think he should feel loved by my words and actions, doesn’t mean he does. We speak different love languages and I need to becom fluent in his.

Marriage is NOT about our happiness, but rather our holiness.

My challenge for myself is to praise my husband’s strengths. Praise him for all that he does for our family and show him that, no matter what, I will always be on his side, through failures and successes. I love my man more than anything on this earth, and it’s about time my actions begin to show it…and show it in a way that he will respond to.

The Unknown Damage of a Well Meaning Wife
I’ve bought into a lie
That I’ve heard for too long
Marriage is about me
And my happiness alone
I’ve forgotten about him
His needs and desires
But if he challenges me
I call him the liar
I’ve diminished his feelings
And pushed my own agenda
No realizing, my words
Leave him lonely and bitter
In my ignorance, I’ve belittled
And stolen his dreams
I won’t look into his eyes
And see his soul scream
You see, he’s very simple
As all men really are
He longs for my acceptance
To feel my love in his heart

My role as his wife
Give praises, not grievance
But complaints leave me looking
Like a constant annoyance
How long can he stand for
Hearing he’s not enough
When his heart’s crying out
“Just like you, I need love.”
I’ve subconsciously assumed
He’s a man, it doesn’t hurt
But neglecting his needs
Has only made it worse
I’m just a well meaning wife
Never knew what I was doing wrong
But I see now I wasn’t giving him
What he needed to feel strong
You see, he’s very simple
As all men, he just endures
He wants to be my hero
And he needs to be assured

So now I have a choice to make
Now that my eyes are opened
Love him for the man he is
Or keep trying to change him
Why did I choose to marry him?
Because of who I thought he could be
Or was it because of his kind heart
The love shared from him to me
For me it was the latter
He gives of his life for mine
It’s time that I give him some room
To let his greatness shine
It’s time to quit complaining
Of all that I want done
Accept his heart and who he is
Praise all the things I love
It’s time to get back to that spark
We felt when it all began
Let go of control I think I need
And simply let him be my man
You see, he’s very simple
As all men tend to be
A little love goes a long way
In letting him feel free

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