This blog is published weekly in Live Bold e-zine by the founder/editor Greg Arnold. He changed last week’s title to How to Have a Happy Marriage. The article really seemed to hit a nerve with you guys. The response and social media ripples were big. So why not scratch the itch, as they say? Let’s start a series of short, simple, action-oriented discipleship points aimed toward us as husbands.
Over the past decade or so, we’ve received so much discouragement from our culture about being husbands that we all need as much encouragement as we can get. And I promise to stay positive, inspirational, and practical for the kind of marriage that you really want.
Several years ago, my wife and I adopted a phrase regarding marriage . . . if the Rule of Real Estate is Location, Location, Location, then the Rule of Marriage is Communication, Communication, Communication.
99% of the time we as guys think of ourselves as being on the receiving end of this concept. We feel like we spend most of our time listening, nodding, and saying, “Yes, honey.” We also too often attempt to avoid, ignore, or distract to keep from communication. For a happy marriage, that table’s gotta turn.
I’m going to challenge you to do something right now that will likely seem totally out of character for you, and that is precisely the point, which really does tie back to the practice of DTS—dying to self. I’m going to ask you to try a pro-active exercise on communication. Here it is . . .
Tell your wife that you really want to talk to her. If you are a super-busy couple, then set a time to talk where you both are undistracted. Assure her that nothing is wrong, but you want—no need—to talk. You will have her curiosity up.
When it’s time—and the TV is turned off, the kids are in bed, or in the other room watching that TV, and computers and phones are off or silent—you tell her you want to ask her a few simple questions and you really want her honest answers. (Curiosity is now piqued.) Then ask her . . .
1—“Tell me a couple of things that you’d like to see me improve on as a husband. Not about being a dad or any other role, just about being your husband.”
When she’s done, tell her that you really want to improve as a husband and working on a thing or two at a time will help you make the most progress and not get overwhelmed.
2—“Tell me a couple of things that you feel I am doing a good job on as a husband, especially any area where you have seen improvement this year.”
When she’s done, tell her how much you appreciate her words and how you wanted to hear what she views as positives and the areas she pays attention to. Tell her you want to keep getting better at those.
3—“Tell me, is there anything specific I can do for you right now? Anywhere I can support or help you that I’m not.”
It could be a physical or emotional request. When she answers, really listen to the verbal and the non-verbal.
Listen to her answers and then use her words like a to-do list this week to improve her life—and yours.
In closing, if you just read this and you’re thinking, “Are you crazy?! There is no way I’m doing that!” May I suggest you go back and read Part I from last week.
If you just read this and you’re thinking, “This is different, but I believe I can handle this,” you know what? You certainly can. It’s called leadership.
A man’s greatest treasure is his wife—she is a gift from the LORD. —Proverbs 18:22