As you may have noticed it has taken me more than two weeks to write the Loving Your Husband series. Because my days keep disappearing in the cooking and cleaning, diaper changes and school work, the two weeks I planned for this series didn't work out and it looks like it will take a little longer.
Today I want to talk briefly about three aspects of loving your husband; dressing to please, making time for your husband, and physical intimacy.
As I've stated before there isn't an area of loving my husband where I haven't struggled. This series was born out of my desire to be a better wife and is largely based on what I have learned from my mistakes.
A while back my husband made a request about the way I dress. He asked me if I would start wearing skirts more often. Before you hear words like legalism bouncing around in your head, let me clarify. He didn't tie skirt wearing to salvation in any way. He didn't indicate that wearing skirts would make me a better wife or make him love me more. He just shared with me a personal preference and said he liked it when I wore skirts. So what do you think I did? Did I start wearing skirts? No. I gave him the excuse that I don't have very many skirts and that I spend my day cleaning toilets and changing diapers and that I spend more time on the floor with the kids than I do anywhere else. The subject was dropped and was never brought up again. UNTIL...I started writing this series and started really thinking about loving my husband and exactly what that means. The Lord put it on my heart that I should do everything I can to please my husband and that includes dressing to please him. I can have my own way. It is not going to break up my marriage or even cause the least little bit of marital discord if I continue dressing in my sweats and jeans. But what if I did try to wear skirts more often? I wear them to church of course, but what if I wore them while working at home and grocery shopping? And about my excuse that I don't have a lot of skirts? My husband has given me the green light to shop for them and what woman doesn't like to shop for new clothes? Is there an area you might, (or your husband might), want to make a change in the way you dress? Is there something you can do to honor your husband in the way you dress? If you don't know, ask him. It just might revitalize your marriage! Loving your husband by dressing to please him is not a trivial matter. Queen Esther saved her whole nation because she presented herself in a beautiful and dignified way before her husband!
If there is an area of most struggle for me it would be making time for my husband. For many, many years I viewed the time when my husband was home as my opportunity to get things done. Whenever he was home he could look after the children and I could work on cleaning or projects I needed to do. I rarely spent time alone with him until late at night when I would collapse in the bed exhausted from a full day of taking care of little ones. This was especially the case when all of our children were very young. I had our third baby when the oldest was only 3 years old. It was easy for me to get caught up in the laundry, cooking, cleaning and being a mommy and forget that I am a wife also. My husband let me know how much he desired to spend time with me and we began to look for ways to do that. This is still a struggle for me. I am a mother to 6 and that probably says it all right there. I have enormous amounts of laundry, a large house to clean, I cook for an army, and I teach 11th grade, 9th grade, 7th grade, 4th grade, and kindergarten plus care for our 9 month old. I am not saying this to toot my own horn, by any means. I'm saying this to explain why sometimes it is easy to ignore my husband. This is not okay, this is just what happens without intentional planning. I'm buying groceries, running kids to soccer practices and to the dentist, trying to find time to exercise and teaching school. If I'm not intentional I will forget my husband and I do not want to do that! We have gotten better about being intentional and making our time together a priority. We have at least 1 cup of coffee together each morning and spend time reading our bibles and praying together and discuss the schedule, appointments and plans for the day. This is a brief time, usually 15 to 20 minutes. We put the kids to bed on time when he is home at night so we can have time alone. On the nights he is home, (he works different times days and nights) we ALWAYS go to bed at the same time. We work together whenever we can. We try to do yard work or other chores together as much as possible instead of always having our own projects. And recently we decided we need to get back to dating. Our oldest son is capable of watching our group and we have a dear neighbor who offered to watch our baby any time we want a date. We are excited about this! God has shown us both how important it is to spend time together. Isn't that why we got married, to be together? We feel TV is the enemy of the husband and wife who want to spend time together. An occasional movie or special program you want to watch together is fine but having the TV constantly playing drowns out real life. It is too easy for couples to zone out and not talk to each other. Plus there is almost nothing on TV that I would recommend feeding your mind on. Instead of TV, go for a walk together -or play cards or Scrabble, we love this! Pray together or snuggle on the couch. Spend time with your husband as often as you can. Go out to dinner or feed the kids a little early and have a special dinner alone once the kids are in bed. Just your presence is sure to be an encouragement to your husband and will certainly let him know that he is important to you. (Even more important than all the other things you have to do!)
I'm going to be short and sweet on the topic of physical intimacy. Let me just say that it is probably far more important to your husband than it is to you. My advice is to make it important to you. Do not neglect this area of marriage. Husbands need all the encouragement they can get. They might not get much encouragement at work, or from their parents or anywhere else. As a wife you are the primary source of encouragement for your husband. When we ignore the intimate part of marriage our husbands feel rejected. Do all that you can to make time for this important part of marriage. Make it a gift you give your husband. When you meet his needs in this way he experiences marital satisfaction. We want to make sure our husbands are happy and satisfied. If you are struggling in this area seek the Lord's guidance. Our world has severely messed up what God created for marriage and it is not unusual for wives to struggle. I will sum up with this - saying no to your husband can have a profound impact on his self esteem and can cause a wall between you. Work on this area of your marriage and your husband will know he is loved.
Check back here tomorrow for the Loving Your Husband giveaway details!