MARRIAGE MANUAL

Marriage doesn’t come with a manual, so here are 9 tips for men from a father and husband. I didn’t get the “How to be a Husband” manual when I got married… It must not have been available on Amazon.com that year.
The only manual I had was the one I put together watching other successful couples as they navigate their relationship. I learned some good practices, and some not-so-good ones, but even with everything I learned by watching, there was a whole lot more that was never taught.
So, if I had to boil it all down and pass along some marriage wisdom, the things I would have wanted someone to tell me before I tied the knot, I would pass along these nine nuggets of husband-ness. I hope they’re helpful.
1. Allow God to be your focal point. God instituted marriage for relationship purposes. You do not have the blue print for relationship, God does, therefore, He MUST be a part of your union in order for it to work.
2. Encourage your wife. Do you know what your wife’s dreams are? Do you care? You should. She needs you to support her in her life. She doesn’t want to be thought of as a second-class citizen. When you find out what she cares about, encourage her to go do it. If she feels like you won’t let her, she’ll end up resenting you down the road, and no one likes resentful people.
3. Become the spiritual leader of your home. Your wife needs you to be the spiritual leader. The old “if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything” saying is true. If you don’t lead your wife in spiritual situations, she might try to lead you, and this can cause pressure in your marriage.
4. Have healthy, encouraging male friendships. No more hanging out with guys who badmouth their wives. No more guys who check out porn and send it via email. You don’t need that. Find guys who love their wives, and can encourage you to keep getting better as a husband, and as a man.
5. Speak kindly of your wife to her. Find something your wife does well and point it out. Then, make a big deal of it! Even if it’s just vacuuming the house. Tell her you appreciate it. You know, there is a traditional Jewish custom that every Friday night for Sabbath, the husband and family honor the mother by singing her a song to tell her how wonderful she is. Now, I’m not saying you need to break out the vocals, but an outward display of appreciation is important
6. Speak kindly of your wife to others. No more badmouthing your spouse to your friends. The old adage works: “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” First, your casual friends may not really care about your marriage. They could be either jealous of you or selfish. They could want you to hang out more often, so they may play up the “problems” that you tell them about. Second, there is no honor in airing your dirty laundry outside your marriage. Don’t do it.

  1. Help out around the house without complaining. I’ve written about this in “The 5 Star Husband”—there are some things that are simply part of life (i.e. taking out the trash, cutting the lawn, doing laundry, washing the dishes, etc.) These are chores we just have to do. It’s not even about showing love. It’s taking responsibility.
    8. Invite her to join in doing something you like. Maybe she never joins you watching the game because she doesn’t understand it, or even more likely, she doesn’t know why it’s so important to you. Take time to explain why you like to do the things you do, why you want to share them with her, and then invite her to be part of them.
    9. Be present. I think there is a real manhood crisis in our country, and it comes back to the family. I’ll take it a step further: It’s a problem brought on by husbands. Sometimes the man leaves, and the mother has to raise a family by herself. Sometimes, the husband just isn’t present, even if he is physically there. Are you so exhausted by your life and work that you can’t take a moment to be in the present with your wife and family? Turn off the electronics. Block out time that is for family only. Be present and fully engage with your wife. And remember: they say the best way to love your kids is to love their mother well. Let me hear your thoughts

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