Trust him. I am constantly having to relinquish what I think is best in order to trust my husband. We do things differently. But when I push my way on him I only build a wall between us that causes frustration on both sides.
For the most part, I don't find it hard to trust my husband to provide for our family and be a hard worker. The areas in which I struggle to trust him are the day-to-day things. Like when when he tells the girls it's okay to cross the street together. Sometimes he feeds our kids chocolate cake for breakfast, and I have to stop myself from taking it away. If he wants to buy me a new laptop, I need to trust that he is aware of our finances and making a wise decision. Nagging him about every little decision that he makes that might be different from my way of doing things will only cause him to stop taking initiative.
I have to trust that my husband is seeking to do what he thinks is best and desiring to honor God in each area, just as I am. Trusting our husbands is one of the greatest ways to show respect and be the help-mate we were created to be.
Dream with him. I learned early on in my relationship with Bradley that he is a dreamer. It was fun when we were dating and I could get caught up in the romance of his ideas. As time went on, though, the dreaming continued and I just didn't get it. He would mention an idea that to me was ridiculous, and immediately I would tell him why it wouldn't work. Not too long into our marriage this became a source of tension. When we finally talked about it, he shared with me that even if I didn't think his ideas would work, he just wanted me to let him dream and join in the dreaming with him.
So now, when he mentions having a lobster farm, buying a yacht and sailing around the world, or purchasing land in Montana, I try to settle in for a long conversation. I ask him questions. I give ideas of how it might work. We research online together. What I once considered a waste of time or 'chasing fantasies', I have come to realize is a great way for us to connect and have fun together. And, as I dream with him, I find that his dreams sometimes become my dreams too.
Support his endeavors. Sometimes Bradley's dreams move to reality and it's my job to trust his decision to move forward and get behind what he's doing. This can be anything from career choices to hobbies to ministries that he wants to be involved with. I support him by cheerfully responding to extra responsibilities placed on him at work, asking him questions about the things that interest him, joyfully helping him to pursue career choices that might be hard on our family, speaking positively about him to others (including my family), and work hard to not nag him about the areas that I dislike.
I'll be honest that sometimes this is really hard for me. I've had to learn a balance of being a cheerleader versus being a coach. Supporting his endeavors will often be me on the sidelines cheering him on, and other times it's me helping him to figure out which endeavor to pursue. God has helped us to learn this over the years; it always requires communication, humility, and wisdom.
Allow him to serve you. My husband offers to do things for me all the time, but I spoil his desire to serve me by demanding my own way and things to be done on my terms. When he does the dishes, I want the dishwasher loaded just so, and the counters wiped off completely. If he watches the kids for a few hours I want him to play with them, not let them watch a movie, and if the kitchen isn't cleaned up when I come home, it spoils my time away.
I'm learning that putting terms on his service to me is not being a good receiver, and is in fact quite selfish. I should willingly accept his desire to help me, whatever that might be. When my husband serves me, he is doing it out of love and I should consider his intentions to be good toward me. Even if it's not what I would consider to be perfectly helpful, I need to allow him to serve me in the way that he can serve.
Take care of yourself. Showering, getting dressed, exercising and making an effort to be attractive for my husband goes a long way. No, appearance isn't everything, but I have learned that my husband likes it when I try to look good.
For the past few weeks I've been more disciplined with my health and exercise than I ever have been. And you know what? I feel good about myself. Taking care of my body helps to boost my self-esteem, confidence, and general well-being. My husband notices this change and it helps him because I start believing his compliments, I'm more inclined to physical intimacy, and my spirits are lifted.
Serve him. In our home, I'm the one who cooks, cleans, and manages the household. I don't work outside of the home, so taking on these responsibilities has suited us well. I find joy in cooking meals for him and making sure there is always food in the house. If the laundry piles up, he is forgiving, but I usually try to have his clothes clean, uniforms ready, and everything put away. Making sure the bills are paid, spending isn't extravagant, and the kids are cared for frees him to focus on his work.
Another way I have served my husband is by maintaining our social calendar. I know his desire to have people in our home and I try to make this happen. But, I also try to be flexible to allow for last minute guests that he decides to invite. (I'll talk more about hospitality as a form of blessing in another post).
Create a haven in your home. With a little bit of effort I can make home a pleasant place for my husband. I make our bed and try to keep our bedroom free of clutter. If toys are scattered all over the floor when he comes home at the end of the day (which does happen from time to time), he can't relax as easily. By taking a few minutes of my afternoon to straighten things up, sometimes light a candle, or have dinner cooking on the stove, I create an environment that my husband wants to be in.
Havens don't need to be magazine or Pinterest worthy. A haven is simply a peaceful, comfortable, and restful place.
Initiate Sex. When I asked Bradley how I bless him, his first answer was to chuckle and say, 'Well, nothing you can write about...' , which tells me that is exactly what I should write about. I'll never understand the male need for sex, but I can't ignore that it exists. Just like I want my husband to initiate conversation or time together, he wants me to make an effort to pursue him sexually. And not just halfheartedly. I often get it wrong in this regard, but he remembers (and often reminds me) of the times when I've made a creative and extra effort to initiate sex.
Ask him what he wants. In each of these areas I simply need to be willing to ask my husband for his input. How can I trust him better? What ways can I serve him? How can I make a haven for him in our home? Does he prefer a clean home, a dolled-up wife, or a good meal? Our husbands are all different. so what works for my marriage might not work for yours. By simply communicating with my husband about these areas I bless him by showing that I truly desire his good.
This is Day 23 of a series: Made to Pour, Living a life of Blessing