“The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:11-12
What can we do to help make our husband’s a priority?
They started out as notes on college-ruled paper when we began to fall for each other as teenagers, folded into intricately small designs (as only high schoolers know how to do, so as to not get caught, weaving them through a path out of eyeshot of teachers). Except, instead of passing the notes during class, we were passing them during church…young love, right? We were only 18 and 19…clearly we still had a lot to learn.
The Littlest of Things
When we were “officially” dating those notes turned into little cards with leopard print covers and butterflies that he would drop off for me on his way to work. When we were newlyweds, the cards turned into little notepads of notes that he left for me on the kitchen table just to remind me that he loved being married to me and couldn’t wait to meet the new life growing within me.
Fifteen years later, his daily notes to me have transitioned back onto college-ruled paper. They’re no longer folded but kept inside the notebook for safekeeping. He leaves the page of the notebook open on the kitchen counter, next to the coffee maker, with an apple on top (a reminder for me to eat one!).
It’s within these notes that I noticed a trend appearing. I’m ashamed to admit that it took me a long time to pick it up. While every note is sweet and complimentary, perhaps encouraging, reflective, or even sentimental, I did finally notice a common factor that needed attention. With increasing frequency, he mentioned being tired or exhausted, needing to find some reserve of energy, or how he hoped we could aim to get to bed at a more decent time (usually in a “we” context, meaning he was worried I was tired, too).
When I realized that I was not helping him take care of himself, I felt a little awful. Almost like I was abusing his good-natured and well-known ability and tendency to run like the Energizer bunny. But what I failed to note was that, too often, he had been running on fumes.
Husbands Get Tired, Too
We talk about it a lot as wives and mothers, new or working moms and teachers, grandmothers and mentors, but I’m realizing it can also be just as true of dads and husbands – it can be hard for them to fit all the things they want or need to do in a 24-hour time frame and still give themselves to their families in the way that they and we want them to!
I decided I need to make an executive decision as the manager of our home to start helping my husband make himself a priority, listening for what his needs are, especially the ones he won’t necessarily tend to himself…like sleep.
3 Ideas That May Help
Here are a few things we’ve been doing that have really blessed us:
- A specified time to begin to unwind and get ready for bed. (on weeknights)
We actually begin this process as soon as all of the kids are in bed. We light candles in the bedroom and play music and we aim to be off our phones and computers by around 8:45 pm. And instead of watching a TV show, as we might on the weekend, we read for 30-45 min each night. Not necessarily together, but time in whatever book we’re working on.
- Time for him to workout.
For my husband, this is only going to happen right after he comes home from work. He wakes up at 5 am five days a week, so giving him this time before dinner each evening is really something his body deserves and needs. That doesn’t mean he always feels like doing it, but he always feels better and more energized afterward.
- Wake up with him.
This is a new idea for me that I’ve been only doing for the last two months, and it probably won’t work for everybody. It started as something I got into the routine of at the Club31Women writer’s retreat, actually. The girls with whom I was sharing the same space were early morning women of the Word. It ended up being something that I desperately wanted to get into the routine of as well. That routine has carried into our marriage, with me awake at about 5:30 in the morning. Then Josh joins me in bed to do our Bible reading over coffee.
I’m still figuring this out. His notes still occasionally express some sentiments of a need for more rest or an earlier bedtime (we have four kids!). But I have noticed that my husband’s dark circles aren’t quite as dark and what’s more, we’re both ready for bed at the same time because we woke up around the same time.
It’s pleasing to see that our efforts are paying off a little. I want for him to be able to trust that I have his best interest at heart.
Maybe there is something your husband is needing from you, whether it’s for his mental, physical, or spiritual well-being. Does he know he’s a priority in your life? What can you do to show him that you value and appreciate him? I encourage you to have a conversation with your husband about his needs. Take the time to listen and observe. What you find may surprise you.
Chels, Catz in the Kitchen