My aunt was letting us girls have some pieces of her jewelry, and I was sitting on the floor considering my choices. I landed on a leather bracelet with a metal clasp. My husband came out to the living room and sat down in the rocker next to me.
“What do you think?” I asked as I held out my wrist for him to appreciate my new bracelet.
“Cute,” he said.
“Cute? It’s not cute. Try again,” I told him.
“Pretty. It’s so pretty,” he said.
“No,” I scolded. “It’s not cute or pretty. It’s a leather band. I want you to tell me it’s really cool.”
“Definitely cool,” my niece chimed in.
“That bracelet is so cool,” Matt said.
“Yeah. Thanks!” I replied.
This story is lighthearted, and I’m not really that high maintenance (maybe). But it holds up an example of my best marriage advice: Tell your husband what you need.
In our culture, thanks to romance movies, we’ve developed a ridiculous idea that guys are just supposed to get us. But come on. That means we expect them to read our minds every second of the day and anticipate what we need. Let’s admit that’s an unfair and impossible expectation that leads straight to Destination Disappointment.
If you need something, tell your husband what you need and specifically what would be most helpful. A well-intentioned man wants to be successful in caring for you, but help the guy out!
A Champion Husband
About a month ago, my husband and I were getting ready to leave for a week on vacation, to visit my family. My college-aged son was home for his last summer as our kid, before graduating from college. He had been working long hours all summer, and I felt like I hadn’t had any quality time with him. Here we were leaving for a week, and I was desperate for some good moments with our son. Complicating my feelings was that we recently had moved in with Matt’s mom and aunt, to help them out, and I was still trying to get my emotional feet underneath me.
I pulled Matt aside that evening and said, “I need you to take me and Caleb out to dinner. No cell phones allowed –just time to talk.”
“Should we invite Mom and Aunt Noanie?” he asked.
“No. I just need some time as the three of us,” I said, and I explained to him how I was feeling.
He said okay, and we went to dinner. It was a wonderful hour with our son. We had space to talk about his future and especially about his upcoming marriage proposal to his girlfriend. It met the need I was having as a mom. By the end of the evening, my heart was full, and Matt was a champion in my book.
Create a Habit
So I’m encouraging you to create a habit of YOU doing the work of figuring out what you really need. Pray about your feelings and ask the Lord to show you the true needs of your body, mind, and soul. Some of those only God will be able to meet, but for those your husband could meet, clue him in.
Tell him when you need a hug.
Tell him you desperately need him to take the kids for an hour, so you can have some breathing room. Ask if he could help you.
Tell him when you need him to take you on a date and be specific about what you’re hoping for.
Communicate. Be realistic and humble.
If you do this, you’ll be optimizing your husband’s opportunities to be awesome. When you define exactly what you need, then he’ll have a better understanding of what it means to love you well. If he graciously sweeps in and meets your need, tell him thank you. Tell him he is the bomb. (What guy doesn’t want to be the bomb?)
Communicating is the stuff romance is made of. Trust me –I’m 27 years into happily ever after.