Friday, December 28, 2007

Grump's Top Ten list for Husbands

Marriage is hard work. As with most cliches, that phrase has been uttered so many times, that it's ramification is often passed over. This is a shame, because the impact of the truth that led to this phrase becoming a cliche in the first place, is likewise passed over. Marriage is indeed hard work, but as with any difficult task, it can be made easier if you can identify smaller sub-tasks, learn to do them well, then put them into practice. As Martin Luther once said,"marriage is a school for character", so like school, in order to be a graduate of school, there is a sequence of learning that teaches us basic steps, goes on to put these basics into action by repetition, and adds additional more difficult skills as you go along. And as I recall my own school days, some of the most boring, trivial, or counter-intuitive steps, often turned out to be some of the most critical steps as well, so that my success as a student would have been radically different had I not taken the time to master the boring or seemingly insignificant steps all along the way.
After 7 years of marriage, it is beginning to dawn on me that marriage is very similar to the school process, and Mr.Luther's observation increasingly strikes me as one of the most profound statements I am aware of. Small, seemingly insignificant things that at first glance seemed counter-intuitive, now are beginning to sink in as the keys to marital happiness. I have distilled these ideas into a list of 10 Steps for Husbands. Yes, this is indeed directed at husbands, if for no other reason than as being a husband, I am more aware of why these steps seem trivial, but are powerfully important to my wife. And guys, I am an equal opportunity critic - I have some steps for wives too, but that will have to wait for another time. . This is by no means an exhaustive list, and in way of a disclaimer, as an Evangelical Christian, my worldview undoubtedly colours my view of marriage. However in this article I have endeavoured to make these principles as broadly applicable as I can, and will trust the reader to make of them what he will.
While I do not expect that my marriage or any marriage can be perfect in every respect - none can - nor do I expect that anyone can always apply these 10 principles consistently, but I wish I had started learning these principles and applying them years ago. And without further eloquence, here are Grumpamoose's Top Ten Husband Steps to a good marriage.

1 - Listen to your wife. And that does not mean merely hearing what she says, but actively paying attention to her when she speaks. This is the hardest step to do, if you are like most of us males, since we want to get to the point of what is being said, whereas for many women, what is being said is the point. Listening in this way to our wives is much more of an art that a learned skill, however it is most critical that we try and keep practicing to listen. I am aware that active listening will be difficult, but do it anyway.

2 - Learn what she likes and what truly makes her happy, and why. The why is as important as the what. And here is your first chance to practice step #1, since many times she may not know or know how to tell you the why.

3 - Regularly do things that make her happy, with no expectation that she reciprocate. (Although unless she is an unusually selfish individual, very likely you will be taken care of more often than not). This includes romantic gestures, so here is a chance to practice the second step.

4 - Get in shape. If you are already there - stay there. In a sense, your body also belongs to her, so take care of it.

5 - When she is telling you something that is hard to hear, stay calm and control your temper rather than immediately counter attacking. She may have a point. And if she does...

6 - Be Honest at all times and in all things, both with her and most importantly with yourself. And if she has a point, listen to her. If she honestly is mad at you, she is mad because you are a bonehead. So listen to why she thinks you are a bonehead, and stop being a bonehead. And if she is honestly out of line

7- Be willing to forgive her when she honestly is in the wrong. By no means does that excuse her, or erase the memory of what she may do, but once you grant her forgiveness, the file is closed. Don't reopen it.

8 - Don't say anything unless you mean it. And if you promise her to do something, don't promise it unless you can do it right then.

9 - Remember that every action you take, and every dime you spend, affects your wife in some way. It may be a wonderful way for her good, or a bad way that causes her pain, but it will affect her somehow. The only variable is to what extent one way or the other it goes.

10 - There is a reason why you married her. Try to remember what that reason or reasons where why you married her, and appreciate her for it.


Princess Jami said...

Oh, my heavens, #1 is soooooo very key.