A Husband of Commitment - Some Practical Advice! Part Two
- Jay Sklar, Ph.D. Two Becoming One
- 2004 1 Apr
In the first part of this article we considered how to be a husband of commitment in areas of leadership, finances, romance, mutual interests, and prayer. In the second part of this article we will consider how to be a husband of commitment in four more important areas of married life.
Your wife must communicate with you to maintain her confidence and emotional stability. She cannot respond adequately without a total relationship. Romance will die without communication. If your wife says that you do not communicate with her enough, seek counsel to help define and correct the problem.
Men and women tend to define communication differently. If a man doesn't look at his wife and listen as she talks (sometimes up to thirty minutes) before giving his opinion, then she feels they have not communicated. Women need to talk to solve a problem. Men tend to want the bottom line with fewer words expressed. Men tend to think before they talk, and women think as they talk. Learn this well.
Husbands, never give your wives the silent treatment. Love requires regular communication. Instead of withholding yourself, open your life to her. Give her words of encouragement. Don't withhold positive words that have the power to heal.
Communication includes talking about feelings of anger. Remember, anger is a common human emotion; you should recognize and deal with it quickly. "Do not let the sun go down on your anger," Paul warned (Ephesians 4:26). Why? Because God knows that when you accumulate anger, it keeps you from putting the past behind you. Only forgiveness heals the past while renewing your hope for the future.
Hurtful words tend to stay around a long time. Sometimes, after little verbal shots you take at your mate, you may spend a lot of time trying to undo them. Be quick to ask for forgiveness when hurtful things are said. Remember, "It is to a man's honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel" (Proverbs 20:3).
Being overwhelmed with duties is a major problem for many wives. A husband is in the best position to assist his wife in working out her schedule and priorities. Begin by working out a priority list with your wife. General categories that need to be considered are personal time with the Lord, marriage relationship, relationships with children, career, friendships, church ministry, recreation, and work.
Set a brief planning meeting, perhaps fifteen minutes each Sunday night, to agree on a week's schedule. Help her eliminate activities that leave her overcommitted. After understanding her schedule, help her diversify activities. Arrange for her to be out of the home regularly if you have small children. When possible, commit to staying home to give her that freedom. Remember: taking care of your children when you wife is away is not baby-sitting; it is your responsibility as a husband and father.
A balanced schedule includes specific time together alone, even if you have children. A date once a week will do wonders for both of you and will strengthen your communication. Take charge on Friday night and let her sleep in on Saturday morning. If she has preschoolers, relieve her from the five o'clock horror show at dinner and the bedtime scene by taking over with one or both duties. If your wife works outside the home, make sure that you share the chores and the responsibilities of the home with her. Ask her what needs to be done.
The Family's Identity and Hope
Help your wife and children understand that they are part of a uniquely developed family by God's choice. Develop this identity with activities that promote family togetherness, such as vacations, sports, church activities, youth activities, or family camps. If you promote family times as the children grow up, they will return for family outings even as adults. Make it a priority.
As part of securing your family's identity, always communicate your future visions and plans with your wife. Get her full input. Nothing affects a woman more than low expectations for your future, and that of your children. Don't expect your wife to understand your future vision without explaining it to her and making sure she comprehends it. If you plan to make a career change, she should not be the last one to find out about it.
Without spiritual interest, productivity, relationships, and responsibilities, people really suffer as they age. Protect yourselves from slow depression; develop spiritual interests and activities that can continue until death. If you do find depression developing, seek godly advice or medical help.
Typically, our wives will begin to dream about their future goals during their forties. Help your wife fulfill her dreams. Many women begin second careers at this point.
When grandchildren appear, husbands should allow those youngsters to become part of their lives, even if the grandchildren seem to scramble your schedule and exhaust you. They can help you stay active and make you feel important.
When you retire, use your talents part time. As your work-related activities decrease, your service to the Lord and His people can continually increase. Most of all, maintain your commitment to your wife intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and sexually.
© 2003 Christian Family Life
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