I thought a little levity would be good to start off the day. A question to 9 year old Anita: “Is it better to remain single or get married?” Answer from Anita: “It is better for girls to remain single, but not for boys. They need someone to clean up after them” (HA!!!!!!).
Well, as most of you know, we embarked on a quest at the beginning of the year to help you discover the changes that would take you to The Marriage of Your Dreams.
We are still talking about Step # 1 — Knowing Your Needs. Over the last two months, we’ve talked about helping you know what your needs are (and, to some degree, what the needs of your spouse likely are). We’ve talked about your love language (a key indicator of at least one of your needs in the relationship), the need for communication and recreational companionship, the need for attentiveness and physical intimacy, and the request to find out how your spouse experiences your love the most.
As we move forward, I encourage you to keep a list of ideas, with the end goal that you would then narrow that list to about 5 – 10 changes that would skyrocket your relationship to the mountaintop.
Today, I’d like to talk about a typical man’s need for his house to be a haven, and for a wife’s typical need for her husband to be involved in the care and nurture of their children.
Let’s start with the needs of the wife. In his book, His Needs, Her Needs, Harley writes: “Above all, wives want their husbands to take a leadership role in this family and to commit themselves to the moral and educational development of their children…They also expect their husbands to play a key role in “training up the children.””
And, in order to do that, what the wife usually really wants can be boiled down to four words — the husband’s “time with the kids”. The wife wants the father to show the boy how to play baseball, to show the girl how to kick a soccer ball, to teach them to ride bikes, and to show them what a first date should be all about. The wife wants the father to be there emotionally for their children, especially for the girls who need a daddy who is engaged and understands their feelings (because, if the daddy doesn’t, the little girl will find another boy who will want to).
Wives, is that something you would like to see in your family life? If so, then, this week, I’d suggest you ponder the time you would like your husband to spend each day with his children. And, if you think your expectations are a little high, you may be interested in Harley’s thoughts — he suggests 15 hours per week for a father to spend with his children (more about that in my blog on Thursday).
Husbands, on the other hand, are looking for something a little calmer — their house as a “haven”. Harley writes, “Men often fantasize about a house life free of stress and worry. After work each day, his wife greets him lovingly at the door and his well-behaved children are also glad to see him. He enters the comfort of a well-maintained home as his wife urges him to relax before taking part in dinner, the aroma of which he can already smell wafting through the air“. (Does it remind you of 9-year-old Anita’s answer ?)
When I first read that, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Harley was saying exactly what I was feeling !! The reason was that I felt like a warrior in the work place, facing fears and conquering larger and larger giants. When I came home, I needed to relax from the rigors of “battle” (ok, maybe not battle, but you get the idea!).
And, the more counseling and life-coaching I’ve done, the more I realize that I am not alone! I would surmise that most guys who are hard at work providing financially for their families feel the same way.
Furthermore, I would say that this issue of the “haven” ranks right up there among the top 3 to 5 issues of most husbands I’ve talked to. There is just something about needing a “haven” (maybe that’s why this whole “man-cave” idea in the garage or basement is taking off).
Anyhow, guys, if that describes you, then I’d suggest you take this week to think about what your “haven” looks like and how your wife could help your home become just that.
Nobody ever said it was going to be easy (except Hollywood, and like they really know what they are talking about with their divorce rates). But, with a little bit of teamwork, you could have a father playing with his kids in the “haven”. Now that sounds like something worth working towards ! And, frankly, it might even make 9-year-old Anita WANT to GET and STAY married !!
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