A Loving, Swift Kick in the Pants

marriage_spring08

I’ve been married a few years.

Enough time to make a lot of mistakes, learn a few things, counsel some couples about to get married, and observe some near-universal tendencies in husbands.

It seems to me the most significant issues we as husbands deal with aren’t all that new or aren’t things only helped by previously unknown, revelatory principles. The answers that help us as husbands work through things are realizations whose concepts are simple, whose truths are typically already known, and, to put it bluntly, whose applications require a loving, swift kick in the pants.

Consider this, that kick.

Husbands…remember:

We didn’t marry ourselves.

I wore a tuxedo. She wore a white dress.

I walked in the side door. She walked down the middle aisle.

At the front of a church before a bunch of people, I looked into the eyes of a human being, complete with her own personality, her own tendencies, her own expectations, and a back story and past that not only contributed to the present, but largely would dictate the future. And that day, when publicly asked if I was OK with all of this, and, if I would commit to the one who possessed all those things, I said, “I will.”

Now, truthfully, I didn’t fully understand or appreciate all I was doing on that particular Saturday afternoon. I was probably, as most people do, concentrating more on “wedding” than “marriage.”

But commitment to a spouse on a wedding day is meant to outlive frustration caused by personal differences discovered in the days that follow.

Two lives becoming one isn’t subtraction, but multiplication. Is it hard sometimes? Yes. Is it occasionally exasperating? Indeed. But in those difficult times, it’s helpful and necessary to (again) realize that we didn’t exchange vows with a mirror. The degree to which this fact is remembered in our minds and exhibited in our actions, greatly influences the level of peace and contentment in life’s most significant human relationship.

No one is always right, and no one is always wrong.

Most of us assume we’re right. Right? Why? Is it because our opinions on things are formed by extensive research, rigorous testing, and unbiased observation? Of course not. We think we’re right because the ideas and thoughts we have about things are the ideas and thoughts we have about things.

Male or female, we tend to approach things as if we’re right, by default. But our default setting needs to upgraded to reality. Here’s the bottom line – every marriage is enhanced when room is given for disagreement. Disagreement is only threatening when perpetual rightness is assumed.

Guys, we’re not always right. My hunch is that we probably know this deep down, but letting our wives know, from time to time, that we know this deep down, is probably a good idea. There are times when we need to step back and realize that saying “yes” to our marriage proposal, wasn’t the last time our wives were right about something. If disagreement rocks our world, it probably says more about own insecurity than it does about her needing to change.

Sometimes Super Woman just wants to know we see her cape.

You know the marriage vow that goes something like, “for better or worse, until death do us part”? My guess is that our wives’ view of “worse” includes having to put yet another load of laundry in the washer, having to cook yet another meal after working all day, or having to work magic yet again with the budgeted grocery money.

Guys, let’s not fool ourselves. We do a lot, and our value is significant, but “How to Multitask” seminars should only be taught by females.  And throw in those wives who add carrying, delivering, and feeding children to their to-do list, and we have bona fide super heroes in our midst.

To feel appreciated is one of the most important feelings known to man. Or woman.

Washing your underwear isn’t what she lives for, but chances are, she’s the one who does it, along with a million other things. Let’s pick a few of those million, and tell her thanks. Often.

OK, guys. You ready? Let’s get busy.

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