Next weekend Rob will be speaking at a sister church on marriage, raising covenant children, and teenagers. I told him on that last one that he better not lie to those people and he should be sure to tell them it is h.a.r.d. But that is a post for a different day. Today’s post is on wifing though, and in no particular order here are some general thoughts and things I have gleaned over the years.
Being hospitable. You may be scratching your head over this one because it is not often that we hear this word applied to husbands and wives. However, I think we should not only use it but also cultivate it within our marriage relationship. The word hospitable means “promising or suggesting generous and cordial welcome; offering a pleasant or sustaining environment.” Would your husband say that he finds a generous welcome in you? Not just in a physical way, we’ll talk about that in a minute. But would he say that he finds in you a pleasant and sustaining environment for his thoughts, ideas, and dreams? Or do you play devil’s advocate or try to be practical? Are you critical to his suggestions and plans? Does he see pleasure on your face when you’ve been apart? Years and years ago I remember being out running errands and passing Rob and one of his workers on the road. This is back when he was a paint contractor and working long days. It was such a joyful and unexpected treat to see him even if we were just literally passing each other on the road. Later that night he hugged me and said I just looked so happy to see him. It meant something to him for me to respond that way. Look for ways to be hospitable toward your husband.
Do things that you expect to go unnoticed. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? Recently I shared about how, instead of waiting to iron a shirt when he needed it, I had started just having Rob’s shirts ironed and ready. He noticed that right away and was just so darn grateful and pleased by that simple act. These days that has become the norm and he doesn’t really comment on it. And that is a fabulous thing to me. Look at it this way…early in our marriage I would get so upset if he didn’t notice or comment when I had really cleaned or tidied something up. But then I realized I was expecting him to pat me on the head and give me an “Atta, girl” for just doing what I should have been doing. He shouldn’t have noticed because it was the way it ought to be. Obviously, it is easy to feel like the things we do in our homes are taken for granted and it is nice to have the work we put into something recognized, especially when we have done a little extra or gone above and beyond in some way. However, I think we would do well to learn to be content with doing what we do and letting it go unnoticed simply because we want our husbands and our children to find it commonplace to be loved and cared for by us. If we’re doing it in sporadic spurts and bursts to the point that it stands out and ought to be commented on then I say we’re perhaps neglecting things a bit. Let your delight be in having the work of a family to love and tend and not whether it (you) gets praised all the time.
Be playful. Seriously, have fun with your spouse. We used to have a little rubber frog from some game the kids had when they were little that we would hide in each other’s stuff. We took much delight in seeing who could come up with the best hiding spots. I won when I opened up a box of his soap, hid the frog inside and then glued it shut again. These days we look for ways to make the other one laugh. We text word puns or funny memes to each other. It is so easy to loose the spontaneity of playfulness in the everyday busy but try to make it a habit. Laughter is a wonderful mortar between the bricks of intimacy so challenge him to a thumb wrestling match. Play rock, paper, scissors. Text him a knock knock joke. Whatever you know will cause him to laugh. And being willing to respond to his playfulness is another way of practicing hospitality with your spouse.
Do little things that get noticed. Yes, I know I just did a whole paragraph on being content to do things that go unnoticed. But this is something altogether different. I’m talking about the sweet little things you can do that will remind him that you love him. Recently some friends introduced us to this snack stuff called Pub Mix and we really like it. Except for the pretzels. So one day I bought a container of it and went home and took out all of the pretzels without saying anything to Rob. He was so cute when he realized what I had done. Now, I have some friends who told me that I’m buying the wrong snack and gave me a list of the different parts of the snack that I could buy but where is the fun in that I ask you? I also pick off the green peppers from his frozen pizza too because I know he doesn’t like them. Sometimes I will slip into his office at church, flip to an unused page in one of his note pads and leave a little love note for him to find one day. Find little meaningful ways to remind your love that he is indeed your love.
Sex. Honestly, I almost didn’t include this because it is a subject that can come with so much baggage but it is an area you do not want to neglect. The devil likes to make this area his playground and why would he not? The mystery of two becoming one in every way is the picture Scripture uses to describe Christ and His Bride so of course the enemy would seek to destroy and distort it’s earthly representation. But a blog post really isn’t the appropriate venue for a proper discussion on the subject. Not one of much real depth anyway. What I will say is that I believe that the marriage bed of a believing couple should be full of joy and delight. After all, who better to enjoy the gift of physical intimacy than those who serve and honor the giver of such a gift? There are lots of ways this gift can get off track though and in my experience the key to resolving issues is sometimes uncomfortable but direct conversations. The biggest piece of encouragement I have is not to assume anything. Sexual intimacy is not a one size fits all so magazines articles, blog posts, etc. aren’t necessarily helpful. Seeking godly counsel can be helpful when needed but treat the subject with discretion. It is a highly volatile area that can cause much harm but also has the power to bind a couple together in a strong and lasting way.
Marriage is as beautiful and complex as anything ever created. May we each desire to share in the goodness of God’s glory reflected in our love for our husbands.