How “Hold him first and the kids second” and “Honesty is key” went:
I’ve been working on holding my husband first for a while. It’s a difficult thing because when you have more than one child, you are trying to meet more than one demand, and then trying to put someone ahead of those demands can be very difficult. The good thing though is that so far, I’ve been pretty successful. What I’ve seen from this is that my husband is much happier. Instead of him feeling like he’s been pushed aside, it seems as though he’s much happier. Plus, when he doesn’t put US first, he feels bad. Yesterday, he went out of his way to put me first. I had been talking about this chicken sandwich on pretzel bread that Wendys started selling. I really wanted to try it, but because I had been laid off we really didn’t have money to play around with. Yesterday was my first day back at work, and after work he took me WAY out of our way to go get one. It made me feel good because he had been listening to me. Even though it was inconvenient for him, he was happy to do it. So instead of me feeling like “ugh I’m always putting him first and he keeps putting himself first” I kept putting him first and he has started putting me first. It was really quite nice. Do my kids feel neglected? UMMM NO! First of all, like I’ve said, my kids are 2 years old, so if we keep doing things this way, they will get used to it. Also, they are in no way neglected. I don’t know if it’s possible that they could be more loved, and because we are fighting less, the kids are much happier.
I: Intimacy is important:
I’m sure you knew this was coming at some point, you just didn’t know when. I need to preface this though with a statement/rant, so buckle up your seatbelts for this. Some people will look at this subject and think “I better not read this blog…it’s too racy.” Or they might think “This is something that shouldn’t be discussed in public”. Well here’s the thing, maybe if we were more open about what should be going on in the marriage bed, we wouldn’t have to sit in the pastor’s office fighting for our marriage because our husbands (or in some cases wives) are struggling with porn, or maybe we wouldn’t end up in divorce court because our spouse has committed adultery. So like it or not, part of this post is going to be about sex, because it needs to be said, because it’s a REAL part of marriage.
Women and men are different. As women, we can hold hands, kiss our husbands, cuddle in bed while watching television and be completely satisfied. That’s not to say that we never want sex, but we are definitely not made like a man. Studies have been done that show that men think about sex 5x or more than women do. While we as women cuddle up to our man at night and think “wow he smells good, I feel so comfortable and safe”, the man is laying in bed thinking “when are we going to get to the next step?”
The problem is that women, we often times are “not in the mood”. You go to work, or spend all day with the kids, you cook dinner, clean up after, put the kids to bed, whatever the routine is, you just want to cuddle your man and be happy. The problem is, when we are constantly saying “I’m not in the mood” it causes our husbands to become frustrated. Some men will then seek satisfaction in other ways. It may be porn, it may be adultery, whatever it is, it’s not healthy for your marriage. Now what he’s doing if it’s porn or adultery is still sin, and there’s NEVER an excuse for sin, but you definitely aren’t helping matters. What I’m learning is to “give myself over to him” even when I’m “not in the mood” so that in the times where I’m really and truly not feeling good, he’s more understanding of it and doesn’t just feel like I’m brushing him off. Also, think about this: most of the time when you hear about sexual problems in a marriage, it’s not that the guy got sick of having sex with his wife every day, it’s usually that there wasn’t ENOUGH sex. The best way to combat this is to purpose within your heart to give yourself to him more. If this is something that you are struggling with, pray about it, every day. I did have to pray, and sometimes still do, mostly for the energy.
The other thing is that sex becomes a “weapon”. I think that’s a misconception though. My husband and I recently had this conversation. It seems to me that women withhold sex because when they are withholding is usually when their husbands treat them nicer because they are trying to get it. Then when they have sex with their husband, he goes back to treating her like he did before he was “deprived”. It seems that more women see it as a “tool” than a weapon. The problem is though, that withholding sex from your husband is a sin, and God did not intend for it to be used in that manner. Also, if your husband is treating you well, and you enjoy it, then maybe just TELLING him that you enjoy the way that he’s treating you would encourage him to continue to do so. Male or female we all love to know that we are appreciated. Another thing I’m finding is that when you DON’T withhold sex, your husband starts treating you better on a REGULAR basis. As a woman, I encourage all you other women to not allow sex to be an issue in your marriage. We all know someone who has gotten a divorce who will tell you that sex was a huge issue. Don’t let it be an issue for you. You have the power to turn it around. So now, when my husband initiates, I’m trying to be more open even if I’m exhausted or I’ve had a rough day. My goal is to continue to do so, so that my husband never has a reason to look for satisfaction in other places. Remember, biblically speaking neither of you should be refusing each other. There’s nothing like knowing you are sinning by not pleasing your husband.
Intimacy isn’t just about having sex though. Another part of intimacy is being lost the more technologically advanced our society becomes. Intimacy is also about sharing things between yourself and your husband. It seems that there are no secrets these days. With the invention of social networking, people have started to put information out there for the public to see that years ago would never have been mentioned in public. What people post about their relationships on Facebook amazes me. Is NOTHING private? Why on earth do you think it’s ok to post online that your husband is a complete jerk? Why do you think that it’s ok to post arguments that you’ve had with your husband and then encourage people to take sides? It’s tacky, people talk about you when you do it, and guess what…it destroys your marriage. There should be things that only you and your husband know about. My husband and I have secrets that we keep between the two of us. We have inside jokes, there are conversations that never leave our household, and even things that never leave our bedroom. It helps your marriage. Remember when you were in high school and you told your best friend EVERYTHING? Well your husband is supposed to be your best friend. There should be times when you can look at each other and burst out laughing because someone has said a key word or phrase and both you and your husband are thinking the SAME THING. There’s something to be said for privacy and intimacy. To develop this, I’m trying to spend more time with my husband, just relaxing with him and spending time with him. That’s how these secrets develop. I will say that the one exception to the secret thing is when you are in counseling. You need to tell your counselor the information that they need to know to be able to properly assist you.
I: “It’s a Wonderful Life”
Every year, my family has a Christmas movie marathon. One of the movies in our marathon is “it’s a wonderful life”. For those who don’t know…without going into too much detail and giving it away, it’s about this man who is about to kill himself because he’s going through financial issues (that aren’t even his fault). An angel who pretty much sucks at his job and is really old but has never gotten his wings (because he’s never successfully helped anyone), gets assigned to this guy. The angel shows the guy what life would be like if the guy had never been born, and pretty much the ENTIRETOWN is effected. It’s a great movie, if you haven’t seen it, GO BUY IT RIGHT NOW!
Anyhow, every time we watch this movie, I wonder how the world would be different if I weren’t in it. One year, I admitted to my husband that I thought that the world wouldn’t be that much different, and in some cases it would be better if I had never been born. My husband said “not for me.” He went on to tell me how he thought his world would be if I had never been born, if we had never gotten married. He told me how he felt that I had changed his life etc.
The reason I chose this as my letter “I” is that if for no one other than your husband, you need to make an impact. Your relationship with your husband should be so deep and the impact that you have on his life should be so positive that when thinking about his life without you, he should be able to come up with some way as to how that would negatively effect his life. I think that a lot of people just “exist” together. For a while, my husband and I did simply “exist” together, meaning that if either one of us dropped off the face of the planet, the other would shed a tear and move on. That’s not the way it should be. We should mean so much to our husbands and them to us that when you think about “what if I never existed” or “what if he never existed” you could see how there would be a big difference in either life.
This may seem like a hard one to work on, but I think in trying to improve my marriage, I’m already working on this one. The better our marriage becomes, the better we are to each other, and the more that we grow together, the harder it should be to imagine a life without each other. In some cases we just don’t know. In some cases we devalue ourselves, so first, ask your spouse how their life would be different without you. If they seem to be “reaching for straws” don’t get mad, just work harder to make a better relationship, so that you have more of an impact on their life. Women, we above all others should have the most impact on our husband’s lives. Not their mother, not the kids, US. The same applies in the reverse. Husbands should have the most impact on OUR lives.
Another thing I’m doing is trying to be honest with my husband about how he can make a greater impact on my life. I’ve told him a couple of times (in a kind way), how I like to be treated, things that I like that he does for me etc. I also tell him how much I love spending time with him etc. I want to be the most important person to him, and I know he wants to be the most important person in my life. I want him to be able to look back and say “honey if I had never met you…I can’t imagine how different my life would be. It would be harder because ______, I would be less happy because __________ etc.” I don’t just want him to say “well I guess I would have married someone else.” So, with that in mind, I’m going to end this here and spend a little time with my husband.
Again, I appreciate all of the faithful readers of this series! Please continue to keep us in your prayers!