When my husband and I got married, he had already started Bible College. By the time he graduated, we had three children. He would work 40 to 45 hours a week and have 15 hours of school a week plus whatever time he had to put into homework and we spent approximately 15 hours a week at church or church-related activities. We tried to have a weekly date but that didn't always work out as planned. Now I'm not suggesting that all families are destined to go through a schedule like this or that they should - I'm merely stating that I've been there.
I knew pretty well what I was getting into when we married; my husband was already called to preach and in Bible College. I had to learn to cope with the housework and being alone and then later, dealing with the children by myself alot. I wanted to make the most of our family's time together. I didn't want my husband to come home to hear me gripe about how rotten the children were or how I needed him to wash the dishes or vacuum. I might have had a tough day but I knew he had a tough day of his own. I knew he cared enough about me to ask how my day was when he was ready. I tried my hardest to deal with the disciplinary problems with the children (I would try to only bring the major things to him) and the demands of running a household (making ends meet on a shoestring budget). I had to find a way to church on my own when my husband was working (he worked most Wednesday evenings). I was far from being the perfect wife - these were just my ideals. I did do my share of griping, but I tried my best to apologize for overburdening him. I did my best to be his help meet, not a burden.
"And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him."
I was striving to be the wife I should be and in the process I was allowing my husband to strive to be the husband he needed to be. We both needed room to grow into our positions, so we tried to allow it in each other with a little guidance from each other; but trying mostly to leave it in the Lord's hands (we sometimes didn't like where the guidance came from, but we knew it was from the Lord).
The Bible commands the woman to be the helper or completer of her husband, not the other way around.
(Eph 5:25-31) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
He's commanded to provide for you and protect you, not to complete you!!
I'd like to share with you some of the things I learned in the early part of our marriage - or - How Can I Have A Happy Marriage?? I learned from the Bible, some through trial and error and other things I learned from other Godly women.
Greet your husband with a warm, heartfelt smile when he comes home from work. You won't believe the difference that will make in your time together. He'll come home happier knowing he's got a happy wife at home who's glad that he is a part of her life. Let him relax after work without the burdens of your day. Have a glass of tea waiting on him; have his favorite chair ready for him; have a wholesome meal waiting on him. In other words, find out what makes him happy and do it.
Have happy smiling children waiting on him but not bombarding him. how do I make sure they smile, you may ask?? Through the day, love on your kids, compliment them, teach them, correct them.
Hug them and tell them how much you love them often. Tell them how proud you are of them for doing right (praise more on good character than talent).
Teach them the Bible and proper manners and respect for other's property.
Correct them in a timely fashion - if you say you will discipline them for something - then do it; otherwise you're just using vain threats and they know it. Don't spank them for something that irritates you, but because what they did was wrong. Be consistent in your discipline - if they get disciplined for it once, they should expect it every time. Your children will be happy in a secure environment - that doesn't mean they are happy when you let them do their own thing (all of us who are parents here know that most children who are allowed to do their own thing unsupervised are the most miserable children around). Secure means they know when mommy says "no" she means it and they don't get confused about whether she means it.
Don't let your childhood determine their's - don't let them get away with things just because you got away with it; and conversly, don't let them get away with things you know are wrong because you had a bad childhood. Let your children learn from your experience, don't let them learn it all by their trial and error.
Let them look forward to when daddy gets home. In other words, don't say, "Just wait till your daddy gets home!!"
That tells them that you're not in control of that situation, but theyare.
They come to fear when daddy gets home.
Daddy comes to fear when he comes home. There are times when daddy should discipline; when the offense is against him and some major situations may need to be handled by him; but it shouldn't be an everyday occurrence.
When your children are secure in their surroundings, they will be happy.
Let him come home to a world of order.
Keep your house orderly so when he comes home from work, he can relax from a hard day's work.
Don't let him come home to all the problems of your day. Yes, your day matters to him, but when he walks through that door, he DOESN'T NEED TO HEAR IT!!
God equipped us to handle the home and many times we sell ourselves short on being able to handle it. We need to train our children to help with the housework.
Don't let ignorance continue to be your excuse. If we can't manage the children or handle managing a household, we need to find out how. There are books on such matters or better still, there is the wisdom of other ladies who have been there. Just ask them.
Make your world revolve around him.
Whatever he finds interesting should interest you.
Whatever HE wants to do, you should want too. If he needs to spend some of his time off from work away from you and the children sometimes, don't cause a scene about it - he may just need to get away from all the pressures of the real world awhile. (You do too, sometimes!) It doesn't mean he's running from responsibilities or that he doesn't love you and the children anymore - he just may be on system-overload and not able to cope.
Try as much as possible to make his time at home a vacation. In this, your children see how much you love and cherish your husband; they learn how to treat a spouse from you - good or bad - they learn it from you.
Remember, you chose him for your husband so revolve around him.
Do what your husband says to do. Make sure your children do what daddy says too. Don't make the mistake of saying, "Well, daddy said don't do that, but I'll go ahead and let you do it." Understand that your husband is the boss of your home. He may not be there all day to make sure things are done the way he said, but you make sure he is the boss.
You may say, "Since he's not here, why should he make the decisions??"
He may very well ask that same question of the owner of the company he works for - "Why should he make the decisions if he's not even here most of the time??"
Because he's the owner, that's where the buck stops; and your husband is where the buck stops in your home - The government makes that owner accountable for the policies in his company and God made your husband accountable for the family decisions.
You are responsible for how you carry those things out just as your husband is at his job.
Let him know how proud you are of him
Tell him you appreciate what he does for you and the family
Brag on him to others (don't speak disparagingly to other people about your husband)
Compliment him on his manly qualities
Also you need to take time for yourself sometimes too.
You will need to get away from the children sometimes. You and your husband can decide whether you find a babysitter or make it for when he's home. Just as your husband needs to get away from everything every once in awhile, you should make time for you to get away from the routine and repetitions at home. You need a time to refresh for your family's sake. They need you to as much as you need to for yourself.
Find a way for the family to get away together.
Find a way to get away by yourself or with your husband (without the children!!). You may say that we never go anywhere that we can't go as a family. My husband and I said that in the beginning as well. But there comes a time when you just need to get away for awhile. It may be for just a few hours, or maybe a weekend.
Don't feel guilty for having to get away for awhile. Even Jesus did.
Do what it takes to keep your marriage fresh and alive. Marriage isn't what we can get out of it - but WHAT WE PUT INTO IT!!
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