One of the added benefits of what I do for a living is I get a ring side seat into the lives of people. You get to see the struggles and successes as people go through trials and along the way you inevitably pick up nuggets of wisdom. Nuggets that you store in the memory banks and remind yourself of what you don't want to do. Like the guy who while trying to compliment his wife as a proverbs 31 woman in the very next breath said she was homely. Somehow telling her she was an ugly Proverbs 31 woman was probably not seen as a compliment.
One time I had a young bride in my office who was really struggling with the reality that her marriage was not what she had hoped for. She tearfully admitted that if she had known then what she knows now, she would not have gotten married. You see her husband is not affectionate, does not spend time with her, does not talk to her much and when she presses him to be closer as a couple, he gets angry and withdrawn and says she is too demanding. We talked about ways to cope and I pressed her if she had thought about separating as a means to communicate to him that things need to change. The tears really started to flow at that time as she said, "if I leave, he won't come after me."
It broke my heart to hear this as I have maintained that a woman wants to know that her husband of 5 years or 50 years will still chase her around the playground. I mean after all, go to any elementary school and you will boys chasing girls around the merry go round. You look at our Hollywood movies and you see men who will climb mountains to be with her, he will defeat bad guys to rescue her, he will swim oceans to spend time with her, he will value her with his time, his words and his affections.
But I have to admit, women are weird. I have been married to Heather for almost 20 years and a therapist for 16 and yet I still don't understand women. I can ask Heather a question that can be answered in one word and yet she will give me 50. I see that as 49 wasted words, she sees it as 49 extra ways to describe the answer. And what about something as simple as a wash cloth. You can buy a 3 pack for 5 bucks at Walmart but noooo, she needs a loofah.
Plain and simply Heather is wired differently than I am. Her biological make up is different from mine. From her heart rate, to her internal temperature, to her lung capacity to the size of her hippo campus (the area of the brain associated with memory) She is different.......Than me that is .
If I allow it to, these differences become annoyances, for then I see her as a pain in the rear rather than a gift that God gave me to treasure. There's that word again. Treasure. You turn a treasure into something you tolerate when you dont embrace the differences and see the uniqueness.
Men, get to know your wife. What makes her tick, what makes her come alive, what was the last good book she read, what color are her eyes ( Yes I had a man in my office who although married for years, did not know the color of his wife's eyes). What does she need from you and no that is not just you providing a living, she wants you to share your life with her.
Women, take the risk to share your heart with your husband. Draw him a map if you will on how not only to win you but to keep you and treasure you. Don't assume because he doesn't ask, he doesn't care. Help him grow in the knowledge of you and watch as your marriage grows through the differences rather than retreating to tolerate each other.