Friday, January 23, 2009

Putting my husband first...

When more than one of you mentioned wanting me to share how I put my husband first - I couldn't decide if I should laugh or cry. You see, I don't feel good at this at all! This season of life is very taxing and I don't feel like I save very much for my husband.

But, this is something I've been thinking about - and I decided to start by asking David his thoughts on this.

Here are the things David shared:

* little things that let him know I love him and to make him feel good or make life easier for him
* fix food that he likes
* taking good care of him: clothes, food, attention
* being kind
* being understanding
* being thoughtful
* being a good steward of your money; faithful with what God has provided
* fun to be with
* a good friend and companion

I thought of a couple more things:

* order your schedule to make time for him; don't be out every evening or all weekend. He is not a built in babysitter - spend time together at home.
* order your chores around his work schedule; I do most of my chores during the day and leave evenings for family time.
* make a little extra effort to choose foods he likes, keep his favorite drink in the fridge and anything else he uses regularly on hand. For example, David's pager is frequently running a low battery - I make an effort to keep those extra batteries on hand to simplify his life.

If you were out working all day - what kind of home would you want to come to? Are you creating a haven for him?

Last week, I heard a pastor speak on Genesis 3 ~ and one of his points was that women are created to be helpers. That is my calling - to be David's helper and partner.

Being gone for a few weeks has allowed me to see one thing from his perspective. I hear in his voice that there is something missing from his life - he tells me it is me. Do I realize what influence my presence, attitude, laugh, smile and help bring to his days?

Next I will share a few more things I could be doing or improving upon. For today, would you consider asking your husband if there are some things that you are currently doing that helps him to feel like you put him first?

Any other thoughts on putting our husbands first? I feel like I have so much to learn in this area!


Anonymous said...

Ouch! This is an ongoing issue with me. It is very difficult for me on many days to put my husband ahead of my children. You have inspired me to start praying more for my husband and what little things I can do for him! Have a wonderful day!


Catherine said...

Thanks for sharing this, Monica. Having something nice for my husband to take to work for morning tea speaks volumes to him. Also not hitting him with all the troubles of the day / kids' challenging behaviour etc as soon as he walks in the door - that is a big one!

Anonymous said...

Love you...A lot!

ps. 500k Baby! w00t

Anonymous said...

God's timing is not an accident or coincedence!!! Thank you so much for these thoughts concerning our husbands. Can we EVER be encouraged enough in this area?? Time is THE MOST VALUABLE gift we can ever give. My husband confirms this to be true for him. Again Monica, thanks for posting about this. I OFTEN need to be reminded of what i know to be truth. tammyp

Wendi said...

Very good thoughts Monica! I often feel like I am not doing enough for Chuck. I sometimes feel like I am stretched so thin that I am not being/doing the best that I can or that I want to. When I bring it up Chuck ALWAYS says that I am doing fine and that he is happy.

Somethings I do to make him feel special are:

*leave a note for him to find in the morning or in his lunch

*call him during the day just to tell him I am thinking of him

*try to have dinner almost ready when he arrives home (he is always hungry when he gets home)

*he says the thing that he likes best is knowing no matter how terrible or great our days may be that at the end of the day, no matter what, we will be together. I admit I teared up a little!

Anonymous said...

Monica- If you or your readers have ever done - 5 Aspects of Woman - a bible study I think it can really bring out a lot of these things!! I did it years before I was married and really take pride in being DH's "helper-completer". Even if that is just by making him lunch, doing those 'little' things you talked about. Actually I asked my husband a similar question a few weeks ago - I think it's nice to know they recognize all the things you do even if they don't bow at your feet in thanks every day for a turkey sandwich. :) I think I could chat with you for hours! :)

LynnMarie said...

Great post! One thing I found that is helpful is to remember that what ever happens in life it happens to US. Not to him, not to me; but to US. This helps me remember to apply no blame when things go wrong. It's not his fault that the roof needs to be replaced - now - in mid winter! It's not my fault either, it just is. We are in this walk together so don't blame him for stuff. Remember you became one out of two. It has saved us a lot of hard times to remember that we are in this together. It is also respectful.

Christi said...

My husband and I had this discussion back in August. To my shame, it was something that he had to bring to my attention. Thankfully, it was in a kind way!

I don't have any suggestions, as this is something I still struggle with.

Sarah said...

I struggle with this too, as I'm sure MANY women do, if we are honest about the subject.

I so often, make my boys #1, instead of my hubby. That was one of my new year's "resolutions" was to make my husband #1. I have looked in Proverbs, I have looked to the Proverbs 31 women, and the Lord shows us how our attitudes and our actions toward our husbands tell about what kind of a women you are! I have noticed that I even serve my kids food first, I have said it is so we can get them quiet and our food will still be hot. But it is a matter of seconds difference... And now I have started to get HIS plate first, I always see if HE wants anything while I am getting up to get something else, we have heating blankets on our bed in the winter, and I always like to climb into a warm bed, so I make sure I turn on both of our blankets, I make sure I take care of his pet peeves before he comes home in the late afternoon, He hate clean laundry piles waiting to be put away and dirty dishes in the sink. So if NOTHING else, I always make sure those 2 things are taken care of. And I try to be showered and "pretty" for him when he comes home.

One of the things I have blogged about before is also being a crown to your husband, instead of rotteness to his bones (prov 12:4), and other things like it's better for a man to live in the desert than to live with a nagging wife... It really helps to read through Proverbs and high light all of those "Women" things (I do mine in pink!). and it is convicting!

It is awesome that you have noticed the problem, and now you are willing to work on it. Keeping your heart open to your hubby's words too are important. Without getting our feelings hurt! I will be praying for you!

Lisa said...

We don't know each other, but I enjoy reading your blog and getting ideas from you. Thank you for this post. In a selfish world of "me" and "mine," it's hard to find other people willing to admit that we were created as helpers. All of your thoughts and ideas are right on! I think one of the best ways we can put our husbands first is to verbally tell our children how much we love our husband, appreciate them and respect them. And then of course pray for them daily. May God bless you and your family beyond measure this year.

Mackenzie said...

Wow, this is such perfect timing for me! You put it so well...I have 2.5yro dd and an 8mo ds...thanks for this reminder!

Anonymous said...

Wow, he sounds like the perfect 1950's husband....good luck in your life!

angie said...

I had a light bulb moment while reading your post, Monica. Sometimes I have gone out of my way to do something for my husband. Yet he seems unappreciative.
But have I asked him what would make him feel "cared for" by me? No. I bet his list would look different than my attempts.
Thanks for getting me turned in the right direction!

Elise said...

The question about what is he coming home to hits home with me so much. My husband works in a warehouse with so many car parts and chaos. The last thing he needs is more stuff to deal with when he comes home. I definitely need to make a better habit of having the home a place of rest to come to. Don't we all feel so much better when there is peace and order?? I know I am going to love these posts Monica. And you know it is so different when you talk to someone is not husband-helpmeet minded...I had a friend who just let her husband do his own laundry when he criticized something she did. While I understand to some degree, I do think our first job is to be home and taking care of it and our family.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I do my best to put my hubby first. I must be doing something right because he is a happy camper and tells me I need to do something for me once in awhile!

Heather @ Marine Corps Nomads said...

For my husband... 1) giving him a welcome home kiss/hug when he arrives home from work. 2) making sure he has a lunch he can easily grab to take to work in the morning. 3) having a cheerful attitude when he has to work on his truck yet again (included in this would be going out and checking on him & bringing him something refreshing to drink). 4) adjusting the budget to allow for the things that he wants/needs when possible. 5) preparing good, hearty meals for him. 6) being able to hold down the fort when he is gone and not whining about it. 7) goofing around with him. 8) take an interest in things that interest him (such as watching a show about trucks).

Farmhouse Blessings said...

How refreshing to read a young mother focusing on her husband!


Anonymous said...

My husband likes a few minutes to "wind down" when he comes home from work. I have a fresh, hot cup of coffee ready for him and give him that time. I don't bring up the things that need to be done around the house or all the things that went wrong while he was at work. Once he has had his time to relax, then he is ready to tackle the hone/house issues. He needs to make that break from his work world to his home life.

I also ask him if there is anything special he would like when I make my grocery list. Sometimes he just might have a craving for something that I wouldn't have thought of.

Also, I do not turn him away if I am "not in the mood". His needs are sometimes different than mine, and that's ok. I love him and want to please him.

I always make sure that our children do not speak disrespectfully to him or about him. It has always been made clear to them that he is the head of our household and our provider and that he deserves to be respected by them.

We have been very happily married for almost 22 years and I am so glad that I made these things priorities. Great topic!

Anonymous said...

This is really too long for a comment, but I only have a few minutes and wanted to share. I'm doing The Excellent Wife study online with a group of ladies and this was my response to Chapter 2:

... I enjoyed the reminder that we have a very important ministry right in our own homes ... and that after our relationship with God, our most important ministry is to our husband. I know this in my head but I have to say that by the end of the day when the kids are in bed, I often don't have much left for my husband. And the children's needs are so "right there!" that it takes a conscious effort to think about my husband throughout the day and ask myself how I can minister to him, build him up, serve him, show him I love him, etc.

These are things I am trying to be intentional about:

- Listen for clues. Allen doesn't talk a whole lot or ask for much, so when he does say something (let's get the fencing out of the truck, I'm ready to go to bed, will you make sure the phone bill gets paid, etc.), I want to make that my priority and not put him off.

- Get to know what makes him tick. For instance, he likes to know exactly where we are financially ... almost to the penny. It's my job to do the bills and I have to admit, I dislike doing it almost more than cleaning the bathroom. I can, however, give my husband a gift of less stress for him if I just do the job in a timely manner. Plus, it makes the overall job easier on me if I'm diligent in keeping it up to date ... it's not like I'm sacrificing big here.

- Take care of myself so I'm not dragging my wagon in the evening. Get 8 hours of sleep, eat healthy food (this makes a huge difference for me), spend quiet time with God (early mornings are best for me ... and surprisingly, this quiet time infuses me with energy more than if I'd slept in longer), taking vitamins, exercising (not doing so well on this one), getting social interaction with other encouraging women so I don't feel isolated (yeah, need to work on that, too).

- Involve the kids more in the household chores so I'm not overtaxed (plus it's good for the kids) and so we have a more relaxed time together as a family after Allen gets home.

- Start dinner earlier, cleaning the kitchen as we go, the children having their school lunches made before dinner ... so that when Allen arrives home, we are ready for a relaxed dinner and afterward cleanup is not a long drawn out to-do.

- Think of him when planning the menu and try to make his favorite dishes now and then. Try to include something in every meal that he enjoys.

- Pray FOR my husband throughout the day.

- Enjoy my place as a homekeeper, wife, and mother. Keep a joyful attitude and enjoy my work and enjoy the people in my home. The momma's attitude makes all the difference in maintaining a positive, peaceful environment in the home. We're "keepers" of the spirit of the home not just keepers of the the to-do list. :-) And I can see what a downer it is for Allen to come home and find me in a funk. Home isn't much of a place of rest for him then.

- Pay attention to Allen's love languages -- touch is number 1 and spending time together is important to him, too. I can incorporate touch a lot more ... a long hug when he gets home, holding hands more, rubbing his shoulders and back, rubbing his feet when he kicks back in the recliner, etc. As for spending time together, I mentioned he doesn't talk much ... I need to draw him out about what's going on at work and pay attention to him (a time for the kids to be quiet and listen or do something else).

- Initiate intimate encounters. Not leave it to him to be the initiator. This means a lot to him but is something I need to work on.

- Ask him!

Jessica said...

I need to remember that my marriage is most important. Sometimes it's easy to fall into the trap that my children come first, but I need to tell myself, almost daily, that my husband comes first (after God, of course). Our marriage is a testimony of Christ and His church. How my husband treats me and how I treat him is a huge witness of our faith. It sets a good example of a godly relationship.

I try to put my husband first, by stopping what I'm doing when he gets home and give him a "hello" and a kiss. He shows me love by not kissing the boys first and coming to me first. It works out pretty nicely.

I also like to cook his favorites and keep things orderly because he doesn't want the stress of a mess when he comes home from work.

We also set aside a date night once a week and budget money for this. We can tell when we haven't had a date in a while because we're more irritable, sensitive, selfish, rude, not understanding, etc. My husband made this a priority when we started having kids and we've had Thursday-night dates for almost 3 years.

Thanks for the list of things you mentioned. I'm going to print them out and discuss them with my husband when we have our next date. I'd be curious to know how I can be putting him first.

Debra said...

What a great post. I really like the part about being home at night when he is and doing the chores when he is at work. So many friends wonder why I rarely go out for 'girls night' since my husband is home w/ my daughter. I always feel that is our time together. I try to make things nice for my husband when he gets home - like it's the haven it should be.

Anissa said...

This topic was on my mind last night! My friends and are studying about being wise women and building wisdom houses (Prov. 9).
We are to prepare physical and spiritual wisdom houses where our husband will desire to reside. Because Lady Folly and her house are just down the street calling out to them!
A Wisdom house has the foundation of Christ, the pillars of Godly discipline, and the covering of the Lord. Within it, we perfect our skills (practical wisdom) and ponder the things of the Lord.
Such a home is appealing to our husbands and draws them closer to God as well. A part being a helper is being a woman of wisdom - a woman who is skillful and who also can help to provide Godly insight to the matters of life.

Shannon said...

Monica - What an excellent topic for discussion. I think all of us could stand to improve in this department!

Anonymous said...

I really can relate to this post! One thing that I do with my husband is on a index card I write " what are your goals this week" then I leave a few lines free for his answer and then ask another question.."how can I help you achieve them?"
I saw this in a book...I cant remember where. But It helps me keep my focus a lil more on my hubby. I love your blog and I think it's so great that you share your areas that you need to work on. It's really inspiring to see that I'm not the only one out there! I have such a hard time scheduling my chores. My hubby works evenings and he leaves at 2, so that doesn't leave much time to do my chores.AHHH it's frustrating, but I'm working on it more. Plus I'm trying to work on studying my bible more. It all makes my head swirl, but I'm working on it.
Sorry so long, thx for reading =)
Thanks so much!

Joy @ SAH Missionary said...

Good words! I am sure that you do a much better job than you give yourself credit for! Thanks for sharing, and I look forward to hearing more!!!

Deanna said...

I'm all teary eyed. The one where you say about the home being a haven for him...I don't think my home has been that since Thanksgiving. We have such busy week days and even extra busy weekends that I don't have the time or energy to pick up and then it starts piling up. Maybe that's why sometimes we'd rather be out than be at home.

You've opened my eyes. I think I will start my spring cleaning this weekend.

Thank you Monica for that post. I needed that right now.


Anonymous said...

My husband and I have made it a point to have "DATE NIGHT." Something that we started when our children were littles. We are now in a different season of life, but still have date nights. We need to make time to connect with one another and spend quality time together. I was glad to see that was something you and your husband were looking to incorporate into your schedules in the new year. I remember that season well. The kids are young, husband works long hours and mom has been home with the littles all day. Sometimes we were just too tired to even enjoy one anothers company. Truth is, if you don't set aside that time for one another when they are little you may drift apart and wonder years down the road what happened.

Sorry to ramble.

Anonymous said...

Dear Monica,
First off let me say "thank you" for your blog - I enjoy reading it almost every day. There seems to be a lot about you that reminds me of myself and so therefore again I say "Thanks".
This post about your hubby is/was very encouraging because that is by far one of the biggest desires of my heart and that being to keep my husband #1 - aside from Christ being #1 already in my life. He means so much to me and that is one thing we have decided to never take each other for granted. I could go on and on about this so maybe I'll blog something about this one day too. God's richest blessings to you!

Gena said...

I just lost my husband this past July, but I put him first for 16 years and he would have been the first one to tell you that!

Men are very visual, so every morning I would always shower, fix my hair, put on my makeup (not a ton, but enough) and get dressed in real clothes, not sweats. I would always try to look as if I made the effort for him. I wanted him to think I looked pretty when he got home from work!

I kept the house tidy. It didn't have to be spotless or Martha Stewart perfect, but it was always picked up. I did all of the laundry and always ironed his jeans. He liked creases in them, whether or not it was the "in" thing. He worked hard and he took pride in his appearance.

I tried to always have a hot meal ready for him when he walked in the door. I made his lunch and snacks to take with him each day. I would leave notes for him, either at his sink downstairs (he used our laundry room sink if he was particularly dirty) or I would put notes in his bag or briefcase. The children would also leave him notes and drawings, many of which I found in his bag after he was killed.

It is so important to make your husband feel special. As a stay-at-home mom, I felt that I should work at least as hard for my husband and children as he did for us. He enabled me to be at home and homeschool my children. I was frugal with his paychecks. I made sure the children were disciplined, without waiting for him to get home to do it. We had an awesome partnership and I miss him every day.

Anonymous said...

Wow. That really hit home for me! It has been so tough since we had our 2nd child to make time for each other, it has really extended us. I know that there are many things that I could do to make him feel like home is his haven too. Thank you for your honesty Monica! I definitely have a lot of catching up to do.

Anonymous said...

My husband was always first, until our children were born. At that time I told him that now the children have to be first, because he had a choice to be in my life, but we both brought our children into our lives, and they had no choice. Now the children are grown, and once again he is first in my life. I found and kept a wonderful newspaper clipping from many years ago, which is about 10 rules for a happy marriage. Very cute and practical, and it will post a couple of days before Valentine's Day on my website: Hopefully you will have a chance to read it and leave your comments.

Josiah and Anna said...

I am not married, nor am I planning on being married any time soon! But I was blessed by your post. I am praying for God to prepare me to be the best wife I can be for my husband one day... And this really made me think about how I can do that. Thanks for your heart and for sharing honestly. Bless you!

Jessica said...

I already posted, but I wanted to say how encouraging I am finding these posts. I'm so glad to see Christian women putting their husbands first because I don't see that a lot in the culture around us as that's not our first nature. Thank you to all the women who left a comment. I am very encouraged by you.

Dana D said...

Love this post!
It reminds me so much of the things I learned reading "Created to be His Help Meet". I needed the reminder! Thank you!!!

Anonymous said...

I love this topic!

RESPECT your husband. With all that you are.
Be available. Be open to being intimate with him often. I truly believe this is something that I took on and has changed our already great marriage and made it even better.
Speak about him positively in front of him to friends.
Have date nights.
Be silly together.
I love writing on our mirror with a dry erase marker.

Mom2Drew said...

For me, it's learning to speak his love language. My love language is gifts and encouraging words, but DH's is acts of service and physical touch. So...I can encourage him all I want, but if I clean/cook or give him physical attention, it means that much more. It took me a while to figure that out, but I think I'm definitely putting him first more that I've figured out how to "talk" to him. Find out how he speaks and just continue to put him first that way.

Oh, and come enter my contest, I think you (and your kiddos ) will like the prize:)

Elizabeth (Lizzie) said...

This is a very good post... a few years back at my church we did a Ladie's Bible study going through the book Created to be his HelpMeet by Debi Pearl. It opened my eyes to so many things I was doing wrong and not even realizing it. I admit I am still not perfect but this book was the start of a huge change in my life. I encourage all women to read it.

Angela said...

Jessica is SO right - first person he chooses to kiss when he gets inside the front door is ME - because our kids need to grow up in the knowledge that THEY are only here because of our love for each other!
Also as a wife, I have a responsibility to help my husband keep 'on track'spiritually. The olde english word for wife is "Helpmeet" - it means the one person perfectly suited to help her man. That is what I seek to be, with God's grace.
I thank the Lord daily for 30 happy years of marriage!
blessings to ALL of you wives out there - especially younger ones working hard to build your homes together x

noahandlylasmommi said...

Sounds like everything you listed is a great starting point. I try to spend as much time with my hubby as possible so sometimes that means leaving the dinner dishes in the sink until the morning but thats ok with me. Spending time with him is so precious to me. My husband and I need to work on spending more quality time together though... not being on our cell phones, computer etc when we are together.

Unknown said...

What a wonderful topic! I have loved reading all the comments and hearing all the ideas and am so encouraged to be more faithful in this area! :)

Meredith said...

I've been focusing on this, too. With as much hospitality-in-training as I've done this year, I didn't want caring for my husband to lose top priority.

Anything I would do for a guest, I should be MORE than willing to do for him!

Pamela said...

Thanks for making me think about this! My hubby is getting ready to leave for 4 months for work overseas and I have been doing little extras for him, but this made me realize I should have been doing some of these things all along! Thanks Again for sharing!

Chrissy said...

Monica -

I posted my thoughts on this subject as well. Thanks for making us think!