Monday, April 20

Dear Husbands: The Things You Will Not See

There are many things that wives do for their husbands every single day that go unnoticed, unrecognized, unsaid. Usually that's intentional on the wife's part. She doesn't want or need the credit given, and she's happy to do these things for you. But sometimes, it's nice to receive unexpected credit. And sometimes, she wants you to recognize or anticipate those unspoken hopes and meet them without being asked.

But since no one asks for appreciation, I am writing this post to help make husbands a little more aware of what their loving wives are doing for them. I also want husbands to know what their wives may be thinking but not communicating.*

Side note: This was not written to be directed toward my husband or anyone in particular--it was just something I've been thinking a lot about lately. I could easily write a similar post for children. 

Also, this is more directed toward husbands of SAHMs but I hope it applies to more than just women of that particular role. I'm making a lot of generalizations here. 

Really, Dalin, this is not directed at you. You're amazing at acknowledging many of these things. Love ya, honey:)

Dear Husbands of the Past, Present, & Future, 

Your wife loves you. You think you already know that, don't you? You may even think that that statement is obvious. But do you really know how much she loves you? You couldn't possibly because you're not with her all the time. Only God knows the whole of it, but I am here to give you a taste of your wife's love for you that you will not see.

Did you know that your wife loves you so much she gives you the bigger, better portion when she cooks dinner for the family? In fact, she usually chooses your plate based on how the food looks. When she's managed to cook just enough for everyone, she always makes sure that you get the biggest serving, even if it means she gets less. Secretly, she hopes you'll think she cooks as well as your mom or grandmother and that you'll praise her efforts, or at the very least thank her for dinner. She might not even enjoy cooking, but she wanted to make sure you received fuel so you'd have the energy to continue providing for the family. If you weren't home, she might not even have cooked dinner for herself at all--she cares more about you being fed than she does herself.

Did you know for all the hundreds of little tasks she'll ask you to do for her, there are hundreds more that she is doing herself because she doesn't want to be a burden to you? Sometimes she's only asked for your help at all because after being home all day with the kids and getting absolutely stir-crazy, she worries she might lose it and ruin your evening if she doesn't get a little break.

Did you know your wife adjusts the seat in the car for you back to your position because she doesn't want to inconvenience you? Did you know she strategically placed your keys and wallet in a place that would be easy for you to find as you hurry out the door? Did you know she made plans to get up early one random morning to make you a special breakfast?

Did you know that she looked up ways to get that stain out of your favorite tee? Did you know that she went through all of your pants' pockets to remove the Chapstick and dollar bills you'd forgotten before throwing them in the wash? Did you know she hates picking your socks up off the living room floor but she does it anyway because she loves you? Did you know she puts up with a lot of ESPN to make you happy? (She may love football, but not that much).

Did you know she is always thinking of little things to do for you and of special dinners she can make? Did you know she doesn't actually like baking, but she knows you love her cookies? Did you know the only reason she buys orange juice without pulp is because that's the way you like it?

Did you know sometimes she feels like your mom when she has to follow along behind you, wiping up your messes and picking up your clothes? Did you know she intentionally chose a Redbox movie she thought you'd enjoy even though it wasn't one she really wanted to see? Did you know she's secretly reading that book you suggested to her that she teased you so much about because she wants to express interest in something you enjoy?

Did you know your wife cares more about your personal happiness than even you do? She never wants you to feel disheartened, discouraged, scared, stressed, or exhausted. She wants you to have all the things you want someday, but still hopes secretly that your wishes and goals will align with her own. You may not agree on some things (okay, maybe a lot of things) but just know she is going to want you to have your own way--even if she hopes that you'll give her hers.

Did you know that she wants you to be the leader in your home? She might be the more extroverted, bossy one, but she wants you to take the initiative in your home. She wants you to lead family prayer and scripture study. She wants you to assign her a family home evening lesson and for you to take the time to plan a meaningful one yourself sometimes. She wants you to take her to the temple, to church on time, and on fun and creative one-on-one dates once in a while. She will miss that spark that was there when you were dating. Make her laugh and do your best to bring that spark back if it is gone. Sometimes she won't want to ask you. Maybe she's tired of asking all the time or she's hoping you'll surprise her. She doesn't want to be the one coming up with ideas all the time. She wants you to plan family activities and run them by her, counsel with her, get her input. She will try her best to be strong for you, but she needs you to be strong for her.

Did you know that your wife prays for you? Morning, night, and many moments in between. Sometimes, she'll say a quick prayer for your safety. Other times, as you're walking out the door to take a test. She worries about you and wants you to be successful. Your disappointments are hers, too. She would rather fail herself than see you fail purely for the sake of your feelings and your pride. She wants you to be confident in your life and make her feel like you have everything figured out.

Did you know that your wife isn't cleaning the house for her health? She's doing it because she cares about you. She wants you to have a refuge and a sanctuary to return home to. She does the laundry, washes dishes, vacuums, makes the bed, and picks up a seeming endless stream of toys off the floor for you. When you come home, she wants you to be able to relax and be stress-free. These things won't always be done. Some days, it will look like she didn't do anything at all. But maybe she was exhausted from being up through the night with a child, or stayed up late the night before to serve you in some way. Maybe she had everything clean but it didn't last as long as she hoped. Assume the best of her and it will help her do the same with you.

One day, your wife will carry a baby for you. Someday, when your wife is pregnant, she'll want you to be elated, supportive, and comforting. If it's your first child, she'll probably be a little scared. There are so many fears. Fear of miscarriage, fear of labor, fear of delivery, fear of complications, fear of motherhood. Fear that she'll feel alone or that you will no longer find her attractive. You won't see or notice all the things she goes through when she's alone. It will be an emotional roller coaster and may make her physically ill. Be there for her. Remind her that she's the most beautiful girl to you. Often. She may brush off your compliments, but inside she'll be overjoyed. Tell her you can leave work at a moment's notice if she needs you.

The day your baby is born will probably be terrifying for you. Even if you're scared, be strong for your wife. Hold her hand, brush back her hair, ask her what you can do for her. Tell her she can do it. Once your baby is born, give your wife a kiss and tell her she's going to be a wonderful mom and that you're going to be there to help her with whatever she needs. Those words will mean more to her than you can imagine. You won't see how her heart swells when you do this, but you might see the love and gratitude in her eyes.

Know that her body will change, and that it probably won't ever be the same as it was. This you will see. But love it anyway. She's going to be softer, fuller, and even a little lumpy, but remember that inside she's the same girl you fell in love with. Inside, she's scared you'll reject her new appearance. Over time, her belly will get stretched out and covered in little lines. Her hair will get all over the place. Her make-up won't always be done, her hair will be a mess, and some days she'll really just need to shower. Try to give her little breaks. Make her take a little time for herself.

Your kids are going to make a LOT of messes. They're going to be loud and sticky and require a lot of attention and trips to the doctor. Help your wife clean up those messes. She didn't make them either. Play with your children (you won't even understand how sexy becoming a dad will make you to your wife). Go with your wife to doctor's appointments and when the kids need shots. Help with the grocery shopping. Offer to watch the kids or go all together. Understand that some days, your wife will just need to get out of the house. You might be exhausted from a hard day's work but work up the energy to take your wife out for a little while. It will do wonders for her mood.

There are going to be hardships and sad times and probably lots of tears (more than you'd like...). The worst thing you can do is let her endure the sadnesses alone. Even if you have no idea what to say, just be present for her. Serve her, and know that she will be prepared to double the service in return.

Also, remember this: She loves you, but she is imperfect. She can be moody and grumpy and sometimes she's a pain in the neck. But she is a royal daughter of God. She'll be a mother one day. She'll work so hard to make you happy and bring joy to your life together. And if you work to be a loving husband and show gratitude for her always, you will discover what happiness really is.

*Disclaimer: I am very much aware that the husbands out there are making similar sacrifices for their wives and families, or having feelings or desires unmet because they go unsaid. Unfortunately I am not in a position to know those things without a little help so if there's a husband out there wanting to write a follow-up post, be my guest! That would be fantastic. 

1 comment:

  1. As I prepare to get married this was inspiring. I hope to be the man someday who can make my wife's life easier. Talk to me in a couple years and a couple kids and I'd love to write the husband's follow-up. I'd give it a try now, but I don't think I could do it justice without additional insight. Anyway, that was beautiful, thank you!


I absolutely love to hear from you & will reply if I can!