How to have a HAPPY marriage:
(For the girls, with special notes for husbands)
This morning I recieved a copy of a plan for a happy marriage by email, apparently paraphrased and translated from some 300 yr old Portugese women, which was typical in it’s archaic commentary;
“ If the husband beats the wife and then comes a visitor, the wife
should smile as if nothing happened”
“The husband is always right”
No genuine ”intruction to a happy marriage” should encourage or condone abuse in any form of course…
My new version, which will both make for a happy marriage AND ensure that abuse does not take place
(and that is written in good English and makes sense) would be this:
HONOUR YOUR HUSBAND:
1. Never undermine the God-given role of ‘head, which men have been placed in, in the home by:
a) speaking to your husband as though he is stupid or incompetent
b) publically (NB) or even privately, dismissing, degrading, laughing at, mocking or showing contempt for your husband’s opinions, decisions or point of view.
Ensure that the people who know you often comment on how highly you speak of your husband and how you respect and honour him with your words.
If you disagree, do so privately, calmly and with good persuasive factual points, as you would with someone you greatly respect.
NEVER DISPARAGE YOUR HUSBAND!! Body language and facial expression experts say that a genuine regular indication of a feeling of contempt for each other is the first reliable indication that a marriage will not last.
2. Don’t discuss disagreements between you and your husband’s with your girlfriends. This will only tempt you to disparage and dishonour him with your words. If you need to vent, do it in a therapist/psychologist/relationship coach’s office and for the purpose of finding better skills to create more harmony between you.
3. Do not LOOK for reasons to distrust your husband, if you have reasonable concerns based on REAL facts, ask your husband (CALMLY AND REASONABLY) to listen to your concerns and take your feelings into consideration. Do NOT ask for explanations, ASK for assurance of his commitment to you. It is easy to make excuses and stories to cover inappropriate behaviour but it is more difficult to fake genuine commitment and love.
4. Be loyal to your husband, EVEN if you BOTH know he is wrong.
MAKE EVERY POSSIBLE EFFORT TO AVOID questioning him or fighting/arguing/disagreeing with him in public, or in front of your children.
The ONLY exceptions to the Rule of HONOUR YOUR HUSBAND is
a) You or your children are in danger, physically or psychologically.
Seek professional assistance.
b) Your husband is involved in illegal activity, or requires you or your children to perpetrate or assist in such activity.
Seek legal advice.
Note to husbands:
Women need security, affection and love. The indication that you respect her opinion sufficiently to consider her input worth seeking, raises her esteem in you. Genuinely seeking her out and asking her input makes her feel that you respect her as a partner and do not see her simply as the ‘wife’ applicance in the kitchen.
DECISION MAKING & FINANCES
1. God holds the HUSBAND responsible for the welfare of his family.
Do not usurp his authority, take control of matters that are his responsibility in this regard. He is responsible and accountable to God and you are NOT entitled to interfere or dictate to your husband how to do this job. You may plead with him to take up this role, encourage him to equip himself to be better in this role but it is not your place to DO or tell him HOW TO DO his job as head and father and husband. You may respectfully indicate your needs and those of your children, you may respectfully request his attention to these needs, you may even suggest solutions to the problems and challenges before you, but the final decision in most cases will and SHOULD be his, because HE will have to answer to God on those decisions, and if his answer is – “My wife wrested that decision from me and undermined me and would not allow me to be the head” Guess who gets judged!!?
Note: THE MORE YOU RESPECT HIS RIGHT TO MAKE THE FINAL DECISION – THE MORE HE WILL TRUST YOU (and allow you) TO MAKE DECISIONS IN HIS STEAD.
2. Never make comment/discuss about your husband’s money matters/management skills OR lack thereof to persons outside of the family. Your family money matters are between you and should only otherwise be discussed with your financial advisors.
3. Regularly honour him as head by seeking his opinion on decisions you make in your own space. Requesting his opinion highlights your respect for him.
Always consult him on any decision you make which directly affects the wellbeing and operation of your family and household. ie. Making household purchases which are unusual – replacing all the curtains – or irregular or particularly expensive or do not fall into the normal monthly budget.
NEVER undermine him by throwing your husband a ‘financial curveball’ of unnecessary, unbudgeted or frivolous expense, without consultation and agreement from him PARTICULARLY AND DEFINATELY if you are not working and he is solely responsible for the earning in your family unit. This is unfair and VERY disrespectful of his efforts to provide.
4. If you work, take time to sit down and budget together and happily contribute fairly to the maintenance and support of the family. Do not selfishly spend your earnings on luxuries only. Come to an agreement on how the household work will be dealt with, whether by employing assistance or sharing the load.
In my marriage I handle all the household maintenance and expense, food, domestic assistance, medical aid and car and house contents insurance costs. My husband covers the rent, utilities and because he earns more he covers big incidental expenses (replacing car tires, holiday expenses, rental deposits etc.) Additionally we both individually pay our own life insurance and for any ‘toys’ (like motorbikes and computers and fancy cell phones etc) and luxuries and personal clothing we may wish to purchase for ourselves or as gifts for each other.
If you do not work outside of the home, remember then that you are fully responsible for the care and maintenance of the household. You need to make sure you bring as much to the family in terms of household management, as you would to a full time job. Do NOT expect your husband to do household chores in this case, unless he is the only one physically able to do them, and if he is not able or qualified, respectfully request that he arrange the assistance you may need. Do not demand or nag or neglect your duties.
5. NEVER interfere or pester your husband in his work environment. If he is required to provide for you and your family then he should be allowed to do so in peace. My husband works very unusual hours, his work requires much ‘standby’ and ‘call out’ time. I will not unnecessarily call and interrupt him (even if he is not home at 3am).
And when you DO call him do not require explanations of his whereabouts as though you expect him to be up to no good – this is VERY disrespectful and an untrusting attitude from a spouse has sent husbands into untrustworthy behaviour MANY MANY times (‘if she thinks I’m cheating regardless of what I say, I may as well be doing it anyway… after all – who wants to go home to a nagging bitchy wife who doesn’t trust me)
6. Allow your husband a reasonable amount of time and space to himself, if you do not grant him this type of autonomy he will sneak away to find it (which breeds mistrust) OR eventually run away.
Remember jealousy is either an indication of a lack of trust, alternatively it is the most distinct way to tell your husband that you think he is weak willed and pathetic. This in turn will cause him to pull away from you and want to spend time with people who make him feel more positive about himself.
Usually these people are the same type you were jealous about in the first place!!
7. DO not resort to tears, refusal to eat or refusal to have sex and other forms of manipulation to get your own way, reasonably state your case and accept his response graciously. Your husband will find your deception and coldness repulsive and two-faced and you will lose his respect. A marriage without respect quickly becomes a dictatorship.
8. NEVER take your own family’s side over your spouse’s view point. Even very minor incidents will cause major problems between you. If you strongly agree with your family and not with your spouse you should rather contribute NOTHING to the argument/discussion – this is always preferable to dishonouring, undermining or being disloyal to your husband.
1. Sex is an area of huge contention. Wives: If you do not enjoy sex, and you know why this is, build your courage and ASK him FOR THE THINGS YOU WANT. If you don’t know why you don’t enjoy it, get help. Your husband may in fact know the answer!
2. Your satisfaction and enjoyment is not SOLELY and ENTIRELY your husband’s responsibility, make an effort to educate and equip yourself.
3. Sex is about keeping the connection and commitment and romance at acceptable levels in your marriage, neglecting or misusing this aspect of your marriage is unacceptable, EVEN dangerous.
4. Giving when you’re not in the mood is an act of love. Practice love.
5. Do not unreasonably avoid this connection time – if you do this regularly, you have a problem, you need to find a solution, whether this is a logistical or physical or emotional issue, do NOT let this continue, get some help, talk it out between you, find a solution
OR you may have to come to terms with the fact that a man denied will seek other ways to get what he needs.
NOTE TO HUSBANDS:
While you may NEED sex, she NEEDS affection and appreciation to feel sexy – and a woman denied…. well you get my point I hope.
QUICK FIX TIPS:
The way you make the other person FEEL ABOUT THEMSELF contributes directly to the way they treat you.
So if you’re nagging, you’re telling him you don’t appreciate what he IS doing, why would he want to spend time with (and invest in a relationship
with) someone who doesn’t appreciate him.
If you feel like you’re ALWAYS fighting. Stop. Don’t respond, it will take a few days to figure out how to consistently bite your tongue. But it’s the most effective way to break the habit of fighting. It takes enormous self-control, but bite the bullet, because it’s incredibly hard to have a fight by yourself, if no one is responding then the fight is already over.
My most effective interaction management tool is the act of making and serving a cup of tea; (or coffee or whatever, but pouring an alcoholic drink is not a good alternative – alcohol always adds unpredictable dynamics) When a fight or disagreement, impasse or issue comes up, making tea does a number of things:
- it removes you from the initial negative interaction, which allows you to calm yourself, and you restore reasonable thought patterns
- it allows you the chance to think over the issue with clarity
- it gives him a cooling off period, which is not too long for the issue to pass, so then allowing more calm and effective solution.
- serving him tea during a disagreement gives a very strong clear message:
“I love you, I respect you, I will serve you. This disagreement has not undermined our relationship. I will not resort to petty ‘female manipulations’ to win this argument, I am making a comfortable space and setting aside this time to seriously and calmly discuss this problem with you.”
NOTHING defuses a silly argument which has the potential to spiral into and emotional firestorm, like saying ‘hold on, let me make us a cup of tea and we will talk about this problem and find a solution together’