In light of Father’s Day this month, I find myself thinking about ways to celebrate my husband. Should I have our little one make him something? Do I do a grand gesture and buy him something expensive? Do we plan a special day and enjoy it together?
As I am planning and thinking about the holiday, I can’t help but think about the times when I haven’t wanted to celebrate him. As we all know, marriage is tough. Sometimes (especially in the middle of the beginning), it gets REALLY tough. I used to spend a lot of time nit-picking every detail in our marriage, as if I were in a power struggle with my husband. When I finally remembered that we are a team, it all got so much easier (definitely not perfect, but easier).
Remembering that I am meant to be by his side and helping him- not constantly struggling for control (y’all, I like to be in control…)- it helped me to get to a place where I was able to celebrate him again. I’m not talking about the few times a year, on national holidays or his birthday. I’m talking about taking the time to truly look for the good in him, for taking opportunities to give it 150%- even on days when he’s not even giving an effort. When we train our hearts to look for the good, we have hope and reminders to hold on to on the days (or weeks, or months) when times are tough. Here are some ways that I have tried to build celebrating my husband into my daily life:
* Make a list of the things he does well
A friend of mine has an ongoing list of the awesome things she notices about her husband. I know that when I take the time to sit down and focus on the POSITIVE, the junk begins to pale in comparison. If our hearts are able to take a minute each day to find something (or many things!) that our spouse has done well, we are able to fall back on this knowledge of who our husband is at the core when we are dealing with the unpleasant.
* Tell him when you notice his effort
This one is SO hard for me. It makes me uncomfortable when people compliment me, and complimenting others does not come naturally. My husband, however, thrives on words of affirmation. Even when it feels unnatural, even if I might be unhappy with something that he has or hasn’t done, taking a moment to acknowledge that he took the trash out when he said he would changes everything. It focuses my heart, strengthens his confidence, and make him more likely to step up in the future.
I don’t mean for this to be manipulation (i.e., Let me find something good to tell him so then he’ll do more). Sincerity is everything. Whether it is a quick note you leave by his keys thanking him for working hard all day, a text during the day saying you can’t wait for him to come home, or a face to face compliment, just voicing something positive can change the atmosphere in your relationship.
* Publicly acknowledge his successes (and never his faults)
Telling other people when your husband does well will naturally come out during the good times in a relationship. If my husband overhears me telling someone about the awesome job he did having our toddler clean my car (leaving me with both a clean car and time to myself! Go hubby!), he swells with pride. He needs to know that I am proud of him, and that I care enough to share it with someone else. When things are going well, you want to talk about them, so it’s easier! When they aren’t going so well, though, make sure that the negative stays private.
A wise woman once told me that she never shares information about fights with anyone but her husband- they only hear the negative, but don’t experience the reconciliation. There are times when we all need someone to talk to, but I encourage you to choose what you say and who you say it to wisely. It is so easy to say things that can further the hurting and prevent the healing.
At then end of the day, there are struggles, fights, and differences that are bigger than a simple list of steps, but when you are in a routine of looking for and acknowledging the positive, you have a head start. Our husbands are not meant to be our enemy. Let’s stand up for them and celebrate them, and make our homes happier and healthier.