I've been re-reading "Romancing Your Husband" by Debra White Smith and I have been reminded of some important lessons that I have learned that I'd like to share.
I sometimes need a reminder that I am supposed to be an active part of my relationship. If I want a romantic dinner out (at a hopefully cheap, but nice restaurant), I'm perfectly capable of planning this date for my spouse. If I focus my energy on meeting my spouse's needs, he feels loved, cherished, and awed that I would put forth so much effort. Oftentimes, an unintentional response to my effort is my hubby doing acts of service for me and making me feel loved and cherished. I'm not supposed to sit passively and complain that the romance is gone; I can work to rekindle it and get the warm fuzzies by seeing my plans come to fruition.
While Lucas and I have our own traditional roles in our marriage, it's alright to cross over and help the other one out. On my Sabbath, my hubby does the dishes for me, so I won't have to on my Sabbath or be behind the next day. While he is auditing a college class, he's getting off work late, so while he typically does laundry (including carrying a full basket up and down stairs), I can do the laundry when I get off work a full two hours earlier. If the trash is super stinky when my hubby is at work, it's alright for me to take out the trash, instead of waiting in the same house as a stinky trashcan for him to come home and empty it.
My hubby is not meant to take the place of God in my life. By both of us focusing on Jesus, we can experience life more fully. It is vital, critical for me to spend time with God each day; if I'm too busy, I need to cut back, carve out, and fiercely protect my time with God. Things like pintrest and facebook and hulu can be put on hold to insure I get my God time.
Dates!! I love dates. I love planning and plotting. I sometimes even carry them out. One thing that I love about this book is its chapter of date ideas. Each idea describes what the wife did, why, how she felt, obstacles she overcame, her hubby's response, what she wished she did, and budget suggestions. While it's delightful to create, plan, and implement our own ideas, sometimes we need a little bit of brainstorm assistance.
When I first read this book, I was blown away by the concept of space and grace. You see, I have a tendency to micro-manage. So, if my hubby was cooking, so I could de-stress, I was right there in the kitchen with him, correcting him and trying to shape him in *my* image. The author writes how if I ask my hubby to do something, I'm resigning the right to do it *my way.* If I want it *my way,* I need to do it *myself.* Lucas doesn't cook or clean like I do, but the results are still good. He feels like a man when he can do it his way and I don't diss it cuz I do it differently. Generally, different doesn't mean better or worse. I need to give him grace and space to do it his way, in his time. If I want to be married to a man, not a boy, I need to treat my hubby like a man, not a boy.
Lucas is a man, not a child. I need to treat him like a man. I am not his mother; I am his wife. If I want him to act like a man, I need to treat him as a man. When I ask him to do something and then I criticize and correct him, I'm sending the message, "Don't bother; you can't do it right." When I ask him to do something and then do it myself, I'm sending the message, "I don't have confidence that you'll do this." (For the record, according to my hubby, men don't step up to fill a role
that's already being filled. So if I'm asking him to do things and then
doing them myself, there's not a void to be filled. What he needs is
*space.*) When I act in these ways, I'm not being my spouse's lover, wife, and best friend, I'm being his parent, his manager.
Debra White Smith offer tips for being a "lover-wife," not a "mother-wife" (White Smith p. 49-52).
¨* Lovingly request that your husband help you with specific tasks.
* Don't do the task yourself-even if he leaves it undone for several days...or several years.
* Don't nag your husband about what you've asked him to do.
* When your husband finally gets around to doing the task, don't correct his efforts.
* Everytime you think, "My husband is helpless," correct yourself.
* Base your respect on his character qualities, not on his domestic abilities or shortcomings.
* Continually think "space and grace!"
* Remind yourself of what your husband does do.
* Remember this cycle might take a year or two to break.
* Decide right now not to utter another word of complaint to your husband-even if breaking the cycle seems impossible.
* Don't define "breaking the cycle" as "my husband does what I want him to do." Breaking the cycle means that you stop being the mother and give your hubby the freedom to make his own choices.
* If you are a mother-wife, expect a shift in your relationship with your mother-in-law when you break the cycle.¨
Taken from "Romancing Your Husband: Enjoying a Passionate Life Together" by Debra White Smith (www.debrawhitesmith.com). Reprinted (reposted) with permission of the author.
White Smith, Debra. Romancing Your Husband: Enjoying a Passionate Life Together. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2002. p. 49-54. Print.
There is a difference between doing something out of love for my hubby (cuz he has a lot on his plate or just because I love him) and doing something for my hubby cuz I don't think that he'll do it at all. When I enter the sacred man-cave and clean it up, I'm not doing it because my hubby can't or won't, but rather because I love him and want him to have a nice environment to relax in.
So if you´re looking for a good Biblical-based book on marriage geared toward women, I highly recommend this book by Debra White Smith.