/**/ The Purposeful Wife: Be a True Friend to Your Husband

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Be a True Friend to Your Husband

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"Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife." Franz Schubert

My husband just asks for something simple, and inwardly I heave a giant sigh. Everyone in our house needs me- to eat, to hold, to find that missing thing, to listen, to clean, to go to the bathroom... my husband being excluded from the last category, of course.

But you see what I mean. The five and under crowd are a demanding lot. I have three of them in my house, so daily experience has schooled me. They all need me for quite a lot every single day. Every single night too, come to think of it...

Sometimes I'm guilty of viewing them all as leeches, with my husband as the biggest one who certainly doesn't need me for his very existence like the kids do... so can't he get along just fine on his own? Doesn't he realize that I've already been sucked dry?

THIS is why you hear about empty-nesters who don't know what to do with themselves once the kids leave.

THIS is how divorce happens.

THIS is why so many couples stay together, but miss out on the blessings of a close and happy marriage.

If I see my husband as a duty, an obligation, yet another person in line for my services, or just part of the background noise... I'm going to miss out big on the joys that God intends for married couples.

I don't want to merely avoid divorce. I'd like to be incredibly close to Niall and experience a joyful marriage to the fullest. Achieving that goal is going to take intention and effort. It's going to require frequent attitude adjustments.

I want to be his true friend.

I came across this quote while reading Sally Clarkson's Own Your Life, and it struck a chord.

"Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife." Franz Schubert

How do I respond to my real friends? I'm not talking about acquaintances, convenient friends, or those complicated relationships... I mean the kindred spirits who "get" me. The ladies who inspire, encourage, challenge, and speak into my life.

Almost always, I'm enthusiastic to hear from them. I want to hear everything they have to say, and I can't wait to share my own heart with them. Hanging out with them is a pick-me up and privilege. I try to check in with them to know what's going on in their lives, how I can pray for them, and if there's anything I could do to tangibly bless them.

Why is that so much harder to maintain with someone I live with?

Well, I live with him. So there is the experience of the daily sins, foibles, and annoying habits. There are more opportunities for conflict or frustration than we have with our other friends, simply because the quantity of time spent together is so much larger.

It's harder. But it's worth it. If I want to pursue deeper friendship with my husband, I'm going to have to focus and give it my attention.

How can I be a true friend to my husband? Here are a few of the thoughts I've come up with....

1. View him in a different light. Niall isn't one of the kids. He isn't just the guy who pays the bills and hangs out around here. He is more important than my girl friends, the novel I can't put down, and my iPhone.

I need to see him as my best friend and lover, call him that, and purpose to think of him in that way. Changing our minds, speaking these thoughts to ourselves instead of passively listening to whatever pops into our head- that's half the battle.

Mind over matter, right?

2. Listen well. When I'm having coffee and conversation with a friend, I'm all in. Sure, the kids might be playing and making noise in the background, but she has my focus and ear. I need to show my husband the same courtesy!

When he talks, I need to listen. I also need to set apart special times each day to just sit down and listen. Maybe it's at night before we turn out the lights, or in the afternoon for just the first 5 minutes after he walks in the door. It doesn't have to be huge, but it does have to be there.

3. Look for extra little ways to bless him. There are lots of routine acts of service we do for our husbands- washing their laundry, cooking their dinners, making the bed. They serve us in plenty of ways too- paying the bills, maintaining the car, taking out the garbage. I'm sure the exact delegation of chores is different in every household, but both grown-ups have responsibilities.

It can be easy for me to think, "I'm already serving my husband! All the time!" and not go out of my way to encourage him in more meaningful ways. But he is my best friend... so making these things happen are important to our relationship.

I'd like to be better about writing random love notes, getting childcare and planning the details for surprise dates, or making him his favorite treat to welcome him home.

You'd make a meal or babysit the kids of a friend who needed it. You do those things all the time for your husband ;), so what are other ways you can bless him?

4. Have the deep conversations. Friendship requires a deep connection, and these deep connections are only forged through deep conversations. My husband should be privy to my innermost thoughts, desires, struggles, and victories. Again, this requires making time for conversations.

5. Remember his struggles in order to pray more and give him the benefit of the doubt. I've talked about it before- we judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior. This is especially magnified in marriage! We think the best of ourselves, because we see our own good resolves more clearly than our actual behavior. But we judge our husband based on their actions, so often failing to take into account what's going on in their head, behind the scenes.

I want to know what my husband is hurting over, struggling through, or being burdened under. When I know what is troubling him, I can pray more frequently and sincerely for him. I can also better understand why he just snapped at the kids, or lost his temper, or holed up in his office instead of hanging out with me.

He can also be more sympathetic with me for the same things if he's aware of what I'm up against. This isn't to excuse sinful behavior, but to take it with a grain of salt and to not be so offended by it. It also helps us to diffuse a situation by not responding with more sin.

My husband just asks for something simple. Instead of inwardly sighing, I turn to him with a smile. My heart is open to him. I'm trying to become that true friend to him- he'll be a happy man, and I'll be a happier woman for it.

How do you prioritize friendship with your husband? Do you ever feel like marriage is a burden rather than a blessing?

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