to love, cherish and respect your husband

Summer came and went, school is back in full session, marking an end of wedding season.  I love wedding !  watching 2 people making commitment of a life time together is pretty awesome.  In a world where many opted for "let's just move in together", wedding is all the more special for guest like me.

When I heard the pastor talk about marriage, how it's like a house that needs constant care, up keeping, cleaning, labouring, to keep in good shape, I am reminded to keep on tending my marriage.  To nourish, protect and defend it.

I thought my husband and I worked out all of our differences in our almost 10 years of dating.  Boy, was I ever wrong.  After we got married, one afternoon he went and sucked up my socks when he vacuumed the house.  I was beyond M.A.D !  I almost bust out my Ryu's Shoryuken on him.  How dare him ?  how DARE him ?  I put my socks on the floor, so what ?  no right for him to suck it up.  His take ?  if they are not in the dresser or laundry basket, it's open for judgement.  It took me weeks to get over it but get over it I did.  That was just 1 incident out of many in our 10 years of marriage.  Nowadays, I'm much less sloppy and he's a lot less of a clean freak :D

Marriage my friend, is when we choose to love the same person over and over and over again.  Our husband is not perfect, and he never will be !  Bummer, I know !  He will annoy us, provoke us, disappoint us, but he will also loves imperfect us to no end.  Don't give up too easily, and make divorce NOT an option.  Great relationship, great marriage, is the outcome of passing through the trials of life and stand the test of time with the same person.   Nothing awesome comes easily !!!

My cousin, once removed, just got married this past weekend. It was such a sweet and personal wedding.  Near the entrance way of the garden, the bride had put a message tree there and asked all the guests to hang up their wishes and advices for their marriage.  I hung 1 up but got too many to share.  I decided to write up a post on it to serve as reminder for me too ! 

Marriage is a lot of work, but the fruits of your labour will be pretty sweet.  This I know is true !

Below are what I learned (and still trying to hone them) through my 10 years of marriage.  I came from a family line of dominating women :-) who get the last say in all things, everything, so for me, compromising, is something I struggle with.   Here's my take on how to love, cherish and respect your husband:

Pray for him.  Your husband is one important person in your life, who you will do life with, make him your priority in prayer.  My husband brings out the worst and greatest in me, he's involved in all the details of my life, so in praying for him, I'm praying for me, for us.

Know his love language and communicate it often.  There are 5 love languages:  Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.  Discover what makes your husband feel loved and do it often.

Don't talk behind his back.  Ladies, I know we love to vent ! and for some of us, when we're frustrated, we trash talk our husband to release steam.  Venting is ok but in our anger, it's easy to make our husband appear to be a complete idiot or an ass.  Be careful with your words, because your friends don't know your relationship, don't live with you days in and out, don't reside in your brain :-( so even if he's a good man with an off day, they can't help but see him in the negative light you put him under.  Which sucks because most of the time he's awesome right ? 

Hubby and I are big time jokesters and I'm a bit of a sarcastic.  I like to tease my hubby and over exaggerated things in front of our friends.  One time I went a bit too far and hubby pulled me aside later and told me that what I said wasn't nice.  I told him our friends know us, know that I'm being sarcastic.  Yes our friends know us, he pointed out, but my friend's boyfriend doesn't !!!  Oh yeah, crap, I completely forgot about him.  Man, I just unintentionally made my husband out to be such a jerk  :-(  I went and told them I was just kidding but still, I should have been careful with my words.

Compliment your husband !  not that he needed them, but it's a nice feeling being recognized for our good work.  For me, to hear my kid tell me I'm "Superman", or my husband thank me for a good dinner, it's a lovely feeling.  I want the same for the people I love.  Just to reassure them that "yeah, you still got it !" :)

Our husbands need that assurance too.  Compliment him when you two are alone and when you're amongst friends - on the thoughtful things he did/does, like how he always take out the trash, the yummy dinner he made,  etc.  I know I like it whenever hubby compliment me in front of our friends.  It makes me feel like he's proud of me, that he's glad to be married to me.  It's a nice feeling and I want to reciprocate it. 

Please don't fake it or over-do it :-)  it should come from the heart, where it's real, genuine !  anything else is just pointless and annoying (to others).

Don't belittle him.  Don't make your husband feel like he's any less than important.  We're not in a relationship with our self, we're in a marriage with an equal partner.  Your husband plays the other main role in the movie of your marriage, and have just as much rights and voice as you.  It's important to compromise, to learn when to take the lead and when to take the back seat.  Yield to each other. Trust each other.
Say "Thank You", it goes a long way.  Be specific, like "thank you for..." and avoid "thanks for everything", it's too general.  A heart felt words of gratitude will make your husband's day.  I know it because I can see the big grin on my husband's face when I thanked him.  I didn't know such simple words can do that and wonder why I don't do it more often.  I know why, it's because I'm busy and a part of me feel he's just doing his duties of a husband :-(  But I thank people everyday, at work, coffee shop, restaurant, etc. why not to my love ?   *sigh* it's so easy to take them for granted right ladies ?  I'm trying to be mindful everyday so my husband knows that I appreciate him.

Correct privately.  One thing my husband and I agreed on doing when we were dating is that, we correct each other in private, never public.  We all have pride and it's important that we don't shoot down each other's pride in public.  If one of us said or did something unpleasant, we can discuss later when we're alone, out from watchful eyes, and discouraging lips.  By doing that, the person being "talked to" is more open to criticism, more susceptible to the other's views and suggestions.

Don't nag :-)  your husband is not a child and you not his mother.  Nagging not only annoys your husband, it will agitate you also.  Talk it out if it's an issue, other wise, repeating yourself doesn't do anyone any good.  If you think nagging will "change" your husband, hahaa, I got news for you :-)  no one change because someone nagged them ! 

I must confess, I'm a nagger !  I know, I hate naggers and I became one when I turned 30.  I turned into this annoying woman, who is so. not. fun to be around !  One day when I nagged and nagged my husband to turn off the TV, because no one is watching it.  He said me "I'm trying to finish this, what's the rush ?",  "what's the rush ?" I stopped in my track and asked myself, "yeah, what's the rush ?"  the TV isn't going anywhere.  I realized the problem of my nagging !  I want things done my way, right away.  I'm a bit of an impatience !  (I'm cringing while typing this)  Yike, I'm so demanding, so bossy.  It's so insensitive and inconsiderate of me !  Tell him to stop what he's doing and do what I asked, is like me saying to him, you're not important, I am and you must do what I say now.  I don't know why I just turn it off myself ?  I'm right there !!!  Unintentionally, I made myself superior and belittled him :-( not cool right !  I see the light !!!  I see the light ! 

Encourage your husband.  Our man can use a little support from us wife from time to time.  Being a husband, family and financial burden weight heavily on him.  Not that we put it on him, it's just how it is for men.  How do we support and encourage our husband so they feel appreciated and love ?  In our marriage, I try to point out his qualities, values I admire most.  Though I'm thankful for a lot of things he does for me and the girls, I try to focus on him as a person, on who he is, and not on what he does.  Affirm him on his strengths and characters.  My husband is a man of god, a gentleman with a good heart, and I want to let him know that.

Give grace.  Marriage cannot survive without grace.  I know of grace by Jesus dying on the cross to save me, loving me even though I don't deserve it.  So grace in my human definition, is doing/giving to others even when I feel they don't deserve it.  In my marriage, what does grace look like ?  it's being kind in my words, in my actions.  Grace is saying I'm sorry, is showing appreciation, gratitude.  It's about putting my husband before me sometime.  Grace doesn't keep record of wrongs, doesn't punish, doesn't 'settle the score'.  Grace is forgiving one another. 

The thing is grace is that, it's not something you do and call it "grace" !  Grace has to be from the depth of heart.  Giving without expecting anything in return.  It can not be fake, can not be mimicked.  I can "practice" grace all I want but if it doesn't flow naturally from the heart, it does nothing to better me or my relationships (marriage, friends, families).  I desire to be grace-full, hence I'm constantly seeking for grace from the One person I know who is full of grace, Jesus.  The more I am in His presence, in His grace, I feel loved as I am.  Knowing there's nothing I can do to loose His love, it's an indescribable incredible feeling.  I hope the grace I experienced will flow from me to my husband, my kids, my families, and anyone I come in contact with.

In my years of being married, one thing I know that worked out very well for us is that, no matter how upset, angry we are, we always keep our communication channel open.  Don't ever stop talking to each other.  Spending time together and communicating is how you learn about each other and grow as a couple.  Give each other the gift of time, and undivided attention.  Don't dismiss him because you're angry, you're tied up with the kids, you're busy, etc.  We're all "busy".  I know it's hard when you have kids.  Especially with us mom, after having a baby, the baby take center stage and our husband is somewhere way down on the list.  Don't forget your husband.  Make time for your husband.  He needs you, like you need him too.  He's your best friend, and best friends talk often :-) 

Blessing to your marriage,