Many of us, after several years of marriage, admit glumly to ourselves that our marriage hasn’t lived up to our expectations. How can we improve our relationship?
Much of our disappointments and tensions of marriage develop from the couple’s lack of respect for each other. Often this lack of respect creeps in so gradually it goes unnoticed until it becomes a crisis.
What are the common symptoms of crisis in a marriage? Often it involves an ever increasing critical attitude toward a spouse’s ideas and personality traits. When a tendency to dwell on faults develops, these faults become magnified into gigantic proportions later. A spouse tends to become more impatient and temperamental toward his or her partner.
To a husband, this lessening of respect makes him feel insecure and unsure of himself. Thus, he becomes more prone to bungling and seemingly less worthy of respect. The husband-ruining cycle of declining wifely respect, which leads to husband’s loss of self confidence, has begun.
If you sense this cycle has begun in your marriage, here are ideas that may work to build up your husband:
Give him your loving affirmation. Praise your husband for who he is and what he does well. Minimize the rest. For example, a wife learned to focus on the finished quality of her husband’s home repair projects, not the months he took to complete them.
Show appreciation of the enjoyment of the moments he spent at home with the family instead of complaining about the countless nights of business or community meetings that kept him away.
Understand the daily pressures faced by an executive husband that leaves him physically and mentally drained when he comes home. Learn not to join forces with today’s competitive world that tries to ferret out his weak points. Husbands need to find their praise admiration waiting for them at home, regardless of the shape in which our mechanized society leaves them each day.
Never criticize your husband before friends, relatives, or anyone. Criticizing husbands is often a popular coffee-time subject for some groups, and we must resist any pressure to join in. It is much better for our husbands to hear second-hand our praise instead of repeated criticism.
Also, never criticize your husband in front of your children. To destroy a child’s respect for his father is one of a wife’s most deadly weapons. Abolish any comments such as: “Never on time, just like your father,” or “wasting money again; what did your dad buy now?”
Remember that in many ways it is the wife who sets the emotional tone of the home. Children and husband pick up a critical spirit quickly and use it in self defense on each other. This judgmental attitude firmly closes the door to mutual warmth and love. The healing ointment of praise mixed with appreciation heals and encourages healthy, happy feelings.
Show by your actions that your husband is important enough for you to go out of your way to please him. Cook his favorite dishes more often. Look attractive when he gets home at the end of a busy day. Meet him with a smile instead of running an account of every problem encountered that day. You’ll soon find out that if you make homecoming a special time a being carefully groomed and giving a welcoming kiss at the door, the children will also make this a very special time. What a lift for a tired, world-battered provider to know his family missed him!
Learn to be humble. Ability to show respect depends much on not feeling better than the other fellow. Take a good look at yourself. Are you ever cranky, petty, aloof, or unorganized? Can any of us afford to judge another person harshly when we are so vulnerable ourselves?
You may soon discover that giving your husband loving respect and appreciation sets a marriage improvement cycle in motion. A wife’s respect sets her husband’s self- confidence. His self confidence encourages more respect, and more respect nourishes more self- confidence.
Perhaps the man you married is just waiting for the perfect opportunity to respond with living appreciation to you. It won’t hurt to try.