Keeping Your Husband the Man of Your Dreams & WLWW Link-Up Party!

Today we have a guest post from Sheila Wray Gregoire from To Love Honor and Vacuum
 

'Into the sunset...' photo (c) 2011, Hassan Rishwan Jalyl - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Sheila writes:

When we walk down that aisle, we do it because we’re sure that the man waiting for us is the one who will make us happy for the rest of our lives.

It usually doesn’t take long, though, for the realities of marriage to start to intrude. He leaves his dirty socks on the floor. He doesn’t do dishes. He prefers watching sports on Sunday afternoons to tackling household projects with you. He used to make your heart skip a beat, and now that you’ve heard him belch and seen him in ratty T-shirts he’s just not doing it for you anymore.

No one can sustain that butterfly-in-our-stomach infatuation for life. But that doesn’t mean that we’re destined to lose love. On the contrary, I’ve found that after twenty years my husband can still be the man of my dreams, even if he’s carrying some extra pounds, even if he snores, and even if he doesn’t share my hobbies. Here’s how:

1. Don’t Compare Him

Your husband is not Brad Pitt, or Ryan Reynolds, or Ryan Gosling. In fact, not even Ryan Reynolds is Ryan Reynolds. The Ryan Reynolds that we know from The Proposal isn’t real; that character who broke through Sandra Bullock’s hard shell and who followed her all over the continent was a figment of a screenwriter’s imagination.

So try, as much as possible, not to give in to “chick flicks” or romance novels (even Christian ones) that create unrealistic portrayals of men who are strong and decisive yet also incredibly sensitive, while sporting 6-pack abs.

If you want your husband to be the man of your dreams, then watch what you dream about. Don’t put thoughts into your head that are going to cause you to think, “wouldn’t it be wonderful if he would just….” Buy flowers. Bathe the kids. Dance with me in the living room.

Instead of immersing yourself in chick lit or chick flicks, do something with him instead! It’s a far better use of your time, and far less likely to lead to criticism.

2. Find Things to Praise Him For

When I was first married, I loved telling Keith, “I love you.” But one day he responded in frustration, “I know you love me. What I want to know is WHY.” When men know that we believe great things about them, they soar. When they question whether we really appreciate them, they retreat.

If you want him to be the man of your dreams, then, start calling out the good things you see in him. Everyday, mention two things that you love. “I’m so amazed that you can fix a car engine. That saves us so much money!”, or “I’m so glad you were there to take on the customer service people instead of me. I can never stand up to them the way you can.”

A funny thing happens when we start to look for things to praise. We then start thinking about our husbands in a more positive way, too!

3. Don’t Try to Tame Him

Many of us marry men that are slightly wild. And yet as soon as we marry, we frequently try to tame them. A woman will start berating her husband for doing “manly” things, and encouraging him to start acting more like her. She makes him learn how to color coordinate clothes. She encourages him to bond with the kids. She wants him to learn to scrub a toilet.

None of these things is wrong in and of itself; it’s wonderful, and even necessary, for a man to have a good relationship with his children. But often we want him to have the same relationship with them that we do. We want them to clean the way we do. We want them to care about the things that we do, because at some level we feel superior. We understand family; they understand sports. So we’re the experts, and they need to bend to us.

Fifteen years later, this wild man has become boring. She looks at him one day and wonders, “where did the love go?” The love went because she tamed the man out of him. God made him a man, yet we figured we could improve on it.

Let him be a man! Encourage friendships with other men. Encourage him to have hobbies apart from you. Encourage him to negotiate his own relationship with the kids. It was a man you fell in love with, so don’t reject that man now.

4. Embrace a Healthy S*x Life (I apologize for the use of astericks here but I am trying to avoid being blocked by the filters that many women wisely use in their homes.  I know they like to read my blog and I get emails saying I’ve been blocked and emails from women thinking I’m afraid of the “s” word – I’m not :) . The astericks are out of service to women with filters…okay moving on…)

Finally, embrace s*x. I’m not saying “he needs s*x, so you should give it to him”. Don’t just have s*x with him so that you can feel like you’re being a good wife; realize that s*x is for you, too. God created it to feel stupendous. And if you’re not experiencing fireworks, embark on a research project to get there! When I wrote The Good Girl’s Guide to Great S*x, I found that it often takes 15 or 20 years of marriage for women to settle into their sexuality, and that’s okay.

Unfortunately, many women let s*x fall by the wayside because we’re tired and we’re busy and it seems like a hassle, but if you want your husband to stay the man of your dreams, then you’ve got to make sure that you’re regularly connecting with him. And a funny thing happens when we start to make love more. We produce “oxytocin”, the bonding hormone, which makes us feel closer to him. He feels closer to us, too, and becomes more affectionate. Even if s*x isn’t always physically wonderful, it can be emotionally wonderful if we concentrate on how much we love him. And, the more we make love, the more our bodies learn to respond. When we stop making love, or start doing so with far less frequency, it actually becomes harder to become aroused. Increase the frequency, and our bodies respond faster, we sleep better, and we feel closer to him.

It’s easy to become dissatisfied with your husband when life gets busy. But you can keep him as the man of your dreams! Yes, it takes some work and a decision on your part. But there is nothing that is more satisfying that walking through life beside someone who knows you inside and out, and still chooses to be with you. That’s a beautiful thing, and don’t ever take it lightly.

Sheila Wray Gregoire is the author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Great S*x, which explores how to experience spiritual intimacy, emotional intimacy, and physical fireworks through s*x in marriage. She blogs everyday at To Love, Honor and Vacuum. She and her husband Keith have been married for twenty years and have four children: two teenage daughters on earth, and two babies waiting to be their tour guides in heaven.

Thank you Sheila for these amazingly wise words!  You have been a blessing in my marriage!

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Walk with the King,

 

 

 

Comments

  1. I am so resonating with what you’ve written, Sheila! Isn’t it neat to share what you’ve learned along the way?

    After 36 years of marriage and 10 years of working with couples, I pulled together 8 random observations and 2 random questions -
    http://creeksideministries.blogspot.com/2012/04/whats-your-marriage-look-like.html

    I love that God can redeem our life experiences so maybe others can avoid some of the pitfalls and mistakes we’ve experienced!

  2. Megan G. says:

    Yay! Two of my favorite bloggers in the same place! :)

    This is all such great advice. I have thought the same thing about Christian romance novels. They are “clean,” which is definitely an improvement, but I have noticed that when I used to read them, I would compare. So, I stopped reading them. That ‘perfect Christian man’ thing in Christian fiction is almost harder for me to take than some of the stuff in secular fiction. So…I usually stick to non-fiction or chapter books for about a 5th grader when I need a light read.

    My husband read “Wild at Heart,” when we were first married, and it helped us both to understand that men need to stay a little bit rough around the edges. I actually do sometimes wonder if someday down the road he might be less attracted to the ‘new’ me. When he fell in love with me, part of the reason was that he was attracted to my spunk, my outspokenness, etc. Now that I try to be a more Biblical woman, I am less of those things than I used to be. Sometimes (usually late at night when I can’t sleep!) I worry that he’ll notice that I’m not the woman he fell in love with anymore. (Hmmm…why did I just say all of that here?)

    Anyway! Thanks Sheila and Courtney! I have only been reading both of your blogs for a few months, but you have both already been blessings in MY marriage! Thanks for this ministry to women.

  3. I also shared a recipe for iron inhibitors in food from my iron site.

  4. I love this, especially number three. I was just thinking about this tonight as I was watching one of my boys behave in boyish ways. I thought, “This silliness will be attractive to a girl one day. Then she’ll marry him and try to change it.” One more thing to add to my prayer list for future daughter’s in-law! May they love my boys for who God made them to be and may I set an example of that love in my marriage.

  5. This is such an excellent post. I’m not married, so this is a good lesson for me to learn early. I see where I have, in a sense, expected men to be more like the men we see in the movies. I’ve seen where I have taken on this idealistic world view that God did not intend for me. Not to say that men are not to be strong and sensitive to our needs as women, but to expect this perfect man who knows exactly what I need and can be all those things at the same time is absurd. Thanks soooooooo much for this post. It’s such an eye-opener, it’s what I needed to hear. It was also a little bit of a rebuke from a big sister lol. Thanks again.

    Roxann

  6. Very good tips! We all don’t do very well when we feel degraded, our husbands included. I’m so thankful that the Lord has shown me so much since the four years that I got married at 18 years old.

  7. Henriette Hentrey says:

    Thank you so much! That’s the way it is!

  8. Thank you for sharing this post! My husband is almost completely different from me. He does so many things that drive that me crazy! But then I also think that I would miss all those things if he didn’t do them. I love that he will do things the opposite of how I would, it helps me to see the world through different eyes! I’ve been blessed to have desire only for my husband and to match him in his physical needs. It is wonderful to enjoy the blessing of making love the way that God intended it. I love my husband so much and I am so thankful every day that God put us together!

  9. Great post on a great day – our 31st Anniversary!

  10. Kelley Howard says:

    Very bitter towards my husband. BUT not because “Life” got in the way. I swear if I never met him I would be ok.

    • Dear Kelley,
      I just prayed for you and your marriage! May I admit I have felt that same way at certain times in my 16 years of marriage? (I, of course, don’t know your situation…) I don’t have any other words of wisdom for you other than you will already read on here (this site and many other good ones with sound Biblical teaching) and of course the true source, the Bible itself. I was just reading Courtney’s eBook this morning on bringing good to our husbands. And HOW are we able to do all that? By fearing God and seeking Him first. I don’t know how it all works, but God blesses our efforts when we try to honor Him.
      I will pray again that you will ask God to help you want to….that’s what I pray for myself a lot, “God help me to WANT TO love my husband, help me to WANT TO honor You, Lord Jesus.”
      Blessings to you, Kelley.
      Love In Christ,
      Kim A.

  11. As a happily-married man, the points raised here really seem old-fashioned. “lower your expectations, men can’t be romantic like in the movies”, “tell him he’s great all the time”, “let him do what he wants while you do household tasks”, “have sex because it will make him like you more”. I was expecting “stay barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen” to be next.

    While I’m not overly romantic, I do romantic things from time to time, like buying flowers, dancing in the living room when our song comes on the radio, or simply cleaning the house while my wife is out with her friends.

    I love it when my wife tells me she loves me; I don’t need her reasons for some kind of ego boost.

    A marriage can be highly successful only when both parties recognize that they need to change a bit to have a relationship. I’ve had to turn down a few invitations with friends because I realize I’m neglecting my wife. She needs to be the most important thing in my life, and when I forget that, we both feel crummy.

    Sex is great, sure, but sometimes just cuddling on the sofa watching a movie is just as good emotionally.

    • Thank you Scott! I was beginning to wonder if anyone else was thinking the same things that I was. Glad it was a man – straight from the horse’s mouth! :)

  12. I love this advice! It is all too easy to become annoyed and frustrated with our husbands after we’ve been married a while, when looks may change, and when the butterflies leave. I thank you so much for providing these tips! Some of them I’ve already been doing, but some I need to do, like speaking more positively and affirming my husband. :) lholmes79.wordpress.com

  13. good good GREAT words of encouragment!! Thank you for sharing!

  14. Sheila, what a great post! I’ve been married 28 this month to the man of my dreams. I am so happy I never “tamed” him as you say… Frankly, he never would have allowed it! When I first married him I called him my Neanderthal! Now he’s MyHoney but still a neanderthal! We are now empty-nesters, enjoying our two grandkids and our time together. God Bless You!

  15. Wonderful words (as usual) from Shelia. We need to make our husbands our “standard” by which we compare everyone else. Lift him up, praise him, tell him how wonderful you think he is. Afterall, if we aren’t doing that, there are many “other women” who would gladly do it for us! He can have his needs met (eating at a restaurant, having his laundry done at the dry cleaner etc) BUT if he gets his sexual needs met elsewhere, God calls that sin. Love your man and if he has “gaps” fill them in for him rather than pointing them out. Afterall “The two shall become one” If you’re one, you’re on the same team and can’t hurt him without hurting yourself.

  16. Good morning:)
    I needed to read & absorb all that I just took in especially about the s*x Lol
    I definately love my husband but betwn school, my 3 yr old & everything else in btwn I be beat when its time to lay down. Also we just moved into our apartment so we are in the process of getting her a bedroom set but for now she has been sleeping with us and thats definately a bummer :(
    I want to be more intimate with him but sometimes its HARD when we have to make love in the living room…….I want to snuggle & cuddle while watching a movie or roll over & gently caress my man but again its hard with our lil one smack dead in the middle.
    So ladies I hope I get the and be able to give my husband the intimacy he & I both need, but in the men time we go in the living room & for now thats where my fireworks explode lol

  17. Thanks for the excellent advice and insights! I find it helpful to pray to be a better wife.
    Love in Him,
    Laurie

  18. I definately agree about the romance novels, and movies!

    And I had to chuckle about the “color coordinate his clothes” Lol! My hubby had to live in a different city from us for a while because of his military job, and I would cringe as he would tell me what he wore when he would go out with some of his buddies. :)

  19. I read this just as my husband and I were discussing the possibility of going to “a cousin” reunion on his side of the family. He said he didn’t want to go, and my respone was “not surprised, you don’t go anywhere, and I am okay with that”. He is a homebody, and after 27 years of marriage, I am finally ok with this fact. He knows I love him, but he also knows that I am very active, and family oriented, so when there is a family event out of town, I am going to be there. I DO need to start telling him WHY I love him, and not just that I love him.

  20. Fantastic post! Thank-you for sharing!

  21. Veronica says:

    This is such a great post, I enjoy reading it. Thanks and God bless.

  22. Courtney, do you know of any men bloggers who my husband could start following? He is having a hard time getting into the bible because he doesn’t have the accountability and doesn’t know where to start. He is 24 and is a new dad. I know that your time is constricted so if you dont know of any off the top of your head dont worry about it. Thank you so much! Have a blessed day!

  23. I have a question about something you said. You said instead of immersing yourself in chick lit or chick flicks do something with him. But what if he won’t do anything with me (or even spend more than an hour with me at a time)? I’ve been struggling with this for years with my husband. We were married young (we’re only 28 and have been together for 10 years) and neither of us had many relationships before ours. When we were dating he would come over to my parents house every night and then we’d spend all weekend together too. Now I can barely get 2 words out of him during dinner and then he’s out the door to find something to do outside or at my in-laws house or at his uncles farm (they all live next door….). He spends plenty of time with his friends and on his hobbies (and I’m fine with that. I think men need those things too). But I am feeling neglected and lonely practically all the time. He does take the kids with him most of the time (though I wish he didn’t have such a temper with them). He just doesn’t seem to love me anymore…at least, that’s the way it feels to me. Most women have husbands that are sitting in front of the TV all night. I would LOVE for my husband to sit inside with me and watch a movie just one night a week. Most nights after the kids are in bed, I’m watching TV by myself until he comes inside (which is at bedtime, usually). He didn’t even do anything for my birthday this year (the kids asked me a couple weeks later when it was going to be my birthday. I said it was a couple weeks ago and they were upset that they didn’t know). He said we could go to the movies to see something I was wanting to see (I LOVE going to the movies) but then I got showered and ready to go and called to see what time his parents were coming over and to ask when he was coming in to get ready. He said he forgot all about it and didn’t ask them to watch the kids. I feel like he doesn’t want a wife and kids. He probably would have been happier with a maid to cook and clean and a dog to follow him around (while never speaking). Will a marriage ever work if only one person is trying to make it work? How can I get him to WANT to make it work/work on it?

I love hearing what is on your heart.

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