I was a newlywed.
Second week after the wedding and my husband had returned to work.
I wasn’t working at that time and after he left in the morning, I threw myself into transforming our house into a little love nest.
We got the apartment a few months before the wedding and by the time I moved in after the wedding, Tommy had changed it into a serious bachelor pad!
So I started where most girls would start – cleaning.
I expected him to walk in after work and fall back in awe at my handiwork. He walked in and noticed nothing! 🙂
With a back ache to boot, I could not believe he did not pick up the new scent in the air – freshness! So I brought it up gently and he was impressed. Not as impressed as I was though, and that made me sad.
A few days, I cranked things up a notch. I gathered up his dress (work) shirts and spent the afternoon ironing them. I hang them in the extra closet so they wouldn’t wrinkle. I took his other pair of work shoes and polished them to a high shine.
Now, I could not wait for him to get back home!
Trying to be proactive this time, I did not wait for him to notice things. I brought out the shoes and held them up and said something about how good they looked.
I can’t remember what else I said. But I remember his reaction.
His face fell. He plucked the shoes out of my hands with “Never do that again” and put the shoes back on the rack.
I was numb. At first. Then shocked. Then angry.
I was trying to be a good wife. Scratch that, I was killing it! Amazing wives pick out their husbands clothes and iron their shirts and polish their shoes. They go out of their way to take care of their guy.
The proper response from the dotted-on spouse? Awe and gratitude and kisses (even a dance!).
At least that was my expectation.
It’s what I had heard, that wives take care of their husbands in that way and husbands love it.
It’s great advice, really. It works in many marriages.
Unless you are married to a man who has a a high sense of style (and you don’t), a melancholy who likes to do things a certain way and instead of burdening his wife with stringent rules, prefers to do it himself.
Looking back, that evening should have been Hallelujah! for me, discovering that Tommy likes to pick his clothes, iron his shirts, polish his shoes and generally take care of himself.
Because now it’s such a blessing to me, because it’s one less thing on my to-do list and because I am not great at ironing or coordinating clothes!
But back then I was all bent on living out all the things I had heard. I was not ready to embrace who my man was and that our relationship was different.
And most brides and grooms are like that. New in marriage, they are just learning each other. So it’s understandable that once in a while and in the process of figuring things out, they’ll run into brick walls.
It’s okay to face a wall. The problem is beating on those walls with fights and arguments because “she thinks my house is filthy and I need her to clean up my life!” and “how rude and thankless can he be?”
It’s doesn’t always work
Not all great advice is great for YOUR marriage. Maybe you missed that, so let me repeat it. Not all wonderful counsel will prove wonderful in your marriage.
It’s up to you as a wife to know what works and does not work…and then let it go. Wise is the wife who heartily embraces #LetItGo101. Who learns early, that her best friend’s husband and her husband are two different men.
It’s frustrating trying to shape your husband into the person you think he should be. It’s frustrating putting all your efforts into something which will not be appreciated or leaves your spouse mad.
It requires growing up to say “well, he likes to iron his shirts. Now I know!” and move on.
Of course my husband could have been more gentle. “Thanks babe, appreciate your effort. But this is how I like things done”. Thing is, most newlyweds totally respond from the gut. It takes time and effort to know how to communicate well.
(My husband wrote how to better communicate here; see this – Communication in Marriage: A Husband’s Perspective. )
So today, you may want to ask yourself
1. What good advice is not working in my marriage?
2. What clarifying questions do I need to ask my husband?
3. How do I keep a good attitude when my efforts go unnoticed/unrewarded (hence the need to ask clarifying questions).
4. How do I guard my heart against resentment, so I can can continue to be a blessing to my husband in future?
I hope these questions get you thinking!
Creating a great marriage is not easy. But I thought it was. After all, “love is enough.” But it wasn’t enough for our new marriage when the feelings took flight. Took a long time but I finally began to learn what true love was; an intentional pursuit of my vows, in the midst of life’s messes and failure; a determination to honor God first, before my spouse; a willingness to take personal responsibility (and courage to keep my spouse accountable) So..are you an imperfect girl married to an imperfect guy? My book Blues to Bliss: Creating Your Happily Ever After in the Early Years might help. Learn how to positively influence your marriage and create the marriage of your dreams, one intentional choice at a time. Buy the book Paperback I Kindle I Nook I PDF I PDF EU NATIONS . Or Click here to go to the book page.