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Friday, February 15, 2013

The Good Wife's Handbook

The Days of Whine and Noses

You wouldn't have to know me long.

Before you concluded I could use a break now and then.

You'd soon say, "I'm guessing that lady needs a tall latte. Maybe even a dark chocolate truffle." I wouldn't need to explain all this. You would just know.

As a woman, it'd be obvious to you.

You'd take one look at my full-to-overflowing days...and you'd understand exactly what was needed. A small retreat. Away from the noise, and the dogs, and the lives of my children (yes; I did just say that).

Yes. I'm thinking a 16-ounce latte and a quiet, uninterrupted conversation with a tall grown-up. Preferably him - the one who thinks so clearly and has such broad, caring shoulders. Oh, yeah, definitely him. That's what I need. 

Now isn't that readily apparent to you?

But for some reason it was NOT very apparent to my husband and I had a hard time believing he couldn't see it.

So; one day we had a conversation about this need of mine. It began by my asking, "Can I tell you a little bit about me?"

Uhhhh, Yeh sure Hun ... ?

"Well, I love being your wife. I love being a mother. I love being a grandmother. And I love being a good friend that can be depended on. And I most certainly can (and plan) to keep going like this for the rest of my life; God willing."

Small pause, so he'd see I was sincere.

"But you know something else about me? I do sooo much better when I get to step away from here occasionally. Not only get away, but go out and have time together with you. It would do me a world of good."

I drew breath and then finished with, “So do you think we could pull that off? You know ... arrange that on a regular basis?"

He started to laugh (though I didn't really see the humor).

His response? "Weird. I never looked at it that way."

My turn: "Ummmm .. So then how is it that you do look at it?"

"Well, I guess that since I'm away from the house all day, my favorite thing is to come home to you. I love it when we're sitting around together and don't feel a particular need to go back out again. And I thought you felt the same way."

So as it turned out, he really was unaware. I had to explain what I was hoping for and even what that looked like to me. I wasn't asking for an expensive dinner out - just a latte, please (though chocolate wouldn't hurt). Mostly I wanted time with him.

But in his mind, our evenings together at home counted as "time". It didn't count so much with me.

He didn't know what I needed.  That was something he had to hear from me; from my own mouth.

Can I ask how it is that you communicate to your man what you need from him? Can I give you some try and true advice?

1. Pray about it.

Bring it before The Lord first. Ask Him to help you say what you want to say in a loving manner. Also, ask Him to prepare your husband's heart to hear you.

2. Come with a clean heart.

Let go of any bitterness or resentment that might have built up before this. Come with a fresh spirit.

3. Prepare him for the chat.

Don't approach him with two guns blazing and loaded for bear. Simply, quietly and graciously let him know that you've got something on your mind and you're looking forward to sharing it with him.

4. Approach him. Gently.

With words seasoned with grace. Not accusing or demanding or whiny or aggressive. Lovingly and simply laying down your needs before him.

5. Be Patient.

Don't be discouraged if it takes a while to sink in. Men seldom ~get it~  the first time around. Or if you have to repeat your request periodically and in different ways. Patiently and lovingly remind him of your needs. Eventually he'll catch on.

6. Show some appreciation.

If he tries at all, then express gratitude for his efforts. Don't only say it in words, but also in your attitude. Make sure he sees what a difference it makes in your life.

7. Be willing to leave it there.

This is the hardest one. Some of our needs can go for a long time before they're ever met. Others never will be met. At least by him. Because God is the only One who promises to supply all you need (Phil. 4:19) and you have to be ready to live with that.

8. Encourage him.

Believe it or not you may not be the only one that may have needs that aren't being met. Really! In spite of trying to be the very best wife that you can possibly be; there may be some things that he would like to have from you as well. Encourage him to verbalize them. One of the single most important thing that I discovered in these many years of being married is that some times a man just wants to spend a little uninterrupted quality time with his car. Give him a can of Turtle Wax, a few old rags and/or some Armour-all and watch his eyes glaze over...

Being a loving, godly wife and a loving, godly husband doesn't mean that either of you don't have any needs. You can be very content in your marriage and still communicate those things that help you feel loved, feel appreciated, feel wanted or needed. You can bless his life by letting him know the ways he can help meet your needs and you his.

Some days what I need out of life is nothing more is a tall latte. Chocolate. With an extra squirt of whipped cream. And a little quiet time. Some days what I need out of life is time away with my man.

But you already knew that ...

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