Why is it so hard to put your spouse first, without expecting anything in return for your absolutely selfless kindness and generosity…sigh? (Yep, I have my tongue tucked way back in my cheek on that one.)

I’m pretty sure you heard about the lady who told her husband that for her birthday she wanted something in the driveway that would go from 0 to 200 in under ten seconds. He told her he would take care of it. The morning of her birthday she excitedly ran outside to the drive – and there set a new set of scales.

I heard the funeral was set for that Tuesday.

Marriage is hard work. It takes a lot of talking, and even more listening, to be successful at it. And we aren’t referring to you leaving ears open when your spouse opens mouth. We are talking about really hearing your spouse. Listening to the emotions behind what is said. Remembering what was said about the topic the last time it was brought up. Learning to ask the right questions that will help you to understand what may not actually come out of your spouse’s mouth….but you are supposed to know what your spouse meant, anyway.

And speaking of assuming that your spouse understands what you are not saying – that is a huge problem! Hear me well, YOUR SPOUSE DOES NOT HAVE ESP!!

For example. Wife: “Dear, do these pants make my butt look big?” Husband: (With a trapped look on his face) “Um, uhh, no of course not, honey.

Husband, she is NOT really asking if her butt looks big in pants that had to be made for her by Omar The Tentmaker. (As our son has been known to say, “She knows that she looks like a 1958 Buick leaving the driveway.”) She REALLY is wanting some verbal affirmation that she is loved by you – no matter what having seven babies did to her girlish figure. You need to address what she is not saying.

And wives, when your husband comes home from work, exhausted and griping loudly about his lousy job, don’t just listen and sympathize. Listen beyond his attitude and his words! Go beyond empathizing and sympathizing, or callously telling him to find a better job. He would really appreciate you affirming the fact that he is the kind of husband that does go to work, who does come home at night, and that he is actually trying to do his part.

Now, right here I believe I can hear a few female voices, “Huh! I work just as hard as he does every day! What about him affirming me and all that I do around here at the house, and also on my job? Hmmmmm?”

That probably is true. But the point is this. Somebody in the relationship has to be willing to be first in the giving department. Someone has to be the one who takes the high road. So that the other can begin to feel appreciated and loved. So that hopefully that spouse will begin to respond in kind.

Think about it.

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