I once heard a story of a husband and wife who had taken an Alaskan cruise. The captain had steered the ship into open water as opposed to staying closer to shore and going around the land. It wasn’t long before they encountered turbulent waters, bringing this couple to a state of concern. The wife called to the captain’s deck to voice her opinion of his decision. The first mate quickly calmed her rebuke with a simple statement: “This ship was built with this sort of storm in mind.”
Like that ship, marriages thrive when they’re built to survive storms. But is your marriage built for the storms it will face? Sometimes, there are struggling marriages. Other times, marriages face struggles with finances, communication, children, sex, infertility, or addictions. Whatever the difficulty, as husbands, our approach to it is critical to helping our wives and our marriages make it through. Here are 3 steps to take right now to walk well with your wife through struggles in life.
Hear her.Listen to what your wife is saying and do your best to understand her point of view.
Listen to what your wife is saying and do your best to understand her point of view. She needs to express what is inside of her. Know that she feels emotions such as fear, loss, confusion, and hurt, perhaps all at once. As men, we tend to want to fix things fast. Don’t. Even if your intentions are good, always be aware of the risks associated with providing a cliché or insensitive answer and with picking the wrong time to say something. “At least…” statements show little empathy on our part and prematurely providing solutions can convey that we aren’t letting her be mad or sad when she needs to be.
My wife and I have been through a lot this past year and I cannot tell you how many nights we’ve sat on the floor together, me holding her as she cried in my arms. These are the moments marriage becomes real. Despite what sort of day we may have had, the personal struggles we are experiencing internally or externally, or if we just want to lay down and get some rest—this is our opportunity to be the rock she desperately needs. It is a lesson in going from selfishness to selflessness and it doesn’t come easy. Of course, self-care is critical for us as well, so don’t neglect that too long. And men, be assured: It is more than okay to cry with your wife, too.
What does it mean to honor your wife? Is it something as easy as loving yourself? Or is it challenging? Do you think of it often—or rarely? I’d like to suggest that if we are not continuously thinking of how we can love and honor our wives, we are really going to struggle when the toughest times hit. Ways to move in the right direction include admitting our faults and forgiving her of hers. You also should respect your family’s privacy during hard times. Only share with people you and your wife have mutually agreed upon. Remember the vows you made and hold true to them for better or worse–not just for the better.
Sound off: What safeguards can you put in place today to protect your marriage when life’s hardest moments hit?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you think is the best way to prepare for difficult moments?”