Today is our 17th anniversary.
In honor of our anniversary, I am offering advice to husbands by way of a mini interview with husband Scott. I am the writer; he is not, so I am writing what he has told me. He approved it before publication.
A few months back my husband gave some advice to a coworker, and I thought it was solid advice that is worth sharing.
From my perspective as his wife, these are things that he does which really help me feel loved, honored, and appreciated.
Scott and I have both noticed that often men do not make the effort to help their wives feel appreciated and secure in their relationship.
There are the three things that my husband recommended to his coworker –three things he does to make me feel special and my explanation of why I think they help me.
1. Be nice to her
More than once, I have heard Scott remark that it is not that hard to just be nice –so why do husbands seem to have such a time doing it?
We have known men who seem unable to say a nice thing to or about their wives even when around complete strangers.
That kind of treatment is very sad –not to mention disturbing to witness.
When we got married, Scott’s father told him
If you’re nice to her, she wouldn’t mind if you get fat and go bald.
It’s the truth!
Kindness covers over so many things.
What value is a handsome face if that is the same face that speaks horribly unkind things to you?
Scott is kind to me, and I truly appreciate it.
It makes me all the more willing to help him and go the extra mile for him because he communicates through his actions and his words that he values me.
2. Listen to her
Scott is a great listener.
I appreciate it because I can really talk.
I mean really talk.
Especially when our children were little, I needed adult conversations.
Because sometimes he would be the only person that I would see in days who actually spoke full sentences.
He would walk in the door, and I would unload all the words I hadn’t used up in the whole day onto him in three minutes flat.
He loved me anyway.
I try not to do that right when he opens the door anymore because it can be very overwhelming for him if he has had a rough day at work; I will ask if he is ready for me to vent –and if he isn’t, can he please tell me when he is ready.
Sometimes, I just need to talk it out, and I really appreciate when he listens to me and doesn’t try to fix it unless I ask for advice or help.
It brings us closer together because he is my trusted confidante.
This is a part of intimacy that I think many couples miss: it isn’t just about physical intimacy –but to be fully known and still fully loved and accepted, that is true intimacy.
That is the truest kind of love.
3. Tell her you appreciate the contributions she makes
When we get married, we wives give up a lot for our husbands: our jobs, our names, our bodies to make children, and sometimes –usually– even our sanity.
And then, we look around at all we have to show for it, and we don’t feel like we are really contributing.
It is sometimes hard for us to see that what we are doing is valuable –eternally valuable, truthfully.
You couldn’t pay someone enough to do what we do on a daily basis.
It is even harder if our husbands come home and criticize what little we have accomplished –or what they can’t tell we accomplished because the little minions undid everything we thought we had accomplished.
When Scott told me about this part of his advice, it made me tear up, because I feel like I can never hear enough that what I do is valuable: I have the added feeling of uselessness brought on by my debilitating illness, and I need to be reminded that I am valuable and that what I do matters.
It means a lot to me that he values me for who I am and what I do even though that contribution is less than perfect.
It does really mean a lot to me when he tells me that what I do matters, when he appreciates what I do –even if it is just the small things, even if he just says “Thank you for dinner” or “Thank you for washing my clothes.”
I think Scott is one of kindest men–if not the kindest man— I have ever met. It doesn’t escape my notice that all of the three points in his advice basically boil down to the kind of person he is: caring, thoughtful and kind.
Those were characteristics that drew me to him in the first place.
Today, I am reminding myself how blessed I am to have a sweet guy who loves me no matter what and still cherishes me all these years later..
I hope this advice will help others, because we can never go wrong by treating other people –including our spouses– with kindness.
Scott and Sarah Forbes
(Written by Sarah; approved by Scott.)