I remember as a young girl my Mom always telling me that when you are married your goal is to get your spouse to Heaven. Hearing that, I had dreamy-eyed visions of how I would accomplish that goal. I imagined my husband and me headed to mass each Sunday with our children, praying together as a family, and endless conversations about how he could be a better person....with me being his shining example of a true Christian, of course.
Fast forward 20 years and here I find myself actually doing a very good job with getting Bill to heaven. The problem is, it's not at all how I imagined. My "shining example" wasn't exactly...how shall I say?.... Shiny.
I am a work in progress for sure, but Bill is definitely making big strides towards heaven having to deal with the likes of me. Not exactly how I pictured it, but at least I've got him heading in the right direction.
I just finished reading a book by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. I have heard of her before and even remember tuning into her radio program a few times. Her callers were typically women asking for marriage or family advice. (in other words, they were complaining about their husbands) They would often be taken back by Dr. Laura's blunt, and often times brutal, advice forcing them to end the call with their "tails between their legs" so to speak.
The book I read is called "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands." I highly recommend it. Dr. Laura speaks for the husbands in this one. Often times we can get caught up in what our husband is "lacking" that we forget that he is designed in a certain way....to protect and provide for his family. He's not designed to be an "extra girlfriend" for us, a point which really caught my attention. I can't tell you how many times I felt that Bill was emotionally unavailable for me. Well, I came to realize it's not in his physcal make-up to sit with me for hours over coffee and talk things through.
Another eye-opener for me that Dr. Laura points out is that taking care of our children, cooking dinner, and doing the laundry, while all worthy and important tasks for the family, this is not taking care of my husband. All of those things I would do for my family regardless. She points out that he has needs of his own. I know what thought just popped into your heads.....and yes, that of course is a high priority, but also going out of my way to do little things....looking nice when he walks in the door (dare I say goodbye to my sweat pants and ball cap?), a meaningful hug and kiss when he comes in from work (not a quick peck as I continue to cook dinner and barely make eye contact), or even rub his feet without being asked as we sit on the couch and watch TV (stinky feet and all).
Let's not forget about the power of praise. I've taken to verbalizing my appreciation for Bill. He works really hard but never lets work get in the way of his obligations to his family. So, I thank him and tell him he's doing a great job at work and at home.
The book is full of Dr. Laura's conversations with callers and her answers and suggestions to have a happier marriage. It's quite entertaining to say the least. Dr. Laura pulls no punches and really gets to the heart of the matter. The bottom line is the book really speaks to having a mutual respect for each other. Often times we women can inadvertently adhere to a double standard when it comes to our husbands. This book reinforces the fact that husbands and wives are inherently different and should be treated in a way that embraces our chemical make-up. We are not created "equal."
Since I'm sure I am not doing the book justice, you can read more about it here.
Let us all work towards that goal of getting our spouse to heaven! And hopefully ourselves as well.
To quote St. Francis: "It is in giving that we receive."
Want to win a free copy? Just leave me a comment below and I will
pick a name out of a hat on Friday. (emails to me will also be placed in
the hat for those non-commenters)