Our culture does an excellent job of painting husbands in a negative light. Fat, drunk, stupid, incompetent, insensitive, lazy and rude. Think of husbands from The Simpsons, Everybody Loves Raymond, Family Guy, Modern Family and countless other shows. Idiots. All of them. They show little-to-no-love to their wife, and they are insensitive and out of touch when it comes to their wife’s needs.
You have the opportunity to help your husband break this stereotype. This takes work on your part though. Please don’t think I’m saying that we men are all insensitive and stupid and that you need to fix us. I’m confident that many husbands are doing a great job of leading, pursuing, loving, serving and comforting their wives in the middle of difficult circumstances and beyond. However, there are a lot of ways that we as husbands can improve.
1.) Over communicate your needs – Not in an overbearing way and not with a raised voice. Let us know how we can love you. Give us opportunities to love you. If you noticed that something needs to be done, don’t assume we notice. If there is an appointment you need us to attend with you, please tell us. We’ll be there. (Ideally). We want to love you and support you – sometimes we just need your help clarifying the need.
2.) Be gracious when we try to fix it – Let us know that you simply need some words of affirmation or a hug instead. My wife will say to me, “Honey, I don’t need you to fix this, but here’s how I’m feeling….” That immediately reminds me not to try and fix things; she needs me to be present with her.
3.) Be mindful of his heart – He may not be sharing his feelings, but be aware that even if he isn’t, he’s hurting, anxious and grieving in his own way. Tell him that you’d like to know how he’s feeling in the midst of this season as well. This means giving him the opportunity to speak when he’s ready. And when he does, listen. Accept that his feelings may not mirror your own. Appreciate his efforts.
4.) Give him grace when he doesn’t seem to be affected – He is affected. I promise. Don’t be upset with him if he doesn’t cry when you cry or get angry when you get angry or see eye to eye with you on what steps to take next. Your body and all you are experiencing, unfortunately, remind you of this stuff 24-7. He may not have that same gut-wrenching reminder that is always present with you. We all process things differently, so give us grace when we process things in other ways.
5.) Simply say, “Will you hold me?” – Perhaps your need isn’t to be held per-se. Enter your own need into that phrase. He can’t read your mind. Sorry to have to be the one to tell you that. He desires to to meet your needs during this time. Those needs change often, so he may not know what they are. So, when you do know what it is you need from him, will you tell him?
As men, we’re never quite going to get it all right when it comes to emotions. However, we want to be given the opportunity to try. Please honor us by sharing your heart with us. We will do the best we can with it!