What am I supposed to do?
I have been talking with guys about this marriage stuff for several years now and I still continue to be amazed at the immense levels of frustration among guys who desperately want a clue about how to meet their obligations to their wives and make them “happy.” This frustration is only paralleled by their desire to not give up. They love the women that they pledged their life to and know that there is something missing, but they can’t quite put their finger on it. Kind of like when you and your dad put your first bike together and you couldn’t figure out why it would turn left all the way but not to the right. His reply “well, son just play with your friends that live on THIS side of the street” as he smoothly pockets those two extra pieces that he didn’t know what they were supposed to go. Dads are awesome.
That first feeling of defeat.
Now those of us who have been in the marriage game for a minute know that there are seasons in your union where you will feel clueless. If the feeling of ignorance wasn’t bad enough, your lovely wife may have also taken it upon herself to remind you that you don’t know what you’re doing. Sucks right? That reminds me of those days when you were in school in your favorite class. It was your favorite for two reasons. The first reason was that it was the only class you didn’t feel like a dumb-ass in. The second reason was because of that cute girl that sat next to you. Remember when the teacher asked a question and you thought you had the answer? You would throw your hand up as if trying to touch the ceiling and when she called your name you may or may not have glanced over that girl like “yeah, I got this one boo.” You poked your little chest and…WRONG! You quickly melt back into your chair dazed and confused trying to figure what the hell just happened. Saddled with shame and disappointment you dare not volunteer for another question the rest of the semester.
Getting back in the game.
What does this have to do with Husbandry? Everything. The same way you had all the confidence in the world that this woman was the one for you, and you were right, is the same way you melt away now in the face of adversity or ignorance. Every guy has tried to be ambitious in the pursuit of his wife’s happiness by trying to impress her by doing laundry or cooking a surprise romantic dinner. How did that go by the way? The laundry was a disaster because you threw her red silk blouse, green suede vest and her white cashmere sweater in the same load because who the hell has time to run three loads of laundry when the NFL Draft is on? You seemed puzzled at her reaction to the fact that she now has a matching 3 piece tie-dye ensemble.
I Can't win for losing...
Dinner didn’t fare any better. In your preparations, you glanced through several episodes of the cooking channel and then dashed over to the grocery store to gather supplies. 15 minutes later you’ve managed to present a four-course meal because thanks to the pictures and the word “instant” you have pulled off what classically trained professionals couldn’t do in hours. Three cheers for man power! However, when little mama came in she immediately notices the disproportionate amount of carbs and starches to protein and vegetables. Again you’re perplexed. Let’s see Rice, Linguine, biscuits cleverly partnered with Little-Smokies and nacho sauce. I don’t know what her problem was, maybe she’s just ungrateful. Better call in a pizza.
Courage in the face of adversity.
The point here is that you will experience failure more than once but as with most things there will always be valuable information gleaned from the experience. The task here is will you have the will to collect that crucial data and better yet implement it on the next mission? You must always stay encouraged when growing into the role of a husband. Sometimes it may not feel like you’re built for this but you are. Never forget that. In my 12 years of marriage, I’ve never run across anything that said this road was easy. As a matter of fact, everything I’ve run across would suggest the exact opposite. Don’t let difficulty discourage you from making an effort. Remember when you were a kid and you first learned how to tie your shoes? What about the day you got that first knot in them? You sat down and figured it out, and thank god. Otherwise you would be in your twenties looking strong and potent with Velcro sneakers on. Single much?
Get back out there and fight!
In closing, I want to send you off with the encouragement and confidence that what you are fighting for is indeed worth the effort and time. The reward for maximizing your effort and not running from adversity, is a relationship that will give you the greatest sense of responsibility and purpose that you have ever had. All you need is the will to want to.