Grooming Your Groom

Being There, and Not Being There: The Husband's Role

AS TIME GOES ON
AS TIME GOES ON

Patiently Accepting Imperfection

Husbands often complain that after the honeymoon wears off, the marriage just isn't the same anymore because their wives seem different. Regardless of how many years of experience, and how many various marriages are examined, this result seems typical.

Given that many wives believe that husbands are far simpler creatures than their wives, it would seem that the only solution to this dilemma is patience. Husbands are advised to be kind and helpful toward with their wives, and realize that when a wife talks to a husband honestly and sincerely about things that really are on her mind, he should know that this is how a woman sometimes shows her love for her man.

Affairs are abominable; patience commendable. So the choice there is easy.

We love our wives for good reason. We should not resent anything about them. It's best to be silently content. Being a good, peaceful, and supportive listener is a rare and valuable characteristic under any circumstances, but especially in a marriage. Some of our best role models for this talent ironically are our wives themselves.

Being a good husband really isn't that stressful. It's like having a part-time, on-call job. We just have to wait until we're needed and then swing into action, or inaction as the case may be (because sometimes it's best to but out). Being a good listener really doesn't require too much effort except keeping the eyes, ears, and mind open.

Another point is worth mentioning: separation can go a long way toward making married people realize how much they mean to each other. Shakespeare wrote, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." Wisdom like that has a way of enduring through the centuries.

The trouble is that the absence has to come about naturally. We have to wait for an opportunity for one spouse to go away for a while. At that point, instead of being fearful and jealous, we should know when to let go.

In a good marriage, the love will survive temporary separations. We are in a world now where jet travel has made separation commonplace.

Hopefully, with kindness and compassion, love will conquer all obstacles.

Assuming you once had the right chemistry to allow you to go into marriage, now all you have to do is show respect to your wife as a human being. None of us is perfect. Emphasize the things you both enjoy at present, but don't be discontent and look for more all the time. Trust your wife. Don't be jealous. Give her some freedom.

If you are entering a second marriage, don't fall into the trap of thinking that this time it's going to be one hundred percent perfect. Chances are good that you may have just as many challenges, although of a different sort than those that existed in the first marriage. Be prepared and be patient and kind.

Also, next to unavoidable difficulties such as illness and disability, which require strength of character on your part, the second biggest problem in most marriages is fighting over money issues. On this topic, it will help immensely if you realize the basic nature of your spouse with respect to her approach to finances. Once you admit that you know where she stands on the subject, don't try to make any fundamental changes in her character or deep-set opinions. Instead, talk without arguing and, if necessary, put agreements on specific issues in writing.

Remember, unless you pay thousands of dollars for an arbitrator, judge, or mediator, it is impossible really to win any argument when there are only the two of you present. So don't be illogical and think that you can.


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