Mars and Venus

I mentioned yesterday that I’ve been reading about nerds and husbands. I wanted to talk a little bit about the husband part. The man part. No, not that man part, silly.

It’s pretty much obvious to anyone with any cognitive ability whatsoever that men and women are different. This is not news. But the book I just finished reading gave me a little more insight about navigating those differences within a marriage and how to change what I do so that the man in my life feels more confident, loved and secure. Because a lot of times, we wish our husbands would do certain things, whatever they may be, but the only way we know how to ask them to do certain things can come across sounding to them like that oh-so-counterproductive n-word. The big nag.

Now, I hate to nag, but really, I didn’t really know how else to ask for what I needed. Perhaps I’m not alone there. Just guessing. This book, though, and just a slight shift in how I approach my daily life, has already made a difference.

I’ve always known in my head that you can’t change someone else, you can only change yourself. I think that concept is logically familiar to a lot of women, and yet, what are women stereotypically notorious for? Yup. Trying to change their men. But really, if we can find ways to show them that they are important and worthy and successful with us, that we love them no matter what, that kind of support we have the power to provide them can lead to incredibly positive results in the other areas of their lives.

The book I was reading is called For Women Only. The authors approach the topic from a Christian background, but the God stuff is really very minimal. The emphasis is more on being the kind of wife you want to be than the role of God in marriage. It’s about becoming the wife you know your husband deserves. And if you love your husband, as I would hope that any wife does, it’s important to learn how to make sure he knows how much you love him. The book doesn’t suggest that you “submit” or “obey” in the way that offends so many modern women, but instead, it reveals how differently wired the male and female brains are. The differences are fairly obvious, but at the same time, it was really helpful for me to take the time and focus on how the man thinks for awhile. Because I think I’ve been getting a little bit too trapped in my own head lately. And it’s only been bringing me down.

There’s a partner book, called For Men Only, that I’ve glanced at briefly. I would like for James to read it, but even if he doesn’t, I think that he will be uplifted from the effort I’m making to be better for him. It also benefits me greatly to have a happy husband. Especially if I am the primary source. I am one of those people who is profoundly influenced by the mood of the people closest to me. It might sound like my motivation is kind of selfish, in a way, but I really don’t think it is. Our happiness is not mine, nor his, it is ours. Together. Shared. It is a cycle that can spin either way. The less effort I make for him, the less he does for me, which makes me feel like doing even less, and so on. Disaster. The more I do for him, the more he is likely to do for me, etc. And we both win. Therefore, doing my part to the best of my ability is going to make our environment a nicer one overall. And that is something I need to keep in mind. To break the losing streaks once I recognize my role in them by adjusting my attitude accordingly.

I’ve definitely had my lazy wife moments. It’s not always easy to get motivated to do various things when it doesn’t seem as though the effort is appreciated. But what I’m trying to keep in mind now is that appreciation doesn’t always look the way we think it should. That selfless action is rewarding in ways that are not always immediate or obvious.

I would highly recommend either of these books. If you have a husband, boyfriend, father or son, a wife, girlfriend, mother or daughter there will probably be some answers in them for you. Some of the statements might seem obvious (men are more visual than women; women are more emotional than men), but finding out what it all really means in practice and how to bridge those gaps is really eye-opening and could make a world of difference. I already feel more at ease and confident than I have in awhile, and I just finished the book yesterday.

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