A note from James Russell Lingerfelt: We took a number of your responses and added to them from the comments section below. The power of this article is in the collaborative effort, so feel free to add your own thoughts! “Caroline” made us smile.
Lastly, in my experience watching my parents, if we make the conscious decision to daily place our spouse’s desires and needs above our own, and that’s reciprocated, the marriage will succeed. Utter and complete selflessness. Isn’t this true in all healthy relationships? Such principles are great, but having a list of ideas to help us along never hurts…
began by “Wendy”
I’m a woman, divorced after 7 years of marriage. I read your post and appreciate the heart behind the advice. The fact that you you recognize the part you played in the scheme of things is a feat in itself. Being able to face the past with openness and humility is admirable and not something many can, or even want, to accomplish.
Given my experience, there are some key concepts I learned in my journey as well. We women have equal responsibility in making a marriage work. For all the points mentioned for husbands, there are perhaps also some for wives I would like to share.
1. Always seek out the best in him. Dwell on those things, not what you don’t like about him. (From Wendy)
2. Have sex with him. Often. All the time if need be. (From Caroline)
i. Best advice received from an older woman on the eve of my wedding 12 years ago: Make love a lot, especially when you don’t feel like it. Making love is a balm, it covers and heals a lot of the wounds we inflict on one another in a marriage. When you feel like you just AREN’T close to your spouse, that’s the time to take off your clothes and GET close. Boy-oh-boy, was Janice right! (From Rebekah)
3. Seek counsel from older, wiser women who have succeeded in their marriages. It’s impossible to make good decisions when we’re emotional. And seeking counsel from your friends who are your own age isn’t as good as counsel from elderly women. (From JRL)
4. Let him zone out. He is not ignoring you, men just have moments of brain freeze. (From Caroline)
5. It’s not your job to change or fix him. We are all on a journey. (From Wendy)
6. Tell him how big/strong/smart/manly he is ALL THE TIME. They tend to forget. (From Caroline)
7. Never forget or take for granted that your man chose you. (From Wendy)
8. Laugh at his jokes. Even if they aren’t funny. (From Caroline)
9. We are responsible for our reactions, no one else. We must take full accountability of our emotions and how we respond. And so must he. (From Wendy)
10. Make him that goddam sandwich. (From Caroline)
11. Allow your man to just be. Be a comfort, be a gentle and giving spirit when the times call for it. (From Wendy)
12. Quit your bitching when he gets home, let him chill. (From Caroline)
13. Love him in the way he needs it, not the way you assume he needs it. Find out your different love languages and be sensitive and ready to show him you love him in ways he understands best. (From Wendy)
14. Make yourself look pretty. The more feminine you act the more it reminds him he is a man. (From Caroline)
15. Be present. Give him your time and attention when he needs it. In my experience, during those times I did serve him, he over time, served me. (From Wendy)
16. Never talk about other men, even if they are fictional or movie, even if it’s to say “you are so much hotter than that guy” Most men already think they are, so this will confuse them. (From Caroline)
17. Be willing to have him sexually. Let him know you need his masculine presence, that you trust him fully. (From Wendy)
18. Never read advice on the internet from strangers. They probably don’t know you and will make you do stupid crap that will not be applicable or appropriate in your marriage… (From Caroline)
19. Give him space. He needs times to find his new self (we change constantly) before he can give of himself. (From Wendy)
20. By doing these things it would not mean a wife doesn’t expect her husband to be great too, or is to blame for the breakdown, just that she is doing her part to make a better half of a marriage. (From Caroline)
21. Be vulnerable. Do not be afraid to share your fears and feelings. Men tend to know when we’re keeping things from them. And they know when we’re transparent. And, I can’t emphasize this more: acknowledge your mistakes. Say you’re sorry when you know you need to. (From Wendy)
22. Allow your husband to love you his way instead of comparing his expression of love to your own ideals. If you keep comparing, you may miss the most beautiful moments of tenderness. (Jennifer)
23. Do not be afraid to be fully transparent. This builds great trust over time. (From Wendy)
24. Don’t ever, ever, ever put your spouse down in public! He has to have someone that he knows will have his back. If you need to discuss something he did or said, do it in private. No one wants corrected in front of others. Once discussed and fixed, let it go! (Marie)
25. Find common hobbies, goals and dreams. Also, find common ground in your faith. Never stop growing together. Laugh lots. Fall in love over and over again. (From Wendy)
26. Many times, we cannot connect or reconnect because we have created a version of them in our mind and hearts that justifies our own weakness. As long as we see them as the caricature we’ve created we cannot connect to them, because that caricature is not them. Own your feelings, own your results, meet your own needs, turn to a higher power for what you lack, and allow your higher power to make up for what pain your spouse will cause. Even the best human among us will cause another pain, it’s part of being human. (From Liz)
27. Don’t let financial issues come between you. (From Wendy)
28. Acknowledge and embrace each others pasts, it made you who you are. Speak up, talk about “it” when it happens instead of fighting about it a month later. (From Sarah)
29. Forgive. Don’t let history hold you or your man hostage. (From Wendy)
30. Never underestimate the power of simply touching each other. Sometimes it can say what words can not. (From Sarah)
31. Always, choose love. Love is action, not emotion. Don’t miss that. (From Wendy)
Make sure to add your own thoughts in the comments section. We will moderate so that each comment is original and contributive.
Read the original article, “Beautiful advice from a divorced man after 16 years of marriage.”
Did you enjoy this article about love and romance? Make sure to check out The Mason Jar, a coming of age love story from the male perspective by James Russell Lingerfelt. The novel helps readers find healing after severed relationships.
The Mason Jar movie is scheduled for pre-production in 2015 and will be directed in the same dramatic and romantic tones as The Notebook (2004) and Pride & Prejudice (2005). Follow him on facebook or twitter for updates.