It’s been a long time since I actually watched my husband get ready for work in the morning. On the rare occasion he has to leave the house before me, I typically burrow myself in blankets and pillows to block out the light and noise.
But this morning, while watching my husband put gel in his hair, I felt like I was immediately transported back to 2004. I suddenly realized he’s been using the same brand of gel, styling his hair the same way, and following the same exact morning routine for the past 11 years.
“You know what I just realized?” I asked him. “You haven’t changed a single bit since I first met you.”
“That’s because I was forged in steel at the age of fifteen, Lynee’.”
It was a pretty astounding light bulb moment for me. I’ve always known that the essence of who my husband is has remained constant from the day we met, but it’s been a “passive” knowing. Not something I’ve taken the time to actually think through.
“And what’s crazy to me,” I continued, “is that I keep changing. Women evolve every one and a half to two years like clockwork. But you men get to a certain age and then don’t change.”
“By fifteen or sixteen, I was forged in steel,” he repeated. “Forged in steel.”
There are parts of my spouse that I know have been cemented in his core from a young age, and yet I’ve wasted so much precious time, sacrificed so much peace, wreaked so much havoc in our relationship trying to force him to change. Trying to force his submission into the fantasy-relationship box I created in my own mind. A box built on my own insecurities and selfishness. A box that ultimately projected my own short-comings.
I’m not sure why this hasn’t dawned on me sooner, but I know everything there is to know about my spouse. So from this day forward, I think my goal is to start using this knowledge to my advantage. Not in a sneaky, spiteful, malicious way, but in a way that will create more peace, more joy, and greater love in our marriage.
Goal #1 – Stop Complaining
My husband busts his butt to give our girls and I everything we could possibly need. But because I’m spoiled and selfish, my complaining is typically rooted in feeling that what I have is not good enough. Therefore, in the spirit of self-reflection, selflessness, and sacrifice, I will stop complaining and practice gratitude.
Goal #2 – Participate in his Hobbies
We were practically babies when we started dating and have since grown into two people who are so very different in many ways. At the end of a long, hard day, it’s a lot easier to engage in our separate interests rather than spend more energy finding something we’d both enjoy. But I literally see the twinkle in his eye when I put down what I’m doing and engage in one of his passions.
Goal #3 – Apologize More
Some time ago we were in the middle of an argument that started escalating quickly to just going in circles. I finally made the decision to swallow my pride, apologize, and try to see things from his perspective. You wouldn’t believe the magic that ensued. All of the sudden he was apologizing and admitting where he was wrong! This caused the argument to transform into a conversation that allowed both of us to share our perspectives and come to a mutual understanding.
Goal #4 – Say “Thank You”
My husband expresses love by giving and doing, no matter how thin it stretches him. And I recently learned that when I nag and don’t acknowledge his bending over backwards, it makes him feel like he’s not enough. Similarly to the impact of apologizing, when I’ve thanked him, for even the little things, he always responds by thanking me for a mountain of things I didn’t even know he was grateful for.
These goals will be a challenge because they go against my natural inclinations. But I’ve learned that this is what love is: it’s not reactionary, it’s intentional. Moving forward, I choose to meet my husband where he is and love him there.
~Love and Happiness from Your Best Girlfriend~