How to Love Your Husband Well [Even When You’re All Out of Love]

love your husband

Greasy haired, spit up stained, spandex-wearing, frazzled Messy Mama standing in a dirty kitchen with a tantruming two year old. The thought of love your husband is nowhere on my mind. 

“No Mama! Go!”

(Cue: Whining baby in background) 

“MAMA! I need ummmm! I needa snack! Mamamamamama!”

(Cue: Crying baby in background)

“NO MAMA! Mine!!! I do it! Noooooooo! Mama GO!”

(Cue: Screaming baby in background)

Door opens, Handsome Husband walks in, “Hey guys!!!! How was your day?”

“DADA! I wuv you, Dada! Home! YAY!”

Messy Mama cuts eyes at Handsome Husband and goes to feed screaming baby while stirring supper and sorting laundry. 

Anybody else recognize this scene? Most days my husband walks in the door and I am much too exhausted, frustrated, and gross to even say “hi”, much less throw him a smile. Instead I am shoving kids in his arms so I can finish supper before it burns or go the bathroom (alone).

{Real life conversation. Me: I’m so excited to go to the bathroom alone again. Him: You go to the bathroom alone all the time. Me: Yeah dude, once you get home!  Ladies- they really have no clue!!!}. 

But let’s be honest, those things aren’t exactly making our marriage an unbreakable force!

3 years of growth

Today is my 3rd anniversary and I have spent a lot of time trying to think of ways I can be a better wife this year. Craig and I met on the first day of school just over 4 years ago, started dating shortly after, were married a year later, and had a baby by our first anniversary (and 2 by our third). It’s been a wild ride but it’s not been an easy one. The changes have come so fast we can barely comprehend the first before the next life change happens! Craig and I have been so busy raising babies that our marriage takes a perpetual backseat. It’s inevitable for the moment since we have two little munchkins that depend on us for their every need. By nature they have to come first right now but we cannot afford to neglect our husband and wife relationship either.

You know how I’ve spent some bloggy moments baring all my shortcomings as a mother? I feel like an even bigger failure as a wife most days. By the time Craig comes home I have pulled a 12 hour shift of single-parenting and used up every ounce of love, kindness, and patience I have to offer so he gets the scraps. So the thought of love your husband slips my mind more often than not.

Does this sound familiar? Are you a messy mama struggling to love your husband, and keep your husband a priority? I want to help!  I am sharing a few, simple ways I am committed to practice loving my husband even when I really don’t feel like I have anything to give him. I definitely do NOT do these every day… and I may not even do them all every week (although I probably could if I dug down very deep!)

Pearls, heels, or shaved legs not required. I know we don’t have energy for all that.

Encouraging your husband

Kiss Him Goodbye (and Hello).

I get it- this seems so obvious. SO OBVIOUS! Hello! We are married, why wouldn’t we kiss everyday? But when my husband leaves for work in the morning my eyes are still feeling like sandpaper and I’m doing good to open them and we don’t go to bed at the same time. I’m so excited to have some peace and quiet in the evenings that he is heading for bed when I am finally starting to unwind by reading or blogging or catching up on Ellen.

Complete transparency– it is truly a selfless act to give him a kiss sometimes. Not because I don’t enjoy but because I have to interrupt my sleep or give up a precious few seconds that I have completely to myself. I know that sounds selfish. It is. I don’t get to be selfish about much these days!

Keep a marriage journal.

I like words (I’m fairly certain that fact has been established already) and I am better with written words than spoken words. For Valentine’s Day 2 years ago I gave Craig a journal and dubbed it our marriage journal.  Instead of constantly buying cards that will get stashed in a drawer and eventually tossed I typically write him a letter in our journal. On more than one occasion it has been used to help us hash out arguments when we just can’t get on the same page. It’s amazing how our words are better received in written form! I love the idea of looking back on our journal 25 years from now and reminiscing on the valleys and peaks in our marriage. I have hopes of passing it along to our daughters one day to help them better understand our relationship as well as offer (non-intrusive) advice for their own marriages.

Pray specifically for him.

Love your husband by praying for him. This is a biggie for two reasons. First of all, Craig is the father of my children and the spiritual leader of this house. I want to cover him with very specific prayer that he will make wise decisions regarding our relationship, the way he parents, his friendships, career, and our finances. Secondly, it is nearly impossible to pray for someone if you don’t like them (genuinely pray, people… not pray a tree falls on their car!). It’s kind of my personal battle against a stagnant marriage.

For Valentine’s Day one year I gave Craig a homemade book of prayer that prays specific scripture over him for 31 days. I wrote each prayer and verse out in my own handwriting and try to use it daily to pray for him. Of course I am human and go through phases that I am more diligent with this than others and it is usually obvious in how I relate to him if I have been praying for him or not.

Fix a meal your hubby loves.

Most of my friends act like I am crazy for cooking supper at with two young kids and a husband that works long hours, but Craig really likes a home-cooked meal. I know this because one of these phrases are usually among the first things he says to me when he gets home: “Have you thought about supper? What’s for supper? Are you cooking?”

Therefore, I cook almost every night.

I try to cook at least one meal a week that is a favorite or one of his requests. Love your husband and make him one of his favorites occasionally Sometimes it doesn’t work out because Craig seems to prefer more involved dishes and time and toddlers don’t always allow for that but more weeks than not I can sneak one in.

Grab him a surprise at the store.

I am not a snacker and Craig prefers to do our grocery shopping because he likes to snack. If I am shopping we get exactly what is on our list, no more, no less BUT sometimes I will grab a snack I know he loves (especially if it is on sale) just to let him know I thought about him. His favorites are trail mix, pistachios, organic suckers, and seasonal beers so it’s not like I am breaking the bank… and these are hard things to mess up.

I am not much on red meat and do not care for steak at all. I got a wild hair one day to surprise Craig with a steak for supper but had no idea were 657 varieties and cuts of steak. After asking multiple employees and customers I walked away steak-less and decided he could surprise himself with a steak next time he shopped.

Pack his lunch.

Have I told you Craig is a PE coach? Well, he is! At an elementary school. He loves his job- lunchroom food, not so much. When we were dating (yes, we worked at the same school) I would bring him a lunch of leftovers every day. When we were married and I was still teaching I made sure to pack his lunch even though food hated me during pregnancy. Our Big Lee was born on the first day of school in 2013 and following that we decided I should stay home. Craig spent a few weeks on paternity leave with us and when he went back to work I was consumed with BL and never even thought about continuing my tradition of packing his lunch. Occasionally while cleaning up supper I will think to fix Craig a separate little container of leftovers. It’s no extra work for me and saves Craig a few minutes in the morning and reminds him that I think of him. Little acts of service go a long way in a marriage.

Fold and put away his laundry.

This may just be me. I actually have no problem at all with folding Craig’s laundry. I will fold every last item and “mate” his socks but then I stack them in a basket and think to myself, “Well I washed and folded this, he can at least put it away”. (I sound like an awesome wife right now, I know! You all wish you had the pleasure of being married to me!) If this ever comes up in general conversation I use the excuse that if I put everything away he can’t find what he is looking for and I have to go find it for him. That is a very true statement, but my real reasoning is that I wait on both of our children every day and do the majority of the housework and cook supper and I just don’t think I should have to put his laundry away also (plainly I relish in the opportunity to be selfish about petty things right now).

Eat a screen-free supper together.

I’m actually a little better at this than Craig. He has a crew from college that is currently referred to as “The Alley” (I have no idea why) that has an on-going group text. I haven’t a clue what they text about non-stop but he is very attached to his phone in the evenings. In the early stages of our relationship I pretty much dated the back of Craig’s iPhone. (I wish I was joking.) One day I got smart and texted him on a date asking if he would like me more if we were on a text date. He wised up. However, we have gotten into a habit of catching up on our DVR’d shows (usually Ellen) while we finally sit down for our 10 pm supper (again- I wish I was joking). Love your husband by putting down your phone.

Since we are both awake and usually kid-free this is a great time to reconnect and talk (and do things like ask about Craig’s day!) but it is more convenient to just be silent.

Ask about his day.

At one point in our relationship I knew what Craig’s schedule for the day looked like, what time he ate lunch, who he was coaching that day, and what his goals were for the day. Today it’s a miracle if I know the day of the week and it is asking entirely too much if you expect me to know any more than that. It truly does not even occur to me to ask Craig about his days, before or after. I am preoccupied when he comes home and busy until he goes to bed with baths, cooking, bedtimes, and cleanup. Every few days I will realize I have no idea what he’s been doing and will think about asking. If the words actually make it out of my mouth is a completely different story. I have to make a conscious effort to ask Craig about his day and then remember those details later. This is a new post-baby occurrence! Pre-baby I easily remembered every little detail!

I usually feel like I don’t have a lot to say about my day aside from a funny kid story but if he hasn’t asked about my day in a while I get my feelings hurt and assume he doesn’t care. Men typically don’t have all the feels us females have but I doubt Craig feels good when his wife never checks in on him! Love your husband better by asking him about how he is doing.

…………………………………………

Mamas, I know you are tired. I know you die to yourself every day to serve your family. I. Am. There. TOO. Let me encourage you to love your husband well. As someone that has not loved well lately I know the toll it takes on your marriage. I know what it is like to feel oceans apart from your husband and worry that he really doesn’t want to be your husband anymore.

This is a battle worth fighting, ladies! We chose to spend the rest of our lives, share homes, and start families with these men because we were so deeply in love with them. We change. Our lives get stressful. Our schedules are crazy. We feel guilty for what we don’t do and believe what we do isn’t enough. These are the lies of an enemy that wants to destroy our marriages and shred our tattered confidence. The enemy doesn’t want you to love your husband. But we can win this fight and we can love our husbands anyways. 

Encouraging Your Husband

Love your husband

You are the expert on your husband. You know what makes him feel loved and what makes him feel like a spec of dirt on the floor.There are so many little things we can do to love your husband and let our husbands feel loved without feeling like we are spreading our stretched out selves even thinner.

I am always looking for new ideas! How do you encourage your husband?

 

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Kate Walton
Kate Walton is a chaotic wife to Craig and a messy mama to the Lees. She prays daily to be grace-filled and gentle but has usually blown it by breakfast. Kate is a recovering teacher, DIY-aholic, wager of wars with the laundry pile, and creator of many messes. She is learning to live with the mess and tells you all about at A Kreative Whim.