Today is Super Bowl Sunday. In a few weeks it will be Valentine’s Day. And frankly, our husbands get the short end of the stick….unless of course nagging, grief, and cutesy-pie dates and gifts “for them” (yeah right) count as love.
Let’s consider the example of the Super Bowl. For a lot of men, the Super Bowl is a BIG deal. (Yes, even if their team isn’t playing.) For some women, football is hard to understand, confusing, boring, and viewed as a thief. We can’t understand how a bunch of men running up and down a field for 3+ hours steals our husbands away every weekend for months on end. Let me ask you this…do you think your husband understands how watching chefs make oyster foam and other food you’ll never eat or watching a man hand out roses to seemingly crazy women each week is interesting to us?
But here’s the thing….husbands are much better at putting up with our “thing” (much better at putting up with US) than we are. I can’t recall a single instance of my husband nagging ME. Never once has he come up with a list of things he wants me to accomplish each day. He doesn’t storm out of the room when I’ve turned the TV to Top Chef (again.) He doesn’t make me feel guilty for having interests and hobbies that are different from his own.
How many of us can say the same things? How many of us can honestly say that we allow our husband the freedom to be who he is, and encourage him to enjoy what HE likes, even if it is something we don’t?
No, I don’t like the NFL. I also don’t like action movies, the weather channel, or a lot of other things my husband does. We’re different people with different interests. Yet, I can’t count the number of times I’ve started slamming cupboards around, become instantly a grumpus, or muttered things like, “I’m selfish. I sit on the couch and watch football all day and let my wife do everything” under my breath (but loud enough for him to hear.) And again, I’m reminded by the stark contrast between my husband and I. Last week, when I holed up on the couch for three hours reading “Insurgent”, did he ever complain? Did he start muttering about how I’d better get to the laundry and the bathrooms? Did he “casually” leave a To-Do list sitting somewhere for me to see? Did he throw a fit? Of course not.
What’s my point? Let him have today. Let him watch the game without being nagged. Don’t complain. Don’t throw the fit. Take one for the team and SIT NEXT TO HIM (even if you hate it.) Men crave “shoulder to shoulder” time with you. If football isn’t his thing, let him have whatever his “thing” is. My father-in-law tinkers with old radios. My dad fishes. Both my Mom and my MIL have learned that their husbands are better, happier men when allowed to develop their interests and spend time doing what they love.
Think about it…Aren’t you a happier, more loving person when you’ve been allowed to have some time to do what you enjoy? How would you feel if every time you went to scrapbook, read, blog, run, etc you were attacked, berated, and made to feel guilty by your spouse? What would that do to your relationship with him? Probably wouldn’t give you the warm snugglies, and make you want to help him huh? But we continue with the guilt trips, the personal attacks, and the nagging….insanely thinking that those tactics will get us what we want. Sure, your husband might give in, but at what cost?
So, let today go. Give your husband the space and freedom to enjoy the things that make him happy. Let him have his own interests. Encourage him to have time with his friends. Happily giving him an afternoon of football-watching, (target practice, fixing up the old car, poker, golf, etc.) WITHOUT any type of grief will work out for you in the long run….because he will be happier, more refreshed, and you won’t have built up a wall between you constructed of guilt and grief.
Show your husband love today and this week by giving him space, and encouraging the pursuit of his interests without guilt, grief, or nagging. Your marriage will thank you.
*Bekki and David Lindner are available for speaking on marriage at conferences and retreats. Please contact us for more details. We’d love to work with your group.