Friday, April 25, 2014

A Safe Place

Ok, if you didn't read my post on respect, I would recommend it.  I just feel like there are some good things in there that I wish I had focussed on more at the beginning of our marriage (you know, before the 9 year mark!).  To summarize; choose to respect the man in your life.  He may do things differently and that's okay.  Actually, it's good.  If there were two Louise's in this house it would be nuts.

This was the second week of my/our study on marriage and getting to understand the men in our lives more.  What did I learn this week?  Well, again, I realized that I kind of suck sometimes.  So frustrating to realize this about yourself. I mean, I knew it, but to read something and think, `Oh no, that's me' isn't fun.  At the same time, I love it because I know it's something I can work on and change.  To be honest, last year I was more in survival mode (not sleeping) so I didn't feel I had the energy to work on our marriage.

The big thing I learned this week was that men are insecure and that they really want to come home to a safe place where they are built up.  They don't need fake things said, but just focussing on the positive things and encouraging them works wonderfully.  This isn't something that I didn't know, I just didn't really practice it.  I didn't think Gary (my Mr. Confident Pants) was insecure so I asked him. After a few ridiculous answers, he gave me some real things that he does not feel confident about.  I really appreciated that.  I've always known to say positive things about my husband in public, but um, ya, I think I really needed the lesson on building him up at home.  It's so obvious, but I'm human and hormonal.

Let me give you a few examples of how I have not done a good job of affirming Gary.

As I've said before, I'm all about using my time wisely.  I like to make sure everything that needs to get done is done before I sit down to relax or have fun.  That's my style, but that doesn't mean it's the right way to do things.  I can be really annoying to live with.  I ask Gary several times a day `What are you doing?' when I'm working in the office and he's elsewhere in the house.  Sometimes I am just curious about what he's doing and sometimes, well, I'm implying `Are you using your time wisely?  Is there something else you could be doing?'.  What a way to make him feel crappy (like he can't live up to the 1000's of things I want him to do) and like home is not a safe place (I can't relax because Louise will only be happy if I go, go, go).  No one wants to be watched and evaulated 24/7.

{This was right after the ceremony and one of the happiest moments of my life!}

Or, what about the fact that I lived in a sleep deprived baby fog for years and I just became so bitter.  I would be jealous that he would get to go off to work and have `fun' (I know it wasn't really fun but it sure seemed way more exciting!!) while I was stuck at home feeding, changing, disciplining and cleaning the house.  He would come home and I wouldn't want to ask about his day.  I didn't want to hear about anything he had done because I was just jealous.  By not asking, and not caring, I was basically saying that he was a low priority in my life and he didn't matter.

I think one huge thing is to make him feel appreciated and supported.  In a study (sorry, don't know which one) it said that only 25% of men feel actively appreciated by their family.  I asked Gary if he felt appreciated and he said `sometimes'.  I would like to change that to `always'.  It's amazing what happens when you are appreciated.  Okay, this is kind of dorky, but I love it.  At dinner each night, we rotate between two things.  One night we say our highs and lows of the day.  The next night, we need to choose someone that we appreciate and say why.  Last week, Gary said that he appreciated how clean I keep the house.  Do you know what that did for me?  I spent the entire week ironing and vacuuming a little more happily.  I even went the `next step' and vacuumed where I don't normally like under the bunk bed.  Like, all the way under the bunk bed.  I know this sounds ridiculous BUT it's just how an example of being appreciated made me feel a bit better about doing the day to day.  I definitely see the difference in him when I know he's feeling appreciated.

I would say to try to avoid saying `Why are you...' or `What are you doing?' and instead listen, encourage, and support them.  Watch your reponses.  You know when you are frustrated and you know you can say one thing that will hurt them? Don't do it.  Let them know you believe in them.  It's sometimes hard, and no fun, to be the one to start the `nice cycle'.  You know, putting in the work when you might feel they aren't.  But let me tell you, changes happen quickly.  I support and affirm Gary and he in turn is more appreciative and commicative and understanding. It's not all roses around here, but our marriage is definitely getting stronger.

So, ask the man in your life (boyfriend, husband, father, brother) if he feels appreciated at home.  Then, ask him what he is insecure about (I told Gary what I was insecure about to get the ball rolling).  It can be really eye opening.  You can encourage them in these areas and make sure you don't say something that will absolutley crush him.

Hopefully there was one little nugget of encouragement in there for you.  If anything, it should make you feel better about your skills as a partner because I'm not the easiest person to live with!

Have a wonderful weekend.  I don't mean to sound all cheeesy but make sure you let people know what you appreciate about them.

Love, Louise

`Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.  Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.' Philippians 2:3-4

PS Thanks to those that emailed/messaged me to say that they appreciated my R-E-S-P-E-C-T, I appreciate it :)


  1. I'm really enjoying your marriage posts! It's neat to see what you're learning and how you're applying it, and the way you're encouraging us to make positive changes too! Sometimes I think it can be so easy to get in a rut or think that asking those tough questions are TOO tough, but I think it is always good to talk about those things (like what each other is insecure about).

  2. Oh man, saw myself in the section without the energy to work on. Good food for thought. Trying not to just feel guilty and drown in ice cream

  3. You always were a great teacher, and you haven't lost your knack!
    Thanks Louise! Loving these posts.

    Curious, are you guys studying a book?

  4. Adrienne-here is a link to the book:

    There is a new revised one so maybe that would be better?

  5. I read this post out loud to Edwin on a drive back from Vancouver yesterday. We chatted about it for a while! I love your honesty and these posts are very, very interesting to both of us! I think I have him hooked on your blog now too ;)

  6. Anonymous12:39 PM

    As the years go by in our lives, sadly some marriages fall apart. Marriage is hard work! The time to work on your marriage is today and everyday, not when it's unrepairable!