One of the many things I have learned over 11 years of marriage is that Gary and I differ in how we feel loved and how we believe our marriage is doing. Although we have a solid foundation, we've had to stretch and grow a lot over the years and I'm thankful that we've both been willing to invest. I asked Gary what tips he would give to women to understand their men better and this is what he came up with...
Five Marriage Tips From His Perspective:
1. Ask how his day was. We care about all that the kids do in the day as we ask about school, their friends, thoughts and activities. He would love to feel heard, too. I have learned that the dinner table is not the best place for him to share because our four kids are difficult to manage but a quick "How was your day?" works when he gets home and then we can talk details once the kids are in bed. Take an interest in what he is doing.
2. Return his affection. If he's going for a hug, go all in. Same with a kiss. I could pretend I'm perfect but if I haven't had my coffee yet or if I've just had 4 kids crawling all over me, I'm really not in the mood for a hug. Or a kiss. Sometimes when he hugs me I leave my hands at my side, that's how unfriendly I am pre-coffee.
3. Appreciate the work that he does. Whether it's going off to work each day, painting the hallway or unloading the dishwasher–focus on the positives and say "Thank you". If it makes you happy, show him with a smile. Yes, that's what he said...he likes that he can make me smile.
4. Give him guilt-free down time. For Gary, he needs his TV sports watching time after work to unwind. Nagging at this time is especially unappreciated–even if the extra noise is driving you bananas. Video games are also enjoyable.
5. Do activities together. Put in the effort to spend time together doing what you love. For us it's hiking and road tripping but for you it could be golfing, board games or walking at the beach.
Every man is different but it's important to know how they feel loved, cared for and supported just as you would like them to know what is important to you (please pick up your socks and foot rubs are always appreciated!). Be sure you have that conversation yearly as things change. Finally, maybe don't ask your husband for five marriage tips when he's trying to watch the hockey game. Ahem.
If you have any other nuggets of wisdom, I'd love to hear it!