Begin with the Prayer of Abandonment.
In her lovely book on marriage, By Love Refined (p. 187), Dr. Alice von Hildebrand observes with characteristic candor:
“In too many marriages, the husband is so absorbed in his career that he pays less and less attention to his wife . . . . In such marriages, one unfortunate consequence is that the only time the husbands look at their wives is in the bedroom. They view physical intimacy as a relaxation which enables them to work better the next day. Finally, the relationship between such spouses is reduced to watching TV and sleeping together. What a tragic impoverishment of human life and a maiming of marriage! . . . Tenderness, loving interest, and profound spiritual concern must characterize all your relations.”
I confess her observation struck closer to home than I would have liked. There was a time when our respective jobs, combined with the demands of family and medical issues, took so much time and energy we rarely saw each other, or even slept at the same time.
Because we married later in life, and my husband worked for a family business, getting him to change is routine was very difficult. In truth, neither of us knew how to resolve the problem because each of us had brought certain assumptions and expectations into the marriage that made it almost impossible to find middle ground. It wasn’t until we had to face several crises outside our marriage — a difficult situation with our children, the death of his father — that we realized that we had a find a way to be truly home for each other. .
Slowly, we began to take baby steps. He would bring me home a bit of chocolate. I squirreled away “Dilbert” cartoons and keep them handy for the days my favorite computer geek needed a chuckle. On the days I knew he has a rough patch ahead of him, I refrained from asking him if he would be home for dinner and simply dropped him an e-mail in the middle of the day, with a little joke or lighthearted quip, letting him know how much I’m looking forward to seeing him at night. Then, when he finally made it home, I’d hand him a beer and we’d spend a few minutes talking not just about work and kids, but our hopes and dreams for the future. Perspective can be a beautiful thing.
What is your favorite way to get your husband talking?
I believe timing is everything – picking the right time to address issues is important. In our marriage we write it down and then find a time that works for both of us to discuss our concerns. It gives us both a safe place to discuss our issues which often turns around into our goals and what we are striving for as a couple and family.
Good point! Thanks for writing … I hope the 40 Day Challenge encouraged you! Heidi