It’s a New Year and we are all still in the mode of working towards our goals, promises, or resolutions. The top goals or resolutions as reported by multiple sources are 1. Lose weight. 2. Eat healthier. 3. Improve finances. 4. Start exercising more. These are the top promises year in and year out without fail, which are easy to understand why, as most, every one of us could stand some improvement in these areas. But what area of your life needs improvement or work on?
About two weeks ago, I had a feedyard cowboy with me in my pickup, driving from the doctoring barn to the office for a lunch break meeting. I have known this guy for about 3 years now, and have gotten to know him fairly well through my once a month visits to the yard and conversations and meetings. He is a positive generally happy individual, with pretty solid talent. But given some of our prior conversations, I had known he had some challenges at home with his wife (or esposa as he is a hard-working Hispanic working to provide for his family). As he hopped in my pickup, the goal cards I had for them to fill out in our upcoming meeting were laying in his seat. As he picked them up to take a seat he looked at them, and said, “Ah, it’s that time of year again huh?” Showing me the goal cards. I said, “It is, we did them last year, and we are doing them again. What are your goals for next year going to be?”
He sat there, looked forward for a minute, then looked over at me and said, “You know, I need to work to be a better husband. I haven’t been the best husband to my wife, and I need to be better.” And I responded with, “You know, that may be the best goal you could have. She likely deserves for you to be a better husband.”
You see, we can resolve to lose weight, or eat healthier, or improve our finances, or even exercise, but what happens within the walls of our home likely matter more to our overall health, eating habits, and finances in some cases. I would also argue, that if you have a healthier marriage, those other New Year’s top resolutions will improve on their own given a more healthy emotion and mental state from a happier marriage.
Marriage is hard, it’s work, and it’s never necessarily easy. And many of us need to work to be a better husband or a better wife. Or both. I sure did, as I needed to work to be a better selfless husband for the first 5 plus years of my marriage, but wasn’t mature enough to know. What I didn’t know, I didn’t know, which is dangerous.
The good news is, it’s never too late to work to be a better husband or wife, to improve your marriage. No matter the quality of the marriage, it always needs work. Here are a few things to ponder and work on.
Practice forgiveness, forgive more
Work on saying I’m sorry, rather than being too proud. And don’t say I’m sorry unapologetically
Don’t allow your pain or wounds to fester, talk about them openly and calmly
Open lines of communication. Talk. Your wife wants you to.
Resolve conflict to repair any resentments one may have.
Stop the blame game
Quit keeping score and worrying about winning the argument. No one is winning but the devil if you are keeping score.
Show her more love, and show him more respect. Those are the two key things we both want more of.
Marriage first, kids are second. This often gets forgotten in the hustle and bustle or “wanting our kids to have better”. Don’t forget this, marriage first, not your kids.