If you don't feel fulfilled in your marriage, don't give up yet. Help your husband help himself.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you wonder whether your husband understands his purpose as a husband?
- Is he still trying to live like a single man?
- Do you think he is incapable of loving you the way you need?
- Do you wish he did more for the marriage or to improve himself?
If you answered "yes" to any of these, or you know someone who would answer "yes," please continue reading.
We have multiple purposes as men. But, one of the hardest—yet most important—is learning to love and honor YOU. We are becoming more aware of our shortcomings in this area and that's why I want to share this with you.
If you are wondering if there is something wrong with you or something you've done to attract men like us, allow me to explain. Many of us men are naturally attracted to women we uniquely find beautiful, nurturing, selfless, compassionate, funny, intelligent, supportive, and respectful, just for starters.
We also want to believe you accept us for who we are, and will not hurt us emotionally. If any combination of those describes you, that's your contribution to this. So, what's our deal then?
It begins with social programming and what boys are taught about "being men". Here are some of the messages and experiences that influence who we are and shapes our manhood. Before you were in our life, society exposed us to—pornography, domestic violence, various forms of abuse and/or neglect from our families, pressure to have premarital sex, and experimenting with drugs and alcohol. We had poor male role models but the people who "accepted" us were those poor male role models.
Brace yourself; there's more.
We listened to music that degraded women, learned that we shouldn't talk about our emotions, believed under no circumstance should we cry or show pain, learned to trust no one, and listened to mottos like "bros before hoes" and "money over b*tches."
You may have known some or all of this, but here's a few examples of how these experiences affect us:
- Exposure to domestic violence and various forms of abuse and neglect affected our past and current substance use, as well as our ability to open up to you emotionally.
- Premarital sex and cohabitation gave us an unrealistic expectation of marriage, practically leaving us unprepared to love you.
- Lastly, pornography contributes to our difficulty with intimacy, difficulty supporting you during stressful times, and difficulty sharing our thoughts and feelings with you.
Although these are only a few examples, it's clear—most men don't know what the heck we're doing. Make no mistake, this does not describe all of us; nor do all of us with these traits have identical lives before marriage.
Just keep in mind that our past negatively affects our view of marriage and our sense of purpose in marriage. Unfortunately for you, we are doing the best we can with what we've been provided.
While we understand we may require some professional help, at this time on bended knee, we humbly ask you (the women in our lives) for the following:
1. Use a cheat sheet. Take the 5 Love Languages Quiz online and just for now focus on your highest score. Then, make us a list of what we should do specifically to love you accordingly.
For example, if your top love language is "quality time," tell us exactly what we could do to fulfill that—planning a date night, going shopping and to lunch together, designating one night a week just for us.
So yes, you do have to tell us (for some of us, this is your 20th time). This helps us know what to do and how to do it. Additionally, because it's emailed, we can never say we don't remember or we forgot. In return we will honor you by using this list.
2. Take baby steps. Give us a maximum of two goals at a time from your list. Hint: prioritize your list from most important to least important. Too many expectations is overwhelming for us since this is still fairly new territory. Although your list may contain more than two items, only evaluate us on the first 1-2 agreed upon.
3. Maintain your standards, but adjust your expectations. We don't want you to lower your standards for how you want us to love you; we just want you to expect only what we are capable of giving for now, and continue to expect more as we get closer to standard.
For example, if we have minimal experience opening up emotionally to anyone, expect that we may struggle initially, but eventually improve to meet the standard.
4. Don't give up on us or the marriage. Please give us another opportunity to get this right. Who we are is not your fault, and we understand you don't deserve this. We're really sorry and sincerely seek your forgiveness.
5. Trust in God. Do not trust us to change and learn our purpose in the marriage on our own. Instead, trust that God will work through you, others, and us (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV).
Marriage is hard work for anyone, but when you throw in a man with an underdeveloped sense of purpose, sense of self, and sense of being a husband, it becomes a serious challenge. Although it's ideal that we come prepared to be the ideal husband for you, who better to teach us how to become a loving, respectful, appreciative, and supportive husband for you?