I didn't get the "How to be a Husband" manual when I got married... It must not have been available on Amazon.com that year.
The only manual I had was the one I put together watching my mom and dad navigate their relationship. I learned some good practices, and some not-so-good ones, but even with everything I learned by watching, there was a whole lot more that was never taught.
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So, if I had to boil it all down and pass along some marriage wisdom, the things I would have wanted someone to tell me before I tied the knot, I would pass along these ten nuggets of husband-ness. I hope they're helpful.
1. Encourage your wife. Do you know what your wife's dreams are? Do you care? You should. She needs you to support her in her life. She doesn't want to be thought of as a second-class citizen. When you find out what she cares about, encourage her to go do it. If she feels like you won't let her, she'll end up resenting you down the road, and no one likes resentful people.
2. Become the spiritual leader of your home. Your wife needs you to be the spiritual leader. The old "if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything" saying is true. If you don't lead your wife in spiritual situations, she might try to lead you, and this can cause pressure in your marriage.
3. Stop looking at porn. Porn introduces someone else into your relationship. Now, you may argue, "It's not a real person," but when you're trying to be intimate with your wife, that picture is all you think about. And guess what? Your wife also thinks that picture is all you're thinking about, which makes her feel used. Pornography distorts your mind when it comes to real intimacy—that real human being you share your bed with. So, ditch the porn. Become intimately involved with your wife instead.
4. Have healthy, encouraging male friendships. No more hanging out with guys who badmouth their wives. No more guys who check out porn and send it via email. You don't need that. Find guys who love their wives, and can encourage you to keep getting better as a husband, and as a man.
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5. Speak kindly of your wife to her. Find something your wife does well and point it out. Then, make a big deal of it! Even if it's just vacuuming the house. Tell her you appreciate it. You know, there is a traditional Jewish custom that every Friday night for Sabbath, the husband and family honor the mother by singing her a song to tell her how wonderful she is. Now, I'm not saying you need to break out the vocals, but an outward display of appreciation is important. 5 Compliments Every Woman Loves To Hear
6. Speak kindly of your wife to others. No more badmouthing your spouse to your friends. The old adage works: "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all." First, your casual friends may not really care about your marriage. They could be either jealous of you or selfish. They could want you to hang out more often, so they may play up the "problems" that you tell them about. Second, there is no honor in airing your dirty laundry outside your marriage. Don't do it.