Occasionally I ask Patty if there is anything I can improve on in order to be the best husband possible to her. One thing I have learned is that if I am serious about getting an accurate answer is that I need to give her time to think about it before she gives me the answer. So announcing to her that we are going out for dinner in a couple of days and I am going to ask her that question usually results in some insight for me on how to improve and grow towards my goal of being the best husband possible to the best wife in the world.
Over 50 years of marriage, hundreds of hours of marriage counseling, many hours of listening to teaching on marriage, and reading dozens of books on marriage has resulted in a fairly concise list of principles for husbands on how to be a Grand Champion. It will take several days of blogs to cover these, and I will write them in order of importance.
1. Never, never, ever, get angry, not even a little bit irritated not even a little bit intense, or heated, not even a little bit, never, ever!! Now I feel angry, irritated, upset, hurt, and frustrated all the time by things Patty does and says, but I can exercise self-control and not respond the way I feel. I mess up occasionally, but I confess and ask for forgiveness soon after the offense, if not immediately. Sometimes I will graciously explain that certain things that she says offends me and make an appeal to her to change, emphasizing that what she does is not wrong, it just makes me feel irritated for some dumb reason. She always responds positively wanting to make me happy.
2. Accept certain behavior as permanent. There are certain things that Patty does and says that no matter how many times I make an appeal to change, it probably won’t. One of the things that she does often that always pushes my button is to tell me what to do, I call it, “bossing me around”. When I get in the car and put my IPad on the dash of the car she will say, “That will fall on the floor as soon as we start up, put it in the side pocket in the door”. I used to respond by saying, “It is my IPad, I can let it fall on the floor if I like, quit bossing me around”! That response didn’t result in a pleasant drive to church that morning. My self-talk goes like this now, “Patty is a Grandmother to 27 kids, that is how she thinks and talks, so just be patient and talk nice”! So, now when she says, “that coffee is hot, be careful”, I respond by saying, “thank you”. I can do that as I practice, think about it, and seek to be the best husband ever.