When my Dad was dying from liver cancer I realized one day that I had never told him that I loved him. The reason was because he had never told me that he loved me. I did love my Dad very much and I knew that he loved me, we just didn’t say it, that wasn’t what he did. I decided that I wanted to tell him at least once that I loved him before he died so I called him up on the phone and talked for some time about a variety of topics but I couldn’t get up the nerve to say I love you before I hung up. I was was so upset with myself that I called him up again five minutes later, he was surprised to hear from me so soon, but we again talked for awhile and I again hung up without saying “I love you.” I called him up a third time and when he answered I said, “Hi Dad, this is Dee, I love you” , and I hung up. A few minutes later the phone rang, it was Dad, and he said, “I love you, too”, and he hung up.
In my journal I wrote, “Why was it so hard to tell my Dad I loved him?” As I was thinking about that I realized that Patty and I had been married for 20 years and I had never told her that I loved her. I made a goal to tell her 5 times every day that I loved her. I wrote the goal down and read it every day. Some days I forgot, and some days I forgot until I read my goals before going to bed so I would tell her 5 times in a row. My motive was to communicate to Patty that I loved her, my method to make it happen was my goal and reviewing my goal. I have a goal to pray with Patty 3 times minimum each week, and I have shared that goal with guys in my accountability groups who hold me accountable. My motive is to grow in unity and oneness with Patty and I know that praying together is a very powerful way to make that happen, plus I believe that the prayer of a husband and wife is the most powerful form of prayer that there is. My method to overcome my forgetfulness and business in life is a goal and accountability to others. Patty appreciates my desire to be a good husband and spiritual leader in our marriage, and she doesn’t get offended by my method.
I often hear of wives being upset at the fact that her husband is praying with her because of a goal and accountability, or that he is taking her on a date once a week for the same reason. When they get upset they are forgetting a very important point, the motive of their husband in praying with them or taking them on a date is that he wants to please his wife, he wants to make his marriage better, he wants to be the spiritual leader in his marriage, the goal and accountability to others for the goal is the method of making it happen, motives and methods are way different.
Wives who can’t appreciate their husbands desire to do the things that will make her happy, who can’t appreciate the fact that he is trying hard to grow as a husband because he is using a method to help him be successful, are the kind of wives that will soon have husbands that will quit trying.
Men are mechanical in their pursuit of success in every area of their life, that is they need tools. My Dad used to say, “there isn’t anything you can’t accomplish if you have the right tools.” Goals, accountability, counseling, and reminders are tools, methods, and they work.
Wives, be part of the solution to your less than perfect marriage by appreciating very much, the fact that your husband wants to get better so much so, that he is using good tools to make it happen. If you don’t appreciate his desire and motive because of his reliance on a tool you will be the problem.