4 Truths for Loving Your Man Well

Dear Friends –

With this being the season of love and celebrating Valentine’s Day, I wanted to write about loving our men well. However…..huge disclaimer….

Please don’t mistake my desire to discuss this topic as any sort of declaration that I have the answers.  Quite the opposite actually.  I wanted to give attention to this because after 21 years of marriage and befriending my man for over 23 years…I have been asking this question over and over…”What does it mean to love my husband well?”

I think it was about 5 years into my marriage that it dawned on me how different our hearts were.  My realization went something like this….. “ohhh…he’s not like my women roommates in college…

hmmm…I guess I expected him to respond like my girlfriends…

geez…I wonder why we’re so different…?!?!?

I guess I should find out how he feels loved…

(more pondering….)

I give up…he’s so different!

Oh…here’s a thought…I’ll just go ask him…”

(It was probably around this time that I also picked up the book, Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus.)

 So, in the hopes of shedding some light on an area that can often be a mystery…

 I share my 4 Truths learned over the years about loving my man:

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 #1 – Let your Man be a Man.

I’m not even entirely sure what this means except I had to often remind myself that I had not married someone like me.  I had chosen to marry someone who had different qualities and unique ways of looking at the world.  Did I really want to change him just to make myself feel better?  I decided I’d rather spend my energy getting to know him and understand him.  As I let go of expecting him to respond in the ways I would respond, our trust grew and an openness developed between us that deepened our love and our friendship.

#2 – Use your power for good.

At the young age of 23, I didn’t realize how much power I held as his wife.  I don’t say this to diminish him or elevate myself in our relationship, but more as a confession in how sloppy I often was in my communication.  As his wife, my words held more weight than any other.  I began to learn how much my words could cut down, emasculate, and diminish.  As this sobering realization sunk in, I renewed my vow ‘to love and cherish him until death do us part’.  But how?  I wanted my words and my communication to be uplifting, clear, direct, lovingly truthful, but above all else I wanted him to feel SAFE in our relationship.  I’ll be honest, I had my work cut out for me.

Which leads me to my next truth…

#3 – Have the courage and the integrity to ask for truthful evaluations.

If I wanted my man to feel safe and loved in our relationship, I had to ask him how I was doing.  But most importantly, I had to learn how to hear the hard truth.  It’s not fun to hear how my actions hurt his heart or ripped it open…but it is necessary to feel the weight of it in order for bad habits to be broken and new ones established.  Learning how I had hurt my husband was hard, but it continues to be the strongest motivation for me choosing better patterns.  Allowing the reflection of myself in his eyes began to be a new habit for me.  The good news…as I changed in areas that had repeatedly hurt him, I also got to see how he responded when he felt deeply loved and valued by me.  Flowers, gifts, surprise trips…you get the picture.  🙂

 Last…

 #4 Remember why you love him and do all you can to grow this love.

In my lifetime, I have only said vows to one person.  I intend to keep these vows…but I don’t think I really knew what I was getting into when I said them.  As my husband and I have ‘grown up’ together, we wanted to stay married, not through sheer determination and grit (although sometimes that is required), but through a growing love that aged like fine wine over the years.  Our shared commitment became a renewed effort to love and befriend each other as we aged.  On our mirror in our bedroom, we have this quote by Robert Browning, “Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be”.

Often our apologies end with….Sorry, Babe…I’ll be better when I’m older.  And I know that even as I am asking the question, “How do I love my man well?”  I know he is also asking, “How do I love my woman well?”  Choosing to love well really is just that….a choice…but well worth the effort.  What a sacred journey marriage has been for me…for us. To be in a relationship that honors this sacredness during the highs and the lows…in the beauty and in the mess…I believe we truly learn what it means to live wholeheartedly and show up for our best life.  I’m all in.

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Sharing the love…One love letter at a time.

 Happy February!

Love notes have always been a huge part of my family’s life. We love to leave little post it notes around the house for one another, on mirrors, in the kitchen, in the car, etc…

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And on special occasions (ie: Birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Father’s/Mother’s day) we tend to go all out with the love letters! Expressing our love in depth through letters & cards.

Recently, my husband raised the “love letter” bar when he wrote a love note to me every single day for a year in 2013. This gift took my breath away. It took writing our little love notes on post-its to a whole new level.

I knew that if I was ever going to read all of these letters, I had to go somewhere where there were no distractions. So, I went to the most peaceful place I could think of… the ocean. It took me an entire weekend to read every single letter… and it got me thinking… First, “How am I (ever) going to top this gift?” and second, “What is it about love letters that make us feel so…well, loved?”

I came to a few conclusions, but in an effort to keep this post a post and not a book (hee-hee), I will keep it to just two:

First, I realized, that I will never be able to top this gift. Accept that & move on (which, if you know me, this is extremely difficult to do, but that’s a whole other blog post in itself)

Second, I realized that the gift he gave me wasn’t about the letters. It was about the act of committing to do this every single day, to show me how much he loved me….and follow through with it. Seeing our life through his eyes… for an entire year… that was his gift to me.

Times where I thought things were rough and hard and difficult… he saw beauty, love and growth. Times where I thought I could have done something better… he saw perfection. Times where I felt lost… he saw my destination. Moments in our marriage where we were challenged…he thanked me for being his rock (me? He’s always my rock). Moments where our kiddos were driving me nuts… they were driving him nuts too!

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So, back to my question, “What is it about love letters that make us feel so loved?” Love letters give us an opportunity to express how we feel in depth that the spoken word may never reveal. And, most importantly, it’s the thought, the intention behind the action of taking the time to write a love note… that is where you feel the love. Love is so much more than words. It is an action.

We often think of love letters to be between a man and a woman, but they can be written to anyone. One of my most cherished love letters came from my daughter, Grace when she was {6}:

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Being that this is the month of “Love”… my challenge to you is to write a love note to someone in your life that you love. It can be to anyone! Your mom, your hubby, your BFF, your daughter/son, cousin… and it can be as simple as writing a post-it note, or sending a letter in the mail, or leaving a surprise note somewhere in the house, on their car, under their pillow.

Let’s share our love this month… one love letter at a time.

Hugs!

-Michaela

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