Attention all husbands (especially the newbies): Don't give your wife reasons to stress.
I know, sometimes this might seem impossible...and some of you are probably thinking, "Have you met my wife!?" LOL
The reality is, she already has enough to think about it.
After nearly 17 years of marriage (beginner here), I have made a mental (and now, written) list of some of the actions, lack of action, words, attitudes, or phrases that have triggered worry, stress or irritation in my wife. I like to think I have a good pulse on the state of our relationship but, of course, I must always keep learning. And I'd like to help you along the way. So...
As of July 2021, here is my short list of the things that will trigger stress in your wife. Yes, these are universal and commonly found in all couples who will be honest and care to admit to them.
1) Not having a handle on money
If you don't handle the finances in the family, this may not entirely pertain to you. But if you do, realize that what and how you communicate the state of your finances impacts your wife. If you've gotten in the pattern of giving her only bad news, not giving her any news, or just telling her everything is fine, it's time for a change.
Resolve: Set aside at least one day a week or every few weeks when the two of you talk about your finances. It doesn't have to be long or super detailed. Review your incoming & outgoing revenue, expenses/bills, repairs, major upcoming purchases (if any), etc. This keeps the two of you on the same page and eliminates or reduces any negative emotions around the M-word, money. For help with budgeting and cleaning up your finances, here's a free resource - The Reverse Engineered Budget.
2) Complaining about your job
I get it. Your manager is crazy, they're not paying you enough and you think you're better than everyone, even the employees that have been there 25 years. For those of you who have children, keep in mind that they can hear you complaining - this sets a terrible example and has a negative impact.
Look on the bright side: 1) you have a job, 2) you're alive and 3) you have a job and you're alive.
It's probably not work that's the problem, it's your attitude.
Resolve: Every morning before starting work, write a short entry into what I like to call, a Gratitude Journal. I've done this for the past few years and it works. Keep it simple but substantial. After about 2 weeks or so of entries, look back on what you wrote so you can gather a list of God's "benefits" (see Psalm 103). This will help your prayer and praise life!
3) Leaving house projects unfinished
This is one of the top on my still-left-to-do list (hah, you're laughing cause it's true with you as well). Daniela would agree. I'm good at starting projects and renovations. Not so good at finishing them.
Resolve: Make a list of all the projects around the house that you've started but haven't finished (the backyard patio, the refacing of the stairs, basement reno, kitchen, etc.). Categorize them by order of importance and cost. I have my list on my fridge. This will help you quickly get a visual of what you need to tackle first, second, and so on.
4) Not helping with "chores"
Routine, common tasks around the house are to be done by everyone who lives in the house, not just your wife. This is part of living in a house! By the way, it's bad if she has to keep reminding you of this (gulp). Make it a point, and I'm speaking to myself, to take initiative on the regular, mundane tasks that need to get done like washing the dishes, putting clothes away, taking out the trash, vacuuming, etc.
Resolve: Take ownership of specific chores and do them on a routine basis. Make a list if needed. If you have children, get them involved (if you haven't already). For example, every Monday, you'll be in charge of vacuuming the downstairs and emptying the trash. Switch chores up as needed. The idea is to do them TOGETHER.
5) Failing to build an altar
If your wife has never expressed this to you, let me be the first to tell you - She wants you to lead her. This has nothing to do with her being less of a Christian or human, for that matter. She just simply understands God's perfect work in the way He created us (male & female) and the unique roles and responsibilities He has entrusted to us. Like you, she wants God's best. Therefore, step up! If you don't, she will (if she hasn't already).
I understand that you did not have a good example growing up and that your family did not have an altar. I understand that you may have a past and feel ill-prepared. I understand that you are "busy." None of these excuses hold up. Why? Because, 1) in Jesus Christ, there is hope! We have the Word of God to guide us and the Spirit of God to empower us, 2) Because nothing else is as important - not work, not little Johnny's soccer practice, not the house projects, not even the 'work' you do at church. Your family is your first ministry.
Also, this goes without saying - If you're a parent, parent! This includes but is not limited to teaching your children, encouraging, leading by example, loving, spending time together, disciplining/correcting, and, most importantly, leading your family in the ways of the Lord. Fathers, we need to get this straight: We are not babysitters. You are a father. Act like one.
Note for wives: If you're not saved yourself and are into a worldly lifestyle, you won't really care if your husband doesn't take the lead on spiritual/faith matters. But if you're a believer and love the Lord, you must care!
Resolve: Repent. I don't have anything fancy or ultra-motivating to tell you. Turn to God. Seek His face. Ask Him, really ask Him, to teach you how to lead your wife and family into His presence (in the book of James, we are encouraged to ask God for wisdom). This will change your life and their life! If you need help getting started, here's a short E-book for you.
Keep the fire burning,
Short, Biblical lessons and free resources on all things love & marriage. A pocket-guide for married couples and for single adults who want Gods best for their life.