UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE – “ASK”

For many years, when my alarm went off at 6:00 a.m.; I would start to pray. “God, please help me to get out of this bed. Help me get one foot on the floor and then the other one. Please God help me to start this day.” Those were the days when I was employed full time, taxied two children to endless activities, baked my own bread, sewed my own clothes, taught Sunday School…in other words; every morning I had to go into the telephone booth and change into the image of  Super-woman of this present generation.

On Saturday mornings while the children were cuddled in their pajamas, munching cereal, playing with the dog and my husband watching basketball, any person watching this peaceful family scene would probably sigh and comment on this blissful Rockwell family. Wrong. In the meantime I was in the kitchen banging pots, dragging out the vacuum cleaner, crashing doors, slamming the dishwasher door, all in hopes that someone would notice. Especially my husband!  “Can you not see how exhausted and overwhelmed I feel?  Can you not get up off that couch and help me? Do you expect me to do this all by myself? Does anybody in this room care? Those words ricocheted around in my head until one day; they exploded out of my mouth. My husband Dick looked up at me with the “deer in the headlight look” and gently said, “Well honey, all you have to do is ask!” 

Are you kidding me – ask? Apparently that is what I needed to do. Learning to ask my husband for help was an uncomfortable revelation that exploded light bulb moments in ways I could never had imagined. Nobody told me this “man secret”; so now I am telling you.

Men need to be asked. We women are emotional, intuitive creatures who notice a slight frown on someone’s face and immediately ask, “Is anything wrong?”  Most men’s brains are not wired that way and you and I need to be crystal clear about our needs. Let me give you some examples. 

  1. DO ask for help. Don’t ever assume that your spouse can read your frustration, exhaustion or helplessness.  Some men can, and if your husband is one of them, consider yourself fortunate.
  2. DO be very specific.  Give him one or two clear instructions. Don’t rattle off twelve items that need to be done with explanations how each one is done.
  3. DO send him with a list. If you want your husband to pick up some groceries, write it out for him on a sticky note and give it to him or stick it on his steering wheel in the car. He may remember two items, but not all ten.
  4. DO praise him and thank him for his efforts, especially the next time you are with a group of your friends. Even if he only vacuumed one room for you, praise him as though he had launched a space satellite. I’m not saying this to be manipulative; but let’s face it, we all need praise and gratitude and what better way than to praise him in front of his friends.
  5.  DO value his time as well.  My first husband loved to watch, play, referee and coach basketball. I helped him achieve his goals and he helped me with me.  Learn to do trade-offs and balance both your activities.
  6. DO give up sometimes.  Again, in my first marriage, Dick hated fixing things around the house and doing yard work.  For years I tried to do this for him but I eventually gave up and we hired someone to do those things for us. Even though it stretched our budget it brought peace into our relationship.
  7. DO NOT NAG!  Here is my first DO NOT but this one is important.  He does not need another mother, he wants a wife. He had a mother who probably told him, “If you don’t clean your room, you can’t go out and play.” He can probably still hear his mother’s voice echoing in his head, and if you are that voice, he will shut down and tune it out.
  8. DO make it fun and be kind. In Ephesians 4:32 the bible tells us to, “Be kind compassionate to one another…” Kindness drawn people toward us; anger and harshness make them pull away.
  9. DO remember that men think and process differenty than women do. Neither of us is right or wrong, just different. We must be determined to discover, and understand the different lenses through which we process life.

 I am so blessed that with my second marriage I have learned from many of my callous mistakes and ignorance. I continue to be amazed at how peaceful life can be when I feel stretched and helpless and I ask for help.  It’s almost like a miracle.

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2 Responses to “UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE – “ASK””

  1. This is so good Heidi. #6 made me chuckle. Sometimes “do nots” are every bit as important as the “dos.”

    It appears that your blog has had a facelift. Or maybe my eyes are seeing it differently. Anyway, I love it.

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  2. Ha! Ha! Heidi, you hit the nail right on the head. I once left a piece of paper on the kitchen floor to “test” the men in my family. I wanted to see if they would pick it up on their own. That paper sat on the floor for two weeks driving me crazy! I learned two things – definitely ask if you want them to do something and they will not notice dirt! Men ARE wired differently, however when they do something unexpected, like the dishes, it is like I’ve just been given a diamond ring! Do you think they plan it that way? LOL! Great article! Glad I stopped by.

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