Be kind to him.
“...Get enough rest and say no to enough activities so that you have the energy to be NICE TO ME (and the kids) when I’m home. Honestly, I appreciate the rest of it, but don’t really care that much if it comes at the expense of the first two things up at the top of the list. Maybe you think that I think you’re a bad wife or mom if you don’t do this stuff. If so, that is wrong. I would much rather have a messy house, make my own lunches from white, store-bought bread, have no snacks, etc. etc., but have a nice, happy wife who likes me, than the other way around… It’s my best friend I fell in love with and want to hang out with, not my maid!”
Shoot for the stars and go once per week if at all possible. Or start with once per month, if that’s the season of life you’re in right now. Don’t you dare feel guilty about leaving those precious babies for a few hours. Or your husband. They’ll be just fine, I promise. When you have this regular time away for personal recreation and recollection, you will naturally come back a better wife and mother. Even if your husband balks at first about letting you take a couple of hours a week “off,” be understanding but firm. He will come around when he finds that he has a more balanced, happy wife.
Growing up, a sandwich always tasted better when my Mom made it for me. Michael loves when I make his lunch for him, even when it’s usually just leftovers. Having me pack up last night’s pot roast and mashed potatoes with an orange and a granola bar every morning is just something that means a lot to him. A special thing that I do additionally, though, is pick out an encouraging Bible verse to scribble on some scratch paper and tuck into his lunch bag for him.
“Hope you’re having a good day, sweetie. Get excited for dinner–I’m making something special tonight. See you this afternoon. :)” Michael really likes when I communicate with him during the day. Some people may not have the luxury of being able to call or text their spouse at work, but if you can, definitely do it! And don’t call just to ask when they’re coming home and if they can pick up milk on the way home. Call them to see how they’re doing. Call them without wanting something from them. And sometimes, call him just to tell him that you can’t wait to give him a big fat kiss and then some when he gets home.
I realized some time ago that I almost never asked Michael for his opinion on things. I’m not talking about what to wear to so-and-so’s wedding. I’m talking about his opinion on if an action I’m considering is appropriate. Or if he thinks a swimsuit I’m considering buying is too immodest. Or if he thinks a blog post I’m writing is charitable enough. I have been blown away by his responses sometimes. Asking for your husband’s opinion communicates respect.
Sometimes we wives can fall into the trap of making fun of our husbands–or outright complaining about them–in front of others, whether our husbands are present or not. There’s a place for fun and gentle poking at one another, but oh-how-powerful is the witness of a couple who speak well of one another in the presence of others. “Michael is really good at that, actually. He’s helped me work on myself in that area so much since we got married!” “I’m so proud of him lately…he’s working 13-hour days and you know what?–the man hardly complains!” Speak about your husband to others in a way that shows your respect for him. He will notice. And like the husband of the Proverbs 31 woman, “the heart of [your] husband will trust in [you], and he will have no lack of gain” (Proverbs 31:11).
My husband is a dreamer. He’s a vibrant, ambitious, intelligent, charismatic, going-places kind of guy. And he needs me to have faith in him. Most of the time, I don’t have to try. He’s amazing and he takes incredible care of our family. But if he fails, he needs me to communicate my faith in him. That’s my job. He needs me to be his his loudest cheerleader. And he needs me to cheer from my heart.
Our husbands are our best friends. One thing friends do is laugh together. Call him in the room when the kids do something funny. When he asks for a big glass of water, fill up your biggest pitcher when he’s not looking and casually serve it to him. Text him a picture of a Ferrari you sat in traffic next to on the interstate. Give him a go-get-’em whack on the behind as he’s walking out the door to work. Surprise him by doing something goofy when he least expects it. Better yet, suggest something fun you could do together later after the kids go to bed. Ahem. He’ll love it. He’ll love you.