We held a "Husband's Panel" at our MOPS (Mother's of Pre-Schoolers) group this past Friday. Six men braved the group of 65+ women and answered a compilation of questions on marriage and parenting. The one theme that seemed to run throughout the Q & A time was the importance of open and respectful communication between husband and wife. Here is a list of the top ten things that we were able to "take away" from the panel:
1. Question: Please list the following in order of importance to you upon arriving home from work: 1) Wife and kids greet you at the door, 2) Nice meal prepared, or 3) Clean house
Answers: It was unanimously agreed that the most important would be to be greeted warmly by their wife and children upon arrival. Some mentioned that it didn't necessarily have to be "at the door;" but within a few minutes of them getting home.
The husbands agreed that it was very helpful to have at least one clean and organized space when they get home from work. It helps to leave the "stress" from their day. Some mentioned the kitchen counter, a room, etc. *Talk with your husband to see if this may be something he is hoping for and which space would be most helpful to him if it were cleaned.
Nice meal was also unanimously their last choice of the three.
2. Question: How do you think the responsibilities/roles in the house should be delegated?
Answer: "Role/Task Defining" lists. Make a list of all that "needs to be done" around the house. Husband and wife each has a copy of the list, split up, and separately write down who they felt was responsible for each item: ie. Trash taken out - Husband; Dishes - Wife. This can be an eye opener for both of what the expectations of one another actually are. Take some time to communicate about any changes that may need to be made.
3. Question: What is most important in keeping communication open? & How can I get my husband to listen to me? (These 2 questions ended up coming up together)
Answers: Set apart time and cultivate good communication with your spouse. Allow the other to tell you that "this isn't a good time" to talk and schedule time if needed. Some felt it was helpful if we would give them a "heads up" that we wanted to talk to them about something and allow them some time to process the issue before discussing it.
If you communicate in a way that is respectful; it is easier for them to want to be loving and communicative. Nothing shuts done communication faster than an anger or bitter approach.
4. Question: How can I get my husband to help out more?
Answers: It was mentioned that it is ESSENTIAL how you ask your husband for assistance. The tone of voice, approach, etc.
*Also VERY effective to point out that you would have more time and energy for intimacy if they helped out with ___________.
*The guys said it is needed for us to ask for help specifically. "Could you unload the dishwasher or could you please help ____ clean their room?"
5. Question: What would your perfect date be?
Most of the men mentioned that they just enjoy blocks of time with their wife and enjoy seeing her in different and new situations.
"Dinners After 8:00pm" One husband and his wife often do special "dinners" after the kids have been tucked in so they can have uninterrupted time with one another.
The last 5 "take home tips" that either came up in the guys "closing comments" or throughout the panel:
6. The value of knowing your spouse's "Love Language." Gary Chapman has an awesome book, "The Five Love Languages" which would be a wonderful resource for you to read together as a couple. You can also go to http://www.fivelovelanguages.com/30sec.html to take a 30 second assessment and get more information about what the "Love Languages" are all about.
7. They don't want to be treated like "one of the kids."
8. When we leave our husbands with the kids; the guys mentioned that they appreciated when we left things pre-prepared for them: Bottles pre-measured, meals planned, etc.
9. Remember that you chose to marry your husband. He may never change. YOU are the only person that you have control over, so begin with yourself on trying to make things better within your relationship.
10. God is the only person who truly "completes us." He is our source of all wisdom, love, and grace. When we humbly seek Him, He will reveal to our hearts what we should do for ourselves, our husbands, and our children.
I pray that this post will provide you will insight, ideas and encourage you to open the communication lines with your own spouse!
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