What would your response be if I told you that you give an incredible amount of purpose and meaning to your husband’s life? You are the reason he gets up and goes to work every morning. The reason that keeps him going through the daily grind. What feelings come to the surface? For the first five years of our marriage, my reaction was “No, I’m not. I don’t believe it. I’m a burden. For some reason, somewhere between dating and getting married, my value went down and I’m no longer the thing he holds most dear.”
I’ve had some interesting conversations with my husband lately that have shown me how flawed my thinking has become. Yes, marriage vastly varies from dating, but not in a bad way. There’s so much security in knowing that this person has committed to you for life. No one knows you better than this guy does. No one can make you laugh like he can. It’s different than dating for a reason, but your value to him has not changed. Do you love him less? Are you any less enthralled with him? Do you not still long to be with him every moment of every day?
This hasn’t changed for him either. It simply looks different for men.
A few weeks ago one of my youth group students, who is now grown up and engaged, called me to ask for some advice before the big day. I was so honored that she would think of me, and had a great time talking to her about my experiences and some of the lessons I’ve learned. But there was one question I couldn’t quite answer, and that has bothered me as well. She told me about how she verbalized to her fiancé how much she misses him, as they are spending most of their engagement in different sates, but he doesn’t verbalize it back. He said something like “out of sight, out of mind”. He loves her, and misses her, but he didn’t feel it as intensely as she did. This sounds completely awful at first, right? She said she talked to him about how that response made her feel, and they worked though it (which I love – way to be honest, girl!), but I decided to ask Luke about this to see if he had some further insight.
Luke was upstairs practicing some songs for the worship team that weekend, so I went up, sat on his lap, and asked him about it. After putting his guitar down and wrapping his arms around me, he thought for a few seconds and told me something that blew my mind:
Think about being back in the hunter gatherer days. I could go out to hunt and maybe be gone for days. You would miss me and want me to come back soon and safe. But my perspective is different because my role is different. I would work long hours, tracking and hunting. If I had to choose between being gone longer and coming back empty handed, the choice would be easy. I would even put myself in harms way if I had to. Why? Because the best thing that ever happened to me is at home; counting on me to provide. See, without you to come home to, without you to provide for, everything I do loses its purpose.
Men are amazing. I’m constantly amazed by the words my husband has to say. He may not express what’s going on inside of him as often as I do, but when he does it blows my mind. After this conversation I not only saw myself through new eyes, but him as well. I am so thankful for the hard work he does every single day.
He also went on to say this:
When I’m at work, I make many decisions every day where I need to choose between “easy” and “quality”. I choose quality because I can’t secure a future for you by choosing “easy”.
He’s thinking about me all day long. How he can be the best provider. How he can secure the best future for us. How he can secure the best future for me.
After that day, I’ve felt a whole new sense of value. The fact that I, just being his wife and loving him, can give purpose to his daily grind is amazing. How humbling that he loves me just that much.
Here’s my challenge to you: the next time you feel like your man isn’t reciprocating your feelings, reach out and ask him. There’s a lot more going on under that handsome exterior than meets the eye. And I’m almost positive that each time he opens up to you you’ll fall deeper in love, and gain a new sense of purpose yourself.