There is a multitude of roles that we must take on from day to day, and each one has a specific language attached.
Communication is one of the most important aspects of any relationship. For husbands and wives, it is especially important. The times that my wife and I have been in the most turmoil have always been a lack of communication that was at the core of the problem. From minor issues to much larger problems, just being unable to talk through things usually escalates the drama.
In some instances, just my inability or unwillingness to communicate was the ignition to an argument or a misunderstanding. Not speaking the right language to our spouse, either through ignorance or stubbornness, can make our wives feel alone, unappreciated, vulnerable or even unloved.
Many of us, unfortunately, were not exposed to fathers who easily expressed their feelings, or were able to verbalize emotions. Today’s men are not only expected to do this, but we are required to do so from day one. Unfortunately, many of us are completely unequipped in the art of communication with the opposite sex. To be fair, wives don’t get a translator for us either.
So, to be more effective husbands and fathers in our homes, we have to learn the languages that we must speak. There is a multitude of roles that we must take on from day to day, and each one has a specific language attached. So far I have found five, I haven’t mastered all of these languages, but I am becoming more fluent each day.
Helper– The language of the helper isn’t always a verbal language, it’s more about expression and actions. I try to recognize when my wife is asking for help even when she isn’t verbalizing it. The frustration in her voice when speaking to the kids or how she is carrying herself while doing a chore around the house. The key to this language, however, isn’t to wait until help is needed, a true helper takes on tasks with regularity and without being asked. The marriage is a partnership, and there should be few if any husband or wife only duties.
Comforter– What I didn’t realize early in my marriage was that my wife’s feelings weren’t always as sturdy as I thought. Not to say my wife is fragile but my lack of understanding that she was upset about something was cause for more pain than it should have been. Circumstances impact us differently, yes sometimes we feel the same pains but at times what I overlook could be weighing on her. We have to be there no matter how big or small an issue may seem, to try to bring comfort to any situation. Just because I don’t completely understand the problem doesn’t mean I can’t understand the hurt.
Encourager- Wives do a lot, especially where children are involved. My wife takes the lead on all kid related activities and responsibilities. If it were left up to me, they would be lucky to make it to school with shoes. Between all the subjects, sports, birthday parties, sleepovers, doctors appointments and supply shopping for my kids she rarely has time for her things. Stress is something that moms have to deal with as well believe it or not! Kids are horrible most of the time at appreciation, and lack of appreciation can lead to frustration. If we don’t step up to appreciate and encourage them, nobody else will.
Lover– When we have kids, they take up time and a lot of it. Far too often we put on our hats as fathers and forget that we are also husbands. Being the man of the house doesn’t just mean you keep the kids in check and cut the grass. I am a husband first and a father second, my relationship with my wife goes far beyond our kids. She needs to know that, and she needs to be sure that no matter what I love her. Our chaotic lives need to have moments of quiet and there needs to be a major effort for one on one, uninterrupted, quality interaction with our wives.
Hero– My wife rarely needs any type of saving, she does quite well for herself. She has never been known as a damsel in distress. The thing I need her to know though is that no matter what, I will be the one to come through for her. She has to know that whatever the situation is and, however, difficult it may be that I will literally wade through hell to her. From problems big to small if she needs my help I should be willing to give it without hesitation.
I know there are other languages that I need to speak, and the longer I am married, the more I will discover. The point is that as long as we claim to be in this together, I need to be willing to expand my knowledge and vocabulary. Each step I take to be a better husband also makes me a better man and human being. This is the most important relationship I have, and it’s the most important one I ever will have.
This isn’t just about listening and learning our wives; it’s more about listening and learning ourselves. Love isn’t just about how you feel; it’s about what you say and do.
Photo: Flickr/ Carlos Mota Jr.