Things I Wish My Wife Had Known When We Wed

Yesterday was our 30th anniversary! As I told the men on The Generous Husband, it’s been a great 28 years. I’m not saying the first two were horrible, but they were far less wonderful than those which followed.

Paul & Lori at their wedding reception. © Paul H. Byerly

Here are some things I wish Lori had known 30 years ago. Most of these apply to most marriages.

  1. He’s willing to die for you, and he’ll become willing to live for you. (Dying is easy; living involved a great deal of sacrifice.)
  2. He feels protective of you because God made him to feel that way. Accept it, and openly appreciate it. (If you resist his desire to protect you, it will change him in ways you don’t want.)
  3. He will choose you over his mother, but it will take him awhile to see he needs to do so. Help him by being honest when she hurts you, but avoid attacking her. (If he knows she’s hurting you, his desire to protect you will kick in. If you attack, he will feel he must defend her.)
  4. He doesn’t think and feel the same way women think and feel. Sometimes he will have no idea what you are thinking or why you feel the way, you do. (If he withdraws, it is probably out of frustration.)
  5. He will put up a brave front, but you can and will hurt his feelings. Apologies mean a lot, even when he responds with “No big deal.” (Men often fear admitting they are hurt because with other men saying such things can and will be used against them.)
  6. Sex means far more to him than you think or he knows. It makes him feel loved and accepted in ways nothing else can. (He is vulnerable sexually because you are his only source and you can say no any time for any reason. This means sex is a matter of acceptance or rejection.)
  7. Sex is not the only thing he thinks about, but it’s always just under the surface. (God made him this way, and at times, it bothers him a great deal.)
  8. Yes, he really wants that much sex. (A young man could have sex ten times a week for years, and most men under 40 could manage daily with no problem.)
  9. If you say no often enough, he will start handling it himself. (Many men do this so they ask for sex less, either to avoid annoying their wife, or because they are tired of being told no.)
  10. Your sexual pleasure is extremely important to him. Be more than a bit selfish in bed, it will bless him. (It is difficult to feel good about sex if you think it is just for you all the time. Feeling selfish about sex may mean he asks less, but it will not help your sex life or marriage in any way.)
  11. Disappointing you or having you think badly of him are among his worst fears. (You can use this to manipulate him, even without meaning to do so. However, if he feels you are using this against him, he may stop caring.)
  12. Men challenge ideas to see if they will survive. (Don’t take a challenge as him saying you’re wrong. Tell him what you think and why, and let him go over it in his mind.)
  13. Men respond to being pushed by pushing back. The more you push, the more he resists. (A light touch is usually better.)
  14. If he gets so angry he’s afraid of saying or doing something that will hurt you, he will withdraw. This is part of protecting you. (Chasing him down is a very bad plan. If he thinks he needs time to cool down, let him have it.)
  15. If he asks you a question, he wants an honest answer. (“I don’t know”, “I don’t care”, and “Whatever you want” upset him. Say them often enough and he will stop caring what you want or think.)

~ Paul – I’m XY and I love my wife more every year!

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12 Comments on “Things I Wish My Wife Had Known When We Wed

  1. Thanks, Paul. This one is worth saving and reviewing regularly.

    FWIW, I would readily die for my husband and have always felt that way. And I also am wired to protect and provide. Those qualities may present differently in me than in him, but they are there nonetheless.

    Perhaps what is more important is that I understand my spouse feels the same way. And perhaps that he needs to know that I know he feels this way.

    • I agree IS. As important it is that we know what we are willing to sacrifice, it’s no less important that the other know too. I remember at some point telling my then teenage daughter I would stand between her and certain death. I could tell she didn’t fathom the commitment behind that remark and still doesn’t in her mid-twenties, but one day, perhaps after having children she will. Whether she understands it or not is not the point, only that she knows it. Someday she will understand and it will be important to her to know.
      Dan recently posted…Her Sex Is Broken and I Gotta Fix It: Part 3 — X Marks the SpotMy Profile

  2. I’m thinking a little note on manipulation could fit onto #3 too.

    The Mother-In-Law scenario is a bit tricky all over even if she’s a decent person like mine. I sometimes worry I have driven a wedge where it shouldn’t be because I wanted more him and less her.

    Just be very aware of your power and always keep that little Spiderman in the back of your head alive, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

    And more personally, that #12 one stuck right out. I just want my ideas challenged a little less and nurtured maybe a touch more. I want to share every idea I have, even the precious ones, and sometimes challenging it right away is a lot like having the builders trample my garden or teenagers laugh at my babies.

    That said, I love that he has taught me to troubleshoot my ideas this way and build on them with a lot more strength and foresight.

    But, yes, things I wish we’d known at the beginning.

    • You’re right on with #12. Women in general want more more nurture and less challenge than men in general. The “trick” for a man is figuring out how much of each is desired.

      We can each learn and grow from ours spouse a great deal. We just have to figure out how to give what is needed to open our spouse up.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Boundaries; Not One Size Fits All!My Profile

  3. So, I have a question: you said that “apologies mean a lot”….and I completely agree. This is a sore spot for me (there are complex issues here, I have always apologized for virtually everything, a habit I am trying to break, plus other internal issues on her part).

    And it is more than an ego issue. Sometimes apologies are “demanded” but even if they are due an apology, the problem is deeper in some cases. Almost like a propping up of the person.

    My hurt SEEMS to go a bit deeper than that (not going to try and say I am the perfect, unselfish husband). I just wondered if there was more to this than “guys don’t like to be seen as hurt”. That explains the response (“no big deal”), but not the deeper hurt. Maybe it just makes us normal :)

    • When we apologise for everything, I suspect it makes apologies less valuable.

      If someone needs an apology for every little thing, I suspect they have something else going on. The apology should be primarily about our relationship, not some need filled by either apologising or receiving an apology.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Boundaries; Not One Size Fits All!My Profile

  4. Paul,

    What a great post. I sent it out via FB & Twitter.

    I may even create a short bio of you and Lori and give it out at our couples sweetheart dinner in February!

    I have a series for Valentine’s Day coming in the newsletter so be sure to open it today.

    Several made me laugh and reflect. # 4 was the reason I started reading like a mad man through marriage books because she just did not think like me! Imagine that?

    Speak with you soon.

    – – Jerry
    Jerry Stumpf recently posted…5 Ways To Become A More Active Listening Husband In Your MarriageMy Profile

  5. Maybe I’m just having a dense moment, but I’m confused about number 10. “Be …selfish in bed, it will bless him” followed by “Feeling selfish about sex…. will not help your marriage in any way.” ??? I think I’m missing something.

    • Be selfish about your pleasure in bed, he is referring to the man feeling selfish because the sex becomes only about him and not her. In other words if he feels like he is the only one the sex is for, he will regard the sex as him being selfish, and will ask for it less, but this helps no one.

  6. Happy Anniversary to Lori and you, Paul. We’re on 33 currently. I can barely believe it’s been that long.

    Great list. Not like one of those superficial Red Book or Cosmo things.

  7. Pingback: Great Minds, #2 | The Curmudgeonly Librarian

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