Monday, 6 February 2012

The Happy Husband Alphabet

I didn't think this up myself! I was inspired by a similar list in the book I am currently reading by Elizabeth George, "A Woman's High Calling". In it, she has a list of 26 suggestions for how you can help to make your husband happy - and motivated by that, I thought I would create my own list, customised especially with my Papa Bear in mind! Why don't you have a go too - it's so much fun!

Here is my version of the Happy Husband Alphabet ...

A - Actions often speak louder than words, and can show just as effectively how much you love someone. Plan ahead and keep your eyes open and your ears alert, so you can find out just what little special extras you can do to make your husband smile! Sometimes something as small as his favourite cookies waiting for him when he comes home from work, or his clothes hung on the radiator to warm before he puts them on in the morning (a Papa Bear favourite), or a warm bath run before he comes upstairs to go to bed, will mean so much to him.

B - think of nice Breakfasts you can make your husband. It might be the smallest meal of the day (though for good health, I've read it shouldn't be) and it might be the quickest, but that doesn't mean it has to be boring. Surprise him with a treat now and then.

C - Candles make such a lovely calming, romantic environment. The most ordinary of occasions can be made to feel special with the addition of a few candles. Battery operated ones are wonderful if you are worried about safety issues. Next time you want to plan a surprise meal for your huband, why not set the table with some candles, to make it extra special?

D - Doing things together is so important. I know a lot of people feel it is better for their marriage if they have separate interests they can enjoy apart as well. Papa Bear and I don't. We are two hearts that beat as one - and that means doing everything we possibly can together.

E - in the Evenings, no matter how busy you've been or how tired you are, use this opportunity above all others, for some together time each day. Think of some fun, not too challenging things you can do - this isn't the time for planning your futures, looking at your finances, discussing important issues. Instead, consider reading together, playing games (we like Bananagrams, which is easy to play with only 2), doing crosswords or Sudoku, or listening to music. Films are good too but tend to limit conversation.

F - oh my goodness there are so many F's that I could use! Faith, football, fishing, family, food ... but I'm going to settle for Fighting. Papa Bear and I NEVER fight. Period. Fighting isn't the way to settle disagreements, or to express your negative feelings. Instead take them to God, and let Him deal with them. I'm not saying my marriage is perfect, but it is harmonious, and this is one good reason why. We just don't ever fight.

G - Good times don't just happen, they need planning for. Take opportunities to make the smaller, more personal occasions in your lives into the good times. The world doesn't need to tell you when or how to enjoy yourself. Find out what your husband's passions are, and use them as inspiration for planning some good times just for the 2 of you.

H - Hugs are a great way to show your husband how much you appreciate him! Papa Bear and I have a special word for them - "huggles" - a cross between a hug and a cuddle, and I make sure there's time for lots and lots, every day!

I - how could I resist this one? Ice cream! Find out what your husband's favourite sweet dishes are, and see if you can recreate them into an ice cream form. Don't tell him beforehand! He'll love it and be so impressed at your inventiveness!

J - when Papa Bear was sick with a chest infection recently, I cheered him up with lots of Jokes. He has a very literal sense of humour (irony is lost on him) and this was one of his favourites (yes, really) ... "knock knock". "Who's there?" "Cows go". "Cows go who?" "No, cows go MOO!". Try to think of some that will make your husband smile - your children will probably be able to get you started on this one!

K - try to Keep some of your housekeeping allowance aside every week to put towards a surprise for your husband - a small gift, or a trip somewhere, or maybe a special meal. Not only will it make him smile but he will be so pleased with your skill at stretching your pennies! We like taking trips on the train to the seaside for a picnic, so that's what I often try to keep our pennies for.

L - I'm sure we've all heard the saying that Listening is as important to good communication as talking. As you can probably tell from the length of some of my blog posts, one of the areas in my life I need to work on and that I often take to God, is my chatterbox nature! I'm learning to hold my tongue and listen as often as I speak. And don't forget, sometimes it's what your loved one ISNT saying, when he tells you something, that's just as important as the actual words. Cultivate the skill of being a good listener, and see how it benefits your marriage.

M - Mothers-in-law are often the focus of many an unkind comment and joke. Really and truely, us wives need to learn to cherish our mothers-in-law. Remember, a man's first love is his mother, and your disrespect or dislike for her, is unecessary and offensive. Not only that, but you are missing a wonderful opportunity to find out from her, just how to be a blessing to your husband! After all, she perhaps knows him much better than even you do. If you really can't stand her, try to find one common interest or passion (your husband himself is a good start!) so that at least you have that to share with her. My mother-in-law is now sadly passed away, but I make sure she is a very important part of our lives still.

N - Nagging never makes anyone change their behaviour. It is ugly, unGodly and uncalled for. Try to get out of the habit of nagging (it is one character fault I've really worked on, as a wife, and pretty much managed to stamp out, but not without a lot of hard work and prayer). Not only will your husband thank you for it if you can learn not to nag, but you will probably feel much happier too!

O - get out into the Outdoors whenever you can. I personally don't care for formal exercise, because I feel that it is time spent doing something alone, that you could be enjoying with your loved one or family instead. Sure, it's healthy to keep fit, but you don't have to do it alone. Schedule some time to go for a long stroll - a walk on the beach, around the park, past the river, wherever! Window-shopping when the stores are all closed is fun, as is finding a part of town you've never visited before to explore. Enjoy the fresh air together, and get some healthy exercise at the same time.

P - Privacy is so important in a marriage. However many children you have, a couple must have regular time alone. Lack of privacy can be really damaging to your relationship, so timetable it in - and enjoy it! And remember wives, never to share details of your private life with anyone else. It's for you, and you alone.

Q - Quiet times are also important! Papa Bear and I have worked through several different couples' devotionals, and we really enjoy these quiet times with the Lord together. Have a look at the different ones available in book stores and online - you can download some for free, or just use them as an inspiration to write your own. We've used several different ones, but like the 15 minute devotions by Emilie Barnes, as well as using Spurgeon's Morning and Evening. Prayer is also part of your quiet times, so factor this in too. Praying together is very bonding.

R - Relatives. Papa Bear's family is are very important to him, so they are important to me, too, and we include them in many of our holiday plans and other big celebrations. He wouldn't be who he was, after all, if it weren't for his precious family.

S - it's so important to Share. Papa Bear and I share so much, more than I will ever talk about on our blog. But our shared past, is one thing that draws us closer together. We have a shared understanding of each other too, that comes from being open and honest, and listening patiently. It's good marriage cement.

T - create your own family Traditions. It is so much nicer to have these, planned around what you as a family feel is important and enjoy doing, than being dictated to by the secular world. Last year I surprised Papa Bear by creating a special meal on Burns Night for example, and while we discovered we weren't ALL that keen on haggis, we still had a lovely time!

U - Ugly words should stay inside your mouth! Take them to your Father God and don't let your husband ever hear you say anything ugly. Sweetness is always preferable, even if you're expressing an opinion on something he shares. And while I'm on the subject, make sure never to say anything ugly about your husband to anyone else either. Ugly words lead to ugly thoughts, and usually, ugly behaviour too.

V - we can't afford Vacations, in this season of our lives. But we don't let that stop us getting into holiday mode! You can plan a "virtual" holiday if you want to - by going online and researching some of the places that you'd love to visit. Then have a day or even a week, where each of these destinations becomes a theme. Listen to music from that country, eat traditional cuisine, and see if you can learn a few words of the native language too! We did it last year and it was great fun - and we all learned a lot too.

W - Weekends are precious. Although I do have a few chores that must be done at the weekend, Papa Bear and I make sure to do lots of fun family things too at the weekends. Sundays especially are a day of rest and reflecting on the Lord's presence in our lives. We love going to Church together, something that's only become a regular activity for Papa Bear in the last year. If there's football on the TV, I plan some activities around that too, and ensure that Papa Bear has a nice "football tea" that he can eat in front of the TV - a real treat for him. And we celebrate the more relaxed atmosphere of the weekends by enjoying special meals and fun desserts too.

X - of course there's no other word for this letter, except XXXXX Kisses! You don't have to be physically present with someone to send them a kiss, either! Papa Bear gets regular kisses in the shape of cute candies, cookies and chocolates too! And wee little notes in his lunch box!

Y - Yes is a word that you should definitely cultivate in your vocabulary! As my mother (and grandmother) use to say, "there is no such word as can't". And when it comes to your marriage, this means, putting your own desires and needs aside, to serve the needs of your headship first. Learn to say yes to him, even when he desires something of you that you're afraid you can't achieve. You never know - you may be able to do things you'd never imagined, and even if you can't, your husband has the assurance of your willingness, which is just as valuable to him as your success.

Z - ZZZZZ! Sleep is very important - and so is your bedroom! Make it a private haven just for the 2 of you. I personally don't like too much "stuff" in a bedroom, so we have very little furniture, not many possessions, and certainly no TV. It is the only room in the whole of our home that Papa Bear is happy for me to have full reign over the decor, so it is quite feminine, and I take care to make sure it is warm, welcoming and VERY romantic!