Being intentional about anything is always the best way to make it better. Whether we are talking eating right, clearing the clutter, having quiet time with the Lord, or loving on our man. As we wrap up our study this week with all of our friends at Proverbs 31, I want to encourage you with 5 ways to keep The Husband Project going.
Add a reminder to your calendar for at least 2x per month to do something intentional just for him. Maybe it’s to pick up a treat for him, make him his favorite dinner, a massage, or 30 minutes of free time carved out for him to recharge.
Add your man to your prayer journal. Praying for your marriage is a great way to be intentional and praying specifically for God to move in your husband’s life through you and in every facet of his day will build him up.
Buy a pack of post-it notes and then use them. Buy a pack that are just for him (maybe they are blue or heart shaped) and write an encouraging word for him. Leave one in his car, his lunch, on his pillow, in his suitcase, on his mirror… you get the idea. Doing this at least once a month will show him you are thinking about him and grateful for all he does.
Break out the lingerie. Girls, if this project was the first time you’ve whipped out the lingerie in months/years/decades, vow to bring it out more. Has it been an especially tense week for your guy at work? Lingerie. Did the teenager disrespect him? Lingerie. Are you in a really great mood today? Lingerie. Did you have two cups of afternoon coffee? Lingerie. Find an excuse to bring it out rather than excuse to keep it in the drawer.
Make sure you are signed up to receive my blog and newsletter in your inbox because… Every 2 months we will be doing a special 5 day mini-project. We’ll get together and encourage each other, build each other up and of course share all of the great ideas you have with all our new friends dedicated to their marriages. Our first 5 day project will be in late September!Sign up by clicking here and when you do you’ll receive by ebook, 14 Ways to Have a Happier Husband.
*Bonus idea: get out your journal, or a piece of paper, or type on your computer. Write down all of the benefits you’ve seen from doing this study. From your heart, to his reactions, to your children’s responses to mom loving on dad more intentionally. Write it down. And when you get discouraged about your marriage, go back to this list.
My father-in-law regularly repeats a joke that used to do the macarena on my last nerve. “Your mom and I have a great relationship. Want to know the secret?” he’d ask my husband and me with a smirk. “Low expectations.”
As a woman of exceedingly high standards for myself and my relationships, I’d snort, roll my eyes, and think, “How sad!” Twenty six years of marriage and about a decade of personal soul searching have changed my view of the joke, however. My father-in-law is on to something.
I was the woman who dragged a whole train of expectations down the aisle with my white dress, and it hasn’t served me well. A long list of lies shot those expectations full of steroids.
Before I broke up with perfect, I said things to myself like “I always need to be my most perfect self.” That’s been replaced with a commitment to be my truest self. (Shaky sigh of relief.) I once truly believed that I could make the pictures of perfection in my head come to life, but now I’m content to live in the blessing of my reality. I used to measure the perfection of my marriage by holding it up to others. These days I focus on the gifts of the man that’s perfect for me instead!
Probably the worst lie I believed was this: I should help my beloved live up to his potential.
[Tweet “Probably the worst lie I believed was this: I should help my beloved live up to his potential.”]
It sounded so pretty when I said it with my sweet southern accent, but the heart of the lie was rotten. I suspect I’m not the only one who bought the lie, though. You know the drill. “It’s not criticism. It’s help.” “It’s not manipulation. It’s showing him the right way to do things.” “I’m just encouraging him to have high standards, don’t you know?” Mercy.
We go into a relationship because of admiration, but somehow a growing level of commitment shifts us into improvement mode. He’s wonderful, but… He’s almost perfect, if only…
When I met my husband Barry, I was most attracted to the bold and hilarious way he spoke his mind. I love to tell people that he’s reverent about God, but everything else is fair game! Barry had this “good girl” in daily gales of laughter about the edgiest things.
Somehow the switch flipped after we married, though. He didn’t change a bit, but my attitude did. I was nervous when I didn’t know what he’d say, and I thought I could make him even more wonderful by refining his verbal filter. Needless to say, that belief wasn’t very popular.
Relationships shatter when we value perfection over people.
[Tweet “Relationships shatter when we value perfection over people.”]
Sadly, it took years for me to realize the damage I was doing with my pick-you-apart methods, but thankfully my husband isn’t just funny. He’s also one of the most grace-filled people I know.
I asked Barry recently what expectations he brought into our marriage, and he seemed puzzled. “I expected to love you and for you to love me,” he replied simply, and I realized he was being honest. That’s a shocking statement for a woman who believes in the power of a life-changing tweak!
Click to Download Day One of Breaking Up with Perfect
For twenty-six years, Barry’s greatest gift to me has been that he truly lets me just be without an agenda to improve me. The trick for us reforming perfectionists is to learn to return the gift, and I’m determined that’s just what I’m going to do for Barry for the next twenty-six years plus.
This week I’m finishing up Kathi’s 21-day challenge in The Husband Project, and she’s been a huge encouragement all the way through. Almost every day in one way or another she’s urged all the participants to lower our expectations. Live in the real world. Give yourself (and your husband BTW) grace.
Kathi’s absolutely right. For about five years, I’ve been breaking up with expectations, lies, and mental pictures of perfection, and my marriage is the happiest it’s ever been.
It’s been a journey, but I’m now convinced. Low expectations add the gift of joy to our marriage. When unconditional love is elevated and perfectionism is banished, two individuals experience the freedom to grow into a bonded unit where happiness thrives.
That kind of marriage is even better than perfect, so next time, I’ll look my father-in-law in the eye, rare back, and laugh myself silly at his joke!
Author: Amy Carroll is the author of Breaking Up with Perfect and a speaker with Proverbs 31 Ministries. She lives in NC with her husband and a bossy miniature dachshund. You can find her on any given day texting her sons at college, typing at her computer, reading a book, or trying to figure out one more alternative to cooking dinner.
Having trouble with the Husband Project when you’re not in the best place in your marriage? You are not alone.
It’s hard to talk about, but some marriages are difficult and you may be doing the Husband Project Online Bible Study with Proverbs 31 Ministries, but your heart is just not in it.
In this episode, I talk with Fawn Weaver who has interviewed over 110 couples around the world to see what common threads could be found in strong, happy marriages. What she found is surprisingly empowering.
Listen in to hear her tips on how to find hope when there is a marital mismatch or if you feel like you’ve tried everything and you’re stuck.
One way we show our husbands we love them is by looking our best each day. Does that mean I am wearing a ball gown and full makeup everyday when he comes home? Not at all. In fact, there are seasons — think just had a baby — when you are lucky to get a shower each day. Let alone dress for your day! It’s about intention — “How can I look as good as possible when we come together again at the end of the day?” Sometimes all this means is you’re putting on a fresh pair of sweats and freshening up before he gets home.
As you go through The Husband Project Bible Study, I encourage you to dress each day to please your husband.
Here are some simple tips to dress to impress:
Dress for the season you are in: Looking your best does not require becoming a fashionista if that’s not your thing. The goal is to look our best in the season we are in. For example, I’m a stay at home mom who is occasionally a speaker at women’s events, so my wardrobe is primarily made up of jeans and t-shirts. The rest of my clothes dress up my everyday look — blazers, cardigans, and accessories. Nothing fancy! But my husband sees me in different versions of my “uniform” each day. And I am always dressed for my day when he comes home.
Dress for your day: Every day I “dress for my day” — somedays I am home all day doing chores, so I might have on my sweats. Before my husband comes home I make sure I take a few minutes to freshen up. On days I have dressed for being outside our home, I make sure I stay in that outfit until after he comes home and sees me before I change into something comfy.
Dress for your husband: Your husband may not care anything about fashion and may act like he doesn’t care about what you wear — dress to please him anyway. Show him you care about yourself and him by looking your best each day. If he communicates preferences, honor them whenever possible. For example, my husband loves my lips and likes to see them in red lipstick. He does not like to kiss my lipstick. Before he gets home I take off my lipstick so he has fresh lips to kiss.
Dressing for bed: I don’t know about you, but I am not into lingerie at all! I prefer t-shirts and shorts — preferably cotton. Thankfully, you can still show up to sexy time looking and feeling your best. You can find cute, comfy, sexy pajamas in a number of places — Target is my favorite. Not feeling super great about your body? Find the pieces showing off your best features in fabrics and colors making you feel great.
And remember — out of all the women in the world, he chose YOU! As Kathi says, “be visually generous” with your husband. Yours’ is the body he gets and wants to look at — dress it to please him!
Kim Nowlin is the Assistant Pastor at Valley Life Foursquare Church, in Santa Clara, and a Mentor Mom for MOPS.
With a background in fashion, most recently as a Personal Stylist for Anthropologie, Kim assists women in creating a Clutter Free Wardrobe that will enhance their true beauty in Christ.
Kim has been married to David for 15 years. They have two children, Olivia (13), and Adam (11).
A man’s confidence is the key to his entire world. And he gets most of his sense of confidence through two places: his work and his wife.
It’s a big responsibility (especially if his work life isn’t all that fantastic) but one that we are called to as his wife.
She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
When God calls us to something, He also equips us with the ability to follow through. So before you start the internal tape of all the reasons why building up his confidence isn’t really your “job,” let’s talk about what happens when we don’t.
The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.
OK, so now that we have that out of the way, let’s work together to come up with SIMPLE ways to build up your man.
5 simple ways to build your husband’s confidence:
Verbally tell him why you love him — he works hard, he plays with the kids, he has the best butt, he treats your mom like a queen, etc. SO TELL HIM!
Kiss him every single time you are parting ways and every time you come back together.
Pray for him every day (check out my Pinterest board for suggestions on how to pray for him).
Grab his hand when you are walking through Lowe’s. Place your hand on his leg next time you are out to dinner. Physical touch is a big deal to our guys and not just when it’s in the bedroom.
Brag on him in front of others! This one is a huge deal. We know a couple that is very sarcastic with each other. But the wife recently confessed that sometimes her sarcasm comes out more like a complaint or putting her man down than just a funny jest (and usually it’s intentional). She has committed to bragging on him rather than putting him down in public, even if they are having a good verbal sarcasm session among friends.
For ideas on how to brag on your man and build your husband up, I have included a download you can use to help build your man’s confidence every single day.
For those of you joining me and Proverbs 31 for The Husband Project online bible study, you’ll be coming up with a few ways to date your husband in the coming weeks. And even if you aren’t doing the Bible study, money is one of the most often stated reasons for not dating your husband on a regular basis. I put together 20 date ideas that cost you $20 or less. And in case those of you that live in a big city don’t think it’s possible, Roger and I live in San Jose, CA so we know a thing or two about inflated prices.