A man receives a great deal of his identity from his work. He often thinks of himself in terms of what he does and that he has value in the world because of his career and contribution to the world. Sometimes he also gets a huge part of his identity from his hobbies, especially if his work isn’t bringing him very much fulfillment at the time. He may think of himself in terms of his dream that is outside of his career – his ministry, his athleticism, his remodeling/handyman abilities, his musical abilities, his gardening talents, his artistic and creative streak… All people need and deserve time to recharge and do something they love. Like Laura Doyle says in “The Surrendered Wife,” everyone needs time to dream big dreams and not have their ideas stomped on. But our men ESPECIALLY need this outlet. God designed them to conquer the world and make their mark. A supportive wife makes ALL the difference in the world to a husband in this area!
Notice your husband’s dreams. What are the things that energize him and really give him a love for life? Even if his hobbies don’t get you all excited, I want to encourage you to do your best to support his hobbies, dreams and desires. Who knows? It’s entirely possible that if he is allowed to follow his dreams and make big plans that he might find a new career path that he loves, or add another source of income, or build you a dream house, or just plain enjoy his life to the fullest and have the most to give to your marriage and your family.
If you find yourself being jealous because you don’t seem to have time for your own hobbies and relaxation, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve his time to himself! But it might mean that you need to be more proactive about finding time for yourself, too. Then both of you can be at your best and have the most to give to each other and your family. Husbands and wives both need time to do things they enjoy on their own, to develop their interests, and to take good care of their own souls, minds and bodies. If we are spiritually/emotionally/physically depleted, we don’t have anything to give to our loved ones. We must take responsibility for filling ourselves up and taking good care of ourselves in these areas so that we can bless our families. In fact, if a wife is feeling particularly frustrated and irritable, it is a good idea to look at your own needs and make sure you are getting the rest, nutrition, time with God, time with friends, time for hobbies that you need to be at your best – then little things won’t seem like such a big deal.
Think of the things he loves. Honor what he loves. Listen to him talk about it. Be excited with him. Dream with him. Don’t criticize or put him down about his hobbies and passions. Don’t tell him to hire someone else to finish the house if he wants to do it himself – that is SUPER disrespectful to a man! He wants to complete the challenge and prove to himself that he can do it and he wants you to smile and applaud him and have that wonderful look of pride in your eyes about his abilities. He doesn’t need you to tell him how to do things, just to tell him that you have faith in him that he’ll figure it out, that you trust him. That little bit of encouragement and trust from you will motivate your husband like you cannot imagine! Give him some space to think, dream and work and you will be amazed what he may do for you and your family!!!!
One time at our old house, Greg and I were talking about getting a bay window to replace a picture window. There was a very unkempt crepe myrtle tree outside that window. I asked Greg if he would mind trimming the tree and maybe he could put some pretty white rocks and a bench under the window so that the view would be better. He shocked me by announcing that he was going to build a deck. He had never built a deck before. But I knew he was a super resourceful, intelligent, talented guy, so I said, “Ok!” Then he drew out a design. It wasn’t just a 10X10 deck. He had a 4 level 1000 square foot deck in mind. Wow! That was A LOT more than I had asked for. But I said, “Great! That would be amazing!” He built that whole deck all by himself and it was stunning. He even painted a compass rose on one of the platforms later that was accurate with true North, South, East and West pointing in the proper directions.
When I was pregnant and found out that we were having a boy, I told Greg I would love to have the nursery painted half as night time and half as daytime sky with the tops of pine trees along the floor. He said, “I’m going to do a mural of Columbia.” I said, “Ok!” He had never painted a wall anything but one or maybe two colors before. But I knew he was super talented and gave him all the space he wanted to do what he thought was best. We spent a few weeks riding around town taking pictures of the most beautiful landmarks in our town and deciding what would be in the mural. Then I would sit in the glider rocking chair in the nursery every night for 5 months and feel Brandon kicking in my belly and watch while he painted the most incredible mural. It was GLORIOUS! How I hated when we moved away and couldn’t take the mural with us. I was tempted to cut out all the dry wall and move it to the new house!
What dreams does your husband have? What if I had squashed my husband’s dreams? Imagine the beauty and the priceless gifts he has added to our lives that I would have missed!! I pray that we might give our husbands room to soar and do all that they can dream of doing. I pray that we might encourage and inspire them with our trust, faith, admiration and confidence to reach heights we could never have fathomed! A man can move mountains when he has a wife who believes in him!