Continuing to share what wives have been learning from our discussion about “I Just Want Him to Spend More Time with Me.” For part one, please click here. And for some husbands’ perspectives on this issue, please click here.
Thanks again to all the wives who shared. The more voices on this topic and the more constructive, respectful ideas, solutions and suggestions, the better, in my book. 🙂
Consider this: spending quality time together is your unfilled need. He is likely a guy who falls more on the independent end of the spectrum, and he can get his needs met quite easily just by sitting at the dinner table with you, patiently listening to you tell him all about your day. “Nothing has changed” because he doesn’t have the hunger. His need is met. What on earth would drive him towards a need that’s already met?
Do you have ten slices of watermelon at a time or does one slice leave you feeling satisfied and happy? The basic premise of Peaceful Wife’s approach is to give our husbands enough distance so their hunger can get activated, and then make the interaction so pleasant that it’s the place a husband will go to, when he wants to get his need satisfied. But men are independent creatures. They won’t ever want us the way we want them. It’s, sadly, part of the curse: “and your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.” Genesis 3:17.
There is just only so much we have control over. I think that sometimes we have good intentions and we try way too hard. I know I used to do that, and I have the tendency to try to slip back into that. I do not read marriage books that tell me what my husband should be doing for me anymore. Just how I can be a better wife, because that’s the only thing I have control over.
I found that in my trying to force counseling, reading books to my husband and trying so hard to “fix” everything – I was being counterproductive.
My husband thought that I didn’t like him or trust him and that I was trying to change him, and he didn’t want to do it. I was bitter and angry that he wasn’t doing this or that (that I probably wouldn’t have cared about before reading he SHOULD be doing it ) while I was feeling superior because “I was at least trying to fix it.”
- Honestly, what worked best for me was to let go of expectations, to focus solely on making me better, to relax and stop trying so hard, and to just pretend that there was nothing wrong in my marriage.
I know that might sound odd, or like I was ignoring the issues, but we had gotten in such a bad cycle of trying and trying and trying that it just needed to be broken. So I pretended to be ok with him being exactly as he was, surprisingly it didn’t take long before I started to really be ok with him exactly as he was, and as he saw me respecting him more he worked harder to please me. And we got into a new cycle, but a good one. The problems really did just disappear.
We haven’t had a babysitter in years, my husband really doesn’t trust anyone with our children. So, getting time together is hard. We’ve started doing date nights at home, which really helps. Mostly just renting a movie and snuggling on the couch. We also took a couple of camping trips, and day fishing trips this summer. Instead of sitting and reading a book, I sit and play with the kids, jump for joy if he catches something, and keep entertained near him.
I’ve had to let the idea of date nights and time alone together go, as it was very much a trigger for bitterness for me.
Now that I feel free from that bitterness, and the expectation, I am able to enjoy the time we do have more. We do family things together, and spend time together after the children are asleep, a fire pit in the backyard is a great way to reconnect after children are in bed, or even when they are running around the yard. We love sitting out in the yard on our swing just being together and watching the kids play, and day dreaming together.
- When I stopped pressuring him to spend more time with me he started to actively try to include me and the kids more.
Yes, amen, April!! Sometimes I wonder if that is what the Lord was trying to teach me all along —That He desires to spend time with me!!! Such a good topic and so many helpful insights. That was my biggest issue when my husband and I first got married. I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t want to spend time with such a wonderful person like myself. 🙂
The more I begged the more he pulled away.
I married a very controlling, take charge, kind of man and he was not about to let a young gal tell him how he was and was not going to spend his time.
It took years for me to figure this out—how many years, I am not sure. We have been married 27 years now, and it has just been in the last few years that we have been able to communicate with one another and not walk away hurt and frustrated. He will now most always stop what he is doing and listen, and now if the timing is right and I ask, he will fix his schedule to fit me into it:) Yeah!!
MMMmm how did it change….
Many of the things have already been mentioned so I won’t repeat them, but one of the biggest things I will add that helped change my husband and I are the trials that we faced and the maturity that they brought.
I wanted things to come easy, but that was not how the Lord designed it for me!!! He had a lot of pruning to do in our lives and it was through the trials that my husband and I are where we are today. The Bible says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” James 1:2-4
I know that seems obvious, but I had to realize the Lord was on a mission and part of His mission was to conform us into the image of His Son.
I had to trust Him in this, and trust Him with my husband. This is the only way I could get through…to know that the end would be better than the beginning. I didn’t have to change my husband, God could do that and whatever process He took to get us to where He wanted us, I could trust in Him!! We went through many trials. I didn’t choose that road, God did. He knew what was best and marriage isn’t to make us happy it is to make us holy. He knew that my man would be the best one for me.
I was in that quiet phase for a long, long time. I was just too tired of trying, and begging and not seeing results. April had mentioned to encourage our husbands and to give them words of affirmation. She also mentioned it would seem strange at first, but over time it would get easier. She was right, when I first began it seemed so strange. I thought I was speaking a foreign language, but I persevered and I began encouraging him, lifting him up, letting him know he was the hero in my life.
A funny thing happened, he began to want to please me more and spend time with me. Now I can’t seem to find time to myself:) No seriously, when he finally realized I really liked him and accepted him, warts and all, he began to see he wasn’t such a bad guy after all and began living up to my expectations; which at that point I didn’t even have. I was done expecting things, and as April mentioned and others I began to be content with the things I had; especially my intimate relationship with the Lord.
A FELLOW WIFE
This is the one area that still gives me a lot of trouble….. something I still greatly want and hope for. I do not know the answers and am looking forward to reading other comments in hopes there will be something helpful.
While I haven’t found the answer, these are a few things that have helped me:
1. As April said, remembering that my husband does not need ‘quality time’ to feel connected to me. I can be secure in the fact his love is always strong for me.
2. I stopped expecting it as much. While I do still hope for it sometimes, most of the time, I realize it is not likely to happen and I find something else to keep myself busy.
3. When I want to go out and my husband is not interested, I still go out- with a girlfriend or close family member. We enjoy a nice restaurant, a movie or shop- something my husband does not enjoy anyways.
4. I try to pray about it and accept that it is something that may not happen for many years or ever. I am really working hard on coming to terms with the fact that quality time may be something my husband is never interested in.
5. I remind myself his lack of interest in doing things together is not a reflection of his love for me.
6. I remind myself that Time is not his love language and he probably doesn’t understand how important this is to me.
7. Sometimes- on a very rare occasion- I will express to him that I would like to do something together. A lot of those rare times, he isn’t interested. I try to not be too disappointed.
8. He shows his love for me in so many more ways. He is a good provider, he is kind, he is affectionate, he is loving with his words, he will do almost anything I ask him to do as far as picking up something for me, he is a wonderful father, etc.
I really struggle with the fact that my husband has a lot of activities that he enjoys doing solo or with other guys…. I don’t mind at all that he enjoys hobbies- that is a GOOD thing, I know but I feel hurt that he has SO much interest in activities on his own but what seems to be little to no interest in doing things with me…and the things he does are not things I could join him in….
But his choice is just that, HIS choice. He is allowed to choose to not spend quality time with his wife…. sometimes I feel hurt that if we do some sort of activity, his attitude seems like he is completing a chore and not enjoying himself….
When those things get to me, I go back to the points 1-8. I have come a long way with this issue but haven’t reached a point of complete peace and look forward to reading other wives points of view to hopefully help me with that!
It is almost as if we NEED to give up all of these things we want and expect to NOT get them and then we find a place of acceptance in that THEN if our husband does do something loving toward us, it can be a BONUS- not something we require and expect…. because it is a BONUS, we are truly happy about it instead of expecting it as our ‘due’ then wanting more.
At least, that is where my thoughts are a lot and I try to keep them there!