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Do you remember the day you said “I do”? I remember my wedding day in 1999 very clearly. My fiancé James and I had decided to have one of his favorite seminary professors marry us. Ours was only his second wedding to officiate, but we didn’t care about his inexperience.
Just as I approached the door leading into the sanctuary, I was shocked to hear the sound of our professor’s voice, “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to bring James and Arlene together in holy matrimony.” The only problem was, I was still standing in the hall with all the bridesmaids. Our professor mistook a break in the music as his cue to begin the ceremony. He got all the way to that famous line, “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?” There was complete silence. Our friends and family didn’t know whether to laugh or be mortified.
At this, my aunt started playing the piano, bridesmaids went flying down the aisle, and finally I joined my own wedding in progress! Although it was a rough start, the ceremony continued without a hitch. My heart was full of love. All I wanted to do was to make my husband’s dreams come true. Chances are that’s what you were dreaming about on your wedding day too. You wanted to make that groom of yours a very happy man.
Fast forward from that moment to the present. Is it still your heart’s desire to make your husband a happy man? A few years ago, my husband James and I were teaching a young-marrieds class at our church. We looked at those newlyweds on the first day of class. There was not a centimeter of space in between those couples. Wives were superglued to their husbands’ sides. Eyes were locked, hands were held, hair was twirled. I looked over at my James who was sitting about one foot away from me. Maybe we, the sage teachers, were the ones who needed a refresher course on touch, affection, and romance!
We were not having marriage trouble, but the tenderness and physical affection that we enjoyed during our courtship had been compromised. Among other things, having three young children can do that!
If we are not intentional, the heat of passion turns into the warmth of companionship in marriage. That warmth can cool into a cordial relationship that resembles two roommates rather than two lovers. You don’t want that dull fate. It’s not what you signed up for.
By answering the following questions, you can quickly assess how you are doing in the marital satisfaction department. Ask yourself if you agree or disagree with the following statements:
1. The environment of my home is warm and peaceful on most days.
2. I drop other things (even with my kids) to make time for my husband if he needs anything.
3. I never say unkind things about my husband to others.
4. If there’s a decision to be made, my husband has the final say.
5. I enjoy having sex and look forward to making love to my husband.
6. My husband and I talk regularly about ways to improve our sex life.
7. I make an effort to look attractive with my clothes, hair and makeup even on days when I only see my husband.
8. I am a healthy body weight and exercise at least 3 times a week.
9. My husband and I go on a date at least once a month.
10. We still enjoy romance, kissing once a day for at least 5 seconds.
How did you do? Count the statements that you agreed with. If you agreed with 1-4 statements, your relationship is probably on shaky ground. There are some critical areas of unmet needs that you must identify both for yourself and your husband.
If you agreed with 5-7 statements, you have some good habits and attitudes to build on. As you make a few key changes, you and your husband will be laughing, flirting, and enjoying each other’s company more.
If you agreed with 8 – 10 statements, you have a happy husband! Set your sights on moving from great to unbelievable. Be on the lookout for other women to encourage and mentor along the way.
If you scored lower than you thought you would, don’t be discouraged. Rather use this little reality check as a guide to get you back on track. I remember driving down the freeway and seeing a pickup truck with these bold words printed on the back window: “Happy to be here, proud to serve.” Can you imagine those words hanging in a frequented place in your home? When you can say with your whole heart, “I’m happy to be here as your wife and I’m proud to serve you,” your husband will want to hurry home every day because it’s the place he feels most valued and loved.
Take a look at your wedding picture today. Then close your eyes and remember what you felt like on that day. Happy to be here. Proud to serve as your wife. I can see your husband smiling already.
Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of 31 Days to a Happy Husband and 31 Days to a Younger You. She has been a guest on Family Life Today, The 700 Club, Turning Point with David Jeremiah, and The Hour of Power. Arlene and her husband James live in San Diego with their three children. Visit Arlene’s website at www.TheHappyHusband.com