We all want a happy home and over about the last month I have taken a big change of direction, not just with this blog, but with the way I live, the way I dress and also the way I am within in my relationship. I love this picture above, by the way, because....although it might seem corny and (sadly) unrealistic in today's high-tech, often miserable world....this is ACTUALLY how it is in my household. When my husband comes home from work this is how it is. Except for wearing a suit and carrying a brief case (my husband is a shearer....so comes home in dirty dungarees, shearing singlet and muddy farm boots)...this is what happens. The boys all yell out "Daddy!!" and go bolting down the hallway to throw themselves at his legs, and whatever other part they can reach, and my little girl pads along behind them, saying "Daddy!" too, her arms up ready for him to swoop her up in a big cuddle. I always stop what I am doing and rush to give him a kiss and a cuddle too. Does that sound silly? Maybe, but I miss him during the day and always look forward to him coming home. To me, this is exactly the way it should be. For me, and the kids, he really is the centre of the universe.
When my first husband left me it really made me take stock of my life, who I was and what I wanted in a possible future partner. It made me realise how little my ex and I had in common, and that above all else your partner/husband needs to have the same wants, needs and goals that you do. You might have unbelievable chemistry with a guy but in the end it will be just that, a science experiment. You have to both be heading in the same direction, otherwise you're going to be pulling in opposite ways ALL the time...and it just won't work.
Anyway I thought I'd just share a bit of back story with you, just to give you an idea of where I'm coming from. When my ex left me I was depressed, sad, lonely and a whole host of other things. It was a terrible time, and to get personal and open up here on this page...it felt like the end of the world. It wasn't that I wanted him back. I knew that it had to happen, and in the end I was the one that made the decision for us to split, but my ex very quickly moved on to someone else and I was left with my eldest son (who was only 3 at the time)...and I was all alone. Feeling desperate I did something I hadn't really ever done before. I prayed. I asked that at some point I could meet the perfect man for me. I asked for someone who was a farmer, or was working towards becoming one, someone who loved the land and someone who liked to relax and have fun. A friend told me to write down what I wanted and ask God for it, so I did. It felt a bit unnatural for me at the time, but I found comfort in it, and was then able to let go of my ex. I remember burning everything that I had that reminded me of him, including our fancy marriage certificate...and I was able to put it behind me.
It was probably about 6 months later, after moving down to Gippsland in the country and enrolling in a Diploma of Agriculture, that I met my future husband. He was working on a farm as a farmhand at the time, he lived on is parent's farm, his goal was to one day have a farm of his own, plus he's a really laid back guy that likes to have fun. He is also a Christian. To me I found this of no coincidence at all. I had asked, I had got exactly what I had asked for and I had been given a man that was part of this faith. To me it has always been sort of like a message..."Ok Amber, you asked for this and I gave it to you, so do the right thing."
So having said all that, this is where I get to the 'happy husband' part. I must admit, I haven't read the bible. I've read parts of it here and there and occasionally I go to church. A sister in-law of mine once gave me a book to read about husbands and wives, and it went on to talk about how husbands just want to be respected and wives just want to be loved. It was simplistic, but the idea made sense. If your husband is respected he is going to love you. If you show your husband respect; respect for who he is, what he stands for and let him be the head of the household, he will in turn find it easy to love you. And when I say 'love you', (I mean of course he loves you...he is with you, or married you in the first place) but can love you, care for you and make sure that you have everything you want and need....type 'love you'. Does that make sense?? When you are not trying to challenge him at every turn, when you are not trying to diminish his role as a man (because we know that men are proud creatures and it is locked into their DNA to protect and provide for their families)...they will happily take on the role of provider and protector and give you what all women really want deep down. We want to be loved.
But wait you cry!! I want lots of things!! I want a job, I want a voice, I want to make all the decisions, I want to work 9 to 5 and have babies, I want the fabulous life and the latest iPhone and .....I could go on. Yes. Ok. As individuals we all want things in our lives, but take away all the 'stuff' and all the "I am woman, I am strong, hear me roar!!" attitude....and at the base of it all....we all just want to be loved. And cared for. And feel protected. Think about it. I'm right aren't I?
(As a side note, this picture above...this is NOT what happens in our house! If my husband tried to smoke a pipe...or cigarettes for that matter...I'd be setting fire to his eyebrows in this scenario.....!!)
Anyway...so my personal journey has made me discover that firstly, you need to find someone who wants the same outcome that you do. Yep, we've established that earlier. Also, I have found that you need to learn to submit to your partner. Not submit in a bad way! Don't panic! Just learn to let go of the reins a little. As a female who grew up in the 80s and 90s, who went to an expensive private school, who had lots of opportunities and who was taught to be strong and independent, it has been fairly wired into my thinking that I have to do everything and that I shouldn't be letting anyone walk all over me. I should be making all the decisions and wearing the pants. Not so. This is what I have learned over the last few years, that you have to let your husband/partner be the man, and what I have especially found over the last month, having changed my attitude towards mine and my husband's roles, it really helps create a happy relationship. I have found it hard to let go, especially since I was a single mum and had to be both mum and dad, but doing so has been the best decision ever. I feel way less stressed, I feel a lot happier and times where I might normally have dug my heels in and argued, I have just let it go. I haven't talked about this with my husband, so it would be interesting to see how much of a change he has noticed, but I don't think that calling attention to it is important. I feel that we are really chugging along nicely, and that is what is most important.
So what do I feel can help make a happy relationship?
This is where I have been looking backwards to look forward, and by this I mean where I have been looking at the wives of the past and taking a few of the leaves out of their books. Some of their advice I know can stay firmly there...I don't think we need to live a repressive life dominated by our partners. This is not what I am talking about at all. But there are elements of the way a married woman would treat her husband that I think are still completely justified. Combined with the good bits of today's society, I think you can come up with a pretty happy arrangement.
Respect - Men are pretty simple beings really. I mean they can't multi-task!! We all know that! Men need to feel, well, like a man. It sounds silly but you can't undermine their pride as a male. It really cuts them down, and the worst person to do this to them is their wives. If you make your partner feel 'less of a man' you will really offend him. Listen to him without interrupting, respect his ideas, and if you can, let him make more of the decisions. This leads me to my next point...
Trust - This is something my husband has mentioned on a few occasions. There has been a time where he thought I didn't trust him, didn't trust him to make the decisions. As a result he didn't want to share his plans for the future with me. Trust is in connection with my 'respect' point. I wasn't respecting him enough to trust him. I have changed this in myself, and this is why I have let go of a lot of the decision making, even the big stuff (and although this might not be for everyone), it has been my ultimate turning point. I show him the respect he wants, (which is what he needs as a male) by trusting him to 'be the man'...and everything really falls into place.
Caring - My husband works hard. I'm sure your partner/husband/other half does too. My husband works physically hard as shearing is a crazy job. Go into the catching pen, tip over a sheep (which can weigh up to 100kg), drag it out onto the boards, bend over it for approximately 2 minutes while you shear the thing, push it down the chute....repeat....say about 200 times. He is exhausted when he gets home. He doesn't want to do anything when he gets home other than have a shower, eat his tea, sit in front of the television and go to sleep. He also works weekends on his parent's farm and has lots to do with our own sheep....shearing, drenching, crutching, marking lambs.......I could go on. As a result I like to care for him and do everything around the house. I have no issues with making him a meal, bringing him a cup of tea in bed in the morning (I like doing this), and as the picture above suggests...bringing him a well earned beer every now and then.
Love - This goes without saying. Men, despite how tough they make out that they are...they need to be loved too. This one is easy.
So....these are my thoughts on keeping a happy husband and in turn a happy home. There are not many points made, but that IS the whole point. If you make it simple it IS simple. And if you learn to let go it becomes stress free, and happier, for everyone.
And...occasionally...just occasionally...I'll do the ironing in my underwear....