When I was single, I wrote a description of the kind of wife I expected to have and the kind of husband I thought I would be. I’m grateful I’ve lost that embarrassing list, but I do recall that many of my expectations centered on three areas: my confidence in instant maturity as a husband, the assumption of a near-perfect sex life and the expectation of non-stop infatuation.
God loved me too much to give me what I thought I wanted, and instead He gave me what I needed: a lovely, complicated and imperfect woman named Raquel. She came to marriage with her own expectations, desires and needs; and after eight years of working through marriage with her, I now see some things I wish I had known beforehand.
1. Being a below-average husband is easier than you think.
During my first year of marriage, I attended a weekly group with a couple of men from church. One night we were talking about emotional blind spots, and my friend Aaron raised the question of areas of our lives others might consider “distasteful.”
When I asked my buddy Patrick if he could think of any distasteful areas of my life, he readily said yes. Patrick isn’t a hypercritical person, so I was surprised by his response and asked him to tell me more.
“I often get embarrassed by the way you talk to Raquel in public,” He said. “I think you can be very rude to her, and it’s hard to listen to sometimes.”
I was startled. I knew Raquel and I had tension that sometimes bubbled over into public disagreement, but I saw it as cute, first-year-of-marriage head butting. Plus, in the back of my mind, I felt like people would understand that I was just setting healthy boundaries with a strong-willed wife. Apparently they didn’t — at least Patrick didn’t.
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