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Wifey Wednesday: Be Part of Your Husband's Whole Life

It's Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you follow up either by commenting or by writing your own post and then linking up!

Are you part of our six week challenge? We're into week two now when we're committing to loving our husbands more and meeting their needs--to see what happens! Often we're so engrossed in him not meeting our needs that we forget to reach out to them. And when we do, we'll find our whole marriage is transformed!

Here are the things I've encouraged you to do:

1. Thank your husband once a day for something (try to make it something different each time)
2. Compliment your husband to your mother, your children, your friends, whatever, within earshot of your husband, every chance you get.
3. Do not nag.
4. Do not give the silent treatment.
5. Make love with relative frequency (say at least 2-3 times a week).

Now, I want to talk about how to make sure that we feel even closer to our husbands, so that we're more likely to want to do these things (and more likely to have a great relationship). Let's face it: with today's busy lifestyles, it's all too easy for spouses to live very different lives. He's busy at work where he has a bunch of friends, a bunch of responsibilities, and you know very little about this. You're home with the kids where you do all kinds of things he knows nothing about. When you're together, you're often so busy you don't really share what happened in your day.

That's how marriages grow apart, without us even realizing it.

A few years ago a woman I knew went through a devastating separation. Out of the blue, her husband announced that he was leaving her and their children for another woman. Their marriage has lasted through many awful things, including a bout with cancer (she's now fine). He has been in praise teams and has led worship.

And now he's gone and done this.

My heart broke for his family.

Are there ways to reduce the chance of this happening and create a happier marriage? Yep. That doesn't mean that she is to blame for what happened; that if she had done x and y he wouldn't have left. If a man has an affair, it is his choice. It is his sin. Period. End of story.

But I want us wives to be aware of the dangers, and see how we can take steps so that we may see the early warning signs earlier.

First, affairs tend to happen when men live two lives; when their work lives are completely separate from their home lives. Sometimes, even psychologically, they feel as if they are leaving one world and entering another, where the rules from the first world of church and family don't apply.

So it's important, as much as possible, to become part of his work world. When it's barbecueing season, for example, that's a perfect opportunity to get to know his workmates. Why not have a barbecue some Sunday afternoon for those he works for?

Every now and then, stop by and take your husband to lunch. This lets you drop in where he works, so everybody sees you. Say hi, especially to the women, and get to know personal details about that them. I don't mean pry; I just mean be a friend. Make an honest effort to care about the people that he spends time with. Get to know their wives, and try to do things socially together, especially if they're not Christian. It's a good opportunity for outreach, and it helps you to become part of his world.

If he has a secretary, or a receptionist that usually answers the phone, get to know her on a personal level. Ask about her life so you can chat when you call your husband at work. Don't be a stranger.

If he works entirely in a male environment, every now and then send some baking to work with him. It sounds corny, but it keeps the guys there thinking about you and thinking that he is a lucky man. Find out when the guys' birthdays are and send cakes for each birthday. You'll become known as the birthday lady, and everybody will love you.

Find out who he is especially close with, and double date with that man and his wife. Do things socially together, and you become part of the work environment.

It's also a good idea to talk to your husband about boundaries. For instance, is it okay for him to go to lunch alone with a female coworker? If you don't think it is, you need to make this clear before anything starts.

The main thing, though, is to become a part of his world. If people start to think of him as "married", and not just married, but "happily married", that will stick. He's more likely to talk about you at work if other people know you. If they are more likely to ask how you're doing, then he's more likely to think about you during the workday, too. I don't mean that you should call all the time, or start pestering anybody. All I mean is that you should treat his coworkers with respect and friendship, and they will likely appreciate that.

All of these things may sound like a lot of work, but I don't think they are. And as you reach out, you become a real person to the people your husband works with. That way he can no longer easily separate his worklife from his homelife. And if his coworkers like you, he's less likely to develop a relationship at work. Besides, if anything were to start, his coworkers are also more likely to yell at him for it!

Often we talk about setting boundaries in marriage, but this is one area where I think too many boundaries are dangerous. Neither of you should live a life completely cordoned off from the other. You should both be able to step comfortably into each other's world. When you do that, you lessen the chance that either of you will develop inappropriate friendships.

What do you think? Do you know the people your husband works with? Does he know the people you hang out with? Or do you live separate lives?

If you liked this post, you'll love Sheila's audio download: "Protect Your Marriage". We all want strong marriages, but if we don't tend them and protect them, outside influences can easily steal our joy and intimacy. Download it now!

Now, what advice do you have for us today? Have you ever had to confront your fantasies and throw them aside? How did you do it? Or do you have something else to tell us? Write your own Wifey Wednesday post that links back to here, and then leave the link of THAT POST in the Mcklinky below. Thanks!

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At 8:25 AM , Anonymous Crystal C said…

Sheila, I want to thank you for posting Godly information, ideas, and tips about marriage. I will be married in two months and you shine a bright light on how to make marriage work. So thank you for being a light in a dark world!


At 12:28 PM , Blogger Terry @ Breathing Grace said…

This was one of your best, Sheila, really!

I think you hit the nail on the head with respect to spouses living separate lives. It can happen easily cause something "out of the blue" to catch a couple unaware.

I agree with Crystal C. You give great marriage advice. Any couple starting out could use your advice.

Maybe an idea for the next book?


At 1:52 PM , Blogger sarahe said…

I was actually thinking about this last night and realized with a jolt while lying in bed that my husband & i don't have a life together. we are very separate--don't have mutual friends, i don't think we've been on a double date with anyone other than family ever in our 5 years of marriage. Definitely something we need to fix.


At 4:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

I could see how this may be good for a couple with trust issues, but otherwise it seems like it could be insulting.

But my husband doesn't really have work friends and due to the nature of my job I don't have a lot of interaction with my co-workers. Also is the fact that for both of us, the majority of our co-workers are a good 15-20 years older than us.

Nurse Bee


At 4:14 PM , Blogger Sheila said…

Nurse Bee, I'm not sure it has much to do with trust issues, except to say that if you do have trust issues, this becomes even more imperative!

But I have no trust issues with my husband, for instance, and yet I go out of my way to know his colleagues. We have them over for dinner, I get to know their spouses, my kids baby-sit for them. Likewise, when I'm on speaking tours I'm together for weeks at a time with a variety of different people, so I've arranged for Keith to fly out in the middle of the next tour (we're using points so it's free) so that he can meet them.

Again, it's not an issue of trust; it's an issue that I want to know what's going on in his life and I want him to know what's going on in mine so that we really are intertwined, and not separate. If I don't know who he works with, he's far less likely to tell me stories about what happened at work because I wouldn't know who he's talking about, and it would take too long to explain. So couples where they don't know each other's workmates don't tend to share experiences as much.

To me, it's just part of wanting to be part of his whole life, and not just a piece of the pie, you know?


At 5:20 PM , Blogger Michelle said…

Thank you for this post. For the last 6 years, my husband has been working for his father, so mostly all the co-workers my husband had in his life was his father and his stepmom. However, this past November, he started to work for a bigger company for more hours of work and more job security. He makes friends with males at his work and tends to stay away from the females. But this is still something I can learn from.


At 6:12 PM , Blogger Tessa said…

I don't have a lot of the work issues because my husband works at home on the farm with my dad. And I have friends over during the day so he often gets to meet them an their children. But what I have found is that this applies to hobbies as well. I mentioned on your facebook that I played an online game with my husband.
We played with a really nice husband and wife couple but then he stopped playing to spend more time with their 3 children. She kept playing and he totally lost touch with the "regulars" that all of us played with. things happened andwe started intorducing a bunch of new people to our regular group. This wife ended up having and online emotional affair with one of the new men and was kicking out her husband of 6 years and invited this man to come move in with her. A few of us prayed furiously for the situation and, praise the Lord, she changed her mind the day before this man was going to fly out! It was a mess but we are so thankful that she stayed wtih her husband and got into an AA program and everything.
Anyway, point of the story; because I can played with him, I "know" all his online friends that he plays with and can talk the gaming lingo. We talk about the game a lot and I ask him about certain people to stay up to date. He would never cheat on me but I can even tell him that calling this aforementioned wife "babe" is giving her the wrong impression (note: he calls his sister "babe" too). Men don't always realize that they may be giving the wrong impression that can start a whole chain of events. That's just my 2 cents. Get involved in his work as well as his play.


At 6:18 PM , Blogger Sheila said…

Tessa, that's a great example of what I mean! It may not be about work, but that's exactly what I was trying to say: just know what's going on in his life, and who the people are that he's with. It keeps you connected, and then you can share everything, and you prevent danger.

People who have affairs don't start out aiming to affairs; they drift in to them. Couples who drift apart and have nothing in common anymore don't set out to drift apart; it happens. So let's be proactive about it!


At 8:33 PM , Blogger Candice Brevard said…

Thanks for the tips and advice. I really liked your ideas on getting involved with your husband's co-workers. I think I will send some cookies over there every once in awhile. It is easy to slip into separate lives and of course dangerous. Thanks for your post!


At 10:19 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

Hi Sheila - I love this advice. However, I have a question. What if your husband spends more time with another woman at work than he does at home with you? My husband is a firefighter/paramedic and his partner is an unwed female. Not only is she unwed, but she apparently doesn't believe in marriage. He has no choice of who his partner is. Now she did invite our kids to one of her kid's birthday parties and we went as a family, so I have met her. I can't call him at work, except on his cell. I can't visit him as he works an hour away and the medic is constantly on the move. I did send in gratitude kits for Father's Day one year and have sent in extra produce & baked goods. The other problem is that he won't invite anyone over to our house because they consume alcohol and we don't. I really do feel very separated from his life outside the home. Thanks.


At 11:54 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

Again I think it may just be us, but if I told my husband we were having his co-workers over to dinner, I don't think he would want to be there! I am familiar with them and have stopped by his office on several occasions, but sometimes co-workers are just that, and not friends.

Nurse Bee


At 12:12 PM , Blogger Sheila said…

Nurse Bee, I could see if he worked with people he really didn`t want to socialize with! That may not be an option for you, then. I just think it`s important that couples be aware that they need to know what`s going on in each others' lives and keep up to date!

To the other Anonymous: that is a tough one. I've been trying to think of what to say. I think you're in the same boat, in a way, as Nurse Bee: you don't really want to socialize with them, and I can see that. But you also don't want to be completely separate.

I guess you just find points of intersection in your lives? She's a single mom, so maybe occasionally you could offer to baby-sit? That way you know her, and you know her kids. Personally, I wouldn't have the energy to do that very often, but it can be a help, and it's part of just reaching out with God's love, too.

But it sounds like your husband has very strict guidelines about his social life vs. his work life, which is a good thing. If you just aren't in the position to know his work friends/colleagues well, then I would double the effort to do date nights with your husband and just talk about what he's been through at work.

I know that can be hard, though, in his profession, because it's stressful and sometimes he doesn't want to talk about it. I get that with my husband, too; sometimes his day is just so bad, with seeing kids who are abused, or kids who drowned, or something, and he doesn't want to talk about it. But just spend time together so that you can talk when he does want to, and then build a life for yourself together, even if you can't join in to his work life well.


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Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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