Some words for the husbands, again.
In high school and college, one of the things your wife probably enjoyed most was a Friday or Saturday night out with good friends. Talking. Good food. Fun, games and activities. More talking. Something new, different, and spontaneous, a break from the grinding monotony of studies, work, or being stuck at home or in her apartment. (More talking.)
Then you came along, and it was even more fun to go out on a weekend. The adventure of dating. The unfolding mystery of a new relationship. Laughter and fun. Little surprises. Feeling special. She wanted nothing more than to be with you. You pursued her and courted her. And she liked that a lot. She felt wanted and needed. She felt important, like she was the crown princess to a new kingdom that was about to be born.
You put on your best clothes and cologne. You washed your car, even borrowed cars better than your own. You tried to look and act responsibly, like you knew where you were going. She liked that, too. You did whatever you could to impress her, to entice her, and to ultimately marry you.
Being newlyweds was awesome. For a while, you were on a perennial date. Still, very little separated you. There were new discoveries about your bride and about yourself. When you were apart for a time, you came together like a spring stretched to its limit. Everything was new and exciting. You became one.
Then long hours at school and in the library. Temporary or short-term jobs. The first child. Rent, utilities, student loans. More children. Barked knuckles while trying to repair your own car. Finally, graduation. A real job. Insurance. Being apart more and more, everyday and for longer periods. Business travel. Dinner with clients. Home late and up early. All in the name of taking care of your family.
Then, particularly for your wife, along came the blues. You are gone so much, and when the weekend comes, you just want to collapse. You are less and less available to her, emotionally and physically. The more she begs to have her needs met, the more you shrink back—because by now, she’s hurt and lashing out.
And she feels alone and isolated. Trapped in her own home, or trapped in a cycle of child care, or work, or figuring out what to make for dinner. The loneliness and isolation are her greatest enemy, the seedbed of frustration, anger and depression—opening her vulnerability. Pushing strollers around the block with a friend is a nice diversion, but she wants more. She wants you. Most of all, she wants you to want her.
So what do you do about it?
The answer is simple: Never stop dating her. Never stop courting her. Never stop letting her know how important she is to you.
The temple ceremony was wonderful, but that is not what really seals an eternal relationship. What seals a relationship forever is the Holy Spirit of promise. That Spirit sanctifies faith and faithfulness, openness, honesty, kindness, thoughtfulness and sacrifice in a marriage. That Spirit broods over a marriage that keeps trying, keeps forgiving, that keeps the light of affection and romance burning.
Brethren, your wife may be purchased—if I can use that term—with only one price: everything. If you are trying to buy her at a discount, that is not good enough and not worthy of her. It will never be good enough to win her love forever.
So take her on a date. Tonight, and as often as you can. Let her know by your thoughtfulness and your actions that she still is your cutest girlfriend. Call her and say, “Just be ready at 6. I’ve taken care of the babysitter, and everything else.” It doesn’t have to be an elaborate or expensive date, just one where she has your full attention.
When she really feels like she is more important to you than anything or anyone else, you will be surprised at how happy she will be, and how happy she will be with you.
Never give up, never stop trying.