I want to share with you something I am learning about married life. Specifically, being married to a man.
I had the most delightful time with my husband on our date night recently. We sat at Cheesecake Factory (in a booth mind you, if you want to have a private conversation at all in Cheesecake Factory you must request a booth! Otherwise you’ll be sitting closer to the strangers on either side of you than your spouse! – side note). So we waited for a booth, and as we talked I asked my husband about his work. Now my husband is a pastor, a family pastor actually, so that’s what my story is about, but no matter what your husband does you can apply this to your situation.
The point is getting to his heart about his work.
It’s widely known that men typically aren’t quite as talkative or quite as openly emotional as most women are. However, that doesn’t mean that men don’t have depth to them, and it also doesn’t mean they don’t have very significant feelings/opinions/experiences. As a wife, I want to know what is going on in my husband’s heart, and I know there is a lot going on in there about work. I just don’t always see it or hear about it like he might see it or hear about if from me.
Here is the deal: You can have hundreds of “check-in” type conversations with your husband about his job and how his day was at work and totally miss his heart. Is this happening in your marriage? One way you can tell is to ask yourself questions like these: Do I know what motivates my husband about his job? Do I know what lights up his day at work? Do I know what areas of leadership he is growing in, and how he feels about that? Do I know who notices his success at work and whether he feels appreciated? Do I know how to pray for him regarding his job? If we’re honest, ladies, we’d all have to say we could grow in this area. I mean even if you knew all of those answers about your man in February, its been two months since then so things may have changed! We’ve got to gently and curiously pull out the heart stuff that is deep inside our husbands. Chances are he probably won’t tie it up in a bow for you, or light up neon signs that headline the article for you. You’ll more than likely have to go get it. But it is so crucial that you do, because so much of a man’s personal sense of self is related to his work.
So I found myself in a great conversation with David that was prompted by just a few curious questions about his job. I decided I wanted to listen a lot, and not talk much. And I decided not to change the subject after the short version answers, but to keep it going.
More than the information I discovered, I want to share with you what I noticed about David as we talked. The more I asked, the more he shared. His countenance lightened up and he was really motivated to let me see what was going on for him because he could tell I really wanted to know. For example, he occasionally has a coaching call with a very respected Family Pastor in Texas who is several years ahead of him in ministry at a very large church. I asked him questions about how this coaching relationship has shaped his leadership, what were the turning points in our family ministry that were influenced by this coaching, and how the relationship got started in the first place.
We also talked about the fact that David has been restructuring his ministry team, and how he thinks that is going. He told me he had narrowed down his role as Family Pastor into 5 main categories that make up his job description and help him keep on track and prioritize. No one even asked him to do that, he just did it! So what did I do? I asked him to tell me all of them! I don’t want anyone to know how my husband feels about his job more than me!
So he did. And our conversation developed into a really deep heart connection over his passions and motivations, and also the fact that he felt valued because I really wanted to know. To often I am guilty of getting the short version “check in” answer and being satisfied with that. I’ll change the subject or continue making dinner or begin telling him about something I want him to know about me . . . but then I miss it. I miss a chance to get to his heart. I know some days are busy and its not possible to always connect deeply with kids running around or plans for the evening, or whatever. But all I’m saying is it was so worth it to slow down and camp out in his world for awhile. So worth it.
We wives have to remember that what we do during our day is important, and yes our husbands should be attentive to our needs and our hearts too of course, but we must take opportunities to invest ourselves in conversation about his work, and find the things that really get him excited about what he does. For my husband, its leadership and helping people accomplish a vision through teams, and building up people to accomplish a mission that is eternally significant. For yours it will be something different. What is it? And how is it going for him this week?