I’m writing this letter after thirty-two years of experience being married to a wonderful woman. She was logical, caring, and taught me a lot. I loved how devoted she was to me and our marriage.
In the beginning of our marriage, I was a knucklehead, to say it plainly. I didn’t know how to treat a woman, and I wasted a lot of years taking her for granted. I didn’t realize how hard she worked to raise our kids and keep a house going. I didn’t understand what a gift that was for many years.
Thankfully, God gave me an eye-opener and I was able to change how I treated her. It was humbling to look back and see how I acted, but I had time to change. And I did change. I began to look around at other men, and wonder what the heck they were doing. They just didn’t get it. It’s a man thing I guess. But the first thing you have to do is pull your head out of the sand and see your wife for who she is and what she does for you–while you still have time.
Unfortunately, I ran out of time way too quickly. I finally figured out how to appreciate my wife, Janice, and then I sadly lost her to cancer. Well, let me change that. I didn’t lose her, she went home. But before she left, she showed me what love looked like.
Here are the biggest lessons I learned:
1. Regret is an awful thing.
You don’t want to look back and wish you had done things differently. I started to realize just how hard my wife worked. For one, her work was never done. While I worked shifts, she had to keep going. 24/7. I am sure you see your wives doing that too. Up all night with kids, working, cooking, giving and giving.
You are not owed this kind of special treatment. Appreciate her for what she does for you. You don’t want to look back and want to kick yourself for time wasted. And Time goes fast. Look at your wife and ask yourself if you treat her right, so you don’t suffer regret later. You will be glad you changed because very little compares to having a close marriage. When it’s all said and done, you will want to say, “I loved you and didn’t take you for granted.”
2. It doesn’t take much to make a woman happy. It’s the little things.
I found that if I gave her a foot, she’d give me a mile. It’s pride that keeps a man from giving of himself to his wife. It only hurts you both when you refuse to give. It’s the little things that matter. It’s so easy! It’s a no brainer. I want to yell at some men and say, “Wake up! Treat your wife with respect.” If they would do this, they would be amazed at how their wives would respond.
But I have seen it usually doesn’t matter. Men don’t listen because they are too focused on themselves. They think they are perfect and they think they have all the answers. They are idiots. Just like I was.
I look around at different marriages and I wonder why they are allowed to keep going, even as they treat each other badly, and I had to lose mine. My wife is gone. But she is in my heart. And at least I know I learned to treat her with respect before it was too late.
I learned it’s the small tokens of love that made her happy. Being thoughtful by picking up her favorite flowers to plant in the yard, helping with chores, and bringing her coffee to her in her favorite mug. I told her she meant everything to me. I figured it out before it was too late.
You don’t have it all figured out, men.
Take inventory. Are you stubborn and a know it all? Do you listen to her? You aren’t perfect and you sure as heck don’t have all the answers. It’s not that she’s being needy, its that she is needing you but you are in your own world.
Take it from me, a man who did things the wrong way, and who finally figured out what a gift my wife was. I figured out how to treat my wife, but now I don’t get the privilege of having her with me.
Maybe my words can help wake you up. Don’t take what you have for granted.
Mic King, a grateful man