Do you have any friends who tend to be more materialistic than you? I have a couple. It hasn’t bothered me so much, but it did recently when one made a comment to CAH that I did not appreciate. It did, however, inspire me with things that I think every new husband should know.
When CAH was in grad school, not working, he did not have a lot of money. For Christmas he taught himself to make wire-wrapped jewelry and made me a bunch of jewelry. The jewelry was gorgeous, but more than that, it was overwhelmingly touching. He told me that, someday when he is working, it will be “real” jewelry. But honestly, nothing he ever buys me will be as valuable as that homemade jewelry. It means the world to me.
Flash forward to a few months ago and me, a friend and CAH were in the car. We passed a jewelry store that her husband frequents, which she pointed out before informing CAH that, now that he had a job, homemade jewelry wasn’t going to cut it. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I quickly told CAH that this was NOT true. I did NOT want my husband’s sweet mind indoctrinated by the “Mantra of Materialism.” It takes much more to make jewelry than it does to plunk a credit card down on a jewelry counter.
Part of being newlyweds has been observing the marriages of our friends. This is what I have observed from my friends who have difficult marriages: they do not acknowledge the good about their partner, and instead focus on the bad. And more specifically, they fail to acknowledge, *and show gratitude for*, the role that the other plays in the relationship. This has particularly struck me with my husband as I see him work towards becoming the husband that I know he wants to be.
My husband has had a hectic year: he graduated from grad school, lived financially independent from his family for the first time since being in school, got a new wife, moved us to San Francisco for a new job and became head of the household. Talk about stressful! What I’ve learned to understand and respect is that he has his own standards of who he wants to be in this marriage, independent of what I think, and that it is important that he achieves those standards. And that makes me love him even more.
My husband has been tasked with managing the finances. I asked that he take this role in the marriage because I am terrible with money, and fully acknowledge that it is my weakness. At the same time, he hates telling me “no” if I want to buy something, and also feels like he is failing to provide for me. This is why that comment from my friend particularly struck me. I do not want my husband to feel stressed out all of the time because he feels like he needs to live up to these impossible materialistic demands from his wife. So it got me thinking about it, and I realized that this is probably not uncommon for other newlyweds. As I started thinking of all the things I wish I could drill into his head, I figured it was something that many new wives (and maybe even old) wish they could drill into their husband’s heads. So here it is:
- Part of being a good financial provider is learning to say “no”. Just because you cannot buy your wife all of her heart’s desires, does not mean that you are not a good provider. Making smart financial decisions that benefits the family is what makes you a good financial provider.
- Showing us how much you love us goes way beyond diamonds. As many of you have seen with CAH’s “Love Notes” campaign, there are so many wonderful ways to say “I love you” that are better than what little children in some far off country have died to obtain. And trust me, women who are worth a lick will melt over sweet gestures more than jewelry. The rest we call “Plaintiffs”, and they will perpetually be miserable because they’ll never find true happiness.
- Remember, *you’re* who we fell in love with. While we always want you to strive to transform and grow in your life, it is you who we fell in love with – as you are now. You will get promotions, make more money and buy fun toys. But we love *you*, and ultimately, the other stuff does not matter.
- As long as you are trying your hardest, you are not going to let us down. We may get disappointed at circumstances, just like you, but seeing you try your hardest to be all you can be in life and the marriage, shows us how much you love us (see number 2). And we will admire your always striving and trying. Truly.
- Never stop making us laugh. Because your ability to make us laugh is the most bankable currency you’ll ever have.
And ladies remember, these go both ways 😉