Mom, why do you always call Dad, "Hun", instead of by his name?
"Hun" was sitting in the front seat. I was in the back. We were in the car. He said,
It's a term of endearment. It's what people call each other when they love each other.
Because that's what I've always called him. Besides, calling him by his name sounds weird to me!
She didn't get it.
But how could she?
She hasn't found her better half yet.
The one she wants to spend eternity with.
She doesn't understand that calling someone by an endearing name is more personal than calling them by their given name. I think that's why I get so annoyed when other people call me "hun", "sweetie", or anything else along those lines. No one can call me those names except my husband or my parents. It's personal.
I've pondered much on marriage and how important this sacred institution is to humanity. As I mourn with those whose marriages have crumbled, I understand how fragile these relationships can be, but also how strong and resilient they can be also. Having a good marriage is not something to be taken for granted. I have been tremendously blessed and I am grateful every day for my own better half. But we work at it every day.
“Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die” (Ruth 1:16–17). and “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.” (Abr. 5:18.)
My husband and I made this covenant with each other before we were married. We were THAT sure we were meant to be together. That was over nineteen years ago. We were young... I was 18 and he was 22...but we KNEW. We were on the same path then and we are still on it today... together.
We have never lost sight of this sound advice. We have never put another person above each other - not our parents, not our children, not our friends - no one. I am his number one and he is my number one. We have each other's back. He is my best friend and I am his. That is the way it is meant to be. We make decisions together. We respect each other's opinions and listen to the needs of one another. We are loyal to each other. We allow each other to grow as individuals - to pursue our personal dreams and to be each other's cheerleader. But we only pursue those dreams that allow us to stay on the same path together, with the same goal in mind. If a personal dream conflicts with the good of our family or us as a couple, we weigh the pros and cons and make the decision whether to pursue that dream or not... together. Sometimes the decision is to proceed, sometimes it is to wait, and sometimes it is to drop it completely. But the decision is made together and determined with one thing in mind - is this for the good of one or is this for the good of us?
Communication is the key. Without it, a marriage will greatly suffer. I've witnessed more marriages fail from a simple lack of communication more than for any other reason. That's where it begins. Good marriages have foundations of open and healthy communication. Poor marriages lack it.
I'm always amazed at the lack of communicating that goes on between husbands and wives. So many times, you will ask why a person believes their marriage isn't working and they will respond with something like, "He hurts my feelings when..., She only talks to her friends about our problems..., He does this or says that..., She treats me like..., It isn't worth the fight..., I'm tired of being nagged...etc., etc., etc." When you ask them if they have told their spouse how they feel, they will almost always say, "No. He/She won't listen..., I tried, but it doesn't do any good..., I'm too mad to talk to him/her about it...etc." They are more focused on being heard than hearing what the other person has to say.
We have to set our pride and hurt feelings aside and listen to what our spouse is trying to say to us. It is so important to listen - not just to what they say, but what their body language is saying also. If we don't understand what the other person needs, we keep talking until we figure it out. If we can't figure it out on our own, we seek help... a clergyman, a counselor, a marriage therapist... someone, a mediator, in a position to give the right kind of advice. Going to a parent, a friend, or sibling is not always the best choice because their opinions are biased. And once a parent, friend, or spouse knows your marriage problems, their opinions of your spouse will always be clouded by that. Always. You can't ever take it back.
In the early days of my marriage, my husband struggled to communicate with me. It was difficult for me, but I didn't give up. I explained to him the need I had for him to talk to me. It took practice and patience.
My husband's mother had been battling bone cancer the entire time I knew her. She fought it for six years and passed away exactly three years into our marriage. It was a difficult time for us. We had a 22 month old and I was 7 1/2 months pregnant with my second child. My husband was grieving. I was grieving. It had been several long months of physically caring for his mother in her home. We were physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. My husband shut down for several months.
I considered leaving. But only for a moment. I didn't know if I would get him back or not. But I loved him and I made that covenant with him to always be by his side. I waited. I was as patient as I could be as I waited. I knew I needed to let him grieve in his own way and not to take his isolation away from me personally. It was very difficult. Within six weeks time my mother-in-law passed away, I somehow managed to get through Christmas while nine months pregnant along with a toddler, delivered my second child, and all the while, felt completely alone.
Sometimes I let my feelings be hurt because my husband wasn't giving me the attention I needed, but he just couldn't give it at that time, and I knew it. There were small miracles and tender mercies that were granted me through that trying time. My labor with that baby was only 4 1/2 hours long and I had an epidural through most of it so I didn't feel much pain. I only had to push three times and he was out without the need for any stitches. My recovery with him was really good and I felt good and had the energy I needed to care for him. I knew Heavenly Father was blessing me.
Finally, my husband's grief eased and he began to come back to me. I waited for him to be ready. I prayed for guidance to know how to help him. It took time, patience, and a resolve for me to overlook my own needs and to focus on his. When he was ready to talk, I was ready to listen. Sometimes it wasn't so much that words needed to be said, as much as there was the need to just be close to each other - just offering comfort in small, but meaningful ways - a head or neck rub, holding hands in the car, cuddling on the couch with babies asleep in the next room. It could be found in counting our blessings by verbally recognizing the good things in our life and by verbally expressing love - saying, "I love you", "What would I do without you?", "Thank you for being so good to me.", "I can't imagine what my life would be without you." We all need to hear those things from our spouse. And when we express them in quiet times together, they sink deep into our souls and take root there.
Marriage can be so hard. But it can be the most joyful part of our life, if we are willing to make it so. It takes sacrifice, love, unselfishness, kindness, understanding, communication, forgiveness, and patience. It is worth fighting for. Don't ever let anyone say that it's not.