I struggle even answering this question because it is hard to answer on behalf of all men, “What’s the most important thing for Men to have in their marriage?” All I can do is answer for myself and hope that my response aligns with other men, perhaps some men can chime in down in the comments section.
Men are creatures of habit. At least, I am anyway. I like consistency. I like to know what to expect. I don’t mind being spontaneous at times, but it has to be within my level of comfort, and to be honest, somewhat my idea.
Women are typically more flexible and spontaneous at times, at least from my experience. If they were not, why are women always desiring their husbands be more spontaneous? Not to say that women don’t desire some consistency, I simply think there is a difference between what men and women require to be comfortable.
Most men have a day that revolves around a routine. I wake up every day and follow a very similar routine. Sure it sounds boring to some, but all men have a routine or some kind that is consistent. Routines are very important, especially with children. Routines can be modified from time to time, but the idea of having a routine is that for the most part, you can expect what will happen next.
Thinking about it more, it might not even be consistency that is important, it’s knowing what to expect and not being surprised.
The World is Random
Though I often hold tight to my routine, the world does not understand that. My clients needs don’t always fit into my routine. Having allergies for the last two weeks doesn’t fit into my routine. So the last thing we want after a long day of having our routines tested is inconsistency when we get home.
It is important to me that the place I am supposed to be most comfortable be consistent. After a long day of inconsistency, I just want to fall back into my routine.
Home Can Be Random
My wife and I are both busy people. I run a business and she runs a household with three young children. Both of us spend our day getting wrenches thrown into our routines. This is just part of life. I know that despite the best intentions my wife and I both have at the start of the day, it only takes one client phone call or a child meltdown to throw everything off for the rest of the day.
When we get off path, it is important that we recenter. If we continue to go off path, who knows where we will end up by the end of the day. A routine does not have to be 100% consistent every day. There are ebbs and flows in every routine. However, there are cornerstones of a routine that hold it up. It is easy for me to recognize what those cornerstones are with my children.
The routine cornerstones for my children are making sure they go to bed and wake up close to the same time every day. They need to be fed at consistent times. My youngest still takes an afternoon nap. When she doesn’t get her afternoon nap, she falls apart around 3pm. The activities that fill in the gaps can be different each day so long as the cornerstones of the routine remain intact.
Routine Cornerstones of a Husband
I will be the first to admit that when the cornerstones of my routine are threatened, I get cranky. I spend all day dealing with everybody else’s needs, so when I come home, I simply want to fall back into routine for a while. The challenge here is that I also realize my wife has been dealing with the needs of our children all day and would love to curl up next to one of her routine cornerstones as well. This is where I have to remember to give my wife grace first, before showing frustration.
I used to start each day by going to the gym. I still do on occasion, but it has been hard for me to get up early and make it to the gym. When I make it to the gym in the morning, the structure of my routine holds up much better. I also find that my routine is more flexible throughout the day. Having a healthy routine that can withstand some inconsistency requires a good foundation. If your day starts inconsistent, it will most likely end that way as well. Encourage your husband to find a way to start his day in a positive way. He shouldn’t be leaving the house stressed, he should be leaving replenished. Husbands, make sure to encourage your wife in the same way.
Communication is important here. A wife will not know what is important to her husband if he does not tell her and vice-versa. You should make it a goal to discover the cornerstones of your spouse’s routine so you can strive to achieve consistency in those areas. Once you both have a good understanding of these cornerstones, you can reform the foundation of your routines to match. The cornerstones of our routines mainly contain similar things, we just need to sync those up and add in some consistency to prevent structural damage.
I mentioned it before, men are creatures of habit. We can be a bit abrasive when our routines are shifted. I have found my routine threatened simply by my wife making me breakfast. I normally handle my own breakfast so when I am surprised by a breakfast containing items I did not choose, it throws me off for a second. In that moment, I have to remind myself that my wife was thinking about me and decided to make me breakfast. I should be happy about that. I literally have to remind myself that every time. I have recognized that I would rather appreciate my wife for an unexpected breakfast than get upset about my routine being threatened. It takes work. One time she made oatmeal for the kids and I. Apparently I was not interested in the unexpected oatmeal she made for me because my response was, “I hate that kind of oatmeal.” Yes, I sounded like a four-year-old.
How to achieve consistency
You will first need to find out what the cornerstones of your spouse’s routine are. Once you have that figured out, you can work that into the household’s routine. If you are typically the one who cooks dinner, make sure it is at a consistent time. If dinner seems to be a stressful situation for your husband because of inconsistency, send him a text message mid-day and let him know what will be cooking when he comes home. Understand that mid-day is also a good time to suggest eating out if you foresee the day getting away from you. I have also realized that giving my wife a solid notice before I disrupt her routine is important as well.
Consistency is simply what I find important during this chapter in my life. It might not be what you need or what your husband needs. Each person is different and has different needs. If you pay close enough attention, you should easily be able to figure out what the cornerstones of your spouse’s routine is.
My Grandparents were married just shy of 68 years when my Grandmother passed away. They retired when I was young. I remember them having a solid routine. My Grandfather would spend time out in his shop building things. My Grandmother would spend time in her office researching and reading. They were a pretty well-oiled machine. They had a routine that included spending time together and time in their zones working on things they loved. If you called them at 11:20 in the morning, you knew they were just sitting down to lunch.
Using my Grandparents routine as an example is hard to compare to a young family with three kids, but I believe that their marriage lasted until the end because they found a way to provide consistency to each other in the areas that mattered most. Watching my Grandfather struggle to find a new routine after my Grandmother’s passing confirms this.
Let me know what you think about this. Is routine important to you? Do you think it’s important to your spouse? What areas of your routine are frequently disrupted? How do you think you could fix it?