If you didn't already know, we have the greatest little furry creature who lives in our house. His name is Howie but we mostly call him Howard. He's the greatest little buddy and I'm convinced that every marriage/family needs a puppy like him. We've learned so much about life, responsibility, selflessness and love since Howard came into our lives and he makes our lives more interesting and happy. Over the last four and a half years, I've paid attention to how this sweet pup interacts with Joe and he's inspired me to change some things about the way that I love my husband and treat my marriage.
How I've Learned to Love My Husband Better
Be Excited to See Him When He Gets Home
When Howie hears the garage door open at the end of the day, he runs to look out the front room and his tail starts wagging. I always know the second Joe puts his car in park because Howie jumps down from the couch and runs to the door as Joe's car disappears into the garage. He stands there with his eyes glued to the door until it opens and he can jump up and down to greet him. If Joe stays in his truck listening to the end of a Dave Ramsey call or does something out in the yard before coming into the house, I hear my poor fluffy friend start to cry because he just wants to be with his best friend. The moment Joe walks through the door, excitement ensues and the two of them play fetch and snuggle with each other for the next five or ten minutes.
I can't spend time every night with my nose pressed to the window waiting for Joe to come home, and I don't cry if it takes him longer than 30 seconds to come inside after he's parked his car, but there are definitely a few things that I've learned from Howie's example. Some nights the kids and I will sit in the window and wave frantically when Joe starts to pull in the driveway. The minute Joe walks in the door, I acknowledge his presence, set aside any media so that we can catch up on each other's days uninterrupted, and try to let him know with my words and actions that I missed him and am glad that he's home.
Be Attentive to What He Has to Say
Any time Joe starts talking to Howie, that puppy listens intently and there is usually a lot of head tilting involved. I love watching those two have conversations because even though there are only a few words that Howard knows the meaning of, he hangs onto Joe's every word and for a few minutes, what Joe has to say is all that matters in his life.
Although I have made a lot of efforts to pay close attention to Joe when he talks to me, I know that I can always do better. I pause Netflix, set my phone aside and ignore my computer, but there are times when I still struggle to focus on everything he has to say to me. I'm inspired by the way that Howie listens and maintains eye contact the entire time Joe is talking and I want to be more like him in this aspect.
Make the Most of the Time You Have Together
Howie is always right next to us, follows us around just to be with us wherever we are and whatever we are doing and is constantly giving kisses and love. He doesn't want to waste one minute of time that he has with the family. When we're watching TV, he's right there with us. If we're enjoying a meal together as a family, the dog is usually right there as well, although he's paying more attention to the kids and the food that they'll potentially drop than to us. If Joe sits down on the couch or on the stairs, Howie is right there with a one of his toys to be thrown or a request for some belly rubs and cuddles.
After Joe's two months of working 20 to 30 hours of overtime each week, I learned not to take advantage of the time that we have together. Every minute that he was home with me, I wanted to be talking or cuddling. But it's funny how quickly I start to take for granted the time that he is home now that he's back to working normal hours each week. Whenever I catch myself doing that, I think about Howie and how he can't get enough quality time with Joe and I make a change.
Be Content Just Being Together
Every morning, Howie and Joe snuggle in bed until it's time to ready for the day. Sometimes the dog gets belly scratches, but for the majority of the time, the two of them just hang out. Other times when Joe is standing around on his phone or his tablet, Howie will beg for his attention and he's always happy when Joe sits somewhere he can conveniently sit next to him or right in his lap.
I'm not the greatest at just sitting around and enjoying the time that I have with Joe, I have a need to have a project going on all the time. From Howie, I am learning to be content with just being together. I don't always need to be getting something done and we don't always have to be working on a project or doing something exciting together, sometimes we can just hang out.
Make Space Where You Don't Think There Is Any
Whenever Joe and I sit down next to each other on the couch or cuddle up in bed to watch a movie, Howie always finds his way in between us, within minutes. We have to move him by force if we want him to sit elsewhere and sometimes it takes two or three times of moving him before he gives up. He's been known to sit on my hip because he wants to be near both of us. It's oddly endearing, even though I have to fight for my place next to Joe sometimes. He always seems to find that one little spot between us and tuck himself into it so perfectly.
I've mentioned before on the blog that I've thought over and over again that there would be more time for our marriage or different activities after we passed a certain phase in our lives. And every time it passes, something new comes up and we're left with the same amount of time as we were before. So I've learned to make time instead of always waiting for it to fall in our laps. I know that we need time for our marriage and sometimes I just don't see any time in the schedule, like Howie doesn't see space between Joe and I. If I really want to spend time just the two of us, I will make time in our daily and weekly schedule.
How have your pets or kids encouraged you to love your husband differently?
Photography by Sadie Banks Photography