I Lost My Wife But You Don't Have To

I lost my wife but you don’t have to......

I've been debating for a long time about putting my thoughts on my failure as a husband on paper.  Growing up the only happily married couple I saw was Heathcliff and Clair Huxtable, but unfortunately I did not live on the Cosby show.  I did not have an example of what a good husband was or what a great marriage consisted of.  Everything I learned about marriage I learned on my own.  Much like everything else in life, when you learn something alone and on your own the path can be a bit rocky.  So my goal with this letter is to share my thoughts in hopes that it might help someone save their marriage.  Disclaimer:  I’m no marriage or relationship guru.  These are my thoughts of what I've seen throughout my life, and from talking to various people.  This is not a play by play breakdown of my marriage.  This is not meant to belittle my wife.  She is a great woman, and I am blessed to have her in my life.  This is not a debate, you can disagree with me about everything and I will be just fine.

People live their lives on their own terms.  One thing I do know is that I wish 36 year old Tabious was able to come and talk to 30 year Tabious, and maybe I wouldn't be writing this passage now.  What a difference six years of knowledge can make!  We always say "if I only knew then what I know now". 

Marry Your Best Friend
People always ask me; what is the number one piece of advice when getting married.  I usually always give the same cliché answer that most people give….Marry Your Best Friend!  It sounds so simple doesn’t it?!?  I hear so many men complain that they can’t be themselves with their wives, or their wives aren’t cool, or their wife is not their friend.  Hearing the complaints made me really think about this cliché advice that’s always given to Marry Your Best Friend.  So I had to think about my relationship with my best friend, Randy McMichael.  Much like every other person that I am very close with, Randy and I had “kindred spirit” connection from the moment we met.  We have been friends for 20+ years now and we actually refer to each other as brothers.  I am very close to his family and truthfully I’m closer to his family than I am with some of my own blood relatives.  Our relationship hasn’t been perfect and that should be expected.  I haven’t always been the best person to him and he would probably tell you that he hasn’t always been the best person to me, but at the end of the day that’s my brother and I would do anything for him.  

So why don’t we have the same thoughts about our spouses?  Is it because we hold our spouse in such high regard?  It’s easy to forgive when our best friend makes a mistake, but why can’t we forgive our spouse?  Were you portraying a different person when you married your spouse?  I know when my wife and I first met we always talked about our dreams, goals, and aspirations.  I could listen to her talk all day about the acting roles she had booked or what it was like on a set.  My wife and I motivated each other much like Randy and I did for each other in high school.  To me Best Friends are like Soul Mates.  Being a best friend or soul mate is not just about the butterflies you feel in your stomach.  I remember telling my frat brother that I could never take my wife to Essence Fest with me and he asked “Why Not”.  I did not have a legitimate answer because I never really asked her to go.  Too many times we make assumptions about what the other person would do then claim “they aren’t my best friend or they aren’t into that”.  I’ve always had great times when my wife and I went out. Along the way I stopped thinking of my wife as my best friend.  I’m not really sure when or why I stopped thinking of her as my best friend but I’m sure it was rooted in pride.  It takes work to be a best friend.  You must allow yourself to be vulnerable.  You have to put the other person’s feelings before yours.  You have to be willing to support them just like you want them to support you.  You have to realize that even though she’s your wife or he’s your husband it’s never too late to become best friends again.  Start today!  Take some time today to reconnect as friends.  Go have an experience together like sky diving!  If that’s too risky, skip work tomorrow have a picnic and go for bike rides.  Build your friendship and I guarantee your marriage will strengthen.    

Stop competing
One thing I've learned about marriage is that there is a lot of give and take. There will be many ups and downs. There will be variables you will face like work, family, even church to distract you from your marriage. There will be times when you will wonder what the hell was I thinking marrying this person. I want to urge you through these times and distractions to put the scorecards down. Put the scorecards down not only for the bad things that happen in your marriage, but also the good things. Too many times we can keep a LONG record of all the negative things our spouses have done. We can remember down to the minute exactly what they did to piss you off! I bet if you were asked to make a list of all the things that your spouse had done to piss u off that list could easily get to 100 without effort. If you were asked to do the same thing for the good qualities it would probably be a struggle. It's human nature to remember the negative because it hurts. We tend to keep score of the hurt and pain, and compare our scores to our spouses. We think that the pain they caused us is so much more severe than the minimal pain we caused them. Stop it!  They say "time heals all wounds" but you do not know how much time it will take for the wound to heal.  Do not go tit for tat! Learn to recognize the hurts, acknowledge what you did, and accept responsibility.  

There's no "I" in team but there's definitely a "ME".  Remember you two are a team!  I know we live in an age of the independent woman, and you guys do not need a man.  #Whatever  It’s ok to need your husband.  Men need to be needed.  When you guys said "I do" that “You” and “I” was changed to “we” and “us”.  So there is no need for scorecards when you are playing on the same team. 

Question: Who eats first your kids or your husband?  I see this debate constantly on Facebook and it literally gets on my nerves every time I see asinine responses like “my kids come first” or “my husband better make his own plate”.  Really?!? I hate it when I see a man say “you better make my kid’s plate first”.  Trust me HE’S LYING!  This is not coming from a keeping a women her place and serve her husband thought process.  Look at this logically; your husband works hard to provide for his family and to “bring home the groceries”.  You don’t think it’s only right to give him his plate first?!  I promise you that your kids will not starve in the 30 seconds it takes to make your husband’s plate.  That simple gesture will make your husband feel like an absolute King!  One thing I appreciated about my wife was she would always make my plate.  I could be upstairs working in the office but she would make breakfast and bring it to me.  Don’t get me wrong I think the husband should make his wife plate as well.  Remember you guys are a team.  Taking care of each other first will make you better parents to your children.         

Protect his pride & Provide her security
If you did not know, pride is everything to a man! Seriously! Men take pride in how much money they earn, the type of work he does, pride in past athletic accomplishments, etc. However, the number one thing every man takes pride in is his ability to provide for his wife and family!  It is a dark and terrible feeling when a man is unable to be a provider, and give his family the lifestyle he feels they deserve.  This is the time when we need our wife to touch us like no one else can.  I do not mean in a physical sense, but in the mental sense to remind us that no matter what happens you believe in him and you are so proud of him.  The FIVE words every man wants to hear from his wife is “I am proud of you”. 

I played football at the University of Florida so we were a Gator household.  My favorite shirt that my wife owned was a Florida Gator shirt that she took to have my last name and number screen printed on the back.  We weren’t together in college and my wife never saw me really play football so every time she wore that shit I was very proud.  If you are married to a jock and want to make he feel good about himself.  Put on his old jersey with some nice heels and I’ll leave the rest to your imagination lol.     

While Pride is everything to a man; Security is everything to a woman.  I use to think security was another word for MONEY.  I am learning that security is more than money, gifts, or luxuries.  Security is simply putting her FIRST.  I sucked at this and didn't realize it.  Too many times I wanted to love my wife the way I wanted to be loved.  My love language is touch and gifts; so naturally I wanted to express my love with touch or giving a nice gift.  You know what my wife wanted?  She wanted to be told that she was beautiful, to be my #WomanCrushWednesday on social media, or for me to notice when she bought a new dress.  Your wife needs to know that she is number one in your life!  No one or anything comes before her.  A friend was talking to me about an issue he was having with his wife.  Long story short, she was not feeling loved.  I asked him to describe his wife’s love language and he couldn't.  That told me a lot about their situation.  Men…I want to encourage you to find out your wife’s love language and study it!  Provide her with the security she needs, and I promise you she will protect your pride with everything she has.  

Know when to stop
I HATE ARGUING!!!!  Seriously, I do!  I could never be a lawyer because I do not have the energy to go back and forth about an issue.  Unfortunately, disagreements are going to be a part of every marriage, but you don't have to argue.  Truthfully, if you plan on spending the rest of your life with a person an argument is waiting.  Now, when that argument comes along I want you to ask yourself “is this worth disturbing the peace in my home”.  They say 3 types of people will always tell the truth: Kids, Drunk People, and Angry People.  Anger is an incredible manipulator.  We will say the worst things to our spouse, and use the excuse that “it was out of anger”.   

One of my favorite books, by Napoleon Hill, is “Outwitting the Devil”. Hill talks about the devil being negative energy that causes people to “drift”.  The Devil says “I cause married people to bicker and nag one another over money matters. I cause them to quarrel over the bringing up of their children.  I engage them in unpleasant controversies over their intimate relationships and in disagreements over friends and social activities.  I keep them so busy finding fault with one another that they never have time to do anything else long enough to break the habit of drifting.

What does “drifting” mean?  To me “drifting” sounds a lot like people saying "I love my spouse but I’m not in love with them", or "they aren’t making me happy anymore", or "I wish my spouse was more like that person".  Fight the urge to fight with your spouse.  Things will happen and there will be some major issues that occur in the life of your marriage, but do not make a mountain out of a mole hill.  Remember that this is your wife/ husband so treat them with the respect that you want them to show you.  It is ok to agree to disagree.  Please learn to stop! 

Lastly….never ever Ever EVER sleep separately!  I know you might be saying Tabious there’s no way I’m sleeping under the same roof with this S.O.B. after what they just said to me.  That’s why you need to learn how to stop! I know men will go sleep in another bedroom or on the sofa.  Do not start that terrible habit!  Once you start sleeping separately it leads to a dreadful routine that will destroy your intimacy.  I DO NOT care how mad you two are with each other I want you to do these 4 things
  • 1.      Get on your knees at the edge of your bed to pray together
  • 2.      Give each other a kiss
  • 3.      Tell each other “I Love You”    
  • 4.      Go to sleep
Do not talk about whatever it was that night.  Get some sleep and have a civilized conversation the next day. 

***I’m going to assume that people know I’m not talking about situations that may include domestic violence or adultery.       

Stop reminding them of who or what they use to be or do 
One of my favorite quotes is “Look at a man the way he is and he only becomes worse.  But look at a man for what he could be then he will become what he should be”.  You want to know my secret reason I started pursuing public speaking?  I wanted to make my wife proud.  I wanted to show her that I was not the same guy from years back.  I wanted to show her that I was growing into the man I was destined to be.  I am not the same Tabious today that I was eight years ago, five years ago, or even one year ago.  I don't care how many people tell me that my speeches are good, in the back of my mind no other comment matters if my wife didn’t tell me I did a good job.  

Like I said earlier, time heals all wounds, but you do not know how much time it will take for those wounds to heal.  The wounds I caused were too great that she could only see me for who I use to be, and not for who I was becoming.  As much as I wanted her forgiveness I would never get it.  Looking back I probably do not deserve her forgiveness, and I realize that I may never receive her forgiveness.  I have to suffer the consequences of my actions.    

But…If you are working to save your marriage and you have forgiven your spouse for whatever transgression they have committed; please let it go.  I know it will take time for the wounds to heal, but find productive ways to work through the issues.  Constantly reminding them of what they did will not help your marriage.  The best apology is changed behavior.  The more you remind your spouse of who they use to be when they are doing their best to change will only guarantee them reverting back to their old ways, or simply giving up on the marriage.  Again I ask “Is this worth peace in your home”. 

Social Media
I will be the first to say I HATE SOCIAL MEDIA drama!  I use to say that if you social media breaks up your relationship then you did not have much of a relationship.  Clearly I did not have a true understanding of the power that social media has to ruin relationships. I still say that social media drama is only a symptom of what is actually going on in the relationship.   My wife would probably tell you that social media destroyed our marriage.  No I wasn’t in women’s DM!  I was inconsiderate, prideful, and did not put my wife first. (Remember I talked about security earlier) When I first started my Instagram account I never posted pictures of her.  Truthfully I was just being an asshole.  I was not happy with myself and I used Instagram as a distraction to post dumb stuff to get likes.  I was thinking my wife isn’t on Instagram so it’s no big deal.  WRONG!!!  WRONG!!! WRONG!!!  Lord knows I wish I had deleted my Instagram account the day my wife signed up but pride is a muther fucker!  I kept saying it’s just social media!!!  It’s not that serious!  Clearly it was very serious since I’m writing this.

Maybe you are like me and you use social media to promote your entrepreneurial endeavors, and in your mind it’s not that serious.  That doesn’t mean social media is not that serious to your spouse.  I recall having a conversation with a friend of mine and she was telling me about a guy she had a crush on.  One day she was trolling (being nosey) on Facebook and noticed that the guy she had a crush on “loved” a picture of a girl they went to college with.  She was actually upset because he had never “loved” one of her pictures only “liked” her pictures.  I realized then that social media has become ingrained into every fabric of our lives.  So think about this…a woman was upset because her crush “loved” another woman’s picture.  Think about what it does to your wife when you like another woman’s selfie.  I know us men will say “it’s just social media” but put your pride to the side and STOP liking pictures.  It is simple as that. 

I want to encourage you to have a real conversation with your spouse about Social Media.  Please I implore you to not let social media ruin your marriage! 

Put the technology down
One thing I use to hate was my wife in bed with her work iPad, laptop, or cell phone.  I actually never told her, I would just pick up my phone and get on Facebook or Instagram.  Make your bed a NO TECHNOLOGY zone!  Seriously!  I know there will be some nights when you have to stay up late to finish an expense report or project, but not every night.  When it’s time to go to bed put the phones, iPads, and laptops on the charger preferably in another room.  It has been a long day filled with work, kids, and other stresses of the day.  As a couple you need this time at night to reconnect.  Take this time to hold and hug each other, say your prayers, and relax.  We spend all day with technology. Do not bring it to your bed.  

Vulgarity towards your spouse
Proverbs 18:21 states “Death and Life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  Simply put words have so much power!  The words you speak to your spouse are truly the most powerful words they will hear all day.  We all know the old adage sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.  That’s not true at all!  The world was created by the WORD!  Remember God said “let there be light”?!  So if words can create the world what will they do in your marriage.  A husband telling his wife that she looks beautiful today has so much more meaning than her hearing it from the random guy she will see at the QuikTrip or the guy sending her direct messages on IG.  When a wife tells her husband “you can do it babe I believe in you” mountains will be moved.

Using vulgar language towards and calling your spouse out of their name is basically saying I have no respect for you.  You are destroying them mentally every time you use vulgarities towards them.  If that’s how you communicate with your spouse please seek professional counseling immediately.  There is no excuse for it.  You should speak to your spouse with the same respect you want them to speak to you.  The more negative words you use to describe your spouse will create the reality of how you truly see them.  If you are constantly calling your husband a bitch ass nigga, eventually that is what he will become in your eyes. 

Always hold your spouse in high regards when you speak to them or about them.  Men stop calling your wife your “old lady” when you speak about her.  When you are talking to friends about your spouse they should know that you love and respect your wife or husband.  Even when you are mad and you need to vent don’t say that bitch, that muther fucker, that ass, etc.  The more you use that langue to describe your spouse the easier it becomes to use that language towards them. 

Sinful Pride is a Muther Fucker
Yeah that is the only way I could really describe pride.  Pride is one the Seven Deadly Sins, and some say it is the foremost of all sins. 

So what is Pride? Pride is the excessive belief in one's own abilities that interferes with the individual's recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise.  Wow…think about that “interferes with the individual’s recognition of the grace of God”.  What is the grace of God?  Is it Forgiveness, Love, or maybe Humility?  There were countless times when pride came up in my marriage.  I was going to stand by my view point no matter what my wife said.  I was not going to delete my Instagram account because I did not want to.  I was going to Miami because that’s what I wanted to do.  I should have dropped my pride!

It is time to submit to your wife or husband.  I am not using the term submit in a demeaning way.  At one point in time you were head over hills in love with you wife or husband willing to do whatever it took to make them happy.  When you first met your spouse it did not matter what anyone else thought.  Your friends could say “she got you whipped” and your response would be YEP!  Sadly after time goes by and pride starts sneaking into your mind being “whipped” becomes a bad thing.  When my wife and I first started dating for the first few years I took pictures of us all the time and would immediately post them on MySpace (clearly we old lol).  I have files on my computer filled with pictures from birthdays, vacations, or just being around the house.  What changed that…nothing but Pride.  Arguing about one thing, then saying something out of anger which lead to more arguing and holding on to that anger.  Anger will fester in your mind and will cause you to drift mentally then pride fully takes over your decision making.  Once you start making decision rooted in your sinful pride you are going down the path of destruction. 

Seek professional counseling
Marriage is major life changing event!  This is a brand new life. There are too many questions that need to be answered.  You two need to be on the same page.  I think people need to go through marriage counseling prior to saying I do.  Not getting premarital counseling is a regret that I have about my marriage.  My wife and I should have sought professional help leading to our marriage.  I naively thought that once we said I do everything prior to that did not matter.  Like somehow being married magically erased the past hurts, issues, or problems.  No one is perfect and we all have baggage.  Professional counseling will help you constructively resolve your issues. 

If we do not seek professional counseling we tend to seek counseling of others like family and friends.  Why is it that people listen and take relationship advice from people who suck at relationships?!  It’s always the bitter person who is ready to tell what they would do if they were in your place.  I know it’s only natural to talk about your problems with your friends.  Your friends see your spouse through the lens that you paint of them.  So our friends/ family will always be biased towards us and whatever advice they give will usually be what you want to hear and not what you need to hear.  Stop telling everyone about your marriage.   

When serious problems arise in your marriage you need the help of an unbiased 3rd party professional.  Albert Einstein said “The thinking that has brought me this far has created some problems that this thinking cannot resolve”.   Don’t let the thinking that you have keep you from growing and learning to become the best spouse you can be.  Again I say seek professional counseling. 

Finally I have to say the biggest lie told is “a happy wife is a happy life”.  Yes I want my wife to be happy but I would hope that my wife would want me to be just as happy.  We as individuals must be happy with ourselves and love ourselves to be able to correctly love our spouses.  My wife and I went through some tough times.  She stuck with me when most people would have walked away quickly.  I’ve had to learn how to love myself and relinquish the guilt, frustrations, and insecurities that held me back.  I wanted my wife to love me out of my misery and when she couldn’t I held it against her.  I wanted to make her happy but I wanted to make her happy my way.  That was a selfish view and not fair to her.  When we learn to love ourselves we are able to show people how to love us and in return love them completely. 

I knew from the first day I met my wife that she would change my life.  I knew from the first day we met that she would be my wife and we would have a family.  Back then you could not have paid me a million dollars to believe that our relationship would end up like it has.  Neither one of us is perfect because we both made mistakes but I am only speaking my story.  My hope is that this letter helps someone avoid the mistakes that I made.  It is great to learn from your own mistakes but a wise man can learn from the mistakes of others.  If you are reading this I pray that it touches you and blesses your mind to be the best wife or husband possible.  I know it can be tough at times but it’s worth it. 

I lost my wife but you do not have to lose yours.

Lets be great today! #1Down

Tabious L. Carter   


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  2. Thank You so much, for the tools you have given me to strengthen my marriage.

  3. That was an awesome read. I see myself in so many of the passages that you speak on in there. There are also some values that I try to hold dear to as well. However, some of the things that are causing the problems also exist. Therefore, the good things seem to end up canceling out. My work now is to make me a better me, for myself, my wife and for my family as a whole. That starts with having a better relationship with God. Thanks you so much for sharing your story with us. It has truly been inspirational.