Wednesday, January 29, 2014

10 Loving and Lasting Things Every Husband Should Do (Wives, this is for you too)

Here are some practical tips for husbands and wives. They come from Colleen Millard, a widow for three years since yesterday. I'm so grateful she has let me share this today. Please be sure to pass this link along to your non-widowed friends. Three out of four women will be widowed at least once during their lifetime, so this is very valuable advice and a wonderful model to follow.
10 Loving and Lasting Things Every Husband Should Do
(Wives, this is for you too)

No one wants to talk about the subject of death, especially your own death. Most people think it's something they will think about when they get "old" and that age keeps getting pushed back.  Statistics show that roughly 800,000 women will become widowed in the U.S. each year. Out of every 10 couples, 8 men will die before their wives. My husband did a lot of things right to take care of his family even though we never had any serious discussions about death. Since he died suddenly there was no opportunity to say goodbyes or make any plans. Yet he did a very good job taking care of us and laying out a plan. I can't wait to get to heaven, give him a big hug and tell him thank you for making this journey a little bit easier for us. I think as you read the following you will see the fingerprints of God even in the worst of circumstances.
1. Have a will and update it regularly. This will save your wife a lot of stress. Bob had our will updated less than 1 year before he passed away. He had me sit through the lengthy process even though it was confusing for me. I am so grateful.

2. Have enough life insurance. Can you imagine your wife having to look for a job (or figure out how to live on one income) while she is trying to manage what you both once managed, and be grieving as well? Get more than you think she'll need.
3. Have a safe place that your wife knows about where all important papers are kept. This should include will, life insurance policies, investments, instructions, etc. Bob had a lengthy list of everything on his computer. His office assistant knew where all the files were that matched everything on the computer list. What a blessing!

4. Make sure to have all your passwords in one place and make sure your wife knows where this is. Just a few months before he passed away he asked if he could write them all in my little password book. I have to believe God was a part of that!
5. Discuss funeral or memorial service plans. Do you want to be buried (and where) or cremated? We never discussed specifics but the boys and I had all heard him say at various times he wanted to be cremated and have his ashes spread in Colorado. It made it so easy for us. He had also attended a beautiful memorial service of a dear friend nearly 10 years prior so I knew he would want something similar. A service where God would be glorified and a life well lived would be celebrated.

6. If you own a business have an exit plan in place. Although Bob didn't have specific instructions he had enough things is place that the business could carry on. I also heard him say on several occasions that he felt surrounded by trusted people at the business so I knew I was in good hands. They have worked hard and carried on in a way he would be so proud of.
7. Have good friends. They will be helpful for your wife and children when you are gone. Bob & I had some great friends that have helped me so much, I can't imagine going through this without them.

8. Leave a letter or video for your wife and children. Although Bob's death was sudden and because he was young this wasn't even anything we thought about but it is one thing I so wish I had. I can't know, but I think it would have helped me so much to have some last words. It is the one area I have really struggled with.  I recently watched a video a man in Iowa made; he was only in his 30's but had a dream he died so he got up and made a video for his family and locked it in a safe with their will. Several months later when he died in a plane crash his wife was startled to find it, but it brought her so much comfort. He talked about the important things as well as giving instructions for the future. I know this is hard to think about and even harder to do but I promise you it is something she will always treasure.
9. Live each day to the fullest, make great memories, never go to bed angry, and tell her you love her every day. Have no regrets. One memory I will always treasure is crawling back into bed with Bob (after taking my son to 6 a.m. baseball practice) that fateful morning and having some snuggle time before we started the day.

10. Love the Lord. Make sure you know you’re going to Heaven and that your family is secure in that too. I am so thankful that Bob had trusted Christ and had a personal relationship with Him. I can rest secure knowing I will see him again one day!
Disclaimer: I realize all families are different and many women manage the finances etc. I am just speaking from the heart about my experience. To the wives, you can make your own list of things you can do. I will just close by saying this: love your husbands well and let them know you appreciate all they do. You will never know till they are gone exactly how many areas they take care of or how intensely you will miss them.

©By Colleen Millard, used with permission


  1. Babs....Great idea. Will pass it along. This morning, I had actually thought that when couples marry.and if they say...'till death us do part' it should be shouted out or something. When we cleared my husband's studio out, my kids admitted they were hoping to find 'love letters' to them from their dad. When talking to people in government departments - etc., I did tell folk to ensure all passwords etc. are known to each other. Both men and women were glad of the advice. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I am so thankful that my husband made me keep up our life ins. policy. Many times we didn't pay a lot of bills because we weren't able too but he MADE me always pay our life insurance policy. It was one of the wisest decisions of our wonderful marriage. So very thankful it was there.
    and -
    I go to church with a widow senior lady in her early 80's and she told me that every time she leaves home for half a day or longer she cleans her house and leaves out instructions of how her funeral arrangements are to be made and where all of her important papers are. (I haven't reached that stage yet) :-)

  3. I just forwarded this email to my fellow office wokers-I have already recived 3 hearty "Thank you's!"

  4. My husband was a pastor and while he saw to it that his parishoners were always taken care of, he didn't really do the same for me. I did most of the above. He now has Parkinsons with dementia and I have taken care of much of the above. Its not that he wasn't a good man and father...he just didn't know put the family first.

  5. This is a great post, Ferree! I echo every point. For #5, have you used It's something on my list to do for 2014.

  6. Thank you all for your comments, there's a gem in each one. I don't know why it's so hard to get around to making these preparations, but Colleen did a great job of pulling it all together. Sometimes husbands are so busy loving their families in other ways with providing a paycheck, coaching, teaching Sunday School, Scouts, pastoring and giving of their time that these issues get swept aside. So let's keep on urging our loved ones to get this all nailed down.


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