Friday, December 31, 2010

What do you Wish You Did?

There are certain characteristics that it seems like women like in a man; things that make them feel comfortable around him; that make them look up to him; even that make them want to love them. They aren’t always the characteristics that we, as guys, think they are; but they are characteristics that mean a lot to a woman, because they tell her she can trust him.

All too often, those same things that make us attractive to our wives are the same things that we try and hide from them. Remember, they don’t think the same way we do; so those things that we think aren’t worthy of seeing the light of day can be the same things that they want to see.

I think part of what causes us to hide these things is that they tend to make us vulnerable. Since many of these things can be seen as weaknesses we don’t want anyone to know they exist; especially those that are closest to us. After all, they are the ones who have the greatest opportunity to use those same things to stab us in the back.

Some of these characteristics I’m referring to are:

·         Honesty, especially about our weaknesses
·         Ability to admit failure and ask forgiveness
·         Openness, to share our dreams and aspirations
·         Integrity, that they know we’ll do the right thing, no matter what it costs us

This isn’t an exhaustive list, by any means, but it’s enough to chew on for now. How can we show our wives that we have these characteristics?
Day 70 – It’s the last day of the year; for some a day of partying and for others a day of reflection. Partying really isn’t all that romantic, but we can make something romantic out of taking this day, and making it a day of reflection.

Looking back at the year that is ending, what can you see that you wish you did? Or, that you wish you did differently? No, I’m not talking about going to last season’s Superbowl game, or going on that fishing trip with the guys. Your wife wouldn’t see any romance in those things. What can you see that you wish you did, or wish you did differently in your marriage? Are there things that have been left unsaid? Have you made an error that you never asked for forgiveness for? Was there an opportunity to do something special for your wife and you blew it?

Take a little time to reflect on this, because the answers won’t come to you immediately. Make sure you take notes on what you come up with too; it’s amazing how quickly we can forget something important when we’re in the middle of a conversation.

Okay, now that you have your list, take your wife aside someplace quiet; someplace where the two of you can talk without interruption, and share your list with her. Let her know up front what you are doing, so that she doesn’t misunderstand you. If you need to apologize for something that’s never been dealt with, do it. If there’s something you wish you had done, tell her. If there was a missed opportunity to show you that you love her, let her know.

Be real with her; she wants that of you.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Build a Better Mouth Trap

You know, it’s pretty typical for us guys to murmur and growl whenever our wives ask us to do something. Granted, they seem to be pretty good at asking at the wrong time, like when we are in the middle of something, or right in the middle of the game; but that doesn’t really give us a reason for growling (although we usually use it as an excuse).

Let’s be real here, the reason we growl is that we don’t like the infringement on what we think of as our time. Even worse, we don’t like them interrupting what we are doing for what we think of as being less important than what we are doing. But, that’s not the way she sees it. She sees our growling as we think that whatever we are doing is more important than she is. That can cause all kinds of problems.

Day 69 – We need to change our thinking on this a little bit. If that’s the way that our wives are seeing things, then maybe we need to see them that way as well; not from a “submit to her wishes” point of view, but to keep peace in our marriage.

Most marital arguments and hurts come from misunderstandings. Why are there so many misunderstandings? Because we don’t express ourselves well enough to be understood by someone who thinks differently than we do. Now, I’m not saying it’s all our fault guys (although most women, and many marriage books say just that), I think there’s plenty of fault to share. What I am saying is that we need to take responsibility for the part that is ours, and do whatever we can to eliminate it.

So, the next time that growl starts to poke out of your mouth, put a lid on it. Get your voice under control and respond to your wife as if you love her, not as if she’s an infringement on your liberty.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Women Love a Sale

I know we all just celebrated Christmas, with all the hustle and bustle of shopping and preparing. Probably the last thing you want to see right now is the inside of a store. You know, I can’t really blame you; I feel the same way. If I didn’t go to a store for the next six months, it’d be fine with me.

But you know, for the next few days, there’s this annual event called the “After Christmas sales.” Now, that may not be very exciting to you, but I can assure you, that female shopping gene goes crazy about this time. All the haste of Christmas shopping is forgotten in the desire to get out there and grab a good deal on something.

The nice thing about sales is they give all of us the opportunity to buy things we normally couldn’t afford, at a price we can afford. The trick is to not go buy things one normally wouldn’t buy, just because they are on sale.

Day 68 – So, let me ask you this question: Is there anything your wife wants, which you haven’t bought her, because it cost too much? If so, could it be that right now that item is on sale for a price you can afford? Maybe it would be worth checking out.

Just think how surprised your wife will be when you walk in with that thing. She thinks she’s already received all her Christmas gifts, and all of a sudden, along comes another gift that she wasn’t expecting. That should be fun and romantic too.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Night You Proposed

Probably one of the most romantic moments of your life, if not the most romantic moment was when you proposed to your wife. You may not be able to remember it all that well, but I guarantee you, she remembers every detail. She can tell you where you were, what you both were wearing, what you’d been doing beforehand, probably even the music that was playing on the radio.

Women have incredible memories for those sorts of details; especially when it has something to do with your relationship. That’s because they are relationally oriented, so those things that have something to do with their relationships form strong emotional memories for them.

Day 67 – Well, if proposing to your wife made such an impact on her the first time, what would happen if you did it again? I’d have to say that it would get you the award for the romantic husband of the year.

Now, don’t just do this haphazardly; if you really want to do it right, try and recreate as much of the first proposal as you can. See if you can download the same music and burn a CD, go to the same place, do the same things beforehand, and even try and dress similar if you can. Then, at the right moment, ask her to marry you again.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sending “I Love You” in a Thousand Ways

You know, I’ve heard some scary statistics about how the advent of the Internet has destroyed many marriages. Basically, what they say is that some people, specifically some men, spend so much time on the Internet, that they don’t communicate with their wives as much as they did before having access to the Internet.

Then, on top of that, there’s the cell phone. Recent ads for the “Windows Phone” say, “It’s time for a cell phone to rescue us from our cell phones.” Why would they say that? Because some people spend so much time on their phones, that they have trouble communicating with people off of their phones.

It seems that all this technology we have at our fingertips is changing the way we communicate. The problem is that it’s all “light” communication, instead of communication that really means anything. C’mon now, have you really seen what people post of facebook? I don’t know about you, but for me, most of it is stuff I can easily do without. I really don’t need my friends to tell me they’re at work on Monday morning; it’s Monday, of course they’re at work.

Day 66 – Wouldn’t it be great if we could use all this technology to communicate our love for our wives, instead of taking us away from them? Since a good percentage of it is communications related, there must be some way to really communicate something worthwhile with it.

Let’s take text messaging for example. It seems to me that text messaging is a great way to send “I Love You” messages to our wives at work, without getting the boss mad at all the private phone calls. After all, if kids can do it in class, why can’t we do it at work?

Now, let me clarify something here. I’m not advocating robbing time from your employer by spending all your work time sending text messages. I’ve seen some pretty bad statistics on how much time is wasted in the average day by sending text messages. So, if I was an employer, I think I’d probably have to put some pretty strict rules in place about cell phone use, and especially texting in the workplace. But, you have break times, and you can text her on those.

Okay, let me get back on track here. One of the great things about text messages is that the recipient doesn’t have to read them immediately, but can wait till they have a break to do so. I keep in contact with my kids at school this way. If I need to contact them, I text them, and they get the message during their passing period. Guess what? I can do that with my wife as well.

Now all we need is a little imagination on our messages. Here’s where texting really helps us. I’ve noticed that for some reason, people aren’t embarrassed about saying things in a text message that they would be embarrassed to say in person. They can say the mushiest, corniest, most ridiculous things, and because it’s a text message, they don’t feel embarrassed. So, why not utilize that emotional freedom, let your imagination run free and send her some really mushy romantic things? She’d love to receive those text messages. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Give Her the Day

The presents are all unwrapped, the turkey has been eaten, the relatives have come and gone and the wrapping paper is put out with the trash. The kids are busy with their new toys, and it’s looking like life might be able to return to some semblance of normal. Now that Christmas is over, it’s time to take a deep breath and relax, right?

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I wonder if all the Christmas hype is really worth it. I’m not talking about the real meaning of Christmas, the celebration of Christ’s birth; that deserves celebrating. Nor am I talking about the idea of Christmas being a time of love and family. I love my family and I love to show them I love them. It’s always wonderful when we can get everyone together; something that’s getting harder and harder as the years go by.

No, I think what bothers me about Christmas is all the commercialism. I think I could enjoy it a whole lot more if Christmas hadn’t become the holiday of emptying out the stores, and emptying out our bank accounts too. So, when it is finally over, I am ready for that sigh and deep breath.

Day 65 – Nothing wrong with taking that deep breath, or even relaxing; but I’ve got a better idea. Since you’ve got today free before going back to work, why not give your wife one last present. I’m not talking about one of those presents that you go out and buy; and it’s really not something you can put under the tree. No, it’s something much more precious than that.

Why not give your wife the gift of time? I mean, give her the whole day; that kind of time. Take today, and give it to your wife, so that the two of you spend the entire day doing whatever she wants to do. You could even make her a little gift card or gift certificate on your computer, put it in an envelope and give it to her over your morning coffee.

After all the hustle and bustle of getting ready for Christmas, and all the work of cooking the Christmas meal, a day together might just be the medicine she needs to get to the point where she can take that deep breath and relax. So, spend some time together, enjoy yourselves, and relax.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Warm Car on a Cold Morning

It’s 70 degrees outside, at it’s only 8:00 in the morning. According to the weather forecast, we’re supposed to hit 80; and this is December. As I sit here looking out my office window at the palm trees swaying in the breeze, and the green lawn of the neighbors across the street, I have a little trouble picturing how it was when I lived in colder climates. But, as I remember, I also remember how hard winter can be; especially to those who don’t put up with the cold very well.

I don’t have an ice scraper for my car, because you can’t even buy those here; nor do I have a snow shovel. In the 11 years I’ve lived here, it only snowed enough to make a snowball once. That was the first White Christmas in history for the Rio Grande Valley.

Day 64 – All that reminds me of how cold my wife used to get in the winters when we lived up north. The cold wasn’t much of a problem for me, but it sure was for her. I also remember how much trouble it was to scrape the ice off the windshield of the car every morning. To help my wife out, I’d go out and warm up the car, and scrape the windshield for her. That way, she wouldn’t have to go out and freeze, doing it for herself.

So, there you have it; or, at least those of you who live in the frozen north have it. Remember that romance is all about showing her how special she is to you. Well, warming up the car, and scraping her windshield is just another way of doing that. Whether you’re going out together, or she’s going out by herself, that few minutes you spend out in the cold will make things much easier for her.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Got a buck?

You know, one of our jobs as men is to protect our wives. Once upon a time, that probably meant protecting them from wild animals. Later on, you could add robbers and other violent men to that list. Actually, even today our wives need protection from the world around them.

I’m not saying that we should lock our wives up in a cage or watch over them with a shotgun. But, there’s still a lot of danger around, and even more, there’s inconvenience around that we all need to deal with. Protecting our wives doesn’t just mean from those things that can harm them, but also from all those things that could put them in a risky situation.

Day 63 – This is one of those little “show her you care” types of simple things that we all should make a point of doing. That is, make sure she always has money in her purse. As much as we are becoming a cashless society, there are always those situations where one needs good old fashioned cash to make a purchase. Usually, it’s for something small, like a sandwich or a cup of coffee, but without cash, we can’t do it.

Like I said, it might not seem like much, but if you make a habit of checking her wallet, and making sure there’s always some cash in it, it can give your wife a sense of security that you are taking care of her. Then, when she wants that cup of coffee, she doesn’t have to put it on the credit card.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Singing for the Season

You know, I’ve never been much of a singer. Oh, I’m not saying that I don’t like to sing, on the contrary, I really enjoy it; it’s just that others don’t particularly enjoy my singing. In fact, my kids pretty much don’t allow me to sing when they are around. But, then again, two of them are music majors, and I’m the guy that can’t carry a tune if you put it in a box and hand it to me.

Nevertheless, I am going to be daring enough to give a little musical advice to add to your Christmas romance. Not all romantic acts have to be in private. In fact, there are things that are romantic, even though that may not seem to be their primary purpose. It’s the fact that you are doing it together that makes it romantic.

Day 62 – Have you ever gone Christmas caroling? You know, find a nice snowy night, close to Christmas, get a group of people together, and go out to sing Christmas carols to your neighbors. It seems to me that things like that used to be much more common than they are nowadays.

Why not grab your wife, the kids, and maybe a few friends to go out and cheer up the neighborhood this Christmas season? Have a good time making some good memories; and yes, it’s romantic to boot. You can secretly be romantic with your wife, while at the same time you are building some quality family time. Wow, that sounds like a two-for-one deal if ever I heard of one.

Don’t forget the little details, like holding hands with your wife as you walk, and singing with your arms around each other. Grab one of the kids every once in a while, so that they feel a part of it; maybe even throw a snowball at them.

When you get done, make sure you’ve got some hot chocolate, or spiced cider available to finish off the evening. Sounds like some good, old-fashioned fun.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Six Days of Christmas

I’m sure you’ve heard the famous Christmas song “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” and you’ve probably heard some of the spoofs that have been done of it. But, have you ever thought of how much it would cost to buy that for your wife? According to MSN News, the price of the gifts in the 12 days of Christmas would be a whopping $87,403; while the Shreveport Times puts it at$96,000!

Not only is the cost prohibitive, but what woman would want all those maids milking cows in her living room; and the lord-a-leaping would probably knock over a lamp; those pipers, well I don’t know how many people are into pipe music these days. Seems to me that this 12 days of Christmas thing is a totally impractical idea.

Day 61 – Why not do your own version of the 12 days, but let’s at least cut it down to reality. There’s six days left, so why not do a “Six Days of Christmas” for your wife. Let’s make one more modification too; the gifts don’t need to match the number of the days.

Really, what I’m doing here is suggesting that you build a little anticipation into your Christmas giving this year. I have yet to meet a woman who doesn’t get curious about what’s under the Christmas tree; maybe there are some out there, but I haven’t met them yet. So, instead of waiting for the last minute, and putting her gifts under the tree on Christmas Eve, start putting one under the tree every day, until Christmas.

Obviously, this would require having six gifts for your wife; one for every day this week. That doesn’t mean that you need to buy her six expensive gifts, just six gifts (or five, or four if you cut it down to that). The first gift could be a box of her favorite chocolates. The second one could be a small decoration for the bedroom, etc. The idea is to build the anticipation.

For fun, you could label the gifts to match the song, “On the first day of Christmas…” That in and of itself will get her thinking; she’ll be wondering about how many gifts you are giving her. Oh, and if you made a deal with her about a spending limit or anything like that, don’t worry. Those deals don’t mean anything.

If you're having trouble coming up with gift ideas for your wife, check out my blog post for November 30th; I gave all the guys some advice on how to do their Christmas shopping this year.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Fun Run-Around

With Christmas fast approaching, everybody is focused upon buying gifts, decorating the house (if it isn’t already done), cooking, and all the other preparations that go with celebrating a major holiday. Often, in the midst of all that, it’s hard to find the time to breathe, let alone take a moment out for yourselves. That just means you’ve got to be creative.

Day 60 – We’re going to combine two things together and make a little bit of a game out of it. Hopefully, you’ll both get a laugh out of it, and you’ll also get an hour or so together.

Start off by buying your wife a small, romantic gift and wrapping it. Then, pick up a $10.00 gift card for her favorite coffee shop or ice cream parlor. Finally, prepare a few notes for her:

  • The first note should say something like: “I love you with all my heart. There’s an envelope for you over the washing machine.” Place this one on her pillow on the bed.
  • The second not should say something like: “I think you need to take a break. Oh, and while you are taking your break, grab the note that’s on top of the fridge.” Place this one on, or tape it to the wall above the washing machine.
  • The third note should say something like: “You are very special to me. There’s something special waiting for you on the front seat of the car.” Place this one on top of the fridge.
Place the gift on the front seat of the car, beside you. Send her a text message, telling her that there’s something on the bed she needs to see. When she shows up at the car, take her to the coffee shop or ice cream parlor that you’d bought the gift card for. Relax and enjoy some time together.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Help Her Through that Last Minute Rush

Well, Christmas is just around the corner. If your household is anything like mine, you’re probably thinking that it would be nice if they postponed it a month or so, just for this year. It seems like every year we tell ourselves that next year we’re going to have to get an earlier start on Christmas preparations; and every year we get a later start than the year before. Something always comes up to make it harder.

Well, even if you’re not feeling the pressure of having only one more week to get ready for Christmas, I can guarantee you that your wife is feeling it. After all, in most households the shopping, baking, wrapping and cooking fall to the woman, not to the man.

Day 59 – You ever hear the one about “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”? That’s Jesus speaking in John’s gospel. As guys, we usually take the macho point of view on this one, saying, “Sure, I’m ready to die to defend my wife.” Okay, that’s good, but you know, I’m sure that if you are doing your job of being a husband right, your wife would rather have you here and alive.

There’s another part of laying down one’s life, that of living it out day to day. What I mean is, when we do something we don’t want to do, for somebody else, we are laying our life down for them. When they know that we’ve done that (without us having to tell them) they see it as a strong act of love.

Okay, so here we go, today is a good day to lay your wife down for your wife. How? Well, that depends on what she needs help with. If she’s like most women, she’s probably going out to finish the Christmas shopping today. Go with her. I know, I know, that probably seems like I’m asking too much of you; especially on a day like today, when the stores are going to be swamped. But, you see, that’s why she needs your help; because the stores are going to be swamped.

There are a number of ways you can make today’s shopping journey easier for your wife. First of all, by being there to help carry things; women naturally seem to sense that men are good for that. Another way is to stand in that ridiculously long checkout line, waiting while she searches for a few more goodies. That will save her an incredible amount of time. Be sure to take your cell phones, so you can call her and let her know when you’re getting close to the checkout. Finally, there might be times when you can go in one store for her, to pick something up, while she goes in another. It’s called teamwork, and it’s time to get on the team.

This may not seem like the candlelight and soft music type of romance, and it really isn’t; but it’s still romantic. Your wife will appreciate the sacrifice you’re making, and you won’t even have to tell her it’s a sacrifice.

One last detail. There may be a moment or two when she needs you to disappear, so that she can pick up something for you. That’s a good moment for you to visit the jewelry, perfume, or lingerie departments to look for something for her.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fill Her Gas Tank

You know, all along I’ve said that romance isn’t about the big things, but about the little things. It isn’t taking her on a cruise (although that can be very romantic), but rather about taking her for a walk. It isn’t about buying her a diamond ring (which is also romantic), but buying her a flower. The size of the act isn’t so important, it’s the message you are sending that is.

The message is all about telling her how important she is to you. While a big thing can tell her that, a small thing can say the same thing. Not only that, but the idea is to have lots of continual acts which tell her that she is important. That’s where true romance is shown.

One of the ways we can make sure she gets that message is by taking care of her. A woman needs to feel protected from all the dangers in the world around her. She doesn’t want or need to be in a place where she is unsure and insecure. It’s your job to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Day 58 – Here’s a little thing that you can do to make sure that you are protecting her. That is to fill the gas tank of her car. That’s it, simple, right?

How would you like it if your wife ran out of gas, coming home in the dark some night? Wouldn’t you be worried about her safety? Don’t you think she’d be worried about her safety? Well, all you have to do to avoid that worry for both of you is regularly check her car, and make sure she’s got gas in it.

Besides the worry part, women don’t like to have to fill the car. In general, women don’t like to deal with anything mechanical, nor do they like to deal with anything greasy. Since it doesn’t bother you all that much, you can easily take care of this detail for her.

When you come back in the door after taking her car to the gas station, and say, “You car’s gas tank is full.” she’s going to hear, “He cares about me.” 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Warm Fire, a Cup of Tea, and Her

There’s something about a fireplace that’s special. Some say that primitive man drew comfort from having a fire, and that it would keep the wild animals away. I don’t know about primitive man, because I’ve never been one, but I have spend enough nights in the woods to know that a fire is comforting, oh, and it will keep most wild animal away.

However, we’re not talking about a fire out in the woods, but a fire in your fireplace (assuming you have one). As I said, there’s something special about having a fire in the fireplace, and something even more special about spending some time together, snuggled up in front of the fire.

Day 57 – I’m sure you can tell where I’m going with this one. Tonight, after all the kids are in bed and things have finally quieted down, make a fire in the fireplace, move the loveseat in front of it (if it’s not already there) make a couple of cups of tea, and snuggle up together in front of the fire.

This might be a great opportunity to talk about one of those “dream” topics that I mentioned in the blog post on the 7th.

If you don’t have a fireplace, sorry, I guess this one won’t work for you. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pamper Her a Little

The word is out, the flu season has come upon us once again; or, maybe it never left. Anyway, there sure are a lot of people who are lying around in bed, not feeling all that good.

You know, it’s kind of funny; the biggest, toughest, most macho guy can turn into a baby when he gets sick. It’s amazing how something so small as a bacteria or even a virus can take away our strength, our will, and our desire to do anything. All we want to do is lay around all day.

Isn’t it great to know that when we’re not feeling good, our wives are there to take care of us? It is so comforting to have someone pampering us at that time; bringing us something to drink, running to the store for our medicine, and just fussing over us.

But, wait a minute; who fusses over our wives when they get sick?

Day 56 – You know, if she fusses over you when you are sick, it’s only fair that you do the same for her. Oh, I know, you might not have the natural propensity to do that like she does (I know I don’t), but that isn’t the point. She needs you to pamper her just as much as you need her to pamper you when you’re laid up.

So, how do you do that? Easy, just do everything for her that she would do for you. Don’t try and tell me you don’t know what she does for you when you’re sick, you know. Well, those same things will help to comfort her and make her feel like somebody cares about her.

You see, that’s the problem; when we don’t take care of our wives when they are sick, we make them feel like we don’t care about them. Worse, we’re establishing a double standard; they should take care of us, but we don’t have to do the same for them. Make the extra effort, do whatever you can to make her feel well taken care of. She’ll appreciate you for it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Maintain the “Wow Factor”

Many guys say, “I may be married, but that doesn’t mean I can’t look.” Some even go so far as to use this as an excuse for pornography. According to these guys, it doesn’t hurt to look, just as long as that’s all you do.

Sorry, guys, I have to disagree with that. When men look, there is a natural tendency to think about what, or who, they are looking at. Even if they don’t go off for a trip in fantasy land about that other woman, they still think about her, if only for a moment.

One of the ways in which we think about other women, which may not seem so dangerous, is to compare them to our wives. C’mon, let’s be realistic, what woman can stand up under the scrutiny of being compared to other women, who often are younger than they are? There’s always someone prettier, thinner, with larger breasts, a better body, or better makeup.

Okay, so what’s the problem with all this? Simple, once we start comparing our wives to these other women, we lose the “wow factor” about our own wife. Instead of seeing her as a wonderful, beautiful woman, we see her as the woman we’re stuck with. That’s dangerous ground to get into. To protect our hearts and our marriages we, as men, need to always see our own wives as beautiful women.

Day 55 – This is another one of those romantic acts that may not seem all that romantic, but carries huge consequences. Ready? Go to your wife and tell her, “Honey, I only have eyes for you.” Now, let me tell you right now that she’s not going to believe her, especially if she knows that you’ve had the habit of looking at other women.

So, how do you get her to believe you? Okay, here’s where the going gets rough. If you’re one of those guys who have been looking at other women, you need to apologize to your wife for that and ask her to help you in the future. Ask her to help keep a guard on your eyes, and if she sees you looking at someone else, to get in the way, pull you away, or help you look the other way. That will show her you are serious.

You will find that the less you look at other women, the more beautiful your wife looks to you. Even if you’ve lost the “wow factor” about her, it’ll come back; don’t worry. You were created to appreciate her beauty and she was created to look beautiful to you.

No woman wants to share her husband any more than a man wants to share his wife (although there are a few strange guys out there that do). She needs the confidence and assurance that you are hers and are going to stay hers. This will help her have that confidence.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Be Her Encourager

There was a guy in the book of Acts in the Bible who was named “Barnabas.” His name literally translated means, “son of the encourager.” Now, I don’t know if he had that name because he encouraged people or because his dad encouraged people; but I strongly suspect that it was because he was an encourager. You see, that wasn’t his real name, it was a name given to him by the apostles.

I can easily imagine Barnabas seeking out those who were feeling beaten down, worn out and despondent; he would probably sit down with them, talk to them, and pick them up so they could go on again. Oh, how we could use some Barnabas’ today.

Day 54 – Sorry to say, I don’t know where to find a Barnabas for you. But, I do know where to find one for your wife. Can you guess who it is? You got it, you are.

You know, the world in which we live in is great at working to beat us all down. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a person who didn’t have struggles in their life; difficult bosses, cranky co-workers, problem neighbors, and of course at least one relative who could always be counted on to arrive at just the wrong time to put a negative spin on anything.

Well, just cause the world is trying to beat us down, doesn’t mean that we have to become a part of that game, especially within the marriage. Become the one who encourages your wife; compliment her on her appearance, her work, and her successes; in fact, compliment her on anything you can see her do. Then, go on from there to be her cheerleader in the things she is trying to do. Learn the phrases “you can do it” and “great job” and apply them frequently.

Your wife will feel better knowing that you are in her corner. She just may find herself making a little more progress, doing a little better job, and most of all being better able to ignore the negativity around her.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Bite of Romance

Did you know that foods can be romantic? I don’t mean just your everyday ordinary foods; they don’t quite fit the bill. But there are special, maybe even exotic foods that definitely qualify as romantic.

No, I can’t give you a list of them, because the list is different for every couple. Oh, there are a few that seem to be romantic for every couple, like chocolate dipped strawberries, but those are extremely rare.
You see, what makes a food romantic is the memories associated with that particular food. So, since I don’t know what memories you and your wife have, I can’t tell you what foods are romantic for you; but you can. All you have to do is dredge up the memories of special things you have eaten at special times with your wife.

It could be that you ate something special on your first date. Or, that you had habit of going out for ice cream after the movies. Maybe it’s a special type of chocolate you used to buy at a favorite getaway. Then again, it could be some type of desert you used to enjoy sharing. It might even be a special drink that the two of you enjoy. The point is that it has to be something that you enjoyed sharing together in those special moments you shared.

Day 53 – Put your thinking cap on, turn it up to high power and try and recall that special romantic food or drink that the two of you used to share. I think you can figure it out from there, right? Go get it and have a special time together with a bite of your romantic food.

If you can’t come up with anything, there’s still hope. It’s not too late to start a new romantic tradition in your home. Come up with something special, maybe a special pastry that the two of you can share as part of that new romantic tradition. Go get it, and have a special time together. Then, the next time you bring that home, the positive romantic feelings will start as soon as you bring it in the door.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Get Dressed Up for Her

Us guys tend to be a bit of a slob at times; or at least if we aren’t slobs, we like to dress as if we are. Come Saturday, we dig out the old jeans and a holy t-shirt because they are “comfortable.” If our wives don’t like it, well, that’s just too bad.

Hold on a minute. Don’t we like to see them all dressed up for us? Well then, why shouldn’t we do the same thing for them? It’s one thing to wear grubbies when we’re working on something grubby; but it’s a whole different thing to just hang out in them. Why should we think that’s going to spark any romantic interest in them at all?

Women aren’t visually stimulated like men are, nor are they as likely to hook up with someone just for how they look; they are much more interested in what they say. On the other hand, a woman has a hard time working up much interest in getting close to a smelly, grubby, sweaty man. Appearances are important; that’s why they spend so much time to make themselves look good.

Remember the old saying about “clothes make the man.” What that means is that wearing the right clothing can make a man look like he’s somebody important. If you don’t believe me, just try dealing with anyone who provides a service; they’ll treat you better if you are better dressed.

I remember when I was doing a lot of business traveling as an engineer. Usually, my traveling companions would show up at the airport wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, while I showed up in a suit. At first, I did it in case my luggage got lost (I hated showing up at meetings, or vendors looking like I was there to fix their car). But I quickly learned that I got better service than my traveling companions. Why? Just because I wore a suit.

Day 52 – I’m probably going to step on a few sacred cows with this one, but… (deep breath) okay, here goes. If we want our wives to be attracted to us, we need to make ourselves attractive to them. That means it’s time to retire the holy t-shirts, buy some new jeans, and get rid of the smelly tennis. I know, you’re attached to that stuff; but remember, you’re working on being more attached to your wife.

Remember what I was saying about “looking like somebody important”? Women, by their nature, want to be married to a man who is a winner. He’s got to be the strongest, or the bravest, or the fastest, or the richest, or best at something. Why? Because those kinds of men become good providers. When you dress well, you look like you are a winner. That makes her feel good.

So, put those grubbies back in the closet. Use them when you have to mow the lawn or change the oil. But, when you don’t have to look like a bum, look like somebody; not for you, for her.

Friday, December 10, 2010

What Attracts You to Her?

One of the conditions that is rampant in humanity is the lack of self-esteem. It seems that there are a few people in the earth who are burdened with an overly large ego, and think that they are God’s gift to mankind. All of the other 99 plus percent of the population is struggling to not drown in insecurity.

I guess what I’m saying here is that all of us need affirmation. One of the things we need the most from those around us is to be reminded regularly that we are important to them. Not only that, but we need to be reminded of why we are important to them.

Well, fortunately for us, that’s what romance is all about; showing our wives that they are special to us, through a myriad of little things. But, you know, sometimes it helps to just tell her.

Day 51 – Let me go back to the question that I used for today’s title. What is it that attracts you to your wife? Don’t tell me there’s nothing about her that attracts you; you married her, didn’t you? And don’t tell me that the things which attracted you to her enough to marry her are gone; they’re still there, even if you forgot to look at them.

One of the ways that you can affirm your wife is to tell her about those positive things that attract you to her. Be careful now, you want to think this out before you say anything. It is essential that you say these things in a way that there is nothing negative, nothing sarcastic, and nothing bitter hiding in what you say. You also want to make sure you say it in such a way that she can’t misunderstand you, and think that there is something negative hidden in what you say.

I remember a marriage counseling I had with a couple once. Both of them were carrying a lot of bitterness towards the other. As part of the session, I told them to take a few minutes to forgive each other for anything that they needed to. When I came back into the room, they had turned that forgiveness session into a way of attacking each other. Each and every thing they were saying was a stab in the back for something the other was or wasn’t doing, worded in a way to make it sound like they were “forgiving” each other. Obviously, we had to start over.

The poor example of this couple is why I want you to think out what you are going to say, and how you are going to say it. It won’t do any good at all if you try and say something positive about your wife, but do it in a way that she receives as negative; if you can’t come up with a way to say something clearly positive, it’s better not to mention it. Remember, this is about building her up.

An added benefit of this is that there are probably things that attract you to your wife, which she doesn’t even know, because you’ve never told her. Hearing of those things, from your lips, might encourage her to continue, or even increase in doing them. Ultimately, that will attract you to her more and bring your marriage closer together.

One last little detail… don’t concentrate on the physical. Yes, I know, it was probably the physical that originally attracted you to her. Since her body has probably changed since then, you might have trouble saying something in a way that can’t be misconstrued; and even if you can, women like to feel like they are appreciated for something besides their bodies. If that’s the only thing that is attracting you to her, you need some serious help; it’s time to look deeper than that. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wake Her Up with Kisses

I don’t know how it is in your house, but it seems that I am the alarm clock for my family; specifically I’m the alarm clock for my wife. For some reason, she can’t hear any alarm clock we buy, and manages to sleep right through it. On the other hand, I think a silent alarm would wake me.

Sometimes (okay, let’s make that all the time), it’s a little hard to be gracious when you have to wake another person up, especially when the only reason that you are up that early is to be their alarm clock. The tendency is to give them an elbow in the ribs, and roll over to try and catch a few more winks. But, and again I say, “But” we want to be sure that everything we do expresses love to our wife.

So, the question is how does one wake up their wife in a loving, yet effective way? Well, after longs years of experimentation and investigation I have finally found an effective and loving way to wake my wife up. Not only that, but it’s an almost guaranteed way of waking her up.

Day 50 – Okay, so the next time you have to wake your wife up, do it with kisses. Kiss her everywhere you can find to kiss; up and down her back, on her legs, the back of her neck, her arms; like I said wherever you can find to kiss. She may be a little surprised to be woken up that way, but she’ll like it a lot better than the elbow in the ribs, and might even wake up with a smile on her face.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Using What You Learn

Everything you learn about your wife can be turned into a romantic act. In fact, the better you know your wife, the more romantic you can be. That’s because there is nobody else in the world who knows your wife like you do. As you study her, you become the world’s premier expert on… her.

Yes, I know, the movies paint the idea that to be romantic one needs to be a tall, dark stranger; but that’s not really true. While there is some element of romance associated with mystery, it doesn’t hold a candle to the romance that can be cooked up by someone who truly knows their spouse. That’s because that stranger has to work on generalities, while you can work on those things that you know your wife desires in her heart.

Day 49 – Yesterday, you had a “dream conversation” with your wife; discussing something imaginary that the two of you would like to do, if you could. In the process, you learned things about your wife that nobody else knows. You learned about her likes, her hopes, and more importantly, her dream.

Now you need to make use of that new information you learned. How can you take that dream and make it reality; or at least create something that will feed that dream?

There was once a television show called “Fantasy Island.” In it, people paid big bucks to be able to have their dreams brought about. Of course, things never turned out quite like they wanted, but I’d have to say that they always turned out good in the end. Well, now it’s your chance to be the host of that fantasy.

You’re going to have to use your imagination on this one. Take what you learned and try to find some way of making it reality, or at least a good fantasy. For example, if you were talking about your dream vacation, and your wife said she always wanted to go on a cruise, stop by a travel agency and pick up some brochures about cruises. Take your wife in the bedroom, close the door, and sit on the bed together, looking at the literature you found. Who knows, you might end up figuring out a way to make that cruise happen.

Let’s try another example. Instead of the vacation idea, what if you were talking about your dream house. In that talk, your wife said she wanted a Jacuzzi in the house. Well, looks like today’s a good day to start looking at Jacuzzis. Stop by a couple of places with her, and see what’s available. Maybe you can’t make your whole house into a dream house, but you might be able to make one corner of it.

You see what I mean? There’s always some way that you can use the information from those “dream conversations” to make your marriage a little bit better. Isn’t that what romance is all about anyway?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Talking From the Heart… Huh?

I think the most dreaded words that a man can hear from his wife are, “Honey, we’ve got to talk.” It seems that women never say this famous phrase when they want to talk about something light, or even talk about the kids; and especially not when they want to talk about something fun. No, they reserve that most dreaded of phrases for times when they want to talk about problems in their marriage relationship.

How is it that manly men, such as combat veterans, construction workers, hunters, and mountain climbers can fall into terror about such a short, simple phrase? It’s because we know that whatever comes after that is going to challenge us to communicate in a way that we are unprepared to face.

When women talk about talking, they’re talking about communicating emotions with words. For a woman, that’s an incredibly easy thing to do; but for a man, it’s a major struggle. The difference comes from the difference in how our brains operate. You’ve probably heard this somewhere, but it’s worth repeating. The left hemisphere of the brain is the logical side, where men basically think. The right side of the brain is the creative, emotional side, where women basically think.

The problem really isn’t that we think on different sides of the brain, although that in and of itself can cause plenty of problems. The problem is in the connections (or lack thereof) between the two sides of the brain. You see, women have thousands of connections between the two halves of the brain, allowing them to jump back and forth from one side to the other. On the other hand, men have very few connections between the two sides.

So, when a woman says, “let’s talk” they are wanting an emotionally based conversation; something that is very easy and natural for them; but something that men literally and truly have a problem doing. How do we ever manage to communicate?

Day 48 – Okay, today we’re going to have a lesson on learning how to communicate from the heart. You wife will love this, and you’ll find that it’s really not all that hard, if you approach it the right way.

Remember when you were dating your wife? What did you talk about then? Don’t try and tell me you didn’t talk much, I know better; you talked for hours. In fact, there were probably a few nights that you talked till the sun came up. So, what was it that you talked about for all those long hours?

Don’t remember. Well, let me help you out; you talked about your dreams; that’s what you talked about.

You know, it’s kind of strange, but before marriage we talk about dreams, and then once we make it through the wedding, we quickly forget how to talk about those same dreams. Oh, they may still be there, but they are buried under the problems of day-to-day life. So, instead of talking about dreams, we end up talking about problems. Obviously, it’s much more fun to talk about dreams than it is to talk about problems.

So, let’s relearn how to talk about dreams. One great thing about this is that all dreams come from the heart. That means that when you talk about dreams, you’re communicating from the heart, exactly the kind of communication your wife wants. Ready, let’s go.

The key to talking about dreams is to talk about something that isn’t real; not only isn’t real, but probably can’t be real. Let me give you some ideas of topics of conversation, which are all “dream conversations:”

·        If we had a million dollars, what would we want to do with it?
·        If we could change one bad thing in the world, what would be the most important thing to change?
·        If we could go on vacation anywhere in the world, to see and do anything we’d want to do, where would we go? What would we do? (leave cost out of this conversation)
·        If we had only 30 days to live, what would we do with that time?
·        If we could build a house any way we wanted (ignore cost) how would we want to design our house? What would we want in it?
·        If God would let us do one thing, anything, what would it be?

I hope you’re getting the idea here. If you don’t see anything in my list that you like, make up your own question, the idea is to have a question to start the dream conversation.

Now, take your wife out someplace to eat, or for desert, or even for a coffee, and make this question the subject of your conversation. You’ll quickly find that you are actually talking from the heart. Your wife will love it, and you’ll actually enjoy it too.

One rule: Remember, there’s no such thing as a bad dream. So, whatever either of you answer is a good answer; don’t scoff her ideas just because they are different than yours. Maybe you can find a way to integrate your ideas together and make one dream out of them.

Finally, don’t do this just once; this is a great way to build the communication between the two of you; make this a regular part of dating your wife.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Start in the Kitchen

There was a book written a number of years ago, that I never read, but I’ve always liked the title and the concept of this book. I can’t remember the exact title right now, because I’m used to talking about it in Spanish; but it went something like, “Begin in the Kitchen.” The idea was that lovemaking doesn’t begin in the bedroom, but in the kitchen.

I’m not saying that a couple should make love in the kitchen; although if the kids are away, and the curtains are closed, and that’s what you want to do, go for it. No, the idea is that the things we do outside the bedroom are the preparation for what we do in the bedroom.

Day 47 – How many opportunities do we miss in the average day to have some sort of expression of love? At times, even though we live in the same house, we live as strangers, all but ignoring each other. Well, today we are going to change that.

One of the most common ways of expressing love is thought touch. I’m not talking about sexual touch right now, just touch. Many women complain that the only time their husbands touch them is when it’s sexual. That shouldn’t be. Women’s skin is more sensitive than a man’s, so they are naturally receptive to and affected by touch.

A light touch is the thing that works best; so light, that it’s like a feather. My wife loves it when I touch the back of her neck like this. She also loves it when I touch her back and legs the same way, although there’s usually clothing in the way of that. But, for her, the back of the neck is the place.

Since we have our office in the home, I have lots of opportunities throughout the day to walk past my wife’s desk while she is working; or if not there, then in the kitchen. I need to get up about once an hour to walk around for a moment, and I almost always use the opportunity to pass by where she is, touch the back of her neck, or possibly kiss her there, and go on to whatever I was going to do.

I also take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves to hug her. We typically pass each other by a couple of times per day. If at all possible (such as our hands aren’t full of stuff) I take the opportunity for a spontaneous hug.

The point is to make a habit of touching your wife in a loving, non-sexual way. Each and every time you do that, you are transmitting love to her; maybe not verbally, but just the same, the message can get through. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

What You Used to Do

It seems like there’s something that happens to all of us once we settle into the routine of being married. That is, we forget to do the things we did before. You know, those fun things, the romantic things, even the crazy things we did when we were dating.

Part of falling in love is about the person you fall in love with; another part is about the interests you share; but another part is about the things you do together. Those fun and crazy things you did when you were dating had an important part in bonding you together, and bringing you to the altar on your wedding day.

One of the most common pieces of advice that we give to couples whom we are helping through marriage problems is to go back to doing the things that made them fall in love the first time. You see, before the wedding, our lives together are about fun, exploring, learning about the other person, and sharing our dreams. After the wedding, or at least after the honeymoon, that changes to sharing chores, worries about money, and all the other things that are involved in just living.

Day 46 – Your mission, should you decide to accept it is in two parts: The first is to make a pot of coffee, and sit down with your wife to take a trip down memory lane; talking about the things you did when you were dating. Don’t let her know, but take mental notes on this trip. Each and every thing that she talks about is an opportunity for a romantic date with your wife.

Part two of today’s mission is to pick one thing out of your trip down memory lane, that you can do today, and do it! Not something that takes you two weeks of planning, but something that you can do as a spur-of-the-moment activity. Maybe there was a favorite ice cream parlor that you used to go to, or a favorite place to go for walks at sunset, or even something as silly as going to a furniture store and looking at the furniture that you’d like to have “some day.” The actual activity isn’t as important as the memories that it brings, and the feelings that it can stir up. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Surprise Her at the Office

Romantic acts don’t have to be expensive, nor do they have to be time consuming. Quite often, everyday activities can be turned into something romantic, just by the way we do it. Remember, what makes it romantic is that you are showing your wife that you are thinking about her. 

Day 45 – How many times do we lament that we spend more time with our co-workers than we do with our spouses? I remember back when I was working as an engineer, and we’d go out to lunch at least once a week. Then I was promoted to engineering manager, and we went out to lunch every day. At the same time in my life, my wife and I had trouble finding time to go out together.

It seems like Friday is the one day of the week when everybody goes out to lunch. So, instead of going out with the guys at the office, and your wife going out with the girls; surprise her and pick her up for lunch. It may not be a very long date, but it will be the most memorable lunch she’s had all year. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Kisses

Sometimes, old traditions can add to romance, or at least remind us to be romantic. There’s something about revisiting the style and custom of those days that can spark our imaginations; and bring out the romantic side of even the most cynical of us.

In today’s hustle-and-bustle word of plastic and electronics, we sometimes lose the special moments and things that made holidays sparkle in times past. Whatever happened to stringing popcorn and cranberries to put on the tree? Why don’t people make their own ornaments for the tree any more? Or, how about Christmas carolers sharing the Christmas cheer? Whatever happened to hanging mistletoe in a doorway?

Maybe we need to slow down and revisit some of these old Christmas traditions; they might awaken the poet deep within us.

Day 44 – Let’s start our Christmas season by hanging some mistletoe somewhere in the house. A few good ideas might be: just inside the doorway, so that you have to kiss each other when you come in the door; in the kitchen, so that you’ve got a good excuse to interrupt each other and take a kiss break; or in the hallway, so that every time you pass you have to stop to kiss.

Take good advantage of that mistletoe; there’s no such thing as too many kisses. At least, I’ve never seen any medical data saying that too many kisses cause cancer. As a matter of fact, who says that the mistletoe has to come down with the other decorations? Why not “accidentally forget” it and leave it up all year long; that way, you can give Christmas Kisses every day of the year.

I must be honest, this idea wasn’t an original; I give credit to Joasia, a high-school classmate and dance partner. She wrote me that her husband “accidentally forgot” to take the mistletoe down last year. Then, when they were remodeling the kitchen he “accidentally moved it,” and hung it in another part of the house.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Sign of Your Love

Women love being told that they are loved; even more being told that they are loved when others can hear it. Not only does that make them feel loved, it also makes them feel special.

I’ll never understand it, there are many couples who fight in front of their kids, and talk bad about each other in public. Yet, those same couples are ashamed to say “I love you” or to kiss each other where others might see them. To me, it’d be much more embarrassing to have someone else see my wife and I fighting than it would be to have them see that we love each other.

My kids used to tease us about kissing. But, they felt secure in knowing that we loved each other. The couple of times we pretended to fight in front of them, they saw right through it and laughed at us.

We should never be ashamed to express our love for our wives. We should be willing to shout it from the rooftops. Let everyone else be jealous that they don’t have that kind of love, or that they don’t have the guts to shout of their love; that’ll just make your doing it all that more special. Your wife will feel like the most special woman around.

Day 43 – You’ve probably already finished your Christmas decorating, or at least think you have. But, I think you’re missing something. You need a banner in front of your house that declares your love for your wife. Many people say that Christmas is about family and love; well, show them that you are serious about your love.
You can buy butcher paper in many office supply stores. The only problem with butcher paper is that it will likely tear with the first big wind. If you use butcher paper, you’ll need to reinforce it somehow. Another option is to use several pieces of poster board, taped together with packing tape (if you do this, just tape the back side before doing the banner, tape the front after its done). Or, for those that want a more permanent decoration, you can always paint it on plywood.

So, now that you have the background, paint a “love your wife slogan” on the banner. Something like one of these:
·        Christmas is another time to tell my wife I love her.
·        In this house, I love my wife
·        I love you _______ (insert her name)
·        Christmas is a season of love. I love ______ (insert her name)

Put it up in the front yard, sometime when your wife doesn’t know about it, and just wait for her to see it. The next time she comes back to the house, her eyes will pop out. She may express a little embarrassment in having something like that in front of the house, but she’ll be thrilled that you did it.