Thursday, March 31, 2011
Have you ever heard that laughter is good like a medicine? Well, I’ve got to say that not only is it true for the body, but it’s also good for a relationship. There have actually been medical studies done, proving that laughter releases endorphins, which amongst other things, help in the healing process.
These endorphins are the same chemicals which are released after exercise, creating what is called the “runner’s high,” making the runner feel on top of the world for several hours after running. Just as they help a runner feel good, they’ll make anyone feel good.
So, sharing a laugh together is good for your relationship. When you do, you’re creating that feeling of being on top of the world; even better, you’re creating it together.
What makes you laugh? What makes your wife laugh? More importantly, what is there that makes the two of you laugh? For many of us, what makes us laugh are things which exaggerate experiences we’ve had in life. As a family, we’ve traveled in Mexico a fair amount. So, seeing a movie about someone who’s struggling with the problems of traveling in another country is hilarious for us. Likewise, because of our years living in a motorhome, when we see newbies trying it out, it cracks us up.
One great idea for sharing some time laughing together is to seek our comedies that make fun of experiences you’ve had together. Somewhere, somebody has to have made a movie out of that disastrous vacation experience you had; or that horrendous experience you had with the contractor who was remodeling your house. Now that you’ve had a chance to get over the bad experience, you can share a laugh together, watching somebody else go through it.
Another way to share a laugh is with cartoons. A couple of days ago, I did a posting on “Maintain your Patience Level.” I found a cartoon of a woman about to kill her computer with a sledge hammer, which I used to illustrate the experiences I talked about in that posting. It was real for us, because my wife’s felt that way towards her computer many a time. Because it wsa real, it was also funny, so I printed it out and taped it to the shelf above my wife’s desk. We both got a good laugh out of that one.
There’s got to be at least a zillion comics on the Internet, at least one of them touches on something in your life. Keep your eyes open as you surf, maybe you can find a good laugh to share with your wife. Just make sure it’s not something that she could take as a put down from you. That would ruin the whole idea. You’re looking for a laugh, not trying to make a point.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Of all the rooms in your house, the master bedroom is the most important. Yet, most couples put much less effort into making their love nest into a place that they’d want to be together, than they put into making their living room a nice place for the kids to watch TV. Even worse, lots of couples pile all sorts of junk in their bedrooms, using it as an extra storage room.
When we visit people, one of the things my wife and I do is try and get a peek into the master bedroom. It’s amazing how much you can tell about a couple’s marriage, just be taking a peek into how they care for their bedroom. Couples who have a good marriage tend to have nice, neat, well decorated bedrooms. I’m not saying that they’ll be perfect, there’s always something lying around, but they’ll be pretty darn good. On the other hand, couples who have struggles in their marriage will tend to have messy bedrooms, with stuff piled in there that really doesn’t belong.
Why don’t you get together with your wife and make a decision to clean up your act? Make your bedroom into the refuge that it’s supposed to be. Cart the pile of clothes that don’t fit anybody off to Goodwill. Put the dirty clothes in the laundry room and put the clean clothes away. Then get your fishing gear out of the corner and put it in the garage. Maybe your old work boots should go there too.
Let’s get radical now and paint your bedroom. Find a nice color, that you both like, and relaxes you. Hot pink probably won’t do the trick. Maybe put a wallpaper border around the ceiling, and some new pictures on the wall. If you have room, add a love seat or at least a nice big chair.
Here’s where the “gift of two” comes in. To kick off your redecorating project, buy a statuette of a couple. If you can find a statuette of them embracing, that would be perfect. Give that to your wife as a gift. When she opens it, say, “Now we’ll have to find a place in our bedroom to put it.” From there, you can go on to explain the whole project of redecorating your bedroom.
Having a bedroom where the two of you feel comfortable, a place where you feel that you can go to get away from everything, and just be alone as a couple is an important part of romance. When your bedroom looks like a storage shed, your wife won’t feel very romantic in there. But, when your bedroom becomes what it should be, a place of sharing yourselves with yourselves, then the two of you can enjoy your time together.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Have you ever noticed how inept some women can be with things like cars, electronics, anything mechanical and technology in general? I think there’s a technology gene in the Y chromosome, something like the shopping gene which is found in the X chromosome. In the same way that we, as guys, can’t understand the joy that women feel in shopping, they can’t understand technology.
Maybe your wife is different, but mine is amongst the world-class technologically inept. However, that doesn’t mean that she won’t use technology, just that she doesn’t understand it. While she was teaching in the public schools the last few years, she had a reputation as her department’s tech wizard (foreign language department). She was streaming video, using PowerPoints and interactive web sites in almost every class. She just didn’t understand how to do it.
My wife had a secret weapon, her own personal geek. Yep, you got it; she got me to help her. Now, that really wasn’t all that bad, like any guy, I feel good when my wife asked for my expertise. The problem came when she got frustrated with fighting her computer, and asked me how to do things for the umpteenth time.
You know, it’s real easy to get frustrated at those moments; especially when you’re doing something important, and you have to drop it all of a sudden, to help her out. Just to do put the cherry on top of the cake, she would often vent her frustration at the computer in the way she talked to me. Oops.
Our natural reaction at those times is to reply in kind. “If you’re going to growl at me, then I’m going to growl right back.” Hmmm, you’d think we’d have gotten over acting like animals by now.
This is where patience comes in. When your wife growls like that, it’s time to respond with a nice, soft, soothing word. The last thing you want to end up doing is fighting over her frustration with the computer, or whatever it is that your wife gets frustrated at.
So what if you need to explain to her how to copy and paste for the 500th time. At least you’re helping her, being her hero, getting her through that rough moment. Isn’t that worth the five minutes you’re going to spend explaining it one more time? Be patient, maybe on the 501st time, she’ll actually get it.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Sometimes, us guys have a little bit of trouble expressing ourselves. When it comes to facts, we do pretty good, but when we’ve got to talk about what’s deep down inside of us, we suddenly clam up like a… clam. Our deepest desires may never get realized, simply because we don’t express them.
Okay, so how do we get ourselves to talk about what’s deep inside? Here’s a little trick that might work out pretty well for you.
One of the ways that the subconscious expresses desires is through dreams. So, if you tell someone a dream you had, you’re saying something about what’s deep down inside of you. We’re going to take advantage of that, and use it to express our desires.
Take that desire and make a little story about it. The story is going to be told in the form of a dream; so, you don’t want to get too serious or too exact with your details. At the same time, like any dream, it can contain fantasy elements, like you flying over the ocean to get to your wife. Put that imagination of yours to work, spend a little time on it, but don’t go overboard.
It works even better if you can start out with a real dream you had, and weave your story into it. Let’s say that your desire is to travel to some foreign land. Okay, so you have a dream where you and your wife are flying, just like in Peter Pan. Great, just change the destination to that place where you want to go; no problem.
Now that you’ve got your story, you can tell it to your wife. Start out with, “I had a dream last night. In it we…” and go on with the dream. Remember, you’re expressing a desire, but you’re doing it in the form of a dream. Make it sound like a dream, but don’t forget to include that desire.
You can end by saying something like, “that sounds like fun” or “what do you think about that?” By that, you take the desire expressed in the dream, and bring it out to where it becomes something you are discussing. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up doing it.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
There are a couple of old sayings floating around that are kind of funny. The first one is: “Everything worth having has a price.” While that price may not be in money, it’s true, there is a price, somehow or other you’ve got to pay for it; whether it’s with time, energy or giving up something else to have it. The other saying is: “The best things in life are free.” This one seems to be a direct opposite of the first. I prefer the version of this that someone said, modifying it to say, “The best things in life are bought with something other than money.”
Have you ever seen an elderly couple walking hand in hand, or sitting in a restaurant, that are still obviously in love with each other, even after all those years? It’s wonderful to encounter a couple like that; unfortunately, there aren’t enough of them around. Most couples don’t make it that far.
The reality is that there’s no way to have a good marriage without both partners putting a lot of work into it. I’ll go as far as to say, there’s no way for a marriage to survive, without both partners putting a lot of work into it. On the other hand, the more work a couple is willing to put into their marriage, the better it can be.
People talk about falling out of love with their spouses. That’s a lie. What they did was stop working at loving them. When we stop working at loving, we start focusing on the negative. That’s when we’re in trouble; focusing on the negative is a sure path to destruction.
Any couple who have similar beliefs and lifestyle can make a success out of their marriage. I’ve seen couples where they spoke different languages, with maybe a couple hundred words in common, yet they made their marriage work. I’ve seen the rich marry the poor and make it work. I’ve seen people from different cultural backgrounds come together in marriage and have a wonderful life together, overcoming their differences. I’ve even seen arranged marriages where the couple was happily in love with each other.
What do all of these marriages have in common? They made a decision to work at it. Any good marriage is so because both marriage partners decide to work at having a successful marriage. Maybe one has to change a bad habit; maybe the other has to learn to like something they’ve never tried before; maybe they've both got to learn a new way of communication; but, you know what, they do it.
The thing that most impedes a couple’s ability to make their marriage work is a lack of desire to do so. Anything can be changed, if one decides it’s worth making the change. The second thing that impedes success in marriage is pride; that is, the kind of pride that says, “They’ve got to change, I won’t.”
There’s a common word between those two problems, it’s “change.” Making a happy marriage requires change. We have to be willing to change our habits, change our traditions, change our customs, change our ways of doing things, and even change ourselves. But, it’s worth it.
Every couple who have make their marriage into bliss have done so by changing, adapting, learning, and coming up with new ways of doing things that aren’t his or hers, but theirs. What is there in life that is more valuable to you than your wife? If you can come up with something, other than God, you’ve got a serious problem. You’ve already broken your marriage vows. You’ve stopped cherishing that person you vowed to cherish.
Invest in changing you, so that your marriage can change. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you’ll enjoy the fruit of that change. Just remember, she’s worth it.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Pretty much everyone has heard the Bible verse which says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lays down his life for his friends.” Maybe you didn’t realize that it comes from the Bible, but you’ve probably heard it somewhere.
As guys, it’s easy for us to think of laying down our lives as being willing to die for another person. We feel like, “If that’s what I’ve got to do to protect my family, no problem, as long as they’re okay.” While that’s definitely a noble sentiment, there’s more than one way to take the idea of laying down your life. What about the way that means “giving up your desires, in order to something you don’t want to do, for the other person”? That one’s a little harder to handle.
Amazing that it would be so, but for many, the idea of dying for their spouse is easier to accept than the idea of laying down their life to go shopping. Shopping? Isn’t that like the most profane word you can find in the official Guy’s Dictionary?
Let me clarify something here, I’m not talking about guy shopping, I’m talking about girl shopping. You know the difference, right? Guy shopping is hunting for the item you are looking for and getting out of the store as quick as possible. Girl shopping (isn’t shopping for a girl) is going out with the girls to wander around the mall, especially the clothing stores, to see what you can see, maybe try a few things on, and maybe buy something. But, you know, if you were to go shopping, that’s girl shopping, with your wife, that would really be an act of love, especially since she probably already knows how much you hate to go shopping.
You can actually make shopping with your wife fun. Here’s a few hints to help you out:
- Never eat before going, that way you’ve got to eat while you are there.
- Use the time together; driving, walking between stores, and while you eat, to talk.
- Bring a good book to read while she’s busy.
- Don’t forget to get ice cream, a hot pretzel, or any other good looking munchies, while you’re wandering through the mall.
- Take the time to go into stores that you’re interested in too; she won’t mind.
- Offer to carry her packages. While she would probably hand them to you anyway, offering to carry them makes you look good.
More than anything else, relax, be patient, don’t worry about the things you’re not getting done while you’re at the mall. Make the best use of the time to be with your wife as much as possible. Oh, and make her show you the things she’s trying on. She might find something that you really like.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Every once in a while, it’s nice to have a day just for the two of you. I know, it’s kind of hard to come up with them, with everything else that you’ve got to do; but sometimes, you’ve just got to shove all that other stuff aside, and make some time. All that work and all that busy-ness will still be there tomorrow.
One special day to make a day for you is on your anniversary. What better present can you possibly give yourselves than a whole day just for you? Oh, I know that your wife likes to receive the presents that are nicely wrapped and waiting for her, but she’d still rather have you than the present.
You could even surprise her and take the day off, without telling her ahead of time. Of course, that runs the risk of her planning on doing other things, but what’s life without a few little risks? She’ll be thrilled that you’ve given her this gift of time.
So, what are you going to do with your day together? You might want to do a little thinking and planning on that, to be ready for the day. Of course you’re going to go out to eat together, but what else? Is there someplace special the two of you have wanted to go? Is there a show you’ve wanted to see? Does your wife like to go antique shopping? How about some quaint little shop that sells crafty things? Is there one of those around she’s wanted to go to?
Be sure to start the day by asking her what she wants to do. That is, after you’ve given her a good morning kiss, and told her you’ve taken the day off to be with her. The things you think of ahead of time are in case she doesn’t have enough ideas. Remember, if you’re giving her the day, that means it’s focused on her, not on what you want to do, dragging her along.
The point isn’t to have every minute of the day tied up; the point is to have the time together. Maybe all you need to do is go for a walk in the park. Just make sure you do it together.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Women love to receive love notes, there’s no question about it. They treasure them, keep them, even go back to read them over and over again. The only problem is that most guys don’t’ think they can write a good love note. They’re not well versed in all that “mushy” stuff that you’re “supposed to put in love notes.”
Okay, hold it a minute. Let’s back up here. Granted, women like that mushy stuff, no doubt about it. But, did your wife fall in love with you for your ability to write or even say mushy stuff? If not, what makes you think that you’ve got to come up with it today?
When you were dating, what sort of stuff did you say to her? Okay, so if it worked back then, why wouldn’t it work now? Hopefully, I got you thinking with that one.
Now, let’s set up a “mailbox” for love notes. If you can get to a craft store, they might actually have a small wood or metal mailbox that you can use; even better if they have one with a flag on it to show when there is mail in it. If you can’t get a mailbox, how about any fancy box? You can rig up something to act as a flag.
Decorate your mailbox by painting it and maybe putting some flower or heart stickers on it. Make it her style somehow, because it’s going to be her personal mailbox to receive love notes from you.
Now, about your love note; just write whatever comes to mind. Make sure it’s positive and loving. Maybe talk about something you’ve done together, or something you’re going to do. Or, if all else fails, just tell her you love her.
Once you give it to her, you can use it from time to time to drop her another love note. Maybe you’re planning on taking her to a movie, or a concert; drop the tickets in her mailbox. Maybe you want to meet her for lunch; you can leave the note for that in her mailbox too. Just make sure you only use it for notes about your relationship, things you’re going to do together, and love notes to her; nothing else.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Have you ever noticed how old-fashioned, antique stuff has an air of romance around it? Let me show you what I mean. If you walk into a Victorian home, it says “romance” to you; but if you walk into an ultra-modern home, it’s stark, screaming “cold” to you. If a woman wears a modern, tight-fitting short dress, it might look sexy (depending on the woman), but if she wears a long, lacy Victorian dress, it says “romance” once again.
I don’t know what it is about that old stuff that speaks romance. Maybe it’s just that those times were simpler; people had more time together; life wasn’t lived at a breakneck pace. Or, maybe it’s just our imaginations. Well, whatever it is, let’s take advantage of it.
Little girls love to play tea party, and you know what? They don’t outgrow it. So, hie thee yonder to the corner antique store and find a couple of china tea cups, saucers and dessert plates. You might have to pay a bit for that antique stuff, but it’s going to become something special for you and your wife.
Wrap it up in a nice box, along with some nice tea and maybe a few pastries or fancy cookies. When your wife opens it (hopefully before the pastries go stale), tell her that this is a special set, for just the two of you, when you want to take a moment alone over your coffee or tea.
What you want to happen is to create a new tradition as a couple. This set can become a symbol that you can use with each other, when you just want to spend a few minutes together. Whichever one of you has that urge, can go make the coffee or tea, grab some pastries or cookies and bring it on a tray to your spouse. That’s the sign that it’s time to drop whatever you’re doing and move on to something more important… some time together.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Everyone says that men are competitive and goal oriented. While I’m sure that this is true, I’m also sure that women can be just as competitive and just as goal oriented as men are. They just have different sorts of competitions and different sorts of goals.
Have you ever seen how women try and show each other up in the way they dress? I remember once a number of years ago, when the church had a Christmas banquet luncheon just for the ladies. I had to drop my wife off, so saw several of the women arriving. They were all dressed fit to kill, even though there wasn’t going to be a single man at the banquet. Some of those same women came to a meeting with their husbands that evening in jeans and t-shirts. Women don’t dress to attract men; they do so to show off to other women.
Another way that women compete is in complaining about their husbands. Get any group of women together, and before long the competition starts. One complains about something her husband has done and the next one starts out by saying, “That’s nothing; my husband…” Those are the key words, you can translate “that’s nothing” to mean, “here’s one to top you.”
Well, here’s a way for your wife to switch that competition around to the positive and at the same time feel good about you. Let your wife have some sort of ladies gathering at the house, and offer to cook for them. Unless all you know how to cook is a bowl of corn flakes, I guarantee you that your wife will jump at the opportunity. Even though she may not say it, and even though it may not be the thought in the forefront of her mind, somewhere in there she’s going to think, “I’ll show them what my husband can do.”
Now remember, these are women you are cooking for. They’re not going to be impressed by your giant gut-bomb jalapeño burger, burnt on the grill. That’s great for the guys, but not for them. Cook them the best things you can, but just make sure that your wife approves of the menu before you go to the store.
While you’re in the kitchen cooking, all of your wife’s friends are going to be jealous of her. After all, their husbands don’t cook for them and their friends. They may start talking bad about their husbands, but it’ll be different this time; they’ll all be comparing their husbands to you.
Now remember, you’re not doing this to apply for a job as somebody else’s husband. You probably wouldn’t want her anyway. You’re doing this to build romance between you and your wife. How is this building romance? Simple, all that talk the other ladies are doing about you is going to make your wife feel great about you; unless you leave everything in the oven to burn, while you go off to watch the game, that is.
That great feeling is what you’re trying to create by being romantic. Even though this isn’t something you’re doing to her, it’s something you’re doing for her. Just like any of the other acts of service we’ve discussed in this blog, it’s going to bring the results you want.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Okay, I’ll tell you up front, this one’s going to seem a little strange to you, but I’m sure your wife will love it. Have you ever wondered why so many women love to go to the beauty salon? Yeah, yeah, I know women want to look beautiful and they go there to get their hair done. But, that’s not all; the beauty salon isn’t just about beauty, it’s about being pampered.
Think about it; why would a woman, who is capable of trimming and painting her own toe nails, want to pay someone else to do it for them? Granted, some women might have a little trouble bending down that much, but I’m not talking about them, No, I’m talking about the rest of the women who go there.
So, why not pamper your wife a little and give her a pedicure? First you’ll need to get the materials together, here’s a list:
· Foot bath (basin with warm water, possibly Epsom salt)
· If your wife uses an “egg” for calloused areas on her feet, grab that
· Hand cream (not the kind you put in your coffee)
· Nail clippers
· An emery board
· Nail polish
Now, sit your wife down in a comfortable chair and sit on the floor, or a low stool in front of her. Take her shoes, off and put her feet to soak in the warm water. It wouldn’t hurt to rub them while they’re in there. After a bit, use the “egg” on any rough spots. Take her feet out and dry them off before the water has a chance to turn cold.
Rub some hand lotion into her feet, wiping off any excess. If her nails need trimming, go ahead and do that, but don’t base it on your opinion that they need trimming, ask her. Either way, shape and remove any burrs from her nails with the emery board. Finally, paint her nails.
She should feel extra special that you’ve pampered her this way. Maybe she’ll find some way to pamper you too.
Friday, March 18, 2011
In some cultures, food is one of the most common ways of expressing love. Take Mexico for example; you’ve probably heard it said that when traveling in Mexico you should never reject food that’s offered to you. Why is that? Because you’ll insult them, that’s why.
Mexicans make a big deal of sitting down together and eating. To have a guest in your home, and not offer them anything to eat is almost like saying, “I don’t like you.” They show their love by feeding you, and even more so, by feeding you better than they eat themselves. I’ve been in more than one Mexican home, where they fed me steak, and they ate beans. As an American, I felt guilty, but knowing the Mexican people, I couldn’t insult them by refusing what they offered me.
One time, while I was staying with a fairly well off family, the woman of the house asked me what my favorite meat was. Thinking it would be a “safe” answer, and that there was no way she was going to find it, I responded, “deer.” Well, guess what she did? She went out and bought some venison for dinner that night.
Okay, we’re not going to get that exotic. How about if we stick to something a little simpler, like pastry. Now, I’m sure you’ve got a favorite pastry and so does your wife. All you have to do is get up early, go to your favorite bakery and buy that pastry for your wife. When she gets up to have her morning coffee (or tea), there it will be, waiting for her.
She’s going to know where it came from and that you made a special effort to get up and go out to pick it up for her. Of course, you could pick it up the night before, and just keep it hidden until morning, but it won’t be quite as fresh that way.
While you’re at it, you may as well pick up one for yourself; that way you can share the time together. Besides, that’ll keep you from being tempted to eat hers on the way home.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
You know, many couples have trouble communicating their deepest feelings, and especially their deepest desires. There are things that they wish their spouse would do, but never mention it. So, for lack of mentioning, that secret desire remains secret and never gets fulfilled.
Why don’t we mention these desires? Is it embarrassment, thinking that our desires might not be the right kinds of desires to have? Is it that we don’t want to offend our spouse? Or, is it fear that once expressed, those desires won’t be realized?
Whatever the reason, lack of expressing those desires insures two things. First of all, it guarantees that they will never be fulfilled. Secondly, those unfulfilled desires can become a cancer inside of us, making us bitter. Even if the desire never gets expressed, that bitterness ends up coming out in one way or another.
Women are famous for this; their classic line is, “if he loved me, he’d know what I want.” Maybe he (we) would, but the reality is that we probably don’t know. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always thought that was rather unfair. Men’s and women’s desires are sufficiently different, that we usually don’t know the other’s desires; at least, we don’t know if we’re not told. But guys, even if we don’t express it to our wives, we think the same thing they say; we just hold it inside.
It is important to express our deepest desires to each other. You, as a man, as the leader, are going to have to take the initiative, or it will never happen. Don’t expect your wife to start this one, remember, she thinks you should just know her desires.
Okay, here’s what to do. Find a time when the two of you can sit down alone, sometime when you will both be relaxed. If you’re not relaxed, this is probably not going to work. Explain to your wife that you want to have a short time of sharing desires. Here are the rules of this time:
· Each of you only share one desire.
· You don’t say it in a way that is attacking or accusing the other partner.
· You don’t respond negatively to that desire; however positive responses are allowed.
· You may ask questions about the desire, to insure that you understand.
· Make sure you finish with one person’s desire, before the other one starts.
· Finish with an “I love you” and a kiss.
The reason why you’re only sharing one desire is so that you can have time to think about that desire, and whether you can do something to fulfill it for them. Don’t worry, she’s probably doing the same thing. This may just be the time that you can both realize your desires.
Each time you do this, only share one desire; that way, there’s an opportunity to work on doing something about those desires. There might be some that you can’t complete for her, or that she can’t complete for you. In those cases, make sure that you tell each other, so that the other one doesn’t have the opportunity to think that you didn’t want to do it for lack of love.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
There are a number of biological differences between women and men; I don’t just mean the obvious ones (hopefully you've got those figured out), but in a rather large number of subtle ways our bodies function differently. One of the interesting ones is with the senses. Generally speaking, women’s senses of smell, taste and touch are more sensitive than men’s.
Perfumes, colognes and after shave aren’t really made to satisfy a man’s sense of smell, but a woman’s. While we as guys, can appreciate it when our wives use a nice perfume, we really don’t receive the same impact from it that our wives do. Unfortunately, the opposite is true as well; things that smell bad don’t have as much impact on us as they do on our wives. We can much more easily put up with those bad smells.
But, I digress; I really didn’t want to talk about the sense of smell, but the sense of touch. A woman’s sense if touch is also more sensitive than a man’s. While things that touch us lightly might be annoying to us, to our wives they are enjoyable.
Being guys, we tend to grab out wives with the “Me Tarzan, You Jane” type of expression of love. Okay, there are times when that’s effective; but it’s not really what our wives want from us. What they really prefer is a light touch, a feather light touch, a touch so light that you’re not really sure it’s there. That will send all sorts of shivers up and down her spine.
Now, I realize that a touch that light might be a little hard to achieve. But, never fear, God has taken care of that for us. All we need to have, in order to do the feather touch thing, is a feather.
So, go find a feather somewhere. I’d recommend finding one in a store, instead of on the street. Any feather you pick up on the street would probably be dirty, and if it isn’t your wife might think it’s dirty. Either way, it’ll ruin the effect. Go to your local craft store and find a nice feather there. It can be your special feather for tickling your wife.
Okay, so now that you have your feather, how do you use it, right? Well, this one’s pretty simple. Grab the feather by the quill end (that’s the stick end) and touch your wife with the other end. Touch her anywhere you can find skin to touch; she’s probably got a pretty good supply of skin for you to touch. Don’t bother with anything covered up with clothing, as she might not feel that. Move her hair out of the way, and run it over the back of her neck (women love this), run it up and down her arms, her legs, over her back… I think you get the idea… Have fun.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Flowers in and of themselves are a nice, romantic gift to give to your wife. Likewise, anything that someone makes with their own hands is a special gift, because of the personal touch that it put into it. So, if we want the best of both worlds, why not try your hand at coming up with a special flower arrangement for your wife.
The first step is always to pick the flowers you are going to use. Are there certain flowers that have a special meaning for you as a couple, or even just for her? If you can get them, those might be a great place to start. If not, pick an assortment of flowers that you think look good together. Don’t forget to buy some greenery (leaves) and Baby’s Breath (clusters of little white flowers) to complete your arrangement.
You’re going to need something to put your flower arrangement in, too. Maybe you’ve already got a vase around the house that you can use, if not, you’ll need to pick one up. Or, maybe you’ve got something else that can be used for a more original container.
Before starting to arrange your flowers, you might want to take a minute to look at some flower arrangements on the Internet. That will help you get an idea in your mind of how you want your finished arrangement to look.
Even though your flowers have been cut before, you’ll want to cut them off again, at an angle, so that there is a fresh part of the stem to absorb water. To arrange your flowers, you’ll want to start by putting your greenery in the vase. The first flowers should be the tallest ones, which should go in the center. Start working around the outside of those tallest flowers, adding shorter stems, cutting them as necessary. Remember, if you are using several different types of flowers, you want to mix them, not do them in rings like a bulls-eye.
Finish off your arrangement with the Baby’s Breath around the edges and occasional pieces of it between the larger flowers. Tying a ribbon around the vase makes a nice touch as well.
There you have it, your own flower arrangement. Your wife will be thrilled that you actually did it yourself, even if it doesn’t look as good as the ones the professionals do.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Do you remember fondue pots? Maybe you’re not old enough to have bit part of that fad, but when I was a kid, everyone had to have one. It was supposed to be the party craze of the century... Just make some fondue and your party would be an instant success. All the important people would show up, even if they didn’t know you.
For those of you who never had this experience, a fondue pot is a little saucepan with curved sides that come in at the top. It comes with a stand, which has a place for a little burner down below to keep the contents warm. There are a number of long skinny forks, something like a miniature version of what you’d use to toast hot dogs over the fire to complete the kit.
You could put hot oil in the pot, and cook cut up pieces of meat and vegetables in the oil; which you would then dip in various sauces before eating. Or, you could make cheese fondue; dipping chunks of bread in melted cheese. The final and most important version of this delicacy is to dip cut up pieces of fruit, pretzels, and marshmallows into melted chocolate.
Ahhh, chocolate; if there was ever a romantic food, that’s it. Maybe you don’t have a fondue pot, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the pleasure of sharing some romantic melted chocolate with your wife. As long as you’ve got a stove, and a little imagination, you can have a great time.
I always start with semi-sweet chocolate chips. When you melt your chocolate, it’s a good idea to add a couple of tablespoons of tablespoons of cooking oil to the chocolate. This will help keep it from drying out too quick. It might be a good idea to use a double boiler too (put your saucepan with the chocolate inside a larger pot with water in it), to help insure that you don’t scald the chocolate that’s on the bottom. I like to add a little flavoring extract, say orange or mint to my chocolate too.
Before melting your chocolate, get your fruit, pretzels, marshmallows and whatever ready. I don’t know what you like with chocolate on it, use your imagination. Put it all on a tray somewhere, where the two of you can enjoy it. Put on a little soft music in the background. When your chocolate is melted, run in that room, lock the door to keep the kids out, and feed your wife a chocolate dipped strawberry, while you look soulfully into her eyes.
Since you don’t have a little burner under your pot to keep the chocolate melted, it might harden after a bit. Never fear, that’s why we added the oil. You can take your pot back to your double boiler on the stove, and re-melt the chocolate.
Enjoy a nice time together as you eat your romantic chocolate fondue.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Have you ever noticed how some people are just plain fun to be around? I’m sure you know what I mean, those people whose sense of fun and laughter is so contagious that being around them is the best medicine against the bad day syndrome. No matter what happens, they’ve always got a smile, a hug and a word of encouragement.
- Why not become one of them? Okay, I realize that some people are just born with that kind of personality, and you and I aren’t; but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn. All we have to do is figure out what makes these people tick, then figure out how to adapt it to us.
- So, what are the characteristics of these people?
- They have a positive attitude – Have you noticed that the world we live in is negative? Some people focus on this negativity, but these people focus on the positive. They can always find the silver lining, sometimes totally ignoring the black cloud.
- They like to joke around – These people always have a funny story or joke to share, and are quick to laugh at yours.
- They are slow to anger – Some people will fight at the drop of a hat, these people will forgive that quickly. You really have to work at it to make them mad.
- They are focused on others, not themselves – I think that one is self-explanatory.
- They are quick to see the humor in an awkward situation – Instead of being embarrassed they just light up the room with their smile.
The great thing about these people is that they are just plain fun to be around. You don’t have to work at being comfortable with them, or think “When are they going to leave?” C’mon now, isn’t that how we want our wives to be with us; that there’s nobody that they’d rather be with than be with us? Well, when we bring joy into their lives, guess what? They want to be with us.
So, what are you going to do? You’ve got a choice, be a sourpuss, or start working on being that fountain of perpetual joy. It may not be easy, and it may not be fast, but you can become that person who’s fun to be around. Your wife will love you for it.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Yesterday we talked about laughing at ourselves, but there’s more to having a good sense of humor than that. So today I want to talk a little bit about laughing at life. There’s a trite saying which I’m sure you’ve heard that goes, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
Personally, I prefer limeade, actually Mexican limeade, which is made with key limes; but hey, whoever made that saying obviously preferred lemons. It really doesn’t matter what we call it, we all know that life has this amazing ability to throw things at us which we’d really rather not receive. Not good things either, I’ve never run across anyone who gets upset when good things mysteriously come their way.
How we react to the bad things in life has a lot to do with how well we maintain our marriage relationship. All these romantic acts we’re doing are like making deposits into our wife’s emotional bank account. When there’s enough in her account so that she doesn’t feel emotionally bankrupt, she’s about to respond in a loving manner. However, just as we make deposits, we also make withdrawals by the negative things that we do.
All too often, we react in the wrong way to those “lemons” that life throws at us. Even worse, we react towards our spouse in a negative way, as if it was her fault. Tell me, what do we gain by doing that? Nothing. Even if it was your wife’s fault that she got in the fender bender, yelling at her about it isn’t going to help anything. Instead of just having a bent fender, you’ll have a bent fender and a bent wife. The bent fender might be her fault, but the bent wife is definitely your fault. Ouch!
I’m not saying that the bent fender isn’t important enough to be concerned about, but it’s over with. Getting mad isn’t going to help anything. That’s the time to make some lemonade. Instead of being upset about the car, be happy that your wife came through it unscathed.
Often, what happens to us is outside of our control, but how we react to it is always under our control. It’s like the guy who ended up walking by as his neighbor was throwing out the water from washing his car. He yelled at his neighbor, “You made me wet and you made me mad.” The neighbor responded, “No, I made you wet; you decided to get mad on your own.”
We decide whether we laugh at circumstances or get mad at them; nobody else can decide for us. So, why waste all that time and energy being mad, and taking it out on everyone around you. Wouldn’t it be better to take a deep breath, make lemonade and laugh a little?
Your wife will definitely feel more comfortable around you if you learn how to laugh at life’s problems. Not only that, but instead of making a withdrawal from her emotional bank account, you’ll actually be making a deposit. Isn’t that better?
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
It seems that one of the hardest skills to learn is how to laugh at ourselves. I mean, think about it, as human beings, we are definitely the funniest thing on the planet. While we might occasionally laugh at some animal antics, most of what we laugh about is human antics, especially those that are embarrassing to the person who did them.
So, if it’s so easy to laugh at others, why do we have trouble laughing at ourselves for the same blunders? Is this a case of, “If it happens to them, it’s funny; if it happens to me, it’s a disaster”? Hey, if it’s funny when it happens to them, then somebody somewhere thinks it’s funny when it happens to us. If somebody is going to be laughing, we may as well join in.
I think we humans tend to take ourselves a little too seriously. There’s too much desire to make ourselves look good, and not enough desire to make ourselves look like ourselves.
I’ve got some news for you. Your wife didn’t marry you for what you pretend to be, she married you for who you are. She can see through all that stuffiness, self-righteousness and pretending, to see the person within. You may as well let that person out to play.
Learning to laugh at yourself is all about putting things in the right perspective. Is that thing that happened really all that important? Is it worth the anger you are investing in it? Wouldn’t it be better, instead of thinking that you’ve got to be perfect, to think that you’ve got to be fun to be around? That’s what I mean by perspective. Don’t invest your energy in being angry, have a laugh and go on. That’ll make you more fun to be around.
Hey, if you don’t learn how to be fun to be around, then you’ll never succeed in being romantic.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
I’m always looking for fun ways to say those magic three words to my wife. That’s not to say that I don’t say them in plain English, but it’s fun to find other ways to tell my wife that I love her. No matter how much she likes hearing me say that I love her, I’m sure she appreciates the effort that goes into expressing my love in a unique and original way. If nothing else, it shows that I put some thought into telling her that I love her.
Here’s a great way I found to make a unique love note, and the other great thing (besides being a unique love note) is that you don’t have to be a poet to do it. All you have to do is be able to come up with a list of words, and type them in your computer. Can you handle that?
Okay, there’s this fun little site on the Internet, called “wordle.net.” This site will take whatever list of words or body of text you give it, and create a word cloud from those words. All you have to do is come up with the words.
You can either copy something, like a poem, a love story, or something from this blog, or you can type in your own list of words. For the sample I show above, I typed in a list of words. They were essentially a list of 39 words that I made up, based upon my relationship with my wife. I just typed them in the box on the applet and wordle.net came up with my love note.
Here’s some ideas for your list of words:
- Your wife’s name – in all its variations, my wife’s name is Deborah, that means I typed in Deborah, Debbie, and Deb
- The words “love” and “you”
- Pet names, like “honey” or “sexy” that you might use for your wife
- Attributes that you like about her such as “beautiful” or “funny”
- Things that you do together such as “walk” “swim”
- Any special code words that you use between yourselves as a couple
Okay, one of the keys to how any word cloud works is that the number of repetitions of a word determine how big that word comes out. So, you want to repeat words like “love,” “you,” pet names, her name, and special words like “forever” and “together.” Remember, the more times you repeat them, the larger they show up. If you look in my sample, the biggest word is “love,” that’s because I typed it in 8 times. The words which show up the next larger size were typed in 5 times, etc.
When you push the button, wordle.net will automatically create your word cloud. If you don’t like it, or think it might look better a little different, you can hit the button that says “open in window.” This will make a separate window of your word cloud. Then, you can hit the “randomize” button and let wordle.net give it another shot. There are quite a few variations available that wordle.net can produce.You can also change the color and layout by clicking on the pull-down menus for those selections, which are right above your word cloud.
You can also go back to add words, or add iterations of words. All you have to do is hit the “back” button on your browser, this will take you to the home page of the site; then hit the “forward” button and it will take you to the page where you entered your word list. Don’t hit the “create” button again, as this will give you a blank page for entering your list.
Have fun, be creative, and make your wife a special love note.
Monday, March 7, 2011
You know, one of the worst things you can do as a husband, is to forget an important day in your life together. What do I mean by that? I’m talking about days like her birthday and your anniversary. Even if those types of days aren’t important to you, they probably are to your wife. So, the last thing you want to do is skip over one of them without the necessary gifts, cards, and special meal.
Fortunately for modern man, we’ve got all sorts of things that can remind us of those days. Lots of us use some sort of electronic PIM, such as a Palm, or iPad, or even Outlook on our computer. So, all we’ve got to do is program her birthday and our anniversary into those right?
Wait a minute, let’s say that you go ahead and program those days into Outlook on your home computer. You probably don’t have time to check your computer before heading off to work, so you don’t see that great reminder until you come home. Oops, it’s already too late. You may as well grab a blanket and pillow and head out to the dog house, because that’s where you’re going to be sleeping for the next couple of weeks.
Or, let’s say that you’ve got it programmed into your PIM, and it tells you about her birthday in the morning. Okay, now you’ve got all day to do something about it. Only, you end up with the busiest day you’ve ever had in the office, and there’s a critical meeting that runs over, meaning you don’t get to leave on time. So, you dash home, grabbing a dozen roses along the way, to find your wife miffed at you and not too happy about your wilted roses.
Celebrating an important day takes some time to prepare. So, why not make a little adjustment to your electronic calendar? Go ahead and leave your wife’s birthday and your anniversary in there, but program daily reminders in for the 3 days or more beforehand. That way, you’ll get reminders in time to plan something and buy your wife a nice gift.
Let me say one other thing here. Invariably there are times when it is impossible to celebrate an important day on that day. This year, my wife and I couldn’t go out for Valentine’s Day, because we were both teaching that night. So, what do you do for those problem times? Easy, celebrate it early. Take your wife out the day before, or on the weekend before, instead of on the day in question. Just make sure you let her know ahead of time, that that’s what you are doing. Waiting till afterwards says you forgot, doing it beforehand says you’re giving her priority.
One other little note: going hunting, fishing, or to your bowling league on your wife’s birthday is a real no-no. Even if you take her out to the fanciest restaurant ahead of time and buy her a gorgeous gift, you’re still sending the message, “my hunting is more important than you are.”
Saturday, March 5, 2011
If there’s ever been something that’s been considered a “classic” romantic act, especially in the movies, it’s the maiden on the tower balcony, with her love down below, singing to her. Okay, okay, I know it’s a little corny; but, so what? If she likes it, who cares if the neighbors think you’ve lost a few marbles.
You know, if love songs weren’t so important, there wouldn’t be so many of them written. In reality, they’re just another way of saying “I love you.” It just happens to be that those words are said in song.
So, what’s your musical style? You know, it won’t do any good for you to try and sing in some other style, it’s got to be you. Even better, it’s got to be the two of you together. Somehow, I can’t see it being all that romantic for you to sing to her in a style that she can’t stand. Don’t think that one will work.
Oh, you say you can’t sing? Yeah, well, I’ve got the same problem. In fact, two of my kids are classically trained musicians, and it’s guaranteed that they’ll start complaining, if I dare to start singing. Okay, there’s a solution for that one too. Have you ever heard of lip sinking? That’s where you just mouth the words, and let whichever famous singer you prefer provide the voice. After all, they’re the pros, why not use their expertise.
Oh, and if you don’t want the neighbors throwing rocks at you, you might want to sing from the back yard, instead of the front.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
You know, ambiance can have a lot to do with setting the tone for romance. “What’s that?” you ask. Well, according to dictionary.com, ambiance is “the mood, character, quality, tone, atmosphere, etc., particularly of an environment or milieu: The restaurant had a delightful ambiance.” Ah, yes, how did we ever survive without the Internet to tell us things? Sorry, I digress.
You know, telling your wife you love her at your kid’s ball game doesn’t have the same affect that telling her the same thing, in the same tone would, sitting over a candlelight supper in a nice little restaurant somewhere. That ball game just isn’t a very romantic place, no matter how romantic you are trying to be.
So, if you want to spend some romantic time with your wife, it helps to create a romantic environment in which to do so. There are lots of things that can be part of creating that environment; many of which you probably already have in the house. Some places are just naturally romantic, like sitting in front of a fireplace (preferably with a fire in it), or sitting on a hillside, watching the sun set, or walking hand in hand down the beach. But, what I’m talking about here is something where you can create a romantic ambiance in any room of your house.
I’m not really sure what there is about candles that create a romantic mood. Maybe it’s just that they tend to draw us close to themselves, which makes us draw close to each other. Or, maybe it’s that the lower light tends to hide imperfections in us, making everyone seem more beautiful. Whatever it is, we don’t need to understand it as much as take advantage of it.
It’s been a while since you bought a gift for your wife, so why not buy her some candles? Pick something out that goes with the décor in the room where you are going to create the romantic ambiance. If you have formal décor in your living room, you might want to find some nice candlestick holders. On the other hand, if you’re more likely to use it in the bedroom, you might want to buy some of those short, fat candles. The nice thing about those is that they are usually scented.
The idea is to have something that you can use when and where you want to create a romantic moment. That candle can become a symbol for you. When one of you lights it, that means it’s time for just the two of you; no kids, no television, and especially no in-laws.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Have you ever noticed how wonderful it is to sit on the sofa and just hold each other? Or, maybe just lay in bed in each other’s arms? I’m not talking about anything sexual here; I’m just talking about being able to touch your wife, feel her body against yours, and enjoy the feel of each other. It brings about a sense of security, comfort and peace; just the two of you, holding each other, and enjoying that you can just hold each other.
I think that in the hustle-bustle of daily life, we’ve lost the art of cuddling. Somewhere along the line, simple physical touch has been laid aside for other things, which seemed more important at the moment. In that process, we’ve lost a lot of what it means to be in love.
Physical touch is an important part of both expressing and maintaining your love for one another. Again, I’m not just talking about sexual touch, although what I’m saying does apply to that as well. But there is a definite need to touch one another, without sex being a part of it.
Back in October, I mentioned the hormone oxytoxin. This is the hormone, found in both men and women, which is released by physical touch. Like all hormones, oxytoxin has an emotional effect as well as a physical one. The emotional effect of oxytoxin is to make us feel like we are in love with the other person. So, quite literally, making love or any other intimate non-sexual touch produces love (or at least the feeling of love) in us.
I’d have to say that maintaining a good oxytoxin level is an important ingredient in maintaining a marriage healthy. All too often, couples “fall out of love” because they are beset on every side by problems. Both of them are so busy fighting fires, that they don’t have the time or energy to put into maintaining the love in the marriage. Well, cuddling is a great yet easy way to recharge the love batteries.
You know, you can even cuddle when you’re both worn out, worn down, and ready to collapse. All you’ve got to do is make sure you collapse together, in a way that you are holding one another. Now, what could be easier than that?
In a sense, cuddling has the ability to heal our emotions. Why do you think that children want to be held when they’re sad or hurt? They want that healing. Just being together, holding each other, feeling each other’s heartbeat, will help you overcome that feeling of being worn out and worn down. You’ll get up revived and rejuvenated and even more in love.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Sometimes, it seems as if all the effort we’re putting into being romantic isn’t accomplishing anything. You know what I mean? It’s as if your wife doesn’t even see what you’re doing for her. Don’t worry, she is seeing it, and it is making an impact on her.
Women don’t always tell you that you’re doing the right thing. I guess it’s just human nature; people are much more likely to complain about bad service in a restaurant that they are to compliment a waitress who gives them excellent service. That doesn’t mean they don’t notice or appreciate the great service, just that they don’t see any need to say anything about it.
Let’s get real here, the world in which we live is negative. Much of our expression is negative, reflecting the negativity of the world. We call a traffic light a “red light” or a “stop light;” but last I checked those lights are green just as much time as they are red. Why don’t we call it a “go light”? We even tell people “go through the third stop light and turn right at the next street.” I’m not sure about where you live, but here in Texas, that’s a good way to get a ticket.
Okay, getting back to our wives. Like I said, women don’t always say something positive when we do something romantic for them. That doesn’t mean they don’t notice it though. You can be sure that your wife is noticing every romantic act you do. You can also be sure that they’re making an impact on her. Granted, she probably should do something to acknowledge your romantic acts, but that doesn’t mean that she will.
Let me say one thing here that might just manage to offend you. If you’re expecting something for your romantic acts, you’re being selfish. Remember, this isn’t about getting something; it’s about showing your love to your wife. Keep your focus on her, not on what you want from her.
I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie “Fireproof” but if you haven’t, it might be a good idea to watch it. In the movie, the couple is at a point of divorce. The man’s father comes to him, and challenges him to take 40 days and essentially be romantic towards his wife. Well, the upshot of the story is that he ends up winning his wife’s heart all over again. I’ll guarantee you that it wasn’t easy for him; I can remember a bunch of scenes where she pretended not to notice what he did for her. But, in the end, he won.
Okay, maybe your marriage isn’t in a shambles; I sure hope it isn’t. But you still need to win your wife’s heart all over again. In fact, that’s the way to make sure your marriage stays healthy; win your wife’s heart each and every day.
Don’t get frustrated, and don’t give up. She is seeing what you’re doing, and ultimately she will respond to it. Your investment in your marriage is guaranteed to pay off.