Friday, August 19, 2011

Protect Her from Herself

I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but women are better worriers than men are. Compared to us, they’ve elevated the art of worrying to a high art form. Some have even gotten so good, that if everything is going good, they’re able to worry about not having anything to worry about.

Okay, maybe that last line was a little facetious. But, that doesn’t change the fact that most women worry more than most men do. It comes from a difference in the way we think. If a man is faced with a problem that he can’t do anything about, he puts it on the shelf, until he can do something about it. Women, on the other hand, have that thing following them around all day long, taunting them.

I learned this lesson early on in my marriage, when I was independently poor and self-unemployed. The bills would come in and we had a particular place where my wife would put them. I’d come home from working and she’d say something like, “The electric bill came today.”

“Okay,” I’d think, “the electric bill came. It’s not time to pay it, so I can put it on my mental shelf.” So, that’s what I did. There were only two problems with that. First of all, we might not have had the money even when it was time to pay the bill. Secondly, to my wife, it looked like I was ignoring that bill.

Much later I found out that the stack of bills I left sitting there, waiting for money to pay them, was causing my wife problems. In her mind, that stack of bills was growing like a monster, taking over the home. We didn’t have a stack of bills, we had a mountain. Even worse, her husband (me) was ignoring that mountain that was taking over. HEEEEEELLP!

Moving ahead several years in our personal saga; we found ourselves living on the road in a motorhome, traveling and ministering. We’d had several good financial years, where the bills got paid and there was money for things like clothes that didn’t come from a second-hand store. But, let me tell you, living on the road ministering isn’t any way to get rich. So, we were once again struggling financially.

This is where I used some wisdom. I talked to my wife about it and we agreed that I wouldn’t tell her how much money we had or didn’t have. The only time I would say something to my wife about our finances, was either when it was really good, or when I would say, “Only spend X amount of money at the grocery store today.” Other than that, I kept it to myself.

The result of that was that my wife was able to live, without worrying about our finances. Even though we could pretty much count on not having enough money 29 days or more out of every month, she didn’t know. That meant that she didn’t have to worry about it.

Now, let me give you some advice here. Don’t try and do the same thing, unless you have both of these things well in hand. The first one is that you need your wife’s agreement on this. Otherwise, you’re not protecting her, your treating her like an immature child. That’s not going to win you any brownie points (or any other types of points either). The second one is to make sure you take care of things, so that she doesn’t have any reason to worry.

If your wife finds out that you’ve been keeping things from her and not taking care of them, it will be Fourth of July all over again, with a spectacular fireworks display. On the other hand, if you do take care of things, when she later finds out about the problem, she will have reason to feel that her husband takes care of her and protects her.

That’s the feeling you want her to get out of all this. Not that you’re being macho. Not that you’re being dishonest. Not that you’re hiding things from her. What you want is for her to feel secure and protected. Do it right, and she’ll feel that way.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Secret Love Message

I’ve said again and again how important it is to tell your wife that you love her. She needs that. In fact, she needs it about 10 times a day. Don’t just wait till she’s done something special for you either, or wait till after you make love. That’ll send her the message that all she is to you is a sex toy.

The thing is, it can become a bit challenging, trying to come up with new ways of saying “I love you.” Now, there’s nothing wrong with the same old way, you know, just saying those three words. But, while you can use that over and over, and she’ll never get tired of it, I can’t use it over and over on this blog, or you’ll get tired of it.

Every once in a while, a new way to say “I love you” comes along and slaps me upside the head. So, now that I’ve been slapped this morning, let me share the idea with you.

Buy a bag of those glass baubles that they put in the bottom of vases of artificial flowers. They’re available in a number of colors, with all of them being roughly the same size. You can buy them at any craft store, like Hobby Lobby or Michael’s, You can even find them at times in dollar stores. A bag shouldn’t cost you more than a few bucks.

It might help to make yourself a pattern, so take a large piece of paper, and write on it “I love you.” Add a heart or some other adornment if you’d like. You’re going to leave this message on the top of her dresser, so don’t make your pattern so large that it won’t fit. Nor should you make your pattern so complicated that you can’t make the letters and design out of those little glass baubles.

Sometime when your wife is occupied, and you know that she won’t be going into the bedroom for several minutes, you can get started. We’re going to do this project over several days, so you don’t want to do the whole design on the first day. Place enough of the baubles on the dresser top to show that you’re doing something, but not enough that she can figure out what it is that you’re doing. Maybe one in every six stones will work. Here’s the tricky part, though; you can’t lay the pattern down and set the pieces on it, or she’ll know what you’re doing. Instead, you’ve got to use your highly calibrated eye to position those stones. Don’t worry if you don’t get it perfect, you can make adjustments as you go.

Each day this week, add some more glass baubles to the design, making the design more complete. You don’t want her to be able to guess what you’re doing too quickly, so be selective on how you complete the design. Aim for a target of having your love note finished in five or six days.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Very Personal Spa Treatment

Women love to be pampered; I guess that shouldn’t be all that surprising, since we do too. We just look at being pampered a little differently. What you and I see as being pampered and what our wives see as being pampered aren’t exactly the same thing.

For women, going to the beauty salon is being pampered. They get someone to do their hair, paint their nails, even give them a pedicure (that’s doing their toenails). If they’re salon is big enough, they might even be able to get a massage out of the deal, too.

Well, if that’s the way that she wants to be pampered, how about doing it yourself? There’s nothing there that’s so complicated that you couldn’t do it, if you gave it the good old college try. So, go ahead and give her a personal spa treatment, right there in your own bedroom/bathroom. The only thing I’d recommend avoiding is cutting her hair; that could get you in real trouble.

Start by washing her hair for her, to put her in the right frame of mind. Have you ever seen one of those commercials on TV, where the woman is in her office, and three muscular guys are shampooing her hair? Well, you don’t need the other two guys, just do it yourself. Worried about getting her clothes wet? No problem, just get them out of the way; after all, she is your wife.

Now that she’s in a great frame of mind, why not shave her legs for her. I know you know how to shave. Just remember, her legs, especially the front of them, where the bone is right under the skin, can cut easier than your face, so be careful about that. It would kind of ruin the effect to cut her while shaving her. You’ll probably have the best success if you have her sit on a chair in your bathroom, and use a basin of WARM water.

Since you’re on the floor taking care of her legs, you can do her feet at the same time. Give her a foot massage, to take care of her aching feet. Then a pedicure. For the pedicure, you don’t need to get carried away; you just need 3 steps:
  1. Take off the old nail polish with nail polish remover
  2. File the toenails to make sure the ends are nicely rounded
  3. Paint her toenails with the nail polish of her choice

The practice you gain working on her toenails will prepare you to work on her fingernails. Just make sure you don’t get carried away with the nail file. Try and be neat with the little paintbrush that comes in the nail polish too. I know it’s tiny, but you can handle it.

Once all the nail polish has dried, move from the bathroom to the bedroom, have her lay on the bed, and give her a massage. What happens after that is up to the two of you.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Kiss Ambush

As crazy as it may seem, one of the things we guys seem to mess up on regularly is not kissing our wives enough. Can you believe that? Now, I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy kissing my wife and would never want her to think that I wasn’t kissing her enough. I love her and want her to know that I do. Even more than that, it’s something we can do together to build the intimacy in our marriage.

I’m not talking about kissing her at bed time either; I’m talking about kissing her, and hugging her for that matter, throughout the day. If you want things to go well at bed time, you need to make sure that you’re doing the right things throughout the day. One of those right things is to kiss her.

Kissing is one of the most intimate forms of expression there is. Did you know that the lips are the most sensitive part of the body? That’s why babies put everything in their mouths. When you kiss, it wakes up the nervous system throughout your body.

So, if you want to be romantic to your wife, it would just naturally follow that kissing is part and parcel of the romance. Don’t let it become rote, where you kiss only at certain times and only in certain ways; be creative. Kiss your wife when she’s least expecting it; like in the middle of making dinner, or grab her while the two of you are watching TV. Apply that good old spontaneity to the fine art of kissing, and let your wife know you love her.

As I said, don’t just always kiss her the same way, either. Get some variety in there. Kiss the back of her neck, kiss her softly all over her face, kiss her passionately, sweeping her off her feet; kiss her hand, and then continue up the arm. Just kiss her; you’ll both enjoy it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Wedding(?) Car

Did you know that humor and romance go well together? You’ve got to be careful though, and make sure that it’s something that she’ll think is funny. Sometimes, as guys, what we think is funny isn’t all that funny to our wives. But, if you do it right, you can bring a smile to her face in more ways than one.

I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume that you remember your wedding. Even if you don’t remember your own, I’m sure you’ll know what I’m talking about here. Remember when you left the church, and your friends had tied shoes and tin cans to the back bumper and painted “Just Married” on the back window? Well, why not do it again, with a twist?

There’s nothing more romantic to a woman than a wedding. So, unless your wedding was a total disaster, remembering her own is a great romantic moment. Helping her remember it will definitely win you some big romantic brownie points.

Here’s what you do. Get some light rope, empty cans and old shoes (if you don’t have any, try your local Salvation Army store). Oh, and get a can of whipped cream too (I don’t recommend using shaving cream, unless you are really careful, as it can damage your car’s paint job). Now, deck your car out as if you were just married. The only difference is to paint a different slogan on the back window, something like:
  • Still Married!
  • Still in Love!
  • Married, and Loving it!
  • Celebrating our Marriage!

Of course, you don’t want your wife to see you doing the decorating job, just the end result. When it’s done, take her out somewhere, so she can see what you did, and so that others can see it as well. If it’s your regular date night, so much the better; but even if it’s not, go to the store, our just out for ice cream. Whatever it takes, get your wife and go someplace in your car like that.

Don’t worry about the people staring at you; they’re just jealous that they don’t love each other enough to brag about it to the world. Your wife will do some bragging though, to all her friends.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Value Her Opinion

Let me ask you a question; how opinionated are you? Are you one of those people who has an answer to anything, who can spout forth the latest wisdom on current issues, who is always letting others know what you think about it? Okay, maybe you’re not that sort of person, but how good are you at listening to the opinions of others?

Have you ever noticed that your wife doesn’t agree with you on everything? In fact, there’s a strong possibility that she doesn’t agree with you on a lot of things. That’s actually okay. It’s not necessary that you be in agreement on everything, just the important things.

Learning how to deal with your disagreements is an important part of learning how to live together as a married couple. Many time, couples struggle with this, thinking that they have to agree on every little detail, or their marriage will go down the tubes. No, what you have to do, is learn to compromise on those details that really aren’t important to you.

Most guys don’t have much trouble compromising on home décor. Actually, most guys probably don’t even notice the home décor. She could decorate your home in modern caveman and you’d be comfortable. Actually, you’d probably be more comfortable than her decorating it in Victorian style.

On the other hand, most guys have a real problem compromising on things like what kind of car you are going to buy, how you’re going to spend your money and sports (that’s a biggie). Hey, life is full of compromises, you’ve got to learn to roll with the punches and find a middle ground that works just as well for her as it does for you.

You start that, by listening to what she has to say. If you don’t listen to her, you’re never going to know what she thinks or how she feels about things. Now, there’s a real secret here in listening; that is, you need to pay attention. In other words, you should be able to repeat back what she said, in your own words, without changing the meaning. It’ll take a little practice, but you can do it. The other important thing is to never, never, never put her opinion down. She is just as entitled to her opinion as you are to yours.

Granted, her opinion may seem a little crazy to you. When my wife tells me what she thinks is wrong with the car, it pretty much always sounds crazy; but she clearly thinks that I need her opinion, or I won’t be able to repair the car. Okay, so I let her have her say.

When you ridicule or immediately throw out someone’s opinion, it sends a message to them that they are not valuable. Remember our definition of romance? We’re trying to show her that she’s valuable. So, any time you ridicule or throw out her opinion, without at least giving it a reasonable chance, you are doing the opposite of being romantic. Sounds like a losing proposition to me.

Not only should you hear out her opinion, but you should also give it serious consideration. Hey, you’re not always right, and sometimes, she’s going to be the one who has the answer. As crazy as it sounds, she might even have the answer to why your car doesn’t run. She may not be able to explain why she thinks it’s the alternator that’s bad, but that doesn’t mean she can’t be right.

So, whatever it is, listen to her. Let her tell her your opinion. Who knows, she just might have the answer that you’ve been looking for. Then you can tell her how much you appreciate her help.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Save Those Rose Petals

I’m always on the lookout for new romantic acts. I mean, you can only buy flowers so many times, right? Actually, wrong. While buying flowers for her every day will soon remove the thrill for her, becoming a routine, you can buy them fairly regularly, and still have it seen as a romantic act.

On the other hand, I can’t write about buying flowers once a week, or even once a month. You come here looking for new ideas, so I’ve got to give them to you. Okay, but I still like to come up with unique things that we can do with the same materials, i.e. flowers.

Did you know that flowers, specifically roses, still smell good, even after they’re dead and dry? That gives us an opportunity for using those flowers you bought her last week for a double romantic act. You’ve already gotten a point from her for giving her the flowers, now you’re going to get another point for doing something creative with those same dead flowers.

When they start dying, don’t throw them away. Instead, take the whole bunch of them, tie them together with a rubber band, and hang them upside down somewhere to dry. Give them a week or so, because you’ll want them good and dry, before going on to the next part.

Now that the flowers are dry, carefully remove all the petals from them. I say carefully because dry flower petals are very fragile and you don’t want to crush them. Granted, some will get crushed no matter what you do, don’t throw those crushed ones away, put them with the others. Just try and have as many whole ones as you can.

Those dry rose petals still smell like roses (or whatever kind of flower petals, like whatever kind of flowers they were), don’t they? They may not smell as strong, but they still have that fragrance. So, let’s make use of that. Find a nice bowl, preferably crystal or some other pretty clear glass bowl. Fill the bowl with your dried flower petals and put it in your bedroom. If you’ve got one of those headboards with a bookshelf in it, put it there, if not, put it on her dresser.

I’ll guarantee you; your wife’s nose is more sensitive than yours. She’ll be able to smell those flowers, even if you don’t notice them. You can stir them around every once in a while, just to make the scent a little bit stronger. You have also created a new romantic tradition. From now on, every time you buy your wife flowers, the dried petals can be added to that bowl.

Another thing you can do with those dried flower petals, which your wife will love, is to make her a sachet. All it takes to make a sachet is a small cloth bag and some flower petals. Put the petals in the bag and tie it closes. Then put it in her underwear drawer for her to find. She’ll love it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Never Lose the “Wow” Factor

Do you remember the first time you saw your wife? C’mon, dredge up those old memories; it’s in there somewhere. There must have been something about her that caught your attention; something that made you go “wow.” Right? You probably wouldn’t have gotten to know her if you hadn’t gone “wow” at some point.

Well, what ever happened to that “wow” factor anyway? Do you still go “wow” when you look at your wife, or is your reaction to her more negative than that? It’s important that we watch out for those reactions, because they can gradually get negative if we let them.

You see, we control our reactions to things around us. We may not be able to control what comes our way, but we can definitely control how we react. For example, there’s a group of us sitting around, complaining about our wives (actually, the women do this more than we do). In the midst of this, I pick up my water glass, and throw it on the guy sitting across from me. He might jump to his feet, yelling, “You made me wet and made me mad.”

In reality, all I did was make him wet. He decided all on his own that he would get mad at me. Granted, you might say that I gave him a reason to get mad at me, but it was still his decision. In fact, he could have made that decision, even if I didn’t give him a reason.

So, how you react to your wife is truly up to you. If you still go “wow” when you see her, it’s because you’ve decided to react to her that way. On the other hand, if you go “oh no” when you see her, it’s because you’ve decided that’s the way you want to react to her. Once again, it’s all up to you.

What kind of reaction have you decided to have to your wife? Is it positive, or negative? If it’s negative, you can’t blame anyone but yourself. The good news is, you can decide to change how you think about her. All you have to do to get that “wow factor” back, is decide you want it back; then you’ll start looking for things to say “wow” about. You won’t have to make yourself do it, it’ll happen on it’s own.

So, how’s your “wow” factor now?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Don’t Take it out on Her

You know, life is full of frustrations. Frustrations at work; frustrations with the kids; financial frustrations; frustration with the car, when it breaks down; even frustration when your team loses the ball game. It’s a given that you can’t get through the average week, without a nice assortment of frustrations coming to pay you a visit.

It’s not just frustrations either. Life is full of other negative emotions; anger, hurt, worry, even fear (although us guys aren’t all that good at admitting it when fear pays us a visit). All in all, we have plenty of opportunity to feel negative emotions and express them.

By comparison, it doesn’t seem like there’s really all that much out there that’s trying to make us happy. It’s almost like happiness tries to hide from us, teasing us every once in a while, but not really letting us know it’s there.

The question is, what do you do with all those negative emotions when they come along? How do you deal with them, so that they don’t become destructive to you and to those around you?

There’s an old saying that goes, “You only hurt the ones you love.” I’m sure you’ve run across it sometime. You’ve probably had a chance to reflect on it, sometime when you had just done something to hurt those around you. Why is it that we hurt them? Why do we end up taking all those negative feelings out on them, instead of dealing with them in a healthier manner?

A large part of the answer to that question is that we don’t deal with the negative emotions; most especially, we don’t deal with the people and things that cause them for us. If the boss does something to upset us, we typically don’t tell him. Instead, we bottle it up inside, waiting for a chance to let it out. Usually, the first “safe” opportunity to let it out is at home, where it ends up directed at… you got it, our wives. So, instead of saying what we want to our boss, we say what we don’t want to our wives, and end up hurting them.

Granted, as guys, we’re not all that into “getting in touch with our feelings.” But, I’ll have to say that we need a little bit more awareness than what we normally show. If you’re upset about something, you at least need to know that you’re upset. The next thought needs to be “I’m dangerous to be around right now.” That way, the explosion which hurts your wife won’t come unexpectedly.

Now, if you’re aware of your anger or frustration, you can start to do something positive about it. I’d recommend starting by letting your wife and kids know that you are dangerous to be around. Then, go shoot some hoops, run a few miles, or pump some iron. Something to help you burn off all that extra energy that the anger has caused in you. That will take you from having a short-burning fuse to at least a longer-burning one.

Once you’ve burned off enough energy to cool off a bit, you’re ready to start dealing with the problem in a more rational way, acting like an adult, instead of like an overgrown adolescent. We all know that adolescents can’t control themselves, but as men, we should be able to.

Now that you can talk rationally, let your wife know what happened, make some intelligent decisions about how to deal with it, and get ready to go on with your life.

That’s a whole lot better than jumping all over your wife, just because somebody or something jumped all over you. By learning to react in this way, you’ll eliminate any reason your wife has for fearing you and show her that you are concerned about her feelings and protecting her from being hurt. That may not be romantic, but then again, it means that when you buy her flowers, it won’t be to apologize, it’ll be to tell her you love her.