Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Would You do it all Again?

Have you ever had your wife ask you this question? You know, “If you had to marry me again, would you do it?” That’s one of those moments when time stands still, your whole life flashes before your eyes, and you suddenly feel the cold hand of death brush over you. “If I don’t answer this right,” you think, “I’m goners.”

Have you ever wondered why do women ask those sorts of question? Or have you just asked yourself “Why does she have to ask it?” Believe it or not, there’s a good reason why women ask questions like this and more than a threat to us, they are expressing a need that they have.

What need? The need for affirmation. When your wife asks you a question like that, or any of the other “dangerous” questions that women tend to ask, they are crying out for assurance that they are loved. You and I do that too, but not in the same way. For us as men, we feel that our wives love and value us through the sexual relationship more than anything. But, for them, it’s not the same. In fact, if your love like is lacking, it’s probably because she doesn’t feel secure enough to be able to give herself to you.

Women need to be constantly assured that they are loved. That’s why those three little words are so important. But, even if you say that all the time, it may not be enough. Saying “I love you” can become routine; in fact, it can become so routine that it starts sounding routine. You and I need to develop some variety in our expression.

All too often, the root of this insecurity is from our own words. Think about how you talk to you wife. Are you more likely to compliment her or complain about something she’s done? If you said “compliment her” you’d better check again; because unless you have taught yourself to compliment her frequently, you probably aren’t doing it as often as you think you are. We live in a negative world, and all too often, what comes out of our mouths is negative as well.

So, understand what your wife is begging you for when she asks you one of those dangerous questions. She needs to know that she is prized, valued, precious in your sight. That’s not just some whim on her part, it’s a true emotional need. There is no way she is going to be able to feel secure in your relationship, unless she receives enough affirmation from you.

Why not take it a step further? Don’t wait for her to beg you for affirmation, give it to her. Go to her tonight, get down on one knee, and ask her to marry you. Yeah, I know that you’re already married, that’s not the point. The point is to send her the message that “Yes, I’d gladly do it all again.”

Monday, January 30, 2012

Watch Her Health

God has given women this wonderful ability to nurture and take care of others. It seems that all women have a nursing function built in. Maybe that’s why up until recent times, pretty much all nurses have been women. It’s almost as if a nursing career is just brining forth this natural gift.

On the other hand, us men don’t seem to take to nursing all that well. At least, I don’t. I’m always surprised to meet a male nurse, not because of anything sexist, just that I really couldn’t see myself in that role. I’d probably be one of the worst nurses in the history of the world. Oh, I cook for my wife when she’s not feeling well and go get her medicine for her, things like that, but I just don’t have that innate ability to make someone feel good when their body isn’t feeling good.

Even though women are naturally good at this nursing stuff, I’ll have to say that I’ve found one person that many women are really not good at taking care of; that’s themselves. I’m not talking about not eating right or not taking vitamins; while some are better than other about that, it’s really not the issue. What I’m talking about is things that require them to spend money on themselves. You know, going to the dentist, buying an expensive prescription, buying quality shoes so that their feet don’t hurt; things like that.

The same woman who will buy a closet full of cheap shoes won’t spend the money to buy some good shoes that properly support her feet, even if she’s on her feet all day long. She might complain about her feet hurting every night, but she still won’t buy those shoes. Likewise with the dentist, she’ll make sure that the kids go for their checkups, but when it comes to that cavity getting filled, she’ll wait till she can’t stand the pain any more.

I guess that’s all part of that mothering instinct that women have. They’re so busy taking care of everyone else, that they don’t really pay attention to taking care of themselves. Not good. A mom who doesn’t take care of herself isn’t going to be able to take care of anyone else.

That’s where we’ve got to get in the act, guys. If your wife is like mine and like many others I’ve seen, you’re going to have to push her to take care of what she needs. If you have to, take her to the doctor or dentist yourself. Or, take her to that shoe store and tell her she’s not leaving until she buy some shoes that will treat her feet right (just take a good book to read while you’re waiting). Whatever it takes.

One of the ways that women express love is by taking care of those around them. Well, guess what? When others take care of them, they interpret it the same way. So, taking care of your wife is very romantic. Why? Because you’re showing her that you value her; isn’t that what romance is all about?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Day of Rest

Have you ever noticed how many people go out to lunch after church on Sundays? You know, once upon a time, God established the Sabbath to be a day of rest. Jesus even said that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. There’s a clear implication there that God knows we need a day to recharge the batteries, rest a bit and get ready to face the new week.

What about our wives? It seems to me that if man needs a day to recharge his batteries, then woman needs a day to recharge hers as well. After all, the old saying is that “a woman’s work is never done” so she could use a break too.

Okay, so why not give here that day of rest. This week, instead of going home after church, plopping down on the sofa and turning on the game, try something different; go out to eat after church. Don’t make your wife work, cooking and cleaning for you, while you’re sitting there like a bump on a log. Both of you can be bumps instead.

Now, if your wife is anything like mine, she’s not going to get home, after going to the restaurant, and immediately start working on something. This is where it starts getting tricky. You want to keep her from working on something all day long. That can be tricky, especially if your wife has a type A+ personality like mine does. She may not know how to sit back and relax; so you’ve got to help her.

Here’s the plan; every time you wife gets ready to start working on something, you grab her and find something else for the two of you to do together. Maybe take a walk, watch a romantic or humorous movie together, play a game, sit and talk or look at the old photo albums. If you can’t think of anything else, grab her and take her breath away with a passionate kiss. Whatever it takes, keep your wife from working all day long.

Now, there’s a bit of a game in this. Try and avoid telling her what it is that you are doing for as long as possible. If you have to tell her, go ahead and do so, but the longer you can avoid telling her, the better. Then, when you finally do tell her, she’ll go, “so that’s what you’ve been up to.”
Have fun, and even more, make sure she has fun.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Not Yet Spring Cleaning

Well, here we are, at the end of January, the month of making resolutions… and breaking them. I won’t ask how you’re doing with yours, that’s between you and the gate post. But, I will tell you that I’m doing great with mine, mostly because I didn’t make any. Okay, so now that making and breaking resolutions is over with, maybe we can move on to bigger things.

I always look at January as a month of reflection over the year that just went by and a preparation for the year that’s just beginning. One of the things I try to look at is how I’ve grown in the last year. No, I don’t mean grown in height, nor in girth either. Actually, I’m finally losing a bit of the girth part. What I’m talking about is growth in my spirit, soul and character. Am I a better person today, than I was a year ago?

Another thing that I think is really important in January is to do some housecleaning. I’m not talking about the type that requires a feather duster and broom, but the type that takes place in the heart and mind. It’s helpful to get rid of the old garbage in our hearts and minds, so that we don’t drag last year’s problems into this year.

Often, we find ourselves carrying emotional baggage around for years. A misspoken word in anger or frustration becomes an offense that is carried around like a ball and chain. It never seems to go away, but constantly irritates, like a rash that won’t heal. This is the type of baggage we need to get rid of.

It’s impossible to live in close proximity with another person without having hurts and offenses happen. That’s a fact of life and as long as we are imperfect humans, that problem will continue. However, we don’t have to hang on to those hurts and offenses. They might come on their own, but we decide when and where we get rid of them.

Part of my beginning of the year review is to seek out any of these things, which I might have buried in the deep recesses of my heart. Entering into the new year with them just guarantees that the problem will perpetuate, not that it will be resolved. When I find them, I forgive the person; not to their face, just where I am. They don’t need to know I’m forgiving them, and probably don’t remember the offense. Better to let that sleeping dog lie and just take care of my problem by forgiving them.

If I hold something in my heart against my wife, there is no way that I can act with love towards her. Oh, I might be able to pretend to act in love, even to the point of doing some loving actions, but I won’t be acting in pure, total love. Why? Because I won’t have that pure total love that I need to have for her.
But, when I forgive her, I am set free. As such, I can give my wife all my love, unhampered, pure and whole. That’s what she deserves from me; just because she’s mine.

You see, every time I do this “not yet spring housecleaning” I give our marriage a chance to start all over again. Since there’s nothing negative in my heart, I can concentrate on her positive qualities. I can love her for being who she is, not be irritated at her for not being who she isn’t. I can overlook things, love her in spite of those little quirks that we all have, and most importantly, be the husband that I need to be. What about you?

Oh, one more little thing. Once you’ve done your housecleaning, how about helping her do hers? Don’t try and teach her how to do it, just go to her and ask her forgiveness for anything you’ve done in the last year, which has either hurt or offended her. Let her make that decision to forgive, so that her heart can be clean as well.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Love Story

Did you know that romance novels account for 49% of the paperback books sold in the United States? That’s an amazing figure, especially considering how many other genres of books there are out there. Obviously, somebody must be reading those books. In fact, a great many somebodys are reading those books.

Somehow, the heroine in those romance novels always falls in love with the hero. She never has a headache, tells him that he needs to take a shower or complains about him working too many hours. She falls in love with the him, because he takes her breath away.

So, what makes romance novels so popular? It’s that old idea of a knight in shining armor rescuing the princess from being trapped in the ivory tower and riding off into the sunset together. Granted, they all don’t have the ivory tower and the white knight may be wearing jeans, but the idea is the same. Women are in love with the idea of being in love.

Now, being in love isn’t the same as love. Nor is being in love with the idea of being in love the same as being in love. Women are motivated by their emotions, so what they want that emotional high that they feel when they are in love. They want the excitement, the feelings and to be cherished.

Okay, let’s be real here, everyday life really isn’t like that. Washing the dishes and changing the baby’s diaper just doesn’t have that emotional impact. It doesn’t take a woman’s breath away to wash the laundry, although sometimes they wish it did, especially if we’ve been sweating a lot. Women read those romance novels because they’re looking for something that their life is lacking.

So, why not make your own romance novel or at least romance short story for your wife. You know, you don’t even have to be a writer to do that. If you can write as well as you did in the eighth grade, you can create a great story for your wife. That’s because it’s not so much about the writing ability, it’s about the imagination that goes into the story.

Start with chronicling a typical day. Now, let me tell you a secret here; most days don’t have enough activity in them, so mix days together to create an interesting day. Then, have the hero (you) show up at different times throughout the day to sweep her off her feet. Your arrivals and leavings must be mysterious, without rhyme or reason and always unexpected. Maybe she’s watching her favorite soap opera or game show and you show up in the middle of it, grab her and dance a tango. Finishing the dance with a huge kiss, you run off again without a word. Later, you show up again, as she’s vacuuming the bedroom, unplug the vacuum and take her in your arms to kiss her. At lunchtime, you kidnap her and take her to her favorite restaurant.

Use your imagination, have fun, come up with what you’d want to do with her, if you could do it. Don’t get overly carried away with the sex, although that should be there too. The idea is to be totally uninhibited in expressing passionate love in a number of ways, not just through sex. Assume that she’ll accept whatever you want to do and write it that way (let’s not get too kinky here).

Sound crazy? Yes, it is. But it’s a great way of expressing to your wife how you’d really like to show your love towards her. Most of us have trouble doing that. We’re afraid that we’ll be rejected, or afraid that she’ll think we’re foolish, or the kids get in the way, or we just don’t know how to express ourselves. That’s okay; for many people, being able to express themselves through something fictitious helps them overcome their communication barriers. Maybe it will work for you.

I guarantee you that she’ll laugh when she reads it. Don’t take that as something bad, take it as something good. She’s not laughing at you, she’s laughing because the ideas you are presenting are so far off the norm, that she doesn’t know how to react. Maybe your ideas are making her nervous. That’s okay, she’ll probably love it anyway.

So, what’s the next step? Maybe living out some of that fantasy.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Protect Her from the Cold Thursday, 26 January 2012

Have you ever noticed how women get cold much easier than we do? Maybe your wife is an exception, but every woman I’ve ever known is like that. My wife likes things so toasty warm that I feel like I need to carry a personal air conditioner around with me, just to keep me from sweating.

This time of year it can actually get pretty amusing. We’ll go out somewhere and my wife will be bundled up in a long coat that I call her “sleeping bag” and I’ll have on shorts and a polo shirt. Yes, I wear shorts and polos in January; but then again, it really doesn’t get very cold where I am. Most of our days hit 80 degrees and we haven’t had a freeze yet this winter.

Nevertheless, I can remember well all those years we lived in Colorado and Upstate New York. Snow piled outside up to the window ledges (and sometimes beyond); freezing cold weather for days on end. Ah yes, how I miss cold weather.

Well, my wife didn’t handle the cold any better when we lived in a colder climate, than she does now that we live in a hot one. I could be outside in shirtsleeves and she’s be bundled up like Nanook of the North. She really had a hard time dealing with that cold. It seemed she was constantly frozen from the first snowfall, up until about Memorial Day.

So, knowing my wife had a problem dealing with the cold and being a loving husband, I formed the habit of getting ready to leave early for wherever we were going. That way, I could go out, start the car, turn on the heater and clean off the windows, before she was ready. Instead of having to sit in a freezing cold car, waiting for the heater to thaw her out, she could get into a relatively warm car and only shiver a little.

You see, a man who really loves and value his wife, will go out of his way to do whatever he can to make life easier for her, not harder for her. The 15 minutes it cost me to make her comfortable in the car really wasn’t a problem, especially when compared to her having to sit there shivering for 30 minutes or longer. She knew I loved her and cared for her and that was the point of the exercise.

So, if you live in a cold climate, why not learn to do the same. If you don’t, don’t despair; you can still be considerate of her. When it’s hot here (most of the time) I try to go out and start the car and turn on the air conditioner for her. That way, she doesn’t have to sit in an oven, sweating, while she waits for the air conditioning to have an effect. Same idea, just different circumstances.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Whatever Happened to Chivalry?

I was saddened when I heard about the capsized cruise ship, the Costa Concordia; not so much by the ship going down, but by the actions of the crew when it went down. It seems that they and the captain abandoned ship, even pushing aside passengers to get into the lifeboats. Whatever happened to the old law of the sea, “Women and children first”?

I guess we can say that this is one unexpected legacy that the women’s liberation movement has given us. They’ve tried so hard to make men and women out as equals, that the idea of treating women as precious is no longer part of our society. Since they are no longer the “weaker vessel” that scripture talks about, there is no reason for men to go out of their way to protect them, value them and cherish them. After all, we’re all the same.

You know, I still believe that verse in the Bible where it tells us to treat our wives as the “weaker vessel.” Actually, I prefer that word “weaker” to be translated as “precious” because that’s really what the context is. My wife is precious to me, so I treat her as such. I don’t treat her as one of the guys, but as what she is, a precious gift from God to me.

Did you grow up as I did? Were you taught to open doors for women, seat them at the table and allow them to go first? I remember that clearly. I also remember sitting in a “sexual harassment awareness class” in the office, being told that I was no longer allowed to open doors for women, because that could be construed as sexual harassment. Where do these ridiculous ideas come from?

Well, I still open the door for my wife; I still carry in the groceries; I still allow her to go first and I even manage to seat her at the table from time to time. She’s never brought me under charges for sexual harassment, so I guess I’m safe.

When we do those things, we send a clear message to our wives that they are precious to us. When we treat them as someone special, as royalty, they feel valued. That’s funny, isn’t that what romance is all about? Making her feel as if she’s important to you? So, why don’t we do it?

Maybe it’s that we’ve become so accustomed to having our wives around, that we’ve forgotten how important they are to us. Maybe, just maybe, she isn’t as important as we tell ourselves she is. After all, if she was that important, we’d act like she was, right? We’d protect her and treat her as if she was precious, not treat her as if she was just the maid.

I challenge you to go back to those old habits. Open the door for her. Allow her to go first. Pull out her chair at the table. Show her that she’s precious to you, and you’ll end up feeling like she is.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What’s so Beautiful About Her?

Most women struggle with their self-esteem; especially their self-esteem about how they look. Although beauty has always been an issue, today’s society has put such a premium on it, that women are constantly challenged to make themselves into supermodels. Only, the supermodels you see on the magazine covers are phony, everything is makeup, hairdressers and of course, Photo Shop.

While I have nothing against women being beautiful, I firmly believe that women don’t have to be artificial to be beautiful. Nor do I always see what the world calls beautiful as being so; especially when the beautiful exterior is just covering up an ugly interior.

Every woman has the capacity to be beautiful, even without all the phoniness that goes on with the supermodels. The most beautiful thing any woman can put on her face is a smile. Couple that with a look of love coming out of her eyes and you’ve got a true winner, every time. She may not be a supermodel to others, but that doesn’t mean she can’t be to you.

Why did you marry your wife? Was it only for her looks? Or did you see something inside her that spoke to your innermost being? If all you did was marry her for her looks, you’re probably not still married; especially if you’ve had kids since then. However, if you married her for what’s inside, the outside will stay looking beautiful to you, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Really, isn’t your opinion more important than all those others?

When was the last time you told your wife how beautiful she was? When was the last time you mentioned something about her that attracts you? How long has it been since you said that you love the feel of her skin when you touch her?

Why don’t we say these things? You know, she really needs to hear that; not just once, but over and over again. When she wears a new dress, she needs to know you like it. When she comes home from having her hair done, you need to notice. If she does something different about “her look” you need to be the first to comment (positively) on it.

My wife and I are middle age. She doesn’t look exactly like she did when we got married. But, then again, neither do I. But you know what? She’s still beautiful, especially when she smiles. I’ve always thought my wife was beautiful and if you don’t agree, you can just keep your thoughts to yourself.

We have a woman in our church who has several physical problems. I really don’t know what her problems are and I’ve never asked her. They cause her to look different and talk different than anyone else in the church. But that woman always shows up well dressed and with her hair nicely done. Every once in a while I say something about her dress or her hair. Every time I do, her eyes light up. I get the feeling that not many people look past her problems to see the true beauty she has.

It’s important to make a point of telling your wife that she’s beautiful. She needs to hear that and she needs to hear it often. She needs to know that she still catches your eye, not that your eyes are wandering all over the place. She needs to know that she’s the only one for you.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Soothing Word

You know, we all have a bad day now and then. Things go wrong; we get up on the wrong side of the bed; we have a bad hair day; whatever. Regardless of the cause, bad days happen and when they do, it generally clouds our disposition.

Of course, when it happens to us, we expect the world to understand and tread lightly around us. But, do we do the same for others? More specifically, do we do the same for our wives? When they have a bad day, are we considerate of them or do we see it as an infringement on our lives?

I remember hearing years ago that the woman sets the emotional atmosphere of the home. Oh how true that is. I remember days where I came home from the office and as I walked in the door I could tell my wife’s mood, without seeing or hearing her or the kids. Why? Because her bad mood had created a negative atmosphere in the home.

We need to be sensitive to those days, recognizing them for what they are and being ready to help our wives overcome their bad mood. That’s not necessarily the same as solving her problem. Solving the problem may not help her mood. Nor will helping her mood necessarily solve the problem. In a sense, there are two separate, but interconnected problems, whatever put her in a bad mood and her bad mood.

I guarantee you that if you walk in the door and find your wife upset because the washing machine broke down, telling her to call a repairman isn’t going to help her mood one bit. You could even call him yourself or fix it yourself, without helping her mood one bit. Yes, the washing machine needs to be fixed, but that’s not what’s bothering her. The emotional problem which the washing machine caused is the big problem; that needs to be dealt with in a totally different manner.

Remember that you always need to treat her emotions as something important. Whether or not the thing that made her upset is important to you is immaterial; what is important is that she’s bothered by it.

So, how do you help her in this situation? Like I said, don’t start by giving her a solution to her problem; instead, give her a soft word. Change the focus of the situation by talking about something else. Tell her you love her. Pray for her. Give her a big hug and a kiss. Remind her of something funny that happened (that she thinks is funny). Talk about something positive. More than anything, it’s your words that are going to help her overcome those negative feelings; so pick them with care. Let your words be words to build her up and soothe her; taking her mind off her problem and helping her feel secure and loved.

No matter what you do, don’t focus on the problem; at least, not until you help her. Granted, if the house if flooding, you might need to deal with that first, I’m not talking about those major crises’; I’m talking about the small to medium sized things. Don’t discount her emotions, either. They are hers, and if you invalidate them, you’re telling her that she’s invalid as well.

The other thing you never want to do is internalize her words. There’s a pretty good possibility that she’s going to end up lashing out at you verbally. Don’t sweat it; she really doesn’t mean it; she’s just expressing her frustration. If you allow yourself to accept those words, they will hurt, and instead of helping your wife, you’ll end up fighting with her. That’s not going to help anyone.

Remember, a soothing word, that’s what she needs. As King Solomon once said, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Pro 15:1).

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Time for the Family, Too

According to Willard Harley’s book, “His Needs Her Needs,” one of the woman’s top five emotional needs is for her husband to be committed to the family. Now, I’m going to take it for granted that you’re committed to your family, otherwise I don’t think you’d be reading this blog. But, the question remains, how do you express that commitment?

My father grew up in a generation when the men were expected to the breadwinners in the home. That was it; nothing was said to them about helping in the kitchen, cleaning the house, playing with the kids or even hugging their family. All the man had to do was be the breadwinner. Granted, most did more than that, like mowing the lawn and taking out the garbage. But, the idea of a man being actively involved in the lives of his children was a bit foreign. That was the woman’s work.

Well, society has changed since then and it is widely recognized that men have to be more involved in the home and family than what was considered acceptable in my father’s day. Nowadays, men are expected to help with the housework, take the kids to the little league game and be romantic towards their wives.

There’s only one problem, while society has changed, men haven’t changed all that much. Most men still see their main role as being a breadwinner. Anything that gets in the way of that tends to get pushed to the side. Unfortunately, that means that the family gets pushed to the side at times.

God gave me a wake-up-call on this many years ago, while my children were still small. I came home from work one day to be greeted by my wife, who said, “Talk to me in big words, I’m tired of being trapped in this house all day with little children who speak in little words.” I knew I needed some wisdom for my wife, and I needed it right away. Time for a quick prayer, seeking that wisdom.

I responded to my wife, “You don’t understand. Everything I am working on, there in the factory will be destroyed before the end of my life. What you are working on will outlast us.” Wow, what wisdom; God really came through for me that time. Little did I know how much of an impact those words would have on me, even more so than my wife. It served to remind me of what was important in life. I didn’t have a family to support my work; I worked to support my family.

My family needed me and I was spending too much time working, instead of being with them. Are you making the same mistake? As men, we can be very driven in our work, driven to succeed. But ask any man on his deathbed, and he’ll tell you that the time he spent working was a waste, the only time that mattered was the time he spent with his family.

Is spending time with your family romantic? You bet it is. As I said earlier, your wife needs to know that you are committed to the family. Telling her that you are won’t convince her, only showing her that you are will.

So, take some time this Sunday to be with your family. That ball game really isn’t all that important. In a couple of months, nobody will care who won. Nor is your nap really all that important, although you might feel that you really need it. If you do, go to bed early for a change. Let your priorities be your priorities for a change.

Your wife will appreciate it, your kids will appreciate it, and in the long run, you’ll appreciate it too. You won’t have to be one of those men who lament “why didn’t I spend more time with my family?”

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Give Her the Day

Every couple struggles with having enough time to be together. Oh, they might both be in the same house or even in the same room, but that’s not the same as being together. To truly be together means that you are paying attention to each other, not that you are paying attention to everything else around you. It means that you are either talking to each other or doing something together which requires communication with each other. Watching television doesn’t count.

I’m sure you’ve heard about “quality time.” Well, what makes one time more “quality” than another? It has to be the focus of the time; in other words, it’s only quality time when your focus is each other. Anything else is just time passing.

So, surprise your wife today and give her time, quality time that is. Drop whatever it is you’re doing, grab your wife, get in the car, start driving and ask her, “Okay, now that we’re going, where do you want to go so that we can spend some quality time together?” Wait till you’re going, before you ask though, as you don’t want to give her the opportunity to come up with excuses about what she has to do, etc. etc. etc.

Just in case she can’t come up with something off the top of her head, here’s a few ideas:
  • Go to your favorite coffee shop and sit there staring soulfully into each other’s eyes while talking.
  • Go get ice cream… along with the staring soulfully, etc.
  • Take her to the mall and just look at stuff.
  • Go to some cute little boutique that the two of you had seen, but never managed to stop in at.
  • Take a walk in the park.

The thing isn’t so much where you go as it is that you go there together and do something together. It doesn’t even matter if you spend a lot of money, it isn’t about the money, it’s about the two of you. You both need that time, although she is probably much more aware of her need than you are. Just take some time to enjoy each other’s presence, without having to be someplace or get something done.

Okay, so maybe there’s a few practical details that need to be worked out, like someone to watch the kids; well, work them out. Do it without her knowing. That just helps add to the surprise. You’re trying to make her feel like she’s the most important person in your world. That isn’t going to happen if you make her call the babysitter and work out all the other details.

Enjoy the time. That’s what it’s about. If there’s something that absolutely has to get done, then that’s okay. You can arrange to get back in time for that. But don’t let it get in the way of the time you are together. Forget about it for that time, don’t sit there thinking about it. Focus on her.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Help Her Relax

I know I’ve talked about massage at one time or another in this blog, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it again. There’s something about receiving a massage that everyone likes; especially at the end of a long day.

While I’m sure there are hundreds of techniques for giving a massage, I tend to break it down into three basic ways:
  • Using your hands
  • Using a non-powered device
  • Using a vibratory massager

While I’m sure that you could add something to that list, maybe something exotic or just plain weird, those are my top three list. Of the three, using your hands is the most personal, but using a vibratory massager really helps when one’s muscles are tight. If you don’t have one, you may want to consider the investment. That way you’ve got it available anytime your wife has had a rough day.

While it is possible to massage with clothes on, it works much better in the nude; or at least with her in the nude. It also helps a lot to use some massaging oil or hand lotion. That helps your hands or the massager to glide across her skin, without pulling or pinching. Some massage oils are “warming oils” functioning somewhat like those muscle creams that you use after a hard game of ball with the guys (even if you don’t want to admit it).

Take your time to give rub her back all over, down her legs as well. You’re trying to get her to relax, not trying to turn her on. Of course, once she’s relaxed, she might get turned on as well; you never know. If anything turns her on, it will be the attention you are paying her, not anything you do to her body.

Maybe you could start a new tradition between the two of you, where you give each other massages whenever you see that the other one has had a hard day. It could make coming home all that more precious. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Say it With Flowers

Speaking of flowers (I was yesterday), there’s lots of ways to say “I love you” with flowers. If you use some variety, each time will be something fresh, which lets your wife know how much you love her. As with anything romantic, the first time is something special, but if you keep repeating yourself over and over again, it stops losing its sparkle and becomes routine. So, the trick is to find new ways to use flowers, new ways to say “I love you” and not return to the same old way for a while.

Of course, after a while, you can go right back to the same romantic act once again. With enough time in between occurrences, it becomes something special once again. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be romantic for two months, just that you need to mix it up a bit.

So, let’s do something a little different with flowers. Let’s say “I Love You” with them. I mean, really, lets write out the words with flower petals. Sometime when your wife is out, tear the pedals off of a bunch of flowers and spell out those words on the coffee table or dining room table. If you don’t want to tear off the petals, then use entire flowers, cutting off the stems.

Your timing on this one is going to be a bit critical, as you don’t want the petals or flowers to sit there long enough to start turning brown. You want it to look fresh when she shows up to find it. No matter which way you do it, those flowers aren’t going to live very long on the table like that.

Once your wife has seen it, the flower petals can be put together in a bowl, like potpourri, so she can enjoy the scent of them. Or, if you used whole flowers, you can float them in a big bowl of water. When they die, take the petals and put them in a bowl, making potpourri out of them.

Remember, it’s the message that counts, not how much you spent on the flowers. You don’t have to buy the most expensive thing in the store to make this work. On the other hand, it would be good to buy something that smells nice. So, put your sniffer to work as you’re picking out the flowers. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Snow Flowers

Every once in a while, I like to do something with flowers; they are the classic romantic gift and it is rare to find a woman who doesn’t appreciate them. Unfortunately, for most of the country, the flowers are buried under the snow right about now; so that can be a bit difficult. I must say though, that we still have green grass (not white) and leaves on the trees. Anyway, without going to the supermarket, you’re going to have a bit of trouble finding flowers this time of year.

So, when all else fails, use the materials at hand. What materials? How about snow and ice? Let’s challenge our artistic creativity a bit here, and see if we can sculpt as well as a six year old. Grab yourself a bucket of snow, and start forming some snow flowers.

No, a snowball doesn’t count as a snow flower, sorry. You’ll have to do a little better than that. You might try a two-dimensional relief sculpture, instead of going for a full three-dimensional work of art.

Adding a little bit of water to your snow, making it a bit slushy (but not too slushy) can help make the snow stick together, especially if you have dry, powdery snow. It will also help the flowers harden up and become icy once you’re done. Speaking of that, it might help to freeze your creation after you finish it, that way it will last more than five minutes.

If you want to add a touch more artistic romance to it, print a paper rose and make it a part of your creation. If you have it, printing on cover stock instead of standard printer paper will help insure that it doesn’t soak up the water too fast. It will also provide some part of your creation that your wife can keep as a remembrance. Women like things like that.

Here’s another trick you can add to your creation. Grab a bottle of your wife’s perfume, and spray your snow flowers, so that they will smell more like flowers. This works best if she has a perfume with a floral scent.

So, how creative are you? Why not give it a try and see. By the way, if you fail, and your wife catches you in it, you’ll still get a point for trying; so what do you have to lose?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Traveler’s Advisory

Everyone knows the classic idea of bringing home gifts for the family, when you have to go out of town on a business trip. Tourist traps and especially airport shops depend on this; knowing that business travelers who are going away can be expected to be a little freer with their gift buying money than they would be otherwise. So, they jack their prices up to take advantage of that feeling of moment’s desperation when we say “oh no, I’m heading home and I don’t have anything for my family.”

Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be willing to buy nice gifts for the kiddies and especially that you shouldn’t be willing to buy a nice gift for your wife. After all, she’s had to put up with the kids and the problems all by herself while you were gone. She’s definitely worth whatever you’re going to spend.
I just came home from a 10 day trip out of the country. In the airport I bought my wife a piece of jewelry (always a good gift idea). It was a rather unique necklace, in a Victorian filigree flower design, which definitely spoke of her personality. Not only was it a nice gift, but it was something that was definitely made for her. Had it not been so special, I probably wouldn’t have been willing to pay airport prices for it.

On the other hand, remember the scoring rules for this game; if you buy your wife an expensive gift, you get one point and if you buy her an inexpensive gift you get one point. Of course, if your gift is too cheap or not a romantic gift, you’re not going to get any points at all.

Let’s apply a little strategy to this gift-giving issue and see if we can maybe come up with a way of getting a little more bang for our buck.

First of all, I’d suggest avoiding all those cute little trinkets that they sell in the tourist traps which say “Miami” or “San Francisco.” Not only are they really cheesy gifts, but they’ll serve as a constant reminder that you went someplace interesting without her. Not a good plan. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t buy her something with a regional flavor, especially if it’s something that you can’t get at home.

It helps to make sure you put shopping time in your schedule. Now, that’s really easy for women to do, but rather hard for us guys. We’re missing that shopping gene, which automatically attracts us to stores. However, you’re going to spend much less money in a regular store, than you are in the airport.

It always helps to keep a list of romantic gift ideas in your personal organizer. That way, when you’ve got to find a gift in a hurry, you don’t have to worry about your brain lock. Little things that your wife has mentioned she’d like, things that you’d spotted before and know she likes, and classes of gifts which have received really good “reviews” from her in the past are all good candidates for this list.

Another way that you can save yourself time and money on this gift buying spree is to pre-buy your gifts. Now, I realize that some women might consider this cheating, but who says she ever has to know? I’m a big fan of shopping on the Internet. Not only does it save me time in the stores, it saves me money as well. So, all I have to do is pre-select the gift I want to buy for my wife (and even for the kiddies), and have it shipped to the hotel where I will be staying. That way, when I get there, it’s waiting for me.

I suppose an alternative to having the gift shipped to your hotel would be to have it shipped to the office and pack it in your bags. That would save the same amount of time and still insure that you have a gift ready when you come back. Just make sure that she isn’t packing your bag for you.

Remember, this is supposed to be about thinking about her. So, it’s important that you choose a gift that shows that you’re thinking about her; otherwise, you’re not going to get any points in the romance department. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Those Long Winter Evenings

There are a number of things in our modern culture, which can trace their roots back to the pioneering days, when the country was expanding and most people were farmers. Take our school schedule, for example. Families would have to work together to plow the land, plant the seed and bring in the harvest. So, summer vacations were about working with the family, not lazing around the swimming pool. Even though we’ve long since left being an agricultural society, we still have that same school schedule.

Another thing that went along with that society was that wintertime was a time for staying indoors, mending harnesses, sewing a quilt and reading stories around the fire. Many families read the Bible from cover to cover on those cold nights. Oh sure, they had to go out to the barn to care for the livestock; but the outdoor work was left to only true necessities in those months.

Well, as we all know, life has changed and changed a lot. Even so, other than those who go skiing and ice skating, most of us spend our winters indoors, trying to escape the cold and the snow. The only time we go outside is when we need to; either to go somewhere, to work or to shovel the snow.

There’s something to be said about those long evenings around the fire. Whether spent as family time or as couple time, there’s something about sitting in front of the fire, with a nice warm drink, just enjoying each other’s company. I’d say that’s even more important for us today, when life has us running around in circles so much that we normally only see each other in passing.

Why not take advantage of those long winter evenings? Go back to the old tradition, put a fire in the fireplace (or just pretend, if you don’t have one) and spend some time together on the sofa. Make some hot cocoa, read a book to each other, talk about some off the wall topic (not problems) and whatever you do, don’t turn on the television. Just enjoy each other.

The gift your wife wants more than anything is you. It’s not your money she’s after or someone to change the oil in her car. She wants some quality time, where you’re paying attention to each other… you know… like you did when you were dating.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Take Advantage of the Sales

You know guys, we tend to complain about our wives and their shopping, but there are times, actually many times, when they are a lot wiser in the shopping department than we are. Take sales for example. We guys don’t pay a whole lot of attention to sales that are going on. When we need something, we go out and buy it; either we can afford it, or we just don’t buy it.

Well, I have to tell you a secret; I’m a cheapskate. I like getting a deal whenever I can. I guess it comes from the years when I didn’t have much. I learned the true value of sales during that time. It saved me and is still saving me a lot of dough.

So, how is this romantic? It’s really rather easy. All you need to do is keep your eyes open for the sales where you can buy gifts for your wife. That way, when you need a gift, you’ll already have something ready.

Now look, we all like buying nice stuff for our wives; but let’s be real, sometimes that nice stuff has some not so nice price tags on it. Let’s say you want to buy your wife some nice gold earrings. Well, you know as well as I do, that real gold has skyrocketed in price. So, what do you do; buy her something cheap, or skip lunch for a month?

Now that’s where the sales come in handy. If you keep your eyes open, you can occasionally catch a really good sale on gold jewelry. I’ve seen jewelry sales with as much as a 70% discount. So, when I catch a sale like that, or even at 50% off, I can buy something really nice for my wife, much nicer than I can afford otherwise. She doesn’t care, because she doesn’t know what I paid for it. She just sees it as a nice gift.

The other side of this, besides buying really nice gifts for her is to be able to buy more gifts that you can give her at miscellaneous times. Let’s say that one of the gifts you buy for her from time to time is lace panties. Well, those can get kind of expensive too; not like the gold earrings, but considering how little fabric is in them, they can get a bit high. So, you manage to catch a sale and pick up for pair for the price of two. Great! Now you can give her twice as many gifts.

Don’t get this wrong now. I’m not advocating being a cheapskate. What I’m advocating is being able to buy more and nicer gifts for your wife than you could otherwise. After all, little trinkets like that are the kinds of gifts that are romantic; much better than buying her something practical.

Hey, we need every advantage we can get. This isn’t doing anything to cheat our wives, it’s using a little wisdom to be able to be a blessing to our wives. So, quit drooling over the computer and big-screen TV ads in the Sunday paper long enough to see if there is something else on sale. Be ready to buy gifts for your wife, so that you can keep romance going all year long.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Resolutions, Resolutions

With the New Year celebration now behind us, and New Year football games all over, it’s time to get serious about what 2012 is going to mean to us. Many have spent at least part of the day yesterday thinking about what New Year’s Resolutions they’re going to make; while others are still thinking.

Have you ever noticed how little effect a New Year resolution really has? I mean, how many people have you known who’ve made some spectacular resolutions, that didn’t even last out the week. Maybe you’ve done so as well. For some reason, resolutions don’t seem to work for us. Maybe because there’s no real commitment, just a declaration.

You see, the decision and the commitment are what make us change; not the declaration. Oh, the declaration helps, because then we let others know about it. But, if that declaration doesn’t have force of decision behind it, it’s just empty words. How many empty words have you said through the years? Even more importantly, how much have you hurt your wife through those empty words? Hmmm? You realize that when you make a resolution to do something for her benefit, then don’t do it, you hurt your wife, don’t you?

Okay, so maybe making New Year’s resolutions isn’t a good idea. But, making change for the better is always a good idea. In fact, to make things better always requires some sort of change. I like what Edwin Louis Cole said about change, “Change isn’t change, until it’s change.”

Isn’t that great? You see, talking about change isn’t change. Making a declaration to change isn’t change. Doing it once or twice isn’t change. It’s not change until you actually do it on regular basis. That’s the hard part, making it regular. That doesn’t mean you’ll never slip up and make a mistake. We all do. But when the times you do the change outnumber the times you slip up, you’re finally on the right track.

Now, we can all come up with things we should change; that’s generally pretty easy. But, what does your wife want you to change? What irritating thing do you do, which bothers her? After all, if you want to get the most bang for your buck, it makes a whole lot more sense to change something that she complains about, rather than something that you think would be a good idea.

Does your weight annoy her? Then go on a diet. Does she complain about the stuff you leave laying all over the house? Okay, then learn how to put things away? Is she bothered by the fact that you never help out in the kitchen. Well, then it sounds like it’s time to learn how to wash the dishes (don’t worry, you won’t stop being a man). Do your complaints drag her down? Then shut your mouth and learn how to b more positive.

Now remember, it doesn’t do any good to just make a resolution, you need to make a commitment. Make that firm decision and commit to it. Let her know, and even give her permission to point out to you when you blow it (yeah, I know that’s hard; but don’t blow at her when she does it).

What do you do when you blow it? Simple, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try it again. You’ll never learn to walk if you give up the first time you fall down.