Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring Gardening

We all know that women like flowers. At one time or another, I’ve given you some ideas of how to use flowers as a romantic act; not that giving her flowers is something that’s hard to figure out on your own, but they’re always a good idea. There is definitely a romantic connotation to giving flowers.

Well, why not give her a whole bunch of flowers. Now, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to get more points. Remember, it’s only one point per romantic act. However, there are some acts which manage to give more points, simply because she sees it over and over again. For example, you come home from work with a bunch of flowers one day. Okay, you get one point; that’s great. But, sometimes, you can get more mileage out of those flowers; not by anything you do, but by what she does. You see, every time she sees those flowers, there’s the chance that she’ll remember you giving them to her. Ding! You get another point. Or, if she tells one of her friends what you did, ding, you get another point.

Okay, so maybe we can capitalize on this a bit. Since it’s spring and we know that our wives like flowers, let’s get them some flowers. Only, this time, let’s make sure that those flowers will stick around for a while. In other words, let’s plant them outside for her.

It really doesn’t matter if the flowers we give our wives are inside the house or outside the house, just that we give her flowers. Granted, if they’re inside the house, she’s probably going to see them more often. But, that flower bed in the front yard is something she’s going to see every time she leaves the house and every time she comes home. Not only will she see it, but she’ll take special notice every time a flower blooms.

While there’s no way that I can guarantee you’ll get a point every time she looks at the flowers you planted for her, that opportunity does exist; especially when the new flowers bloom.

You can even make this a project that you do together and still reap points in the romance department. Have her go with you to pick out the flowers; that’s one romantic act. Then you can make the flower bed on your own. Finally, you can plant the flowers together, that’s romantic, because you’re doing something together.

Of course, you can always cut some of the flowers your garden grows and put them in a vase on the kitchen table when she’s not looking. I’d say that would count as another romantic act. Just make sure that you don’t mess up the flower garden when you do that. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

An Old-Fashioned Expression of Love

It can be a bit challenging to continually come up with new ways to express your love to your wife. Of course, you can continue to do the old ones, but women like new things; they like it when you can surprise them with something, especially when you can surprise them with some new expression of love. So, variety is an important part of romance.

Let me explain. If you buy your wife flowers, she thinks you’re romantic. If you buy them the second day, she thinks you’re really romantic. On the third day, she’s bragging to her friends about how romantic you are. But, when you come home with flowers on the fourth day, she’s going to wonder what you’re up to. By the end of the week, her reaction is more like “Oh, flowers again, ho hum, that’s nice.” It’s not that she doesn’t like flowers any more, it’s just that it’s become routine.

While I have yet to find a woman who doesn’t like her husband to tell her he loves her, I’m sure that just saying so can become routine as well. That doesn’t eliminate the importance of telling her, it just shows that we need to add some variety to keep things fresh.

For those of you who are old enough to remember, one way that we used to express love was to carve a heart with our initials in the bark of a tree. Now, I realize that’s not a high-tech way of expressing love, but you know, love doesn’t require high-tech. love has existed since before tech existed. People were able to express love to one another before technology came along, and believe it or not, we still can.

Now, I’m not a fan of vandalism, so I’m going to avoid doing this romantic act in the park. Instead, I’d like to suggest that you pick a tree in your own yard, and carve your initials in it. Make sure you’ve got a good, sharp pocket knife, preferably one with a locking blade. You really don’t want to get cut in the process of showing your love.

It’s up to you whether you do it, then show her, or take her with you while you do it. I guess that depends a bit on how good you are at carving. You may want to practice a bit, before showing off your new artistic ability to your wife.

One of the neat things about this is its permanence. I’ve seen trees with initials carved in them in rather remote places; places where not many people go. I always wonder when it was done, and by whom. Well, if you carve your heart in a tree in your back yard, whoever lives in that house after you will be wondering who you were. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Not for the Faint of Heart

Okay, I’m warning you. Before you read this one, make sure you’re ready. This isn’t for the faint of heart, but just for those who are truly ready to do whatever it takes to be romantic. Remember the verse that says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Well, this is going to be a real-world application of that verse.

Are you a sports fan? Do you enjoy watching the game, maybe shooting some hoops, a little touch football with your buds? Have you ever heard of the women’s favorite sport? Yep, you bet, they have one too. Only, it’s a bit different than our idea of sports. I guess that makes sense, since they’re women.

Well, let me introduce you to their favorite sport. Are you ready? It’s called… shopping. Yep, that’s their idea of sports. Granted, there might be one or two women in the world who don’t like to go shopping, but that’s it. Women are genetically pre-disposed to shopping. Yep, they’ve got the shopping gene, something that us guys don’t have. It must be stuck on the X chromosome that we don’t have.

If you really want to get specific about that shopping chromosome, it’s not just about shopping, although that is great in and of itself, but about clothes shopping. If there’s anything that would be considered the peak of sensual enjoyment for a woman, it’s an entire day of clothes shopping.

Now, this term “shopping” requires some definition, because women and men don’t define that word the same. For a man, going shopping means going to the store, finding what you need and getting out the door as fast as we possibly can. We’re all shooting for the world’s record in who can have the shortest shopping trip.

When my wife was teaching full-time, I ended up doing the grocery shopping on a regular basis. I had it down to a system, I’ll tell you. I had my shopping list pre-printed, with all the standard stuff we used in the house, organized by categories to make it easier to find. Before I left the house, I’d check that list, to be sure I knew exactly what we needed. Then, when I hit the front of the store, I had a specific pattern I’d take through the aisles, to maximize my shopping efficiency and not waste a single step. I could go from in the door to out the door in 30 minutes flat, with enough groceries organized by categories in my reusable shopping bags to feed my family for a week.

Once, I needed to go grocery shopping with my wife and our office assistant in tow. When we walked out the door in under thirty minutes, they were shell shocked. They couldn’t believe I’d actually done it. The office assistant kept babbling something about never being in a store for so short a time.

Okay, that’s male shopping; but, I’ve got to tell you, female shopping has absolutely nothing in common. You see, guys are hunters, while women are gatherers. To them, it’s not about the goal of buying something, that’s a side issue. Nor is it about the idea of getting done. No, what they’re after is the experience of shopping. Yep, that’s right, they enjoy just looking, touching, trying on and sorting through all that stuff.

I realize that sounds unbelievable, but it’s true. A woman can enjoy herself shopping, even without spending one single dime. It doesn’t matter if they find what they’re looking for or not, just that they got to go shopping. Even better, that they got to go shopping with a friend; sharing the experience.

Okay, so what does that have to do with you? Simple, you’re supposed to be your wife’s best friend. So, what do best friends do together? If they’re estrogen driven, they go shopping; even if they’re stressed out. In fact, I’d have to say especially if they’re stressed out. It’s called “shopping therapy,” which is even better for them than “beauty parlor therapy.”

So, your mission, if you should decide to accept it, is to go shopping with your wife. I don’t mean going to buy the groceries, I mean going clothes shopping. Yep, go help her enjoy picking through all the clothes, trying things on and just plain enjoying the experience of it.

Now, I know this may not sound like fun to you, so let me give you a few survival tips. First of all, bring something to do, like a good book or your iPad. You’re going to get bored, so you’d better be prepared. Secondly, be sure to bring a tall cold drink with you. You’re going to need it, as you cross that desert of women’s clothes. Third, be sure to wear comfortable shoes; you’ve never walked so far in your life.

The last preparatory activity is the most important. Go through her closet. Check sizes, colors and styles, so you have an idea what she might be interested in. You’ll want to at least look like you know something about clothes.

You need to do a little more than sit in some corner with your book and drink though. You do need to spend at least some of the time looking at stuff with her. Actually, if you really want to gain some brownie points, take a quick turn around the store and find something for her to try on, preferably something that you think she’d look good in. That’ll really make you part of the team.

Here’s the other important part, make sure that you sit where you can see her come out of the dressing room, when she’s trying all that stuff on. That way, you can make comments on it. Just try and keep your comments as upbeat as possible; but don’t lie. Don’t tell her that something looks great on her, if it doesn’t. Just suggest that she try something else.

Remember, it’s not about getting in and out as fast as possible. Don’t plan on getting out quick, plan on spending lots of time there with her. Let her drag it out and enjoy it. That’s why you brought a good book with you.

So, are you up to the challenge? Can you hack it? She’ll love it if you do.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Put a Cap on the Grumbling

You know, if we’d watch our own reactions to things as closely as we watch our wife's reactions, we’d be amazed by what we saw. Really, many of our reactions are much different than what we think they are, specifically much more negative than we think they are. We notice it when our wives react negatively, but we ignore it or even justify it when we do.

Take, for example, our reaction when they ask us to do something. Now, we probably think nothing of it, but most of the time, when our wives ask us to do something, we grumble about it. That grumbling only gets louder when what they ask us to do something which will interrupt what we are already doing.

Actually, most of what they ask us to do really isn’t all that hard. Okay, okay, painting the house is a bit of a project, I’ll agree; but taking the garbage out isn’t. Yet, we grumble about taking out the garbage, as if we had to slay three dragons, run through a minefield and pay the orthodontist, just to get from the house and the curb. C’mon now, it’s really not all that bad.

Let’s take a look from her point of view for a change. How do you think your wife feels when she asks you to do something and you grumble about it? Do you think that makes her feel loved? How about important? Maybe it makes her feel like you’re committed to the marriage? Or, possibly she sees it as your way of saying “Yes dear?” No, you know it doesn’t come across as any of that.

With enough of that grumbling you can actually get your wife to stop asking you to do anything. How’s that for a deal? All you have to do is keep up the grumbling and she’ll leave you alone. Of course, she’ll probably stop doing some things that you want her to do as well; but hey, that’s not much of a price to pay, is it? Or, is it really too much of a price to pay?

Remember those pesky little vows we took at the wedding. Wasn’t there something in there about “better or worse?” Well, guess what, we may have just found a little piece of the worse. Actually, it’s not all that bad. If the worst thing you have to deal with in your life is taking out the garbage or teaching her how to copy a computer file for the umpteenth time is the worst thing that happens in your life, you’ve got it made.

The point is, when you married her, you committed to giving her all that you are, just as she committed to give you all that she is. “Giving all” also means being available to her when she needs you, no matter what it is. Without grumbling. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Is There Something She Runs Out Of?

I think most of us guys tend to prefer leaving the shopping to our wives. I mean, they seem to have that shopping gene and we don’t; so, why bother suffering through going to the store, when we can leave that in their quite capable hands. Not only do we avoid the suffering, but they get to enjoy themselves. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.

Of course, there are some things that we’ve got to shop for on our own. I don’t really trust my wife to go to the hardware store, without some really explicit instructions. Maybe your wife understands that stuff, but my wife sure doesn’t. So, I don’t usually send her to the hardware store, or the office supply store for that matter. There are some things which I have to shop for myself, much as I don’t want to.

I’ve actually found another category where it makes sense for me to do the shopping; that is to shop for things she has a tendency to run out of. Little things, like safety pins and band-aids. My wife notices she’s out of them when she needs one. I notice when I see the box almost empty.

Let’ me give you an example. When I feed the dog in the morning, I automatically look to see how much dog food there is, and think “Okay, there’s enough to last another 10 days or so.” My wife doesn’t do that; she looks at it and sees, “Okay, there’s dog food.” That happens because generally speaking (which means that I’m going to be generally wrong), man are more long-term planners than women are. So, I’m doing that all day long, with everything I use, without really thinking about it.

There’s three ways I can deal with those things when I see them. The first one, which we guys are really good at, is to ignore it. “After all,” I can say to myself, “she’s the one who does the shopping.” That’s all it takes to assuage any guilt I might feel. While that’s the easy out, it’s not the responsible answer. My second option is to put it on the shopping list. At least that way I’m doing something to contribute to the benefit of the family. Or, the third option is that I can buy it myself.

I know, I know, that almost sounds like heresy. Why in the world would I buy it myself, when I know that my wife is going to the store anyway? Well, here’s where shopping can get romantic. Granted, buying flowers and candy for your wife is romantic, but here’s another way. When I see that my wife is about out of something, I make a note to buy it. That way, when she runs out of it, I have a reserve supply for her.

However, I don’t buy it and just put it in the cabinet; I buy it and keep it. That way, when she needs it, I can produce it for her. Okay, so I’m trying to get some kudos here, so what? The point isn’t just buying it; the point is that she knows that I’m taking care of her. Granted, it’s something small. But, when she needs it, it’s not that small to her.

Now, I don’t do this with everything, nor can I come anywhere near claiming to do it all the time. What I do is make a note of it on my tablet, so that when I’m in the store, I can check to see if there’s anything extra I should pick up. There are many times where she buys it before I go to the store. There are other times where I totally forget about it. But, when I can remember to do it, I do. It’s just another little way of showing my wife that I care about her.

Monday, March 26, 2012

How is She Feeling?

Just in case you hadn’t noticed, sickness happens. Actually, not only sickness, but aches, pains, bruises and all around not feeling good in general. Those things just seem to show up when we least expect them, giving us a rap on the head and saying “Not this time, Charlie.”

It seems to me that guys have two different reactions when we get sick, depending on the sickness and probably depending on the guy as well. Our first reaction, which we are especially good at applying to pain, is to gut it out. “I’m a tough guy. I can handle it. I’m gonna keep on keepin’ on.” Our second reaction, which we tend to do for anything that makes us feel bad like the flu, is to go find a hole and crawl in it to hide. We won’t admit it, but what we really want then is for somebody to baby us.

Generally speaking, when we’re sick, the rest of the family manages to get along without us; at least for a few days they do. On the other hand, when our wives don’t feel good, everything goes topsey turvey. The whole family falls apart, cause mom isn’t there to take care of things.

Now, here’s where we tend blow it; we expect our wives to gut it out and keep on keepin’ on. We ignore how bad they might be feeling and still expect them to do everything that they usually do. Oops, foul, wrong call. We act helpless, as if we can’t put breakfast cereal in a bowl and frozen food in the microwave.  C’mon, it’s not really all that hard. We really can feed the kids, wash the dishes, take them to soccer practice and even wash the clothes.

The other way we mess up is not babying them. Now, if we expect our wives to baby us when we’re sick, isn’t it fair that we baby them as well when they need it? Okay, maybe you weren’t born with the “nurse gene” I know I wasn’t. Nursing someone who’s sick is not my forte; but loving my wife is. So, sometimes that means that I need to play nurse. It may not be natural for me, but I figure if there are male nurses out there, I can learn how to be a nurse for my wife.

Love takes many forms, and one of the biggies is to take care of one another. Well, if you expect her to take care of you, then you should be just as willing to take care of her. That means being sensitive to how she’s feeling and being willing to do what you need to, so that you can take care of her.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Weekend Getaway

One of the biggest struggles couples have today is finding time to just be together. Even harder is to find time when you can be alone together. It seems like there’s always something which is trying to take your time, pulling you away from each other and keeping you too busy to just be together.

Whatever happened to all that time you seemed to have to spend together before you got married? Remember that? You could talk for hours, walk in the park, or go out to a movie, whatever you wanted to do. It seemed that there was always time to be together. Yet, once we get married, or maybe once that first baby comes along, life puts too many demands on our time.

Well, if you still want to spend time with your bride, as I’m sure you do, you just have to be a bit more imaginative and make an effort to do so. Actually, I think that’s a lot of it. You see, when we were dating, we made the time to spend together; but after we get married, we let other things take that time. Granted, some of those things are necessary, but at other times, we let it happen, telling ourselves that we can spend time with her later… only later never comes.

As long as you’re at home, there’s always going to be something to take that time. The phone will ring, somebody will drop by, one of the kids will need to be taken somewhere or something will break, demanding immediate attention. Whatever it is, it will rob you of the time that you were going to spend together.

There is a cure for this, that’s to get away from home. When you’re away, those things can’t happen as easily. That’s part of the importance of a date night; just getting away by yourselves. Well, if a date night works for that, then what about a date weekend? That would really give you some time alone together.

I can already hear your objections. You don’t have time, you don’t have the money, you don’t know how you’re going to be able to do it. Hold on a second. First of all, decide if you love your wife enough to spend a weekend alone with her. Then face each of those objections and find a solution for it. C’mon now, you’re a guy, you’re good at finding solutions to problems. So, find them.

Getting away for a weekend doesn’t have to be expensive. Granted, you’ve got to pay for a hotel and some meals, but you’re only talking about one night in a hotel. If you shop for price, you can get a decent price on that hotel. Likewise for the meals.

The kids aren’t the problem you think they are. You’ve got to have somebody they can spend a weekend with; their friends, grandparents, an aunt who hasn’t seen much of them. If you can’t come up with anything else, make a deal with some friends, where they take your kids for the weekend, and you do the same for them when they go for their weekend getaway.

I remember reading years ago about a boy who was asked “What’s the best day of the year?” He answered, “My parent’s anniversary.” Shocked, the questioner asked him “Why?” “Because,” he said, “my parents go away for the weekend.” Thinking that he understood, the questioner said, “Oh, you like having that weekend to yourself.” To which the child answered, “No, it’s the best day of the year, because when they do that, I know they love each other.”

Wow! You see, our children need to know that we love each other. All around them, they have friends and classmates whose parents are divorced. They feel insecure, knowing that the same thing could happen to them. Every time they hear you raise your voices to each other, that fear grips them; not fear that you’ll beat them, but fear that you’ll leave them.

We were recently counseling a couple who told us that their youngest son had brought them a piece of paper, asking them to sign it. Like any parent who has children in school, they thought it was something for school. It wasn’t. It was an agreement that the child had drawn up, to quit fussing at each other.

You’re not going to quit fussing at each other by dealing with life as it comes along. Life is guaranteed to cause you problems. You’ve got to do something special, so that you can break the cycle and just love one another. Taking a weekend to get away isn’t an expense; it’s an investment in your marriage, your happiness and your family’s security. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Let Her Know That You Appreciate Her

Don’t you love it when someone tells you “Thanks” for something you’ve done? Even if it’s mundane, we still appreciate being appreciated. That simple one-word act tells us that what we are doing is noticed, that we are making a difference and that the person we did it for appreciates that we’ve done it.

On the other hand, when people forget to give us thanks for what we do, we feel used, unimportant, un appreciated and mistreated. I remember once when my wife sent me to pick up some furniture that she bought on Craig’s list. I had to drive over 700 miles that day, to go pick the furniture up in three different places. Finally, I arrived home at 2:00 am and couldn’t even collapse in bed; I still had to unload it.

The next morning (actually it was the same morning I got home) I woke my wife up at 6:00 so that she could get ready for work. She went “ooh” and “ah” over the furniture, obviously thrilled with the furniture and the great deal we had gotten on it. She only forgot one thing. In her rush to get out of the house, she forgot to tell me thanks. Oops!

You know, that bothered me for two whole weeks, till I finally told my wife what had happened. She hadn’t intended to malign me; she had just been in a hurry. Yet, her hurry had caused her to overlook one very important detail, that of saying “Thank you.”

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying my wife was wrong in her actions. I’m only using that to illustrate a point; the importance of showing appreciation. The real question is, how many times do our wives do things for us, and we are the ones to forget to say “Thanks?” Even if it’s only once, that’s still once too many.

Our wives do things for us and for our kids all day long; often without receiving any words of thanks. We tend to take the things they do for granted, as if they are expected. Whether or not they are expected shouldn’t change our appreciation; nor should they change our expression of that appreciation.

If the only time when we say “Thank you” is when she does something outstanding, then we’re establishing an unwritten rule that we expect her to do outstanding things all the time. We are sending the message that we aren’t satisfied with the normal things; so we don’t appreciate them. In essence, we’re telling our wives, “You’re not good enough.”

You know, our wives receive that message more than enough from the world. Every magazine ad, television spot, TV program and movie tells her that she’s not good enough. If there is anyone who should be telling her the opposite, it’s you and me. We need to be building our wives up, not being part of the multitude that’s trying to tear her down. All it takes is a few simple words of appreciation.

If you’ve been lacking in showing appreciation, go to your wife and apologize to her. Tell her that you do see the things that she does every day and you appreciate them. Tell her you don’t know what you’d do without her. Let her know that she’s important.

Then, create a new habit, where you are regularly thanking her for the normal things which she does. Let her know regularly that she is appreciated. Teach your kids to do the same, so that they learn to thank her for taking them to ball practice and cooking dinner and washing their clothes. Those may not be exciting things, but they are important. Her doing them is important as well. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Texting Your Love

You know, it’s truly amazing; women never get tired of being told that they are loved. I don’t care how many times you do it, they still want to hear it some more. I know that may seem a bit strange to you and me, but we’re not talking about how we think, but how they think.

If a woman says “I love you” to a man over and over again, he’s going to think, “Then show me.” But, women aren’t wired that way. They are much more motivated by the words than we are. To them, the words alone are enough to be a demonstration of love. Of course, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t show our love in other ways, but we definitely need to do so with words.

When I was working away from home, I would make a point of calling my wife once a day from the office. All I was doing was calling to tell my wife that I loved her, nothing else. Yet, those few moments when I called her served to brighten her day and make her feel loved.

Technology has actually made it easier for us to tell our wives that we love them. It’s almost as if text messaging was created with that in mind. Okay, I know it’s useful for lots of other things too, but there’s no question that it’s definitely a great way to remind our wives of our love for them. Not only that, but it’s an easy way to do so, which doesn’t take much time and can be done several times a day.

You might ask, “Won’t she get tired of receiving the same message over and over again?” The simple answer is no; you’ll get tired of sending it much faster than she’ll get tired of receiving it. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a little variety. Just because she won’t get tired of it doesn’t mean she wouldn’t appreciate some other expressions of love as well. In fact, mixing up your message a bit will help grab her attention and keep your message “fresh.” So, here’s some other things you might want to consider saying:
  • I miss you
  • Can’t wait to see you
  • Let’s find some place to hide from the kids this evening, so we can be alone
  • I need you
  • Can’t wait to put my arms around you
  • You’re so special
  • How did I end up lucky enough to get you for a wife?
  • I’m counting the minutes till I see you again. Only (put in number) more to go.
  • I want you
  • Let’s go for a walk tonight
  • Let’s go out to eat tonight
  • It’s great to have you to come home to
  • I feel a need to connect with you
  • I was just looking at (insert name) and was thinking how glad I am that you’re my wife
  • You’re the best wife in the world
  • You’re everything I ever dreamed of
  • I'm having trouble working, because I'm thinking of you

Hopefully, that’s enough to give you some ideas of your own. Let your imagination go wild; just avoid being crude. Women get turned off when we get crude. If you want to make any sexual references, do it obliquely, not directly; that’ll be much more palatable to her. In fact, the best way to tell her you want to make love is to say “I want to connect with you.” While that may not sound sexual to you, it will sound great to her.
Whatever you do, don’t forget the number one rule, Do it often. That’s what she needs. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Is Her Car Okay?

There’s a joke about a woman who went into the auto parts store and asked them for the “710 Part” because she’d lost the one from her car. Of course, the salesman had no idea what she was talking about, so he asked her to describe it. She told him that it was a little round thing that sits on top of the engine, which you take off to put oil in. She never realized that she was reading it upside down.

Well, I’d have to say that she was way ahead of most women, at least as far as her knowledge of cars and engines are concerned. I don’t know about your wife, but I can show my wife 20 times how to check the oil and put it in, and she still doesn’t get it. It’s not that she’s not intelligent; it’s just that she’s not intelligent in that way. Cars, and for that matter, anything mechanical, just aren’t her thing.

So, I’ve always made allowances for that. Ever since we got married, 25 years ago, I’ve always made sure that she had the better car to drive. Although we’ve never had new cars, she always drove the newer of the old cars which we had. Even now, her car is newer than mine, with lots less miles on it.

Of course, being newer doesn’t exempt her car from having problems. Anything mechanical is going to have breakdowns every now and then. That’s why I’ve always made her car the family car. As such, I end up driving it whenever we go someplace as a family. Why? Not to keep everyone out of my car, but to make sure that her car is doing well. Since she’s not mechanical, I can’t expect her to notice if the car has a problem, that’s my job.

I remember when one of my daughters started driving. As far as cars were concerned, she was the epitome of a woman driver. Not in the sense of being a bad driver, but in the sense of not paying attention to the vehicle. I must have had to rescue her for being out of gas 30 or 40 times in that first year. She always said the same thing, “The car broke down, I know it has gas in it, because I bought some the other day.” The thing was, she bought $5.00 worth of gas, and drove it for two days.

Then there was the string of power steering pumps she went through. I must have changed the power steering pump on one car seven times. It had a slow leak which I couldn’t find, so I kept telling her to add fluid. Of course, she didn’t. She didn’t even notice that the car had problems until the battery went dead because the belt fell off.

The topper to all this was that she destroyed two cars for not checking the oil. Yep, seized two engines in the same year. The only good thing I can say about that was that they were both old junkers, so it really wasn’t much of a loss.

What’s the point of all this? Simple, don’t expect your wife to check the car herself, she’s not equipped for that. She’s equipped to put the key in it and push the gas pedal, that’s about it. Expecting more from her really isn’t fair. You need to do that for her.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to get a bit nervous when my wife is late coming home from somewhere. Not that I don’t trust my wife, just that I don’t trust the world around her. There are plenty of things which can go wrong, none of which are her fault. One thing I don’t want to go wrong is her car breaking down and causing her problems. Taking care of her car is helping to take care of her too.

Monday, March 19, 2012

What Good Does it do to Complain?

I’ve come to the conclusion that the world is full of complainers. There are the garden variety complainers who complain now and then about something or other, there are the specialists who regularly complain about their pet peeve and then there are the pros, who can complain about anything, any time and do so voraciously.

Regardless of which type of complainer you are, you probably fit into one of those three categories. I mean, we all have things we complain about, don’t we? Okay, so let me ask you a question. How much good has all your complaining ever done? Huh? Have you ever seen anything improve because you complained about it?

Now, I’m not talking about sending your undercooked steak back to the kitchen in some restaurant; that can actually do some good. No, I’m talking about complaining about things in life. Have you ever complained about something in life and actually seen some positive change come out of it?

I seriously doubt that you have. Now, let me ask you another question. Have you ever seen anything bad come out of your complaining? If you think about it, you’d pretty much have to answer yes to that question. You see, complaints are negative. When we start acting negative, it acts as an infection, spreading and infecting those around us.

Let’s say that you’re eating dinner at home and start complaining about the way your wife cooked the meal; I guarantee you that your negativity will spread to your wife, and quickly too. She’ll definitely take your complaints personally. But, what if you were to complain about something at work instead; will that affect her? Yes! Even though the complaint isn’t about her, it will be about something that affects someone close to her; you. That will affect her, because women are empathetic.

So, instead of bringing about a positive result, you’ve just succeeded in bringing about a negative result. Now, if you want to try and experiment, try kissing your wife after complaining about something. While she might kiss you back, it’ll just be a peck, not any sort of passionate kiss. She’ll hug you, because that’s something that empathetic people do to comfort others, but there will be nothing of intimacy in that hug, it’ll be more like she’s hugging one of the kids.

Negativity spreads and infects those around us. Complaining is one of the mechanisms which are used to convey that negativity; so, we need to learn to zip our lips and shut off our own complaining. That way, we don’t infect our wives with it.

That doesn’t mean that we should totally internalize our complaints. As guys, we can be pretty good at that. But, that’s not healthy. Keeping those complaints inside can cause them to eat away at us like an acid. So, we need to find a non-destructive way of getting rid of them.

That can be done with co-workers, by shooting some hoops or by sticking them on a dart board and throwing darts at them. I dispel mine by writing satires about them (okay, that might not work for you). But, you know the best way to get rid of complaints; it’s to do something about them. Yep, working on the solution to the problem which you are complaining about is the best way to get rid of the complaint. Not only that, buy you might actually succeed in doing some good.

Whatever you do, don’t dump your complaint on your wife; that’s definitely unromantic. If you need to share it with her (and you should), disarm the complaint first. In other words, get the bitterness out of it, before you share it. That way, you’re sharing your life and concerns with her (which she wants and needs) without sharing the negativity. You’re letting her be part of your life, but not forcing her to carry your burden. You’re protecting her from yourself, or at least the negative part of yourself, while still maintaining the communication necessary to maintain intimacy in your hearts.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Home Décor

You know, it may not be all that important to you, but how your home looks is really important to your wife. While you can be happy anywhere, with any type of furniture, with or without pictures on the walls, to her those things are important. The home is the place of the family; the most important people in your wife’s world. So that makes her home important to her as well.

Women like to decorate their homes. I can just imagine a couple of birds, building their nests. The guy would be making sure that the sticks they use are strong enough to support the weight of his family and are well attached to the branch, for security. On the other hand, she’d ignore all that and be concerned about how soft it was, putting a leaf here or a flower there. In fact, if you counted on her to build it all, it’d probably be beautiful, but missing the floor. He’d be sure to have the floor, but it would look like a garbage can.

Well we’re really not all that different. Women complain that they could leave a basket of clean laundry in the middle of the living room for a whole week, and as long as it wasn’t in the way of the television, their husbands would ignore it (except to step over it). We just don’t pay that much attention.

I’m not saying that you should become an interior decorator, but it sure wouldn’t hurt for you to open your eyes and see what your house looks like on the inside. You might even see something that you like (that is, something besides your wife).

It would also do wonders for your wife’s appreciation of you if you took a bit of an interest in how the home is decorated. No; I’m not talking about hanging a deer head over the fireplace. I’m talking about figuring out what she wants it to look like, and helping make it that way. Is she going for a modern look? Or, maybe she’s into antiques? How about retro, is that her look? You don’t know? Not surprising. You know, you could always ask.

Yes, believe it, or not, you can ask your wife what decorating style she’s going for. And while that may make you look like you don’t know anything about interior decorating; it’ll also make it look like you are interested in her and what she wants. That’s the important part.

Okay, now that you know what style she’s after, what can you do to help? Does some wall or some room need to be painted? Does she need a knick-knack shelf for the wall? Could you maybe find something decorative on e-Bay that would fit the style she’s going for?

Remember, when you take an interest in what she’s interested in, she sees it as you taking an interest in her. So, your taking an interest in how the house looks directly translates in her mind to an interest in the family, along with you valuing her opinions and desires. That’s important, because that’s dealing directly with who she is.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Getting Rid of the Week’s Stress

Well, Friday’s finally rolled around again. Time to shift gears, forget about work, kick off your shoes, stretch out and relax a bit. Ahhh! Everyone looks forward to Friday, the opportunity to stop being a functionary and start being a person once again.

You know, it’s a whole lot easier for most guys to shift gears and enter relax mode than it is for our wives. Women tend to get emotionally involved in everything they do, making it harder to just let go and forget about it. Even when they stop thinking about work, they’re concerned about the people who they work with. If a co-worker has problems in their marriage or with their kids, or a grandmother who’s in the hospital, they care about all that as well.

Even when she finally let’s go of work, she’s still got a bunch of things which she’s concerned about. The house has to be cleaned, the clothes have to get washed, and somehow she’s got to find an hour or two to run to the grocery store to stock up the kitchen for the next week. That old saying about a woman’s work never being done is true.

With so much on her mind, it’s no wonder that women find it hard to just take some time to relax. For us guys, it’s no problem. Let us collapse on the sofa with a drink in one hand and the remote in the other, and we just unplug. No problems, no worries, just chill.

Okay, so if our wives have so much trouble relaxing, wouldn’t it make sense that we help them out a bit? I mean, if we’re the experts, then we really ought to share our expertise with our wives and let them get some advantage from it as well. There are some things that she’s better at and some things which you’re better at. She shares her expertise with you and you should share yours with her.

Some time back, I recommended that you take Friday night as your date night. That wasn’t just because Friday is the traditional date night, but so that going on a date could set the tone of your weekend. When you start the weekend off together, you’re much more likely to spend the whole weekend together, even if you have chores to do. There’s nothing that says you can’t do those chores together.

Even if you don’t go out on a date on Friday, you should still set that time aside for the two of you. Friday evening needs to become your official “change gears” time. To do that requires relaxing more than anything else. Whether that relaxing involves going out on a date, going to the gym together, watching a movie together or soaking in a hot tub.

Everyone has something that helps them relax. What you need to do is find something that helps the two of you relax together. If a workout at the gym helps you relax, but your wife hates it, that’s not going to do much good. If shopping helps her relax, but you’re gritting your teeth the whole time, that’s not going to do much better. It needs to be something that’s relaxing for both of you. Even more so, it needs to be something relaxing that you can do together. That’s why making it a date night works so well.

The other important thing to do to help her relax on Friday night is a massage. Massages are a great way to relieve stress and help anyone forget the stress of work and life in general. So, maybe you should make a Friday night massage part of your weekly date routine. Get home, go in the bedroom, turn down the lights, and give her a massage. Where it goes from there is up to you (and her too). 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Quit Telling Her So

It seems that one of the most satisfying things in life is when we get to tell someone “I told you so.” It’s as if those four words hold the power to vindicate us and show the world (or at least the person we’re talking to) that our opinion was valid and we were right all the time.

When that opportunity to tell someone that we were right and they were wrong comes along, there are few who can resist the temptation to let it be known, declaring it out loud. It’s almost like we’re conditioned to say that, like a chicken who let’s everyone know that she’s just laid an egg. What pride! What satisfaction! What are we thinking?

C’mon now, is it really all that important to be able to say “I was right and you were wrong”? Where’s grace in that? For that matter, where’s love in it? Is it that our self-esteem is so small that we need to put others down, in order to build ourselves up? Even so, is that any way to treat a wife? Even more, is it any way to treat your wife?

Let me put it another way; how do you feel when she says that to you? Do you feel like she’s building you up? Do you feel loved? Or, do you feel like she’s putting you down? Well, guess what? She doesn’t feel loved and built up when you say it, than you feel when she says it.

So, if that’s the case, wouldn’t saying “I told you so” be anti-romantic? Hmm, think about that a moment. If we’re trying to be romantic towards our wives, so that they feel more loved and even more loving, then doesn’t it make sense to get rid of the anti-romantic things we do as well?

There’s another form of this same phrase, which we probably use even more than the one I’ve mentioned above. That’s to say “I’ve told you before” or “I’ve told you a thousand times” or some such. We tend to get irritated at our wives, when they don’t do things we’ve told them or don’t do them in the way we’ve told them. Since we feel vindicated for our irritation, we think nothing of telling her that she hasn’t been listening.

Okay, so what? Why do we have to make a big deal out of it when our wives don’t catch what we say, even if it does mean that they do things the wrong way? I mean really, what is gained by that anger? Wouldn’t it be better to just treat it as if it were the first time, and instruct her as if it were the first time?

Let’s take something simple, like not hanging the car keys on their hook. Every time your wife has to leave, she ends up searching for them again. That probably means that you end up helping her search for them, especially when she’s running late or in a hurry. So, what good does it do to get irritated, annoyed, made or even exasperated? Does that make you feel any more love and compassion towards here? Does it make you express love better? Does it even make you feel more loved? What? You’re saying no to all those questions? Then why bother wasting the energy getting mad?

It’s much easier to just face the fact of having to search for your wife’s keys as part of your life. Quit wasting time and energy on getting annoyed; just help her. Maybe you could buy her one those key rings that answers when you whistle or one that’s really big, so that it’s easier to see.

The point here is watching how you react to those things. All too often, we allow them to become points of irritation and strife, turning molehills into mountains, instead of treating them like what they are, just the little problems of life.

Learn to keep the little things little; it’ll make loving your wife all that much easier.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Panty of the Month Club

Gosh, it’s been a whole month now since Valentine’s Day. Let me ask you something. How many romantic gifts have you given to your wife since Valentine’s Day? Or, are you like most guys and think that since you did such a good job on Valentine’s Day, you get to take a ride for a bit?

Careful about that. An attitude like that can quickly drag you back into the ranks of the unromantic. Yes, Valentine’s Day is extremely romantic and I’m sure you took care of your wife on that day, but that doesn’t mean you should go on vacation from being romantic. Instead, you should use that day to spring you up to a higher level, and then continue to build upon your wife’s new, more romantic image of you.

Building upon that new image is easy; it just means that you keep being romantic towards her. You don’t have to do bigger things or more complicated things, you just have to keep doing things. Whatever you do, don’t let that slide.

There are five basic categories of romantic acts:
  • Words (saying “I love you” calling her by a pet name)
  • Gifts (flowers, jewelry, trinkets)
  • Special Times (date night, meeting at your coffee shop)
  • Special Days (anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Christmas)
  • Acts of Service (helping with the dishes, giving her a massage)

It’s important to keep the mix going and get all of these in as part of your romantic strategy. Leaving one out can be devastating. In fact, it can be sufficiently devastating that it annuls all the other romantic acts you’ve done.

So, here’s a gift idea that will keep on giving. There are several companies which offer a “Panty of the Month Club” service. A quick search on the Internet will reveal them to you. All you have to do is to sign up for the service, and every month, they’ll send a nicely packaged sexy panty to your wife. You get points for sending her a gift a month, even though you aren’t having to go shopping once a month. How’s that for a deal?

Now, you want to be careful about this. Don’t overdo it. Most of these services offer a variety of options, specifically on the types of panties they send. If your wife doesn’t wear thongs, don’t have them send thongs. That won’t come across as a romantic gift, but rather that you’re trying to be pushy. Be sure to get the size right too, or they won’t do her any good. You can check her size by checking what she’s currently got in her drawer.

While some may think of this as a strictly self-serving gift, I’d have to disagree. Granted, I’m sure you’re going to like seeing her in those sexy panties. But, she’s going to like seeing herself in them too. All women want to be pretty, and sexy panties make them feel prettier. Even if she would never spend that much to buy them herself, she’ll enjoy how she thinks of herself in them.

Can’t afford those services? I can understand, they can be a bit steep. Okay, so don’t despair, just do it yourself. Go buy the panties yourself and mail them to her once a month. You won’t get the convenience of not having to think about it, but you will save money. Just be sure to wrap it up very pretty, and make it look like it came direct from the store. With a few minutes at the computer and a little bit of creativity, she won’t be able to tell the difference. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sticking Love All Around

I’m always looking for new ways to tell my wife that I love her. It seems that she never gets tired of that. It’s almost like she’s got an insatiable appetite for hearing those three words. Regardless of what happens in our lives, she needs to be reaffirmed of my love for her.

Actually, that is a real need for women. It probably has something to do with the negative side of their nature. If they don’t constantly hear that they are loved, then they start to think that they are unloved. Of course, we’re just as bad, only we aren’t as interested in the words and in some sort of action that shows that we are loved.

I have to give credit to my daughter for this one. She was heading off to college after the Christmas holidays. The night before leaving, she was walking all around the house with a pad of sticky notes and a marker, putting “I Love You” notes all over the place. Of course, they were signed by her and not by me, but I thought “what a wonderful, romantic idea.” Granted, she wasn’t trying to be romantic, just be loving; but aren’t the two more or less the same?

So, grab yourself a pad of sticky notes; better yet, go buy a pad of heart shaped sticky notes and put them to work. Make sure you pick a wide variety of places, some obvious and some that she won’t find for a while. That way, when she finds them, it’ll be a nice surprise for her. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Who Needs to Change?

My wife and I have counseled a number of couples throughout the years; enough that I can see some definite patterns in how couples act in marriage counseling. Any counselor who has been at it for a while can just about write the script for a couple coming in, especially for their first meeting. More than anything, it’s a contest to see who can complain the most about the other. The one who talks the most, wins.

Only, I don’t let them have that contest. Oh, I let them do it for a few minutes, to hear their heart, but that’s it; I cut them off. Basically, all of them are saying the same thing, “I’m right, and my spouse needs to change.” I have yet to hear anyone say “I’ve created a problem in my marriage and need help to change.”

The reality is, both parties have committed errors and both need to change. None of use is perfect, so none of us has any true grounds to try and put the entire fault on the other. We’re all guilty.

Now, here’s the secret to bringing about change in your marriage. Change what you can change and don’t worry about what you can’t. Sounds simple, right? Okay, what can you change? If you think about it a bit, you can’t change her. There are only two things you can change, your actions and your attitude. So, that’s where you need to start.

What’s that? You think that your wife’s attitudes and actions are the ones which need changing? Well, maybe they do, but you can’t change them, so quit trying. Stick with what you can do something about, and let her deal with what she can do something about. In fact, if you want her to change, then find ways in which you can change, which will help her to change the way you want her to.

Let me give you an example. Many men complain that their wives aren’t interested in sex. Okay, that’s a given. Women don’t have the same sex drive that men do. However, we as men can have a lot to do with affecting their sexual interest. How? By the way we act towards them.

Women, by their nature, are responders. They respond to how they are treated. So, the more loving you act towards her outside the bedroom, the more willing she’s going to be to act loving towards you in the bedroom. Simple, right? Act romantic enough and she’s much more likely to respond favorably to your advances.

Complaining never has a positive impact. Changing does. Recently, I counseled a couple who were both experienced marriage counselors, he was a pastor and she was a psychologist. They were both convinced that they knew what needed to be done, and that the other one had to do it. Guess what? They were both right and they were both wrong. Yes, the other one had to change, but more importantly, they had to change themselves, their actions and their attitudes.

When you start out to change yourself, don’t try and do a major overhaul, you won’t succeed. Pick one thing and work on that. They say that it takes 40 days to form a new habit; so, work on that one thing, consistently, for the next 40 days. Then, once you have that one under your belt, start working on another. That doesn’t mean that you drop the first one, just that you add another new thing. The fist one should be habit by then.

If you can change you, it’s going to cause change in your wife. The change may not be as dramatic as you hope, it may not happen as fast as you want, but it will happen. More than that, you will become more the husband that you need to be. Believe it or not, that’s romantic.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Let God in Your Marriage

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that I’m not the perfect husband. For that matter, I’ve never been a perfect husband and I probably never will. I can try all I want, but somehow it just doesn’t seem to happen. Somehow or other, I manage to mess up from time to time.

All right, we can do the cop out thing on this and just say something like, “Hey, I’m human, what do you expect?” That’ll work, but like I said, it’s a bit of a copout. I’m not really into copouts. I guess they’re just too easy. I’d rather do something about my imperfections than make excuses for them. At least that way I’m making progress in my life.

So, if I’m not perfect and I want to be, obviously I need some help. That’s why I read what others write about marriage. While much of it is stuff I’ve heard before, there’s plenty of it which I haven’t. I can always find some nugget of truth to be gained from other people’s writings, especially certain people who I’ve learned to trust (see my links page to find them).

Even reading their stuff isn’t enough. While it helps, just reading doesn’t mean doing. Somehow, I’ve got to get it from the eye bone to the heart bone and from there into the action bones. That’s a whole lot harder than just reading it; especially when it’s something that I really don’t want to do.

That’s actually the key to not being successful in marriage, that part about what I want to do and what I don’t want to do. If I let my own will and desires control my marriage, it’s going to be a disaster. That makes for a self-centered marriage, which never works. Marriage, any marriage, can only be successful when it is other centered, not self-centered.

That’s where God needs to come into the marriage. As long as I leave Him out of my marriage, I’m going to try and put myself on the throne, as king of my marriage and king of my home. But, when I let him take the throne, then that changes everything. If I’m not on the throne, I won’t be focused on what I want, but what makes Him happy; and what makes Him happy is when I act with love towards my wife. As Jesus said, “A new commandment I give unto you, love your wife as I have loved you.” Okay, okay, it really doesn’t say that, it says “love one another.” But, c’mon now, isn’t your wife a “one another?”

When God is on the throne of my marriage and both my wife and I are working to serve Him, then we are working together towards a common goal. That builds relationship. Instead of marriage being me doing my thing and her doing her thing, with us getting together once in a while; we’re being together, as we work to satisfy what God wants for us.

You know something? When we do things that way, we always win. Why do we win? Because He makes sure that we do. Isn’t that great? By quitting trying to win and focusing on letting God win, we win. Man, it can’t get any better than that.

So, the real question you need to ask yourself today is: have you let God take the throne in your marriage?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

What’s Your Hobby, Hubby?

You know, everyone needs something they can do to relax. Even… no especially workaholics need to relax sometime; take their mind off their work, think about something not so important and just unwind and recharge the batteries. It’s much easier to face Monday when we’ve had a good time over the weekend, gotten our minds off our work and thought about simpler things.

The only thing is, a lot of the things we pick as hobbies are things we do with the guys not with the gal who’s the most important person in our lives. Think about it. How many guys’ hobbies are all about sports? Right? Now, how many women do you know who are really sports fans? I mean, when you sit down to watch the game or go out to shoot some hoops, is your wife there at your side? Or, do you have to leave her aside, in order to enjoy your hobby?

Now, I’m not against any of the things that guys do as hobbies, I’m really not. But, I am against things that take away time that I could better spend with my wife. Before I married her, I used to love going hunting, fishing and camping. I had a Honda Gold Wing motorcycle; back when they only had 1000 cc engines. I had things I enjoyed doing. I had hobbies.

But you know what? My wife didn’t enjoy any of my hobbies. She’s a city girl, so the idea of hunting, fishing or camping just doesn’t work for her. The first time we went camping, it was a disaster. Not only did we have bad weather, but there was dirt, and sticks and… and… bugs. She really didn’t enjoy herself.

Even after nine years of living in a motor home, traveling and ministering, my wife never did get used to the great outdoors. Oh, she likes to see the beauty of God’s creation, but only through the windshield, thank you very much. When it comes to getting out and walking in that nature, she’d much rather do her walking in a shopping mall.

My Gold Wing was even more of a problem; she was afraid of it. The one time that she got on the back, she froze. I mean really froze. I thought I was going to have to use a crowbar to get her off of it. Not that she didn’t want to get off, but that she was so afraid. She was obviously not born to adorn the back of a bike.

So, I was faced with a bit of a dilemma. I could either go hunting, fishing, camping and ride my motorcycle, or I could spend time with my wife. Quite a dilemma, right? Actually, for me, it wasn’t much of a dilemma. You see, even though I enjoyed those other things, my wife was much more important to me. If I couldn’t spend time with her doing those things, then it took a lot of the fun out of doing them; especially knowing that if I wasn’t doing them, I could be with her.

I’m sure you can guess what happened. I let those things go. No, it wasn’t that I made a huge sacrifice for my wife (said with great drama, in a deep voice, with orchestration in the background), it was that I decided what was more important to me. She won. Since she was more important, I found that I didn’t have time for those other things.

Now, one might think that that was enough, but it isn’t. You see, it’s one thing to get rid of something that is damaging to your relationship, but it’s another thing to do something that’s constructive for your relationship. Many would look at that “sacrifice” and think, “She should appreciate what I’ve done for her.” But, in reality, she doesn’t see it that way; not because she’s insensitive, but because she was never part of that part of my life.

I needed to replace those activities with activities which I could do with my wife. I needed things which we could do together, not because we had to, but because we wanted to. It doesn’t matter so much what they are, just that they are. Just as the time shooting hoops with your buddies helps build that relationship, spending time doing fun things with your wife will help build your marriage relationship.

If you’re going to have hobbies in life (and I think you should) then they should be hobbies which the two of you can do together. Not only will those hobbies end up being more fun, because you’re doing them with your best friend, but they’ll build up your marriage as well.

So, hubby, what’s your hobby?

Friday, March 9, 2012

She Needs to Talk About it

I think the most dreaded words that a man can hear coming out of his wife’s mouth are “We need to talk.” Those four simple words can cause the stoutest hearts to tremble, the strongest knees to quake and the strongest backs to bow in anticipation of a blow. When we hear those words, a sudden desire to run for cover grips us, providing us with an excellent opportunity to imitate a deer caught in the headlights.

Yet, why is this so? Didn’t we all say “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me” when we were kids? Yes, we said that, but we’ve since learned that the greatest wounds come not from those sticks and stones, but from words; most specifically, from the words that our wives say when they are upset. Those words often cut deep, creating wounds that don’t heal and creating that fear within us.

You know; most of the time, your wife really isn’t trying to hurt you with her words, she’s just trying to express her own hurt and get feeling better. You getting hurt in the process isn’t part of her plan, regardless of you it may look to you and me.

I don’t know how many times my wife has said those dreadful words to me in our 25+ years of marriage. Yet, every time, I let her spill her guts, and every time I end up feeling like I’ve been run over by a steam roller. Does that make me a hero? I don’t think so; it makes me a caring husband. Does it make me a fool? No, not that either; just one who cares about his wife.

We need to learn to understand the therapeutic value of talking. Maybe it doesn’t have that value for you and me, but it sure does for her. Her heart gets filled with things that bother her. If she doesn’t get the opportunity to get them out of there, they become a poison, eating away at her like a cancer. When we let our wives talk about those things which are bothering them, we provide an opportunity for them to “clean out their hearts;” throwing out the garbage that has accumulated there.

When the typical guy gets home from work he’s met by his typical wife. They sit down to eat their typical dinner and start the typical conversation. In that conversation, she basically relates everything bad that happened all day long; everything the kids did bad, everything that didn’t work, everything that made her feel bad and everything she didn’t like. If she has anything positive to say, it’s usually left for last.

What the typical guy hears in that conversation is “Here’s a list of problems you need to deal with. Get off your lazy butt and do something about them.” But, what she’s really saying is “I’ve had problems today and I want to get rid of them. Let me talk about them, so that I can clean out my heart. I’m so glad you’re home.”

Quite a difference, right? You see, this is just another case where men and women don’t speak the same language. When your wife says, “nobody loves me,” that doesn’t mean she doubts your love, it means that she feels unloved at that moment. When she says, “nobody listens to me,” it doesn’t mean that you never listen to her, it means that she needs someone to listen to her right then. When she yells, “you never take me anywhere,” it doesn’t mean you’ve never done that, it means she’s feeling penned up and wants to go out and do something, even if it’s to go walk in the park.

I realize it would be much easier for us guys to understand our wives if they would just say what they mean, but take my word for it, we’ll never win that battle. For millennia, men have tried to get women to change the way they express themselves, but it’s never worked. Why should we think it’ll work for us?

The trick in all this is for us to learn how to not take the things she says as what she means to say. In other words, don’t take it personally. Granted, those are very emotionally charged things she’s saying; filled with negative sentiments and accusations. But, in reality, that’s not what they are, they’re a cry for help. Likewise for that list of problems she presents you with over dinner. She really isn’t expecting you to do anything about it; she doesn’t want a solution, she just wants a sympathetic ear.

So, learn how to develop a sympathetic ear. Listen to what she says, and don’t let it get to you. Really, you don’t have to take it personally. You don’t have to take it as an attack. You just need to listen enough to allow her to get it off her chest. That will do a world of good for her. And if you can learn how to listen, without taking it personally, you’ll help her without it costing you a thing.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Touch her Tender

Most guys are touchy. We just like to touch. We like the feel of our wife’s skin, so we touch her whenever we can. Of course, if the only way we ever touch her is sexual, then she tends to think that sex is all we want.

Granted, pretty much all guys like sex. While I’m sure there’s one in a million out there who doesn’t, the rest of us do. But, you know; touch doesn’t have to be about sex; it doesn’t even have to be sexual. It can just be loving, without having to be sexual at all. I don’t know about you, but I like to touch my wife just to touch her, it doesn’t have to be sexual.

According to Gary Chapman’s book, “The Five Love Languages” touch is one of the ways in which we both express and understand love. I guess that’s why we like to touch so much; it’s an expression of love. Only, when we always make it sexual or don’t do it “right” it doesn’t convey the message that we want it to.

Women’s skin is much more sensitive than men’s skin is. So, a light touch is very important. That same light touch that would make us go crazy because it tickles can make her go crazy because it feels good. Yep, that’s right, if you want her to enjoy it, it has to be light enough that it would bug you to no end.

Remember when you were dating? It was a big deal to sit in a movie and get to put your arm around a girl. Typically, your arm wouldn’t be just hanging there, but your index finger would be making little circles on her shoulder or upper arm. Now, remember how you touched her? It was a light touch, wasn’t it? Why? Because somehow you just knew that was what was called for.

Well, guess what? You were right. Although I’ll have to say that making the same little circle over and over again can make her arm feel a little bit raw after a while; better to move it around a bit more.

Women like that light touch. In fact, they like a feather touch. So, if you can’t touch her light enough on your own, get a feather. In fact, why not get a feather duster; not the one she uses for the house, but one that you can use just for her. She isn’t going to be impressed if you use a dirty feather duster on her back.

Okay, so if you’re not going to touch her sexually, where should you touch her? Good question. Believe it or not, there’s lots of places you can touch your wife, which aren’t really sexual; we just have trouble focusing on them. Why not touch her on her legs? Or touch her back? My wife really likes it when I touch her on the back of the neck. It really doesn’t matter where, as much as it matters how.

Touching her this way can express love to her in a way that she’ll understand much better than touching her sexually; and who knows, it might lead to something more. But leave that up to her.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Be Quick to Lend a Hand

We all work hard and deserve a chance to rest when we get home; or, at least, that’s what we think. But, you know, our wives work just as hard as we do, and when they come home from work, they have to fix dinner, clean the house and do the laundry. Seems like the old saying about a woman’s work never being done is even more true today than it was when they came up with that line.

Our wives need a break just as much as we do. In fact, if we want them to have energy for us, we’d better make sure that they get a break, or by the end of the evening, all they can do is collapse.

How many times have you just sat there and watched your wife struggle with something that would be easy for you to do? It doesn’t matter if it’s a problem on the computer, carrying in the groceries or changing the air conditioning filter, we need to be aware of the struggles that our wives go through. Even more so, we need to do something about those struggles.

Let me give you a simple example. My wife gives classes in English as a Second Language. Some of those classes are given here in our home, while others are given in other locations. When she comes home from one of those classes, she’s got a mountain of stuff to bring in from the car. Now, I could easily say to myself, “I’m busy with my work. That’s her work; I’ll let her do it.” I could even justify that in my mind as being ok, since I wasn’t doing anything against her; but rather, just doing my work.

Okay, so I don’t help her. Well, after being on her feet for five hours, my wife is tired. The last thing she wants to do is to carry a bunch of stuff into the house. At the same time, leaving a computer and video projector in the car might be a good way to get it stolen.

So, by stopping my work for five minutes to go help my wife, I make things easier for her. Hey, we’re supposed to be the strong ones, let’s be strong. That box which is nothing for us to pick up can be really heavy to her. Taking those five minutes out from my work to help her out is a worthwhile investment in our relationship. She knows I’m doing it for her and she knows I care.

Of course, we can get out of such things really easy by just getting there a moment too late. But hey, you don’t get any points for good intentions, just for good actions.

Did you realize that something that simple is romantic? Women think it’s highly romantic for their husbands to help them. If she’s tired after dinner, you clear the table and wash the dishes. Once she’s over the shock, she’ll be thinking “what a great husband I have.” Or, she’s vacuuming the living room and trying to get the nozzle under the sofa; pick it up for her. Or, she’s trying to plant a rose bush by the front door using a little garden spade. Grab the shovel and dig her a real hole for it. These things are so simple for us to do, but hard for them.

The trick here is being aware of what she’s doing and what you can do to make it easier. That requires being constantly aware of what your wife is doing. My wife and I both work out of our home. So, I make it a habit to get up from my desk every once in a while, to see what she is doing. That way, I can keep in contact with her throughout the day, but I can also see when she needs my help.

The struggle for most of us is that we don’t want our activities interrupted to help them with theirs. It doesn’t matter if we’re doing work, watching the game or shooting some hoops, we don’t like to be interrupted. But, you know, ultimately it’s worth it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What do you Say, when She’s Not There?

I spent years in the “public sector” working as an engineering and business manager, before entering into the ministry. I remember sitting around the lunch table with my workmates, discussing everything from sports to politics, to our families. I also remember all the bad things that those guys would say to the rest of us, behind their wives backs.

I also remember my wife telling me about the same sort of phenomenon happening with the women. In fact, from the way she said it, women are even worse about this than men are. Not that we can use that as an excuse to talk bad about our wives, just that it’s a problem that goes both ways.

I call it a problem because it is. How in the world can you talk bad about your wife in public, and then expect to go home and speak positively to her? How can you badmouth all the bad things she does, and then expect to see the good in her? How can you express dissatisfaction in your marriage, and then expect to act with love towards your wife? You know something, you can’t.

If you’re feeling a little guilty right about now, that’s good; or maybe it’s bad. It’s good, because you’re getting the point I’m trying to make. It’s bad, because you have a problem in your thoughts, which you need to deal with.

I have found that I can’t act sweet, loving and romantic towards my wife, unless I am feeling that all the time. Oh, I can do a romantic act without feeling that way, but I can’t live a life of doing romantic acts, without having romantic feelings towards my wife and romantic thoughts about her. My attitudes towards her when I’m away from her greatly affect my actions towards her when I’m with her.

When I was growing up, my parents told me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.” There was more wisdom in that statement than I ever realized. At that time, I thought it was all about avoiding gossip; and it is. But, I’ve since found out that it’s more than that, it’s about guarding one’s heart. You see, when we express negativity it increases the negativity in our hearts. 
On the other hand, when we think positively, it increases our positive thoughts and feelings.

If you are speaking negatively about your wife when you’re not together, that means you’ve got a heart full of negative feelings. You need to do something about that, and you need to do something quickly. The easiest place for you to start is by starting to talk positively about her, whether you feel it or not. Keep doing that, because your words will begin to change your heart.

I’ve actually experienced this. Several years ago, I went through an emotional crisis that lasted about a year. The crux of this crisis was feeling unloved and unappreciated by my wife. Now, let me say right here, that she wasn’t doing anything wrong. The problem was in how I was perceiving her words and actions. I was taking her working so hard (she was a teacher) personally, as if she didn’t want to be with me. I was wrong for my attitudes, she wasn’t wrong for her actions.

Although I don’t remember it, I’m sure that somewhere in there, thoughts of divorce presented themselves to me for my approval. Well, I didn’t approve them; instead, I did the opposite. I decided to change my thoughts and actions towards my wife. So, when I found myself thinking negatively about her, I would force myself to change my thoughts, and think positively about her. When I felt unloved by her, I would force myself to do something special for her or to buy a gift for her.

Guess what? That changed my thoughts. Not only that, but it brought me out of my emotional nosedive. My feelings followed my actions. Had I continued being negative, who knows where I would have ended up; but it wouldn’t have been good. Changing those thoughts renewed our marriage.
So, let me ask you, what do you say about your wife, when she’s not there?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sex Flowers

Recently, I read a blog post by a woman, written to women, entitled “Sex Flowers.” I can’t remember who wrote it, nor can I find the posting by searching for it; so whoever it was, I give them thanks.

One of the struggles we have, as men, is in understanding the thought process of our wives. A large percent of marital fighting is over misunderstandings. That’s because we don’t speak the same language. While both men and women use the same words to speak, we don’t necessarily apply the same meanings to those words.

The same thing happens with our actions. We might do something, with one intention, yet our wives have a totally different understanding of it. Take the guy who spends his whole Saturday doing the “honey-do” list, in order to show his wife that he loves her. At the end of the day, he collapses on the couch, tired but satisfied that he’d done those things for his wife. She sits down too and says, “You don’t love me.” Frustrated and amazed, he responds, “What are you talking about, I just spent the whole day doing things you wanted me to do, in order to show you that I love you?” To which she says, “But you didn’t say the words, ‘I love you’.”

Granted, situations like that can be very frustrating; and unfortunately, they show up way too often. We think we’re doing good; but our wives don’t see it the same way.

That’s the situation which that woman was writing about in her blog post. She had made love to her husband and he bought her flowers the next day. She called them “sex flowers,” because in her mind, he had bought the flowers for her as “payment” for sex. It took her a while, but she finally realized that his motivation wasn’t to pay her, but because he was feeling loving towards her.

It’s very easy for us as guys to feel loving towards our wives after sex; but the reality is that we should be just as loving to them before the sex. If the only time we do something loving for our wives or buy a gift for them is the day after sex, I can understand how they would take it wrong. In their eyes, the only time they were loved would be because of sex.

The easy solution for this misunderstanding is to make sure that you act loving towards her and buy her romantic gifts even when she isn't giving you the sex you want. While that may go against your natural inclination, it will really show her that you love her. It will shout the message that your love isn't just about sex. 

Sure, all us guys like sex, love sex, and want more sex; but our wives aren’t wired the same way we are. Sex requires a much bigger emotional investment on her part, than it does on your part. If her love tank is running near empty, she may not feel as if she has enough in there to invest in giving you sex. On the other hand, if it’s running near full, she’s going to be ready whenever you want her to be. It’s up to you to make sure her love tank is full.

Now, don’t take this as I’m saying that the only reason you should be romantic is so that you can get sex. You should be romantic because your wife needs for you to be romantic, so that she will feel loved. At the same time, making her feel loved is the best way to ensure that she’ll make you feel loved as well.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

You’re Free! Whatever shall you do?

It’s Sunday again, no work and guess what? No football either. Isn’t that great? The Super Bowl is well past, so you no longer have to sit glued to the television set on Sunday afternoons. You’ve been set free of that responsibility. Whatever will you do with all that extra time?

You know, before television, before radio, before sports became such a big deal here in the good old U.S.A. people spent their Sunday afternoon’s differently than we do today. Whereas we tend to spend it glued to one television or another, they couldn’t do that. So, what did they do? They spent Sunday afternoon together as a family.

What a novel idea, instead of giving your Sunday afternoon over to the worship of sports, give it over to spending some time together with your wife and kiddies. A lot of what I’ve talked about on this blog has been finding ways of spending time with your wife, but I don’t talk about the kids all that much.

You know what? Your wife needs to see that you’re interested and involved in your kids’ lives. That’s a need of hers, to know that you love her. I know that sounds a bit crazy, but you have to remember that the kids are very important to your wife. Besides, God and you, they’re the most important thing in her world. So, she needs to know that you are committed to the kids too. By showing that, you’re also showing her that you’re committed to her as well.

I realize that might sound a bit illogical to you, but we’re not talking about your logic, we’re talking about her logic.  If you haven’t figured it out yet, hers is a whole lot different than yours. Trying to show you that you love her, by using your logic, doesn’t work all that good. However, when you show her that you love her, by using her logic, she understands exactly what you’re saying.

So, why not reinstate an old time tradition in your family. Instead of spending your afternoon worshipping that ball and those who move it, spend it with your family. Develop some activities that you can do together as a family. Where you can all have some quality time together. Here’s a few ideas:
  • Have a snowball fight
  • Have a water fight
  • Watch a movie together that everyone would like
  • Go someplace that you’ve all wanted to go to
  • Play a board game
  • Play Charades
  • Go to the park together
  • Do a crafts project together
  • Paint the living room together

Remember, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a lot of fun. Some of the best times a family can have together, or for that matter a couple can have together, are those that don’t cost a cent. All they cost is time.