Friday, June 29, 2012

Your Daily Devotional

Many people like to use a daily devotional. For years, I used Ozwald Chambers’ “My Utmost for His Highest.” The inspirational words of Chambers challenged me in my personal walk and my growth in Christian character. His writings were an important part of my growing in understanding my responsibility as a believer to become Christ-like and manifest the fruit of the spirit.

Even though many believer’s have their own personal study time, whether it is with a devotional or directly out of the Bible, there are very few who take the time to study together as a couple. Yet, if our relationship with God is supposed to strengthen our marriage, then shouldn’t we seek Him together?

One of the great benefits of studying together is that we have the opportunity to work together to gain understanding. At times, an incredible synergy takes place, where what one is saying triggers a fresh thought for the other. Then that thought triggers something new in the first. Working off of one another, wonderful things can be discovered and learned.

I clearly remember the first couple who ever came to me for marriage counseling. The very first complaint that she made was that the two of them didn’t see eye to eye on anything. To back that up, she said, “Every time the Holy Spirit gives me revelation about something from the Bible and I tell my husband, he comes back with something totally different.” I guess she thought she’d made some points with that one, because she sat back with a satisfied look on her face. However, I didn’t see things the same way. I responded to her, “Wow, what a blessing!” Surprised, she jumped up to say, “What do you mean?” “Well,” I responded, “you get one revelation from God and your husband gets another. Then, when you share them with each other, you’ve both got twice as much.” Needless to say, she was stunned.

You see, what that couple experienced (less the disagreement) was in fact a great blessing. By studying the Word of God together, they were able t gain more understanding than they could alone. That’s one of the things that marriage is supposed to do for us, help us to gain more than we can alone.

Imagine if a couple made a regular habit of that. Instead of studying alone, each took the opportunity to draw out of the other one what God had deposited in them. That looks like a great opportunity to me.

Now, get me straight here. I’m not talking about just reading a passage from the Bible, or reading a devotional together, but talking about it as well. It’s not really in the reading that we’ll get the advantage, but in the sharing. As we talk together, we’ll have that opportunity for the synergy of studying together to take place, where we are each fueling the engine of ideas in the other.

Not only that, but it’s a great way to draw closer together. The very fact of studying God’s Word together makes us more as one. It helps us to understand each other better and at the same time, understand our God all that much better too. Why not give it a try?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Give Her a Little Extra Grace

There are two basic reasons that women are “more emotional” then men. They function in the right brain, which is the emotional/creative side of the brain and they are largely affected by the cycle of their hormones throughout the month. These two things, working together, make a woman’s emotions of more consequence to her, affecting all areas of her life and being.

I put “more emotional” in quotation marks up there because that’s a bit of a misconception. Men have and experience as many emotions as women do. But, there are two major differences in a man’s emotions and a woman’s. The first is that men don’t connect with their emotions as well as women do and the second is that men aren’t as expressive about their emotions. They have a greater tendency to ignore those emotions and pretend they aren’t there (this is also biological in the brain).

Okay, so we all know and accept that women are more expressive in their emotions and that those emotions are going to have a bigger role in what they say and do. So, we just have to put up with it, right? Well, right and wrong. Actually, we’re a whole lot better off if we can try and understand what is causing her emotions, and learn to work with them.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a posting where I said that the number one cause of depression in women is poor self image (Building Her Up). At that time, I suggested that you compliment her, to help overcome the attack that society puts on her self-esteem. That’s one way of working with her emotions, but there’s more.

It’s commonly understood that women have a few emotionally rough days right before their menstrual period. For most of us, that’s a good time to hang out at the bowling alley or go on a fishing trip. We look for anything we can do to avoid being in the line of fire. For others, that’s when the couple has the most fights. Either answer isn’t the best; actually either answer is destructive to the marriage relationship.

The first thing we should all do is track our wife’s menstrual cycle on a calendar. Every month, the day that her cycle starts, put a “P” on the calendar, that’s it. After a few months, you can check the interval. Since most women have a very regular cycle, you’ll probably find that she’s menstruating every 28 to 30 days.

That’s important information. Starting three days before her next menstrual period, you can expect that she’s going to go crazy. She’ll be depressed, moody, irritable and otherwise not much fun to be around.
Let me change the perspective on that a bit. If she’s not much fun to be around, that means that it’s not much fun to be her, either. She needs a little bit of extra grace during those days. When she’s moody and it seems like she’s trying to get into a fight, realize that it isn’t her, it isn’t you, it isn’t the kids, it’s her hormones. Cut her a little slack; and whatever you do, don’t take anything she says during those days seriously.

There’s more that you can do for her as well. If you know those days are coming, plan things so as to lighten her load during that critical time. Don’t plan dinner parties and other special activities. Don’t start a major project together. Don’t take a trip.

In fact, you should do the opposite. If there’s ever a time when doing acts of service for your wife, this is it. Do some of the housework, pick up dinner, run the kids to their events; whatever you can do to take some of the stress off her. That will make this time easier for her and easier for the whole family as well.

She may not thank you or show her appreciation at that time; but you can be sure that she’ll appreciate it. More than anything though, she’ll have an easier time getting through those difficult days. She’ll know it’s because of you and she’ll be grateful.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What’s Her Romance Language?

Have you ever done something that you thought was supremely romantic for your wife, only to have your great romantic act ignored or even refused? It’s probably happened to all of us at least once or twice. 

There might be a number of different reasons why that happened; anything from it being the wrong time of the month to you having done that particular act too many times in the last month. Regardless of the reason, it always bothers us; the rejection of our act of love makes us feel as if we’ve been rejected.

Don’t let yourself get caught up in that feeling of being rejected; it’s dangerous! It will kill your desire to continue being romantic faster than anything. When it happens, just realize that there’s probably something else which is causing her to act that way, something that has nothing to do with you.

However, if your wife regularly overlooks a particular type of romantic act, that should be a clue to you, telling you that you’re not speaking her language. It’s about as if you were writing her love poems, but she couldn’t read. That wouldn’t work out all that well. In the same way, speaking romance in a different language than she understands doesn’t work out all that well.

You see, each of us has our own romance language. It’s both the way that we express love and the way that we understand it. When others speak our romance language, it’s like the words have been underlined, made bold and highlighted in yellow. Finding out what her romance language is will give you a great boost up in being able to get the most impact out of your romantic acts.

When I’m talking about romance languages, what I’m really talking about is love languages. After all, isn’t romance all about expressing love? Gary Chapman’s book “The Five Love Languages” does a great job of explaining those five languages and showing us how to use them. In case you haven’t read the book yet (you should), here are the five languages:
  • Words of affirmation
  • Acts of service
  • Gifts
  • Physical touch
  • Quality time

Now, if your love language is acts of service, you’ve probably been trying to be romantic to your wife by doing things for her. That’s great, acts of service is a great way to be romantic. But, if your wife’s love language is words of affirmation, you may not be reaching her as well as you want to. She probably appreciates your acts of service, but it doesn’t have the impact on her that words of affirmation will.

That doesn’t mean that you should stop doing acts of service. By all means, continue doing them. But, at the same time, add words of affirmation to your vocabulary of romance. Find ways to tell her that you love her. Even more, find ways to tell her what a great woman, wife, mother and all around person you think she is. That’s what she’s craving and that’s what’s going to do her the most good.

After all, being romantic towards your wife is all about her anyway, so you might as well make sure that you’re really focusing on her and on what works for her. You can still use the other ways of being romantic, but use them to round out the basic expression of love, which is done in her love language.

Doing this will make every romantic act you do have all that much more impact? Why? Because you’re satisfying her most basic need for love. That makes everything else look that much better in her eyes. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Take the Time to Cuddle

For some strange reason, lots of women complain that all their husbands’ want is sex. As a man, I really have trouble understanding that, even though I’m supposed to be somewhat of an “expert” on women. Nevertheless, I have to agree with women that sex in and of itself, without the emotional connection that makes sex into something special, is like having someone give you a brand new Mustang, without the engine. While sex without the emotional closeness of a truly loving relationship is still sex, it’s nowhere near as special as sex with the emotional closeness.

That’s one of the reasons that romance is so important in a marriage. Besides meeting our wives emotional needs, the romantic acts that we do tend to draw us closer as a couple. That’s really what it’s all about. When sex comes as a result of that emotional closeness, it reaches a whole new level.

Another related thing that women complain about is lack of cuddling. Cuddling (either dressed or naked) is a very important part of the physical expression of love in a marriage. Yet, most men don’t appreciate just cuddling with their wives, unless that cuddling leads to sex. While I’m not against cuddling leading to sex, I’ve learned that the cuddling in and of itself can be extremely satisfying on an emotional level.

Cuddling is part of building the emotional closeness necessary for a good, healthy sexual relationship within the marriage. Men typically fall asleep after lovemaking, leaving the cuddling part out. Granted, we’re going to fall asleep no matter what, but there’s no reason to not fall asleep with your arms around your wife. There’s also no reason not to put your arms around her when you wake up in the middle of the night.

Okay, that takes care of the bedroom, but what about the rest of the time? By all means, take every opportunity you can to cuddle with your wife, whether in the bedroom or out. When you’re sitting there watching television, do it with your arms around her. Put your arm around her when you’re talking to friends. You can even put your arm around her in church, while you’re listening to the sermon. In other words, take every opportunity you can to put your arm around your wife.

Have you ever noticed how much babies want to be held and cuddled? There’s something in human makeup that craves physical contact. We all want it, although as adults we may not be hearing that need, due to other voices that are crying louder.

I remember a story about a pair of twin babies. One of the two of them was extremely sick, to the point where they thought that the baby would die. They couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the baby, so didn’t know how to properly treat it. A nurse put the healthy twin in the bassinet with the sick one, to keep it company. That physical closeness was enough to heal the sick baby.

You find young people who are dating always putting their arms around each other. It’s almost like they can’t walk alone or even stand alone without falling down. Why? Because they crave that physical contact. It meets an emotional need within them.

That emotional need to cuddle doesn’t ever go away. You and I have it, so do our wives. There will never be anything else that will fully satisfy that need. I don’t care how much sex you try and have, without cuddling, you’ll find that the emotional need is still there. I’d say that your wife is probably crying out for more cuddling, even if she never verbalizes it or is cognizant of her own desire. It’s there, and it’s your job to fill that need.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Understanding Women's Minds

A friend sent me this yesterday, thought I'd pass it along. Rumor has it that this is only volume one; and that volumes 2 through 20 are still in process. Remember, you don't have to understand her to love her. Be romantic, whether you understand or not; she'll appreciate it.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Vacations are Important Too

As guys, it’s really easy for us to get a bit of tunnel vision, focusing on our work and forgetting about everything else. Granted, if you’re reading this blog, you’re probably trying to focus on something other than your work, like your marriage. But still, even with that, it’s real easy for us to get dragged back into putting all our time and energy into our work, forgetting to spend time with those who are close to us.

We all need to take time to get away from our work every once in a while and focus on other things. Yeah, I know, you don’t make any money when you’re not working, right? I face the same problem. Nobody gives me two weeks of paid vacation so that I can sit around the swimming pool or pet the bears either. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that I should work 52 weeks per year. I need time off too.

I won’t even pretend that vacations are relaxing, because they aren’t. If anything, there more stressful than work is; especially if you think about the money you’re going to be spending. But that’s not the point. The point is to get away. More specifically, the point is to get away with those who you love, so that you can spend some time focused on them, rather than being focused on your job.

You see, more than anything, vacations are a great bonding time. They’re a time when we can get together as a family and just be a family. Yes, they’re a time when we can spend time doing fun things, but more importantly, they’re a time when we can do things together.

That’s what it’s really all about; doing things together. Every relationship needs those times together, in order to be nurtured and stay healthy. Without those times, it’s all too easy for a relationship to fall into disrepair, becoming non-functional and headed for disaster.

Of course, the other excuse that people use for not going on vacation is the cost. Granted, going somewhere on vacation is expensive. I know, I just bought the tickets. But that doesn’t mean that all vacations have to be expensive. It’s possible to go on vacation, without spending a fortune. While expensive vacations can be nice, they aren’t necessary. Quality vacation time is about spending time together, not spending money together.

Whenever you invest time in your marriage and family it pays dividends. Maybe they aren’t dividends that you can see right away, but they’re there nevertheless. Those dividends come into play at times we don’t expect and in ways that we don’t expect. They help the family through the hard times, when we need something to help us stick together and not turn on each other.

You see, without investing time in family relationships, we don’t have that reserve of “sticky glue” to keep us from falling apart in a crisis. The same thing applies to our marriages. Yet, when we do invest time in our family life, going on vacation or other family activities, we’re better able to face everything the world can throw at us.

One last point. You may be wondering why I’m even mentioning this on a blog that’s about romance. Believe it or not, spending time together as a family is romantic. I know, it may not seem like it is, but it is. Your children are very important to your wife. She needs to know that you are as committed to them as you are to her. Otherwise, her loyalties are going to be divided between you and them. If you want to work together as a team, you have to build the team. That means taking time to do so. When you show your wife that you’re concerned enough about the family to spend time together, you eliminate one worry for her, making it easier for her to pay attention to you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Never Enough Flowers

I like to go back to the classic romantic acts every once in a while. I guess they’re classics because they never really grow old; women never get tired of them and they always have the desired effect. Of course, that doesn’t mean that we can’t put a different twist on them. There’s nothing wrong with mixing a bit of originality into the classics, coming up with a new way of presenting them.

Take flowers, for example. While buying flowers for your wife every day isn’t going to be all that effective, there’s nothing that says you can’t buy them once or twice a month. The trick here is to find the balance between doing it so often that it becomes routine and doing it so rarely that it seems you’ve forgotten. That “window” of balance is actually pretty wide, so it’s not all that hard to find.

It never hurts do use a little bit of originality in your flower purchases either. Granted, red roses are the classic “I love you” flower; but they aren’t the only ones which can say that message. Pretty much any type of flower speaks the same language, so you don’t have to stick to just red roses all the time.

Okay, so what can we do differently with our flowers this time? How about a bit of a scavenger hunt? We don’t have to get real complicated, just enough to make her work at it for a few minutes. Buy some flowers, say a dozen of something. The actual number doesn’t really matter, just as long as you know how many you bought. Then prepare some little notes that say “1 of 12, where are the rest?” “2 of 12, where are the rest” etc. Attach the notes to the flowers and leave them in various places around the house.

Make sure you leave one of the flowers someplace where she’s definitely going to find it quickly. That will be the trigger to get her looking for the rest of them. The numbers will keep her going until she finds them all. Don’t get carried away hiding them, as you want to be sure that she finds them.

If you want to get really fancy, you could leave a couple of gifts along with some of the flowers. A small box of chocolates, a card, a book she’s been wanting to read, maybe some lace panties or a new CD. Romantic little things that she’ll enjoy. You don’t have to leave gifts with all the flowers or for that matter with any of the flowers; but doing so will just add to the fun. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Healthy Fighting?

There are those who say that fighting is a healthy part of a marriage. While I definitely can’t put myself in the same camp as them, I do recognize that disagreement is part and parcel of any relationship, even marriage. A couple who never has disagreements is usually a couple who is avoiding talking about anything that might be a touchy subject for one or the other.

Fighting, in and of itself is destructive. If you don’t believe me, just look at war. War is totally destructive; the process of fighting a war is all about destroying things and destroying lives. That’s the problem I have with fighting in marriage, it also destroys lives.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t think there is a healthy way of dealing with problems and disagreements. However, there is one major essential difference between dealing with problems and disagreements in a healthy way and doing so by fighting. That difference is whose side you are on.

In a fight, it’s my side against your side. I attack you and you attack me. Whoever is the strongest smartest or has the biggest guns wins. That’s not healthy in marriage. In that type of fighting, somebody’s going to get hurt. In fact, there’s a really good chance that both are going to get hurt.

The healthy way to deal with those problems is for the two of you to attack the problem together. That way, you’re on the same team. Recognize that the problem is there, and find a way to defeat it. Both should be shooting their guns at the problem, not at each other; and stay focused on shooting at the problem until you get the victory. Whatever you do, don’t let yourselves start taking potshots at each other, that’s not going to solve the problem.

Attacking the problem together is about finding a solution together. Maybe the problem is caused by one person, but that doesn’t mean that the solution is for them to change. It could be that the other one makes some sort of accommodation, so that the problem is taken care of.

For example, maybe there is a problem with not spending enough time together. This is a common complaint for women. Okay, so the classic way of dealing with this is whining, complaining, nagging and manipulating. That all leads to a fight, in which she’s yelling at him for not spending time with her and he’s yelling at her for being a miserable to be around. But the root of the problem in this case is that he’s spending all of his time at the store he’s trying to get off the ground and not making time for her.

Okay, he needs to make a change, but maybe he doesn’t see his need to change. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a solution. Another solution could be for her to become involved in some part of what he is doing at the store, so that they are doing that activity together. That solves the problem, even if it is in an unconventional way.

Don’t get me wrong here; I’m not even coming close to saying that if your wife has a problem with how you are doing something that you should tell her to make some change to accommodate you. What I’m saying is that the best solution might involve her making a change to accommodate you.

Going back to our example; if the couple sat down together, with the attitude of “we have a problem” instead of “I have a problem with you” then they’ve set the stage for resolving it together. But, the moment that accusations start, the chance of peaceful accommodation ends. So, the key in making this work is to eliminate accusations from the discussion.

Without the accusations, it’s much easier to look for a solution. However, when the accusations start flying, then it’s all about “every man for himself.” The instinct for self-preservation takes over, the fangs and claws come out and all out warfare begins.

We have to realize that disagreement is going to happen, but that the it’s much better to forestall that disagreement by dealing with the problem, before anyone gets hurt. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath…” How do we do that? By dealing with the problem while it is still small, before it can get to be a big problem, before open warfare begins.

Besides, its’ much more fun to make up, when there wasn’t a fight to make up for. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Is All this Romance Stuff Really Necessary?

If you’ve been reading this blog, then I’d have to say that you see at least some value in being romantic towards your wife. Whether that is just that you want to find new ways to express your love towards her, want to motivate her to jump into bed with you or whatever, you’ve come to the conclusion that being romantic is part of being a good husband.

Okay, that’s fine as far as it goes, but let’s take it a little bit farther. Do our wives actually “need” us to be romantic, or is that just a desire on their parts? You know, from our viewpoint as men, it can easily seem like all this romance is just a waste of time and effort. But, in reality it isn’t; it’s a very important part of maintaining our wives emotional health and maintaining our marriage.

First of all, romance is how a woman defines love. As guys, we tend to define romance by sex, but in reality, most sex isn’t about love, it’s just about lust. The biggest difference between love and lust is that love is about giving to the other, while lust is about receiving from the other.

Without romance, a woman can’t feel loved. I don’t care how much sex you have in your marriage, without other expressions of love, all it will be to her is that you’re using her body for your gratification. Her sexual response is a loving response to having her emotional need for love (romance) satisfied. So, if your wife isn’t responding sexually, it’s time to step up the romance another level.

There’s another part of this that’s real important though. That is that without romance, a woman can’t have a good self-image. She feels worthless and unwanted, and she becomes depressed.

Let me back up a moment. As men, our self-esteem comes from what we do. The position we hold or the profession we practice has a lot to do with our feeling of worth. Maybe we’re only a lineman for the electric company, but we’re the best lineman in the company. Maybe we’re only a mechanic, but we solve problems that other’s can’t. Somehow, we always find something about our work to make us feel good about ourselves. If we can’t, we’re in trouble.

Women, on the other hand, don’t identify themselves with their work, but with their relationships. Their worth as a person is based upon what the people who are close to her say about her and how they act towards her. Without receiving expressions of love from her family and friends, a woman feels that she isn’t worth anything.

No wonder so many women battle with depression; they feel that they aren’t worth anything. Nobody is taking the time to tell them that they are worth something. As men, we receive that at work, whether it’s from our bosses, co-workers or customers, somebody is telling us that we are worthwhile. Okay, so who are your wife’s co-workers and customers? If she’s not in the workplace, it has to be you and your kids.

Are you telling your wife that she’s worthwhile? Just saying those words isn’t enough; you have to show her as well. She needs your romantic acts and expression as a way of telling her that she is worth something as a person. Otherwise, all she is receiving is a constant bombardment of messages from the world, which tell her that she isn’t good enough.

Fortunately for you, your message is much stronger than that of the world. However, you’ve got to make sure that you’re sending the right message. If you aren’t romantic, then you’re sending the same message that the world is. However, if you are romantic, you’re telling her by your actions, “You are someone special. You are worthwhile. You are loved.” That’s a message that she needs to hear over and over again.

Yeah, when we’re romantic, we receive points from our wives. But, there’s a much more important reason for us to invest in being romantic, that of letting our wives know that they are important. That’s one of the best emotional protections that we can give to them. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Time with Her Friends

We’ve been on a theme here of her feeling pressured by time and the need to get so many things done; so I want to stay on that for another day. Yesterday, I talked a bit about play as a way to help her relax; today I want to hit on another aspect of that. That is, time with her friends.

Hopefully, you are her best friend. If not, there’s something missing out of your relationship. Nevertheless, even if you are her best friend, it’s not healthy for her (or for you) for you to be her only friend. Women need other women as friends, someone they can talk to about girl stuff; someone they can talk to about you.

Yeah, as scary as that sounds, we’ve got to realize that our wives do talk about us. Their friends get to hear about all our failings. If that’s not enough to strike fear in your heart, then nothing is. Women talk to each other about everything; I mean everything. Where us guys need to build a really solid, long term relationship with each other, before we’ll open up; women build that relationship by opening up. They’ll talk about things in their first meeting that we won’t talk about for nine months. (Maybe you should rethink what you’re doing a bit, to make sure there’s nothing there that you don’t want her friends to know about.)

Anyway, let me get back on track here. Women need that communication with other women. There’s no way that we, as guys, can fulfill that need. We might try to and our wives might try and force us to, but it’s not the same thing. There are things that our wives won’t talk about with us, but will talk about with their girlfriends. That’s’ an important part of maintaining her mental and emotional health.

Okay, so what do we do about that? It’s not like we can make friends for her. No, we can’t, but we can provide opportunities for them to get together with their friends. Busy mothers, especially busy mothers of preschoolers often feel isolated, because going out to be with their friends is just too much hassle.

Think about it for a minute. When was the last time you took the baby somewhere by yourself. You have to get the diaper bag ready, prepare the bottles, make sure you’ve got some snacks and toys. Then you’ve got to load the playpen and stroller into the car, and then, after all that, you can grab the baby, put them in the car seat and go. That’s a lot of stuff to do, every time you want to go out. So, many mothers don’t bother, just because of the hassle.

Then there’s the problems she can encounter with the baby at the other end. What if her friend’s house isn’t baby proofed, or even worse, toddler proofed. Toddlers get into everything; often with disastrous results. So, to avoid the embarrassment of having the baby break some family heirloom, mom stays at home.

Her decision to stay at home, avoiding her friends, becomes the lesser of two evils for her. Unfortunately, it’s a decision that costs her; it costs her emotionally. For that matter, it also costs you. So, you need to do something about it.

The quick answer would be to have her friends over to your house. At least, that would be the quick answer to a guy. But, that isn’t a quick answer for her. Have you ever watched your wife, when you know that friends are coming over? She suddenly goes into a cleaning frenzy. Sharks in a feeding frenzy can’t compare to a woman in a cleaning frenzy. She’ll beat them, hands down.

To help, we usually say something dumb like, “Why are you worried about that, it’s just so-and-so?” I guarantee you, that doesn’t help. All that does is show that we’re insensitive to what’s important to her. She has to have a clean house, so that the other woman can’t see that she’s not a good homemaker. Regardless of whether that other woman would think that; even if she’s blind, that’s a real concern to our wives. She can’t stand having herself seen as less than super-mom.

Okay, so if that’s not going to work, what can we do? Simple, give her times that she can get together with her friends, preferably away from home, without worrying about the kids. That means that you, get to be dad, and take care of the kids, so that your wife can have a time to relax.

Let me tell you, we’re talking major good guy points here. You will be amazed what a couple of hours at the mall or coffee shop with a couple of friends will do for your wife. She’ll breeze back in the house refreshed and ready to slay that dragon once again. She might even be ready to tackle that project she’s been putting off for months. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Play a Little

Yesterday, I was talking about how the pressures of time, workload and fatigue can cause depression in our wives. I told you that you need to keep an eye on your wife’s schedule and energy levels, making sure that she gets enough rest; even if that means that you have to take up some of the load. Well, today I’d like to deal with another aspect of rest, something that you can do for her, to help dispel a bit of the stress. It’s called play.

That’s right, play sin't just for kids, it's an important part of maintaining a healthy outlook on life. It is one of the better stress relievers out there; and better yet, it doesn’t have the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol. It just gives us a way to burn up the adrenalin in our systems and get our minds off of the problem.

Now, not just any type of play is going to work; you’re going to have to find the right sort. Playing a Risk or Monopoly really isn’t going to work; nor is going to a concert or fancy party. While some might think of those things as play, they have one fault in common; it’s possible to do them, while still thinking about all the problems around you and all the things you should be doing, if you weren’t wasting your time playing.

For play to be an effective means of stress elimination, it has to be so encompassing that there isn’t time to think about those problems and things that need to get done. Are there games like that? You bet!
I think one of the best adult games for capturing our minds and getting us focused is a pillow fight. Yep, that’s what I said, a pillow fight. Another really good one is a water fight. For that matter, laser tag and Nerf wars also accomplish the same thing. Why do these work? They work because we quickly become totally immersed in the game. We’re so focused on winning; that we don’t have time to think about other things.

A real help in capturing her thoughts with these games is to catch her by surprise. Now, you’ve got to be a bit careful about this. You’re not going to get the results you want if you catch her by surprise with your Super Soaker when she’s coming home from the beauty shop. You’ll get a reaction, but it won’t be the one you want. Nor does it work well to try and start a Nerf war at 11:00 at night, right when she collapses on the couch, devoid of energy.

Whatever you do, don’t go out of your way to let her win. It’s okay if she wins, but not if you just give her the victory. There’s a big difference between the two. Handing her the victory on a silver platter is just going to make her feel like you’re patronizing her, killing the fun.

I’m probably going to get myself in trouble with the ladies for this one, but it’s actually helpful to your wife to lose. Yes, that’s what I said. In fact, it’s even more helpful to her if she’s ever been sexually abused. Let me explain. Women who have been sexually abused feel like they have to keep everything under control. Losing control can make them panic. But, when they discover that they can’t be in control, because there is someone stronger, it helps them to relax and stop trying to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders.

I know that sounds a bit backwards, but it’s true. Women in general struggle with their emotions. It’s not that they try and be emotional; it’s that their emotions tend to control them. That can be dangerous, especially when those emotions are negative ones.

By winning, you take control away from her. Take that moment to hug and kiss her; ravish her with your kisses. Help her to relax in knowing that although she lost, she’s found a safe place to be. That will help her immensely. Knowing she’s in a place of safety will go a long way towards eliminating the stress that was eating her up.

Don’t be surprised if she starts talking about what was bothering her. If she feels secure in that moment, she’ll probably open up quite a bit. Listen well; you may find out some very important things; things which will help you understand how to keep her from getting stressed out the next time.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Keep an Eye on Her Workload

We all know how the hustle and bustle of everyday life can wear us down. It seems that all we do is work, take care of things at home, run around taking care of things and get ourselves ready to do it all over again. Finding time to really rest and relax is a luxury that few can afford; and when we do, it’s usually taking time to bee with friends that we haven’t seen for a while.

For most of us, just dealing with how tired, stressed and overworked we are is so much that we don’t think much about how all that work and stress affects others. Like our wives for example. Stress actually causes more health problems for women than it does for men. Sadly, most of us have no idea of how much stress our wives are under.

You’ve heard the old saw about how “a woman’s work is never done.” Well, with modern appliances and such, it probably is better than it used to be, but there’s still a lot of work that women have to do. It’s even worse for those who work outside the home, then come home to work at all the “traditional” woman’s work in the home. The house and clothes get just as dirty when she’s out working, as they do when she’s at home. Meals still have to be prepared, even though she has less time to cook them. Kids still need to be taken to activities and need help with their homework.

Fatigue and time pressures are the number two cause of depression in women. That makes it a pretty serious problem. With so many women today in the workforce, instead of being in the home force, it’s no wonder they’re battling with time pressures and fatigue. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Whether or not your wife is a good manager of her time, she may need some help from you. For her, managing her time well might be limited to making sure she’s got enough time to do everything she needs to do. That’s not all there is to it. There are a few details which you need to take charge of, just to make sure that they don’t fall off her priority list. Details like recreation and relaxation. Even though she might complain about it, she needs you to make sure she has enough R&R time in her week.

Part of making sure that she has enough time might just be you taking over some of the household responsibilities from her. Don’t cringe; vacuuming the carpet or washing the dishes won’t cause you to lose your man card. Neither will cooking for that matter. I’ve never been able to figure out why men feel they can’t cook at home, but most of the commercial cooks and chefs in the world are men. Tis’ a mystery to me. Of course, the corresponding mystery is why women can’t use a barbecue grill.

Anyway, cooking is a great way to take some of the burden off of her; it’s even fun. Maybe it’s not as fun as watching the ball game, but its’ a great chance to be creative. At the same time, you can relieve your wife’s time constraints, especially if you clean up the dishes afterwards, as well.

Another way that you can help her with her workload is to farm it out for her. Maybe it’s time to hire a part-time housekeeper to come in and clean once a week. It’s amazing what four hours of help, cleaning the house once a week, can do for your wife’s schedule and peace of mind.

Remember, you’ve got great motivation to help her out with this; it will help keep her from being depressed. I don’t think anyone enjoys it when their wife is depressed, and I’m sure that the women don’t enjoy it either. So, do what you can to help make sure that she has enough time, so that she doesn’t have to have all that pressure.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Building Her Up

Let’s face it, women are constantly under attack these days; and I’m not talking about the supposed “war on women” that liberals made up to try and make Republican’s look bad. No, this goes much deeper than any political propaganda or jockeying for position. This is a deeply buried problem in the fabric of our society; one that is determined to destroy women.

Part of this attack is how today’s society has demeaned the classic woman’s role in the family to the point where it is given the appearance of not having any value. Women are constantly told that to “be someone” they have to have their own career, their own money and their own success.

Another part is how modern society has defined beauty. To be beautiful, a woman has to be anorexic, have plastic surgery, buy designer clothes and a team of makeup artists and hairdressers working on her for hours per day. That’s not counting the geeks in the back room who are Photo-shopping every image of her that is allowed to go out in public.

God has created women with intrinsic value, value that goes far beyond the board room or the beauty parlor. It’s a value that is built into their character; the way that they live, move, feel and act. Yet, society has ignored these values, saying that their own values are much more important.

Sadly, this leaves most women fighting depression and problems with self-image. Actually, it’s not surprising. If the message they’re receiving all day long is that they aren’t good enough, it’s no wonder that they feel that they aren’t. If you tell someone the same thing over and over, they’ll eventually believe it, no matter how big a lie it is. This is even more true when nobody is telling them the opposite.

That’s where you and I come in. We can’t help all the women in the world, but we can sure make a difference in the life of our own wife. If nobody else is telling her that she’s special, we should. If nobody else is telling her that her talents and abilities are valuable, we should. If nobody else is telling her that she’s beautiful and sexy, we should. We may not be able to overcome all the garbage that’s being thrown at our wives, but we sure can overcome some of it.

Our wives need for us to be building them up. It’s not just a nicety, or even a desire, it’s a genuine need. There is so much that is beating them down, that if we don’t pick them up, there’s a good chance that they’ll spend the rest of their lives down and depressed. I don’t mean just a little depressed, either; I’m talking about full-blown clinical depression.

It’s really not hard to compliment your wife. All you have to do is focus on what she does well. Whoever she is, and whatever she does; I’m sure that there are some things which she does extremely well. Maybe she doesn’t do everything all that well, but then again, neither do we.

Focus on the good stuff, not the bad. Quite telling her how she needs to change, and tell her how great she is, just the way she is. There are enough people telling her how she needs to change, don’t let your voice be added to theirs. Let your voice be the one which stands out from the crowd, telling her that you’re glad that she’s the one you picked. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Patience Man, Patience

I never knew it, but women are incredible sports fans. That’s right, every woman, around the world, has her favorite sport, which she practices every chance she get. I find it amazing how devoted they can be to their sport, especially since I’ve always thought that women hate sports. Of course, that’s because I was thinking of more conventional sports, you know, the kind that we guys like.

No, women don’t like the same sports we do; that’s why we don’t often see their love affair with their sport as meaning anything. I say sport intentionally, because there’s really only one sport that women love, not an assortment of them, like men.

So, I suppose you want to know what sport I’m talking about… it’s shopping. Yep, shopping is the woman’s sport. Every women I’ve ever met plays that sport; some better than others; but they all play. Although I’ve never seen a shopping pool in an office, instead of a football pool, that doesn’t make it any less a sport. Nor does the fact that the Sports section in the paper ignores their sport; after all, that’s written by men. For that matter, the fact that there are no professional shopping teams doesn’t limit it as a sport, because every woman considers herself a pro-shopper.

Of course, the epitome of the women’s sport is clothes shopping. Have you ever noticed how department stores put the women’s clothing section, which is huge, right in the front of the store? By comparison, the men’s clothing section is tiny and usually hidden in the back corner. You see, those stores recognize women’s sport and are all supporters of it.

Okay, now comes the hard part. Since we’re all looking for ways to spend time with our wives (at least I hope we are), here’s a great way (in her mind) for us to do so. That’s to go shopping with them. Yes, I’m serious; I’m also glad that I’m doing this through the Internet, so that nobody can throw rocks at me.

As much as we all hate shopping, the Bible tells us to “Love our wives as Christ loved the church and laid down his life for her.” I know of no way that a man can lay down his life any more effectively than to go shopping with his wife. Yes, it’s hard, but that’s how it qualifies as laying down your life.

Now, if you are actually brave enough or foolish enough to try this, let me give you a few hints to make the process a little less painful.
  • Take a good book to read. That way, you’ve got something to do, while you’re wasting… err, investing all that time in your marriage.
  • Make good use of Starbucks, the Food Court, Annie’s Pretzels, Baskin & Robins and other cultural attractions. Believe it, or not, she even enjoys those half-time breaks from shopping.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. Women are the only one who think that uncomfortable shoes are a fashion statement. Hey, you’re going to be spending hours on your feet, you may as well be comfortable.
  • Speaking of hours on your feet, most stores don’t put chairs for husbands. Personally, I think this is prejudiced against men, but that’s the way it is. So, if you are going to need to sit down, and don’t want to sit on the floor, you might want to consider bringing along a folding camp stool.
  • Find things for her to try on, that you’d like to see her in. Hey, part of shopping is playing “dress up,” so you may as well help her along. Who knows, you might actually find something that you both like.
  • Be prepared to carry. I think this is the biggest reason why women like their husbands going shopping with them. That way, they don’t have to carry all that stuff. After all, why should they, when there’s a man to do it?
  • Sneak out to the sporting goods or hardware department. This trick doesn’t always work, but if you’re in a department store that has a “man department” you can get a break by telling your wife that there’s something you want to look at. She doesn’t have to know that it’s a new fishing pole.
  • Whatever you do, don’t schedule something else afterwards. If you are planning on going shopping for three hours with your wife, then watching the game afterwards, forget it. Women can’t tell time when they are involved in their sport.

It would probably be best for your blood pressure if you don’t pay any attention to how much she is spending. Actually, most women go shopping without spending a whole lot of money. Their enjoyment doesn’t come from spending, but from the looking and trying on. So, don’t let the money get to you. If you do, you’ll ruin the whole thing. A moment’s explosive outburst can make a whole day of sacrifice go up in smoke.

Finally, always remember that to be a successful cheerleader for the women’s sport, you need lots of patience. This is a very time-consuming sport; one in which the true pros carefully examine every option, before putting off making a decision. The goal really isn’t about spending money, but rather about spending time involved in the sport. So, you may as well relax and do what you can to enjoy it.

On the positive side, your wife will think that you’ve spent lots of quality time together, while you’ve mostly ignored what she’s doing. Don’t totally ignore it though. To gain romance points, you need to make the occasional comment, preferably positive ones. “When are we going to leave?” doesn’t qualify as a positive comment. Nor does, “That makes you look like a cow.” This is a good time to engage the brain, before the mouth.

Take the time to go shopping with your wife, and maybe she’ll be more willing to take the time to do something that you want to do. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Be Her Encourager

Just in case you haven’t noticed, the world is full of people who are quick to put you down, tell you that you can’t do something and otherwise just bring negativity into your life. Actually, I don’t think that there are all that many of them, but they seem to be good at popping up at just the wrong moment; and when they do, they’re so noisy that it sounds like a crowd. Everyone else is pretty much content to sit on the sidelines and see whether you succeed or fail. Even if they’re wishing that you fail, they don’t get in your face about it.

Those few loudmouths can really mess up your day though. Actually, they can mess up anybody’s day; like your wife’s. If you and I have to put up with those sorts of people, don’t you think that she does as well? Of course she does. She might even have more of them to put up with than we do.

Unfortunately, we can’t really do much of anything to shut them up, at least not within the limits of what the law allows. So, we’ve got to come up with something else to do, something to help overcome the negativity that they are sowing in the hearts and minds of our wives.

Fortunately, we can do something about that. We can encourage our wives, letting them know that there’s at least one person who stands behind them, who believes in them, who’s willing to go to bat for them. We can be the ones that lift them up, when others are dragging them down. We can tell them that they can, when everyone else is telling them they can’t. We can encourage them, when everyone else is trying to discourage them.

The key to this is understanding what your wife needs and when she needs it. That can be a bit challenging at times. Most of the time, trying to figure out what a woman is thinking or feeling is beyond a male understanding. However, that doesn’t mean it’s hopeless; just that we have to find new ways of doing it.

Start with the basics. You know when your wife is depressed or in a bad mood; nobody has to tell you that. Most of the time, when a woman is in a bad mood, you can tell as soon as you walk in the door; even without seeing her.

From there, the next step is to find out what happened. She may not be in the mood to tell you what she’s upset or depressed about, but she’ll usually be more than ready to tell you about her day; so, ask about her day. If you pay attention to what she says, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to figure out what has put her out of sorts.

Once you know what caused the problem, you’re in the home stretch. All you have to do is the opposite. If somebody has been telling her she can’t do something, tell her that she can. If somebody has been talking bad about how she does things, tell her how good she is at doing things. Whatever it is, give her the opposite, and keep giving her the opposite until you see that it has made a difference.

That doesn’t mean to sit there and badger her with it. What I mean is to tell her, then come back to that again a little later, from a different direction. Keep coming up with new ways to encourage her, until you can see that she’s actually encouraged. That’s going to take several comments, not just one.

She may not accept what you say the first time, especially if what the others have said has hurt her. It takes a while to overcome that. But, your words will make a difference. So, don’t give up. She needs that encouragement and she’ll appreciate it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

More Love

Pretty much everyone, men and women alike, claims to love their spouse “no matter what.” We make it sound like our love is truly unconditional, regardless of whatever might happen. However, I’d have to say that we’re fooling ourselves when we say that. Oh, we’re right in the sense of being able to love them through whatever we have in mind at that time, or we wouldn’t be saying it. That’s not the same thing though. Just because we’re convinced that we could keep loving them through some serious sickness doesn’t mean that we love them unconditionally.

Love is only known by its expression. If there’s no expression of love, then there’s no love. There might be something we think is love, but it’s nothing more than a feeling inside of us. For it to be recognizable as love to another, it has to come out of us and be expressed to that other person.

Unconditional love is only such when it is expressed at times when the other person doesn’t deserve it. If our expression of love is dependent upon the other person’s actions, then it isn’t really unconditional love. For us guys, that often means being able to continue expressing love, even when she is denying us sexually. That’s hard to do, but if we truly love our wives, we are able to do so.

So, what gets in our way of being able to express love at all times? More than anything it’s our emotions. When we don’t feel loved or appreciated, we have trouble expressing love towards others. To put it another way, when nobody is filling our love tank, we don’t have anything to give away.

Actually, although we live by that statement, it’s untrue. If we need our love tank to be filled, in order to have love to give to another, then there’s something wrong. We should be able to create love out of nothing, regardless of what others are doing to us. If we can’t do that, then human will doesn’t mean anything.

Okay, so what should we do? We should act in love towards our wives, no matter how our wives are acting towards us. Have you ever stopped to think that she may be acting the way she is, because she feels unloved?

Herein lies a great secret; loving when we don’t feel like it. Many have said, “Love isn’t an emotion, it’s a choice of the will.” I don’t totally agree with that. Try telling your wife sometime, “I don’t feel anything towards you, but I still love you.” I guarantee you, she’s not going to be thrilled. There is an aspect of love that is a feeling, but there is another aspect of love that’s a choice of the will. The will part comes into play when we act in love, even though our emotions are in conflict with that action.

Did you get that? We still need to act in love, even though are emotions aren’t in agreement. I’m not talking about pretending to love here; I’m talking about doing loving actions, even though we don’t feel like it. That’s a level of loving expression that most people never reach.

You know the crazy thing? If you act in love, even when you don’t feel like it, your emotions will follow your actions. In other words, if you don’t feel loving, act in love anyway; that will change your feelings.
As crazy as that sounds, it’s absolutely true. I have had a number of times where the best thing I could do to overcome negative feelings towards my wife was to do something loving for her. Every time I did that, it worked; she felt loved and I felt better towards her. My emotions followed my action.

A child is controlled by their emotions. As mature men, we need to learn how to control our emotions. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t feel anything, but rather that we should use our emotions as a tool, shaping them to meet the need. One great need is that of acting in love towards our wives, so we need to shape our emotions towards love.

Anyone who says that they’ve “fallen out of love” with their wife has just confessed that they’ve stopped trying to be loving towards their wife. They are expecting their wife to make them feel loving, rather than making that decision to love. I’d have to say, they probably never truly loved their wife, they only thought they did. Ouch!

So, the next time you find yourself thinking negatively about your wife, it means it’s a good day to buy her flowers, or maybe a box of chocolates. Perhaps you should cook her a special dinner or help her out with some chores. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it is something that you will both interpret as an act of love. That will help you overcome those negative thoughts and feelings, and feel the love that you need to feel for your wife.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

All that Glitters – Part 2

I normally don’t do two part posts, but after yesterday’s, I came up with a little more that I wanted to say. While I’m sure that most of you didn’t run out and buy your wife a piece of jewelry last night, I’m also sure that at least some of you thought about it. I took my own advice and did.

I find it interesting that the mating ritual of the human being includes jewelry. In our modern society, it’s customary for a man to give a ring to his intended, when he asks her to marry him. Thinking about this, I realized that there was a practical aspect to this, in addition to the normal collection of symbolic ones that we talk about.

First, the symbolic; the ring is a sign of commitment, of affection and a as a circle shows the unbroken cycle of life and love. That’s all great and actually rather important; but there’s an even more important symbolism in the ring. In Old Testament times, the ring was actually cut into the couple’s flesh, forming a scar, a ring that couldn’t be removed.

The concept of cutting the ring into the flesh comes from covenant ceremony. In pretty much any covenant ceremony, the two parties cut their hands or arms, clasping their two cuts together and mixing their blood. The idea is, “Your blood now flows in my veins and my blood flows in yours, we are one.”

We’ve replaced the idea of cutting with a band of gold or other precious metal. But, we’ve also replaced something else with that ring as well; that is, the idea of dowry. While many people hold the idea that paying a dowry was “buying” the bride from her father; that was never the case. If so, it would make for very poor business, as the cost of raising a girl to marriageable age was much more than any dowry ever paid. No, the dowry was intended to show that the young man had the wherewithal to support his new wife.

A diamond engagement ring fulfills this practical aspect as well. As these rings are rather expensive, being able to buy one for her is a way of showing that one is ready to marry; at least in a financial senses. A young man who can’t afford to buy a ring, probably can’t afford to support a wife, either.

In our time, more and more couples are getting married, without there ever being an engagement ring. Oh, they have wedding rings, but not an engagement ring. The wedding ring still carries the symbolic meaning of commitment and the unbroken circle of life and love, but not the significance of dowry. As wedding bands are much cheaper than engagement rings, that proof of being able to support her is missing.

Did you buy your wife an engagement ring? I must confess that I never did. At the time we got married, we were struggling to make ends meet. We jointly decided that there were more important things to spend our money on. Had my wife had the understanding of the ring’s practical value as a demonstration of my ability to support her, we may never have gotten married. Nevertheless, she overlooked that, just as I did, and we married.

We’ve been married 25 years and a few months now. Yesterday, my wife had her birthday. I celebrated it by paying off a 26 year old debt to her. She finally got her diamond. It was something I’d wanted to do for years, and this year, I was finally able to do so.

If you’ve never bought your wife a diamond engagement ring, I’d like to propose the idea to you that you owe it to her. Maybe you can’t do it this year, but there’s no reason you can’t start squirreling away a few dollars here and there as your diamond fund. When you get enough, buy her that ring. I’d say that you owe it to her.

Monday, June 4, 2012

All that Glitters

As Shakespeare once wrote, “All that glitters is not gold.” When the great bard of England wrote that, he was referring to the fact that not everything that looks like gold is gold. Iron pyrites, otherwise known as “fool’s gold” gives credence to that statement, as it has the appearance of gold, while being virtually worthless.

Even though not everything that glitters is gold, that doesn’t take anything away from the glitter of gold, silver, precious stones, or any of those other bobbles which women love to have. There’s something about jewelry that fascinates women. I’m not sure if it’s the intrinsic value of it, or the lasting beauty, but whatever the reason, women love receiving jewelry as gifts. That’s a fact you can take to the bank; to the safe-deposit vault to be exact.

Most men use flowers as their fail-safe gift, when they don’t know what to buy for their wives. While there’s nothing wrong with that, giving the same thing over and over again can be a bit repetitive. We need a bit of imagination in our gift giving; if for no other reason than to show our wives that we really do think about the gifts which we buy.

Jewelry is a great option, when you want to give a gift to your wife. I have yet to meet a woman who doesn’t like to receive jewelry. I know, you’re thinking, “Ouch, that’s an expensive gift idea he came up with.” Wait a minute, though; jewelry doesn’t have to be expensive.

While jewelry can be very expensive, there are a lot of things you can buy which aren’t. A pair of earrings isn’t all that expensive, neither is a freshwater pearl necklace. For that matter, lots of women like costume jewelry, which isn’t expensive at all.

Remember, the idea isn’t how much money you can spend. You don’t get more points for spending more dollars; women just don’t think that way. What gets you points is the number of different romantic acts that you do, not how big each of them is. So, buying your wife a $500 necklace isn’t going to get you any more points than a $20 pair of earrings.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t buy the $500 necklace if that’s what you want to do (and can afford to do). All I’m saying is don’t let the lack of funds to buy the big gift keep you from buying any gift. It’s not about the money; it’s about you thinking of her and thinking of what she would like.

That brings me to another important point. You want to be sensitive to her style. If your wife is all about modern simple lines, don’t buy here something that has enough filigree to make it look like it was made back in Elizabethan England. Likewise, it doesn’t work to buy ultra-modern styles for a woman whose dresses all have lace on them. You need to find jewelry which matches her style.

Okay, so how do you do that? It’s actually quite simple. Start out by finding out what her style is. Look at the jewelry she already has. Look at her clothes. Look at the furniture she buys for the house. What type of style is all that displaying? Is it modern, Victorian, Rustic? Whatever style she is buying the most of is her style. All you have to do is find something that matches that style and she’ll love it.

If you’re still now sure how to define her style, go to the jewelry store or jewelry counter in a department store and describe that to them. They’re used to men who don’t know their wife’s style. All you have to do is describe what your investigation uncovered and they’ll be able to recommend pieces that match her style. So, you see, it’s really not all that hard.

If you really want to make more impact with your gift, give it to her sometime when you take her out to eat. That will make it even more romantic. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

More Than Her Lips

Have you ever watched a movie where some European guy kisses the woman’s hand? That probably seemed a bit strange to you. After all, why kiss her hand, when you can kiss her lips? Of course, if she’s not your wife, that’s a whole other story. Then again, with the way women react to it, there might be something to kissing hands after all.

Kissing is wonderfully romantic; but it doesn’t have to be limited to just her lips. The thing to remember here is that a woman’s skin is much more sensitive than a man’s. So, while a kiss on the hand may not seem like much to us, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t much to them. In fact, a kiss on the hand is a great way to find your way to her lips.

I’m obviously not recommending that you go around kissing every woman you meet on her hand. While they might like it, I’m sure that your wife wouldn’t. What I am recommending is kissing your own wife on her hand.

Actually, I’m recommending much more than that. Why not start on her hand and work your way up her arm, kissing every inch or two. So what if it takes a while to get there, you can both enjoy it. While you’re at it, a few kisses on the back of her neck wouldn’t hurt either.

Yesterday, my wife and I were on an airplane, returning from Mexico. We like to express our love to one another frequently, in a number of different ways. However, it’s a bit difficult to kiss when strapped into an airline seat; not impossible, just awkward. So, instead of kissing her on the lips, I kissed her hand and her arm. That had as much positive effect on her as if I had kissed her on the lips.

One thing that makes this type of kissing effective is that it is one-way kissing. What I mean by that is that it is an expression of love, without the expectation of reciprocation. If I kiss my wife on the lips, I expect her to kiss back; but when I kiss her hand, I just expect her to enjoy it.

Kissing in not only wonderfully romantic, it’s incredibly intimate as well. It’s a form of marital intimacy that can be practiced in public, without problem. Actually, there’s something about a kiss that can’t even be expressed by “more intimate” forms of touch. Perhaps that’s because a kiss doesn’t have to be overtly sexual, it can just be extremely loving. Women want that expression of love, without the sexual overtones, just for the sake of being loved.