Friday, September 21, 2012

Loving Her in Her Car

You know, I’m firmly convinced that it would be impossible to ever tell my wife that I love her too many times. She’s never rolled her eyes when I’ve said that; never plugged her ears, and never told me to quit. If anything, she wants me to tell her that I love her even more than I do.

The trick isn’t finding times to tell her that I love her, but rather in finding new ways to do so. Romance needs variety; even the most romantic act can become routine, if it’s done over and over. So, I feel that even something as simple as telling her I love her needs variety. I need to find new ways of expressing myself, so that those words have the greatest possible impact.

I’m sure you’ve seen cars that were decorated for a wedding. Hopefully, you’ve even had your car decorated by your friends. You know what I mean; writing “Just Married” on the back windshield, tying cans and old shoes to the bumper, maybe a few hearts on the side windows. The typical stuff.

People do the same thing for their favorite high-school football team. At least, they do in the area where I live. Of course, Texans gets little bit more carried away with high-school football than the residents of other states do. It’s such a phenomenon here, that even National Geographic did a piece on it. Anyway, lots of people paint their car windows with slogans and team names, in the team colors of course, especially right before a big game.

Okay, so what’s so romantic about that? Well, we can use the same type of lo-tech approach to send our wives a message that we love them. All you need is a bottle of liquid shoe polish or some tempera paint (tempera paint is water-based, so it won’t damage the car).

Okay, so all you need to do is paint “I Lnve You” on the back windshield of her car. I suppose you could paint “I Lnve My Wife” there instead, if you like that better. To really do it good, paint it backwards, so that she can read it in the mirror.

If possible, make sure that her car is parked in such a way that she approaches it from the front. That way, she might not see your message until she looks in the rear view mirror. While that may not be possible for you, if you can manage it, it will make the surprise even better.

You see, there’s always an imaginative way to tell your wife that you love her, all you need is an active imagination. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Just Overlook It

Yesterday, I talked about telling your wife all the things you love about her; today I want to talk about the opposite. No, I’m not talking about telling her everything you don’t like about her. If you’re like most people, you do too much of that already. What I want to talk about is how you deal with those negative things.

If you think about it, there’s something about everyone you know that bugs you. It might be a bad habit they have, it might be the way they do a certain thing, it might even be an attitude that you think they have towards you. Regardless of what it is, you put up with it for that relationship.

Re-read that last sentence. Now, why is it that we are so apt to overlook things that our friends and co-workers do, in order to maintain our relationship with them, but we have trouble doing the same thing with our wife? It would seem to me that love would make it easier to overlook something that doesn’t agree with us; but in most cases, we find more things that bother us in our mates, than we do in our friends. Why is that?

I think a lot of it has to do with proximity. Granted, we spend a fair amount of time with our co-workers; but we don’t live with them. Even in an organization where people are known to “let down their hair” we all live with masks on. So, we don’t usually see those people at their worst, we see the side of them that they have decided to show at work. Not only that, but we don’t see them at their most vulnerable moments either.

On the other hand, we see our wives in the worst of times; when everything has gone to pot. We also see them in those moments when there isn’t any mask; times when they are relaxed and unlikely to bother hiding who they are. Finally, we see them when they are dealing with the things that nobody else sees; all the little irritating things of life, which take away their importance.

There’s another aspect of this which I need to mention. When we were dating, we created a perfect image of her in our minds. That’s the standard that we expect her to live up to each and every day. When my wife and I first started dating, she was living four hours away, up in the mountains. She’d come down to the city every weekend to see me and take care of business. On the way, she’d have rollers in her hair and be putting on her makeup. So, when she arrived, she looked perfect. That’s the image that was formed in my mind.

Now, three kids and over 25 years later, I’ve seen my wife with the rollers in her hair and even the times when she didn’t have time to put the rollers in her hair. So, even though I have that perfect image in my mind, I also have the real image. The two may not always be the same.

Okay, so what do we do when we find that our wives aren’t perfect? How do we deal with that, so that it doesn’t become a destructive force in our marriage? I’d recommend going back to what we did when we were dating. You see, those “defects” were there back then. She really wasn’t perfect; you just thought she was. Think back and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

So, what did you do then? You overlooked those defects. That’s it. You concentrated on the good, and didn’t bother looking at the not-so-good. Well, if you could do that then, why can’t you do that now? What’s changed? Don’t blame it on her, because it’s really not her fault. What has changed is you and your perception of her. That’s what needs to be dealt with.

When you overlook any flaws in your wife, it’s much easier to concentrate on the good. When you focus on the good, it’s much easier to love her. When you love her, it’s much easier to be romantic. And, when you’re romantic, it’s much easier for her to love you.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why She’s the Best

Let me ask you a simple question; why do you love your wife? Now, while the question might be simple, the answer is probably pretty complex. In reality, there usually isn’t one thing that makes us love our wives, but rather a whole host of things which, when taken together, make her the person whom you have chosen to spend your life with.

Granted, there are probably some things about her that bug you as well. It seems that everyone has a few of those as well. But, right now, we’re not talking about them; we’re talking about the good things. You know; those things which she does that make you smile; that make you want to hug her and give her a kiss. The stuff that made you fall in love with her in the first place.

Well, when was the last time you told her about those things? If you’re like most people, you are much quicker to tell her when she’s done something that bugs you, then you are to tell her about something that she’s done which pleases you.

Do you want to build her up? I sure hope the answer to that is a resounding “Yes!” Okay, let’s do a little building up exercise. Here’s what you need to do. Start out by making a list of the things that make you love her. Don’t put anything on there that’s iffy, or anything that’s conditional. You need only those things that she does which you truly like. This list needs to be 110% positive. Check it over good, to make sure that you don’t have any hidden barbs in there.

Now that you’ve got your list, you need to give it to her. But, I don’t want you to give it to her; I want you to read it to her. Make it personal; something about just giving her a list isn’t all that personal. Take a few moments alone with her, when the kids aren’t around, and sit down on the sofa together. Then, tell her you have something you want to say to her. Don’t give her any idea of what it is. In fact, if you can give the impression that it might not be all that good, without saying that, it might work out even better.

Then, take out your list and tell her each and every thing that’s on it. Don’t actually read off the paper, you need to be looking in her eyes when you do it. The list is there to help remind you of the things you want to say, not how you are going to say them. If you have to read each thing off the list one at a time, then do so, but read it to yourself. Then look at her and tell it to her.

I guarantee you that this will make a moment for your wife that she won’t forget easily. Who knows, she might even tell you a few things that she loves about you too.

Monday, September 17, 2012

An Island of Calm, in the Midst of Her Storm

Life is full of unexpected problems. Everything can be going along just fine, when all of a sudden, it all goes haywire. You know what I mean, it’s happened to you; it happens to all of us. It even happens to your wife. Actually, it probably happens to your wife, more than it happens to you.

How you react and what you do when your wife hits one of those moments can have a lot to do with how well and how easily she manages to get through it. You can be a support to her in those critical times, becoming an anchor for her life, when everything else seems to be going crazy.

As men, we have a little bit of trouble understanding our wife’s emotions. We have emotions as well, but they don’t affect us as much as they do our wives. Most of the time we bury our emotions so deep that we don’t even see them ourselves, let alone anyone else seeing them. We are much more comfortable with our thoughts about things than we are with our feelings about them.

It’s much different for women. In most cases, they don’t have a whole lot of control over their emotions. In fact, they feel more like their emotions are more in control of them, instead of them being in control of their emotions. When things go wrong, it’s not uncommon for a woman to feel like she’s adrift in an ocean of emotions, with no control over the rudder.

That’s where you need to come in. She needs you to be her “safe anchorage,” an island of calm in the midst of her storm. She need someplace where she can go and know that she’ll be safe, no matter how much the storm of her emotions tells her otherwise.

Your ability to remain calm in the midst of a problem makes a huge difference to your wife. Even more than that, your ability to focus on the Lord and on the help you can expect to receive from Him, gives her an anchor for her own faith.

It’s easy to forget about the Lord in a moment of crisis. Yet, if there is ever a time when we need to put our eyes on Him, that’s the time. True spiritual leadership always brings people to the Lord. If all you do is to have her come to you, you’ve only done half the job. Once she comes to you, then you take her with you to the Lord, placing the situation before Him.

Yes, be that safe harbor for her. But, the best way of doing that is by putting your faith in the Lord. With your confidence in Him, you can always find the answer to your wife’s need. You can always be that island of calm in the midst of her storm. You can always help her through. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Make Yourself Available to Talk

One of the biggest complaints that women have about their husband’s is the lack of communication between the two of them. This is even true in couples where it seems like they talk a lot. The question isn’t so much one of talking; it’s what they’re talking about.

You see, most couples talk about the incidental problems of their lives. Problems with the kids; problems with paying bills; problems with the broken washing machine. Those aren’t real exciting subjects to talk about; not only that, but they’re really not talking about you and your relationship. All they are is dealing with the vagrancies of life; something we all have to do, but don’t enjoy.

When your wife wants to talk with you, what she wants is to talk about your relationship. Now, I realize this can be really dangerous. In fact, it’s so bad that probably the most feared words that any married man can hear are “we need to talk.” That can take the biggest, toughest Rambo type guy and turn him into a total wimp. We run when we hear those words, and with good reason; for most of us, that phrase has come to mean that our wives want to tell us off.

Like I said, I understand the problem. I’ve been there. But, you know, this isn’t a problem that’s going to go away if we ignore it. In fact, it’s just the opposite. This is a problem that is going to grow faster and faster, the more we ignore it. Then, one day, the phrase won’t be “we need to talk” it’ll be “I want a divorce.

Granted, women can be extremely negative when they “talk.” They can cut a guy up in pieces and spit out the bones, all in the amount of time it takes to say a few sentences. That seems to be a natural ability they all possess. The question is whether or not they possess the ability to control it.

For a woman, talking is therapeutic. The very act of talking helps her deal with the situation, even if no solution is found or agreed upon. What they need is the opportunity to talk about it, not that we can come up with a solution, or even that we make some major change in our lives. Although, I’ll have to say that we’d better take the time to think about whether their complaints merit our making a change.
Let me give you a few secrets about letting your wife spout off:
  • Don’t take it personal. Yeah, I know, it sure sounds personal. Often, women will express their frustration about one thing in their lives, as being something totally different. A problem with a strong willed child can come out as you’re not taking her out to eat.
  • Look beyond the words, for the hurt that she’s feeling. Once again, it may not have anything to do with what’s being said.
  • Don’t lose your cool. This is about letting her vent, not about getting into an argument. You don’t have to “win,” you have to let her express herself, so that you can both win.
  • If something she says requires some action on your part, make sure you understand the need, the action to be taken, and that the two of you are in agreement. Even so, don’t expect that your actions will solve everything.
  • Use the opportunity to minister to her. Hey, you’re supposed to be the priest of the home. Well priest, what does she need? If you don’t know, send up a quiet prayer, asking God for wisdom.
  • Don’t accept “clich├ęs” as being true. Statements like, “you have to support me on this” are her opinion; but that doesn’t mean they’re biblical. There are a lot of things which people think are true, but aren’t necessarily so. Check it out first, to make sure that what she’s expecting lines up with the Word of God. If it doesn’t, gently teach her the truth.

Having said all that; the big thing I need to say is that you and I need to make ourselves available to our wives, so that they can have those times to get things off of their chests. The longer we make her wait, the rougher it’s going to be when it actually happens. We can head off a lot of problems by making sure that she has those opportunities to talk to us about something deeper than the baby throwing up.

A woman who has had the opportunity to unload her heart is going to receive romance much better. More than that, she’s going to be able to express her love more fully. If her heart is filled with garbage from life, then that’s all she’s ever going to be able to show.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Celebrate Her Victories

Everyone likes to receive an attaboy now and then. It just seems to add to the good feeling that any success gives us. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big victory or a small one, having others see it and recognize it multiplies the pleasure of that success.

One of the big reasons why attaboys are such rare commodities is that what seems like a great victory to one may not seem like much of anything to another. We don’t congratulate people for their victories because we have a “so what” attitude about it. This is magnified even more so when what was a major victory for them is something normal to us.

When a baby is learning to walk, we’re all quick to applaud those first steps. Their victory is a big deal to us. Yet, for almost all of us, walking is such a normal thing that we do it without thinking about it. Why should their victory be a big deal, when we do it all the time? It’s a big deal because it’s a first for them, and we recognize it as such. We celebrate their victory because we recognize the importance of it.

Okay, so why don’t we do that with others? Why don’t we celebrate our wives victories as if they were that important? Where does the idea break down? When do victories in people’s lives stop being important?

I’m not sure there are answers to those questions, but the fact remains, we do stop celebrating their victories, forgetting about their importance and forgetting to congratulate our wives on those things that are big victories in their eyes.

Just the other day, my wife created a Facebook fan page for her business. Now, that may not sound like a big deal to you and me, but it was to her. Although she understands the value of using technology and tries to do so at every opportunity, my wife definitely qualifies as being technologically challenged. That makes her victory even bigger; although to a geek like me, it doesn’t seem like much of anything.

You see, it can’t be about how big a victory it is for me; it has to be about how big a victory it is for her. When I use myself as the standard, then I’m being unfair to her. I was an engineer for 15 years; I started working with personal computers over 35 years ago. I know this stuff. But, that’s not saying that she does or that she should. Her victories are important to her, and I need to see them that way.

Let me take this from another angle, something that almost all guys can relate to. Your wife probably isn’t all that interested in what you do at work. She might be interested in the people that you work with, but not what you do. So, when you come home from work and talk about some great victory you’ve had, how does she react? Let me guess, she doesn’t react much at all. She might not even understand what you’re talking about, let alone how important that victory is. You could have invented the next generation of supercomputers and if she doesn’t understand the value of that, your accomplishment doesn’t mean a thing to her.

Okay, so tell me, how well do you understand what your wife does? If you don’t there’s no way that you’re going to be able to celebrate her victories. You have to be interested enough in her to be interested in what she does as well. That way, when she tells you about her victory, you at least have some idea of what she’s talking about.

There’s something within us all that seeks approval from those who are close to us. Children do it with their parents all the time. Well, guess what? Married people need that from each other as much as their kids do from them. If anything, women need it more than men do. Why is that? Because the world is constantly telling them that they’re not good enough. If we don’t celebrate their victories, then we’re sending them the same message.

So, what victories has your wife had lately? Did you celebrate them with her? Or, have you ignored her victories for so long that she doesn’t even bother to tell you about them? Ouch! Make sure you’re up to date on her victories and that you’re letting her know how proud you are of her.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Your Gold Plated Word

Let me ask you a question. When you tell your wife that you’re going to do something, what does that mean? I’m not asking what it should mean, but what it really means. Can she take that statement to the bank, knowing that you’ll do what you said? Or, are you like many men, saying things to your wife to get her to be quiet, but not doing what you said you’ll do?

Now, look at it from her perspective. Would she say that you complete what you say you’ll do? Or, would she be a bit skeptical about that? You know, in most couples, what he thinks about the faithfulness of his word and what she thinks are totally different.

It’s really just a matter of perspective. When you and I don’t manage to do something that we said we’d do, we’re usually pretty quick to forgive ourselves. We tell ourselves things like, “It’s just this once” so that we don’t feel bad about it. Since it’s just once, and not a habit, it’s really not that big a deal; so we can forget about it.

But, that same event which we forgave ourselves for might be a really big deal to our wives. In her eyes, that one time we didn’t come through can even overshadow a whole bunch of times that we did; especially if it’s something important to her.

That happens many more times than you’d believe. You see, what’s important to her may not be important to you. So, it’s easy to tell yourself that it’s no big deal, because to you it isn’t. But, that thing that’s not a big deal to you might be a really big deal to her. Let me try and put it in a way that will make sense to you.

Let’s say that you and your wife don’t make love for two weeks. Now, to you that’s a big deal, but to her it’s not. She probably doesn’t even realize that it’s been two whole weeks; while you’re counting the number of hours.

Okay, now let’s reverse that. Let’s say that you promise your wife that you’re going out to eat on Friday. But, at 4:50 in the afternoon, just as you’re getting ready to leave, your boss tells you that you’re going to have to take a client out for dinner. “Okay.” you think, “ No big deal. I can reschedule with my wife.” Whoa! It might not be a big deal to you, but you’ve just allowed your boss to make a liar out of you in your wife’s eyes.

The thing is, a woman needs to be able to trust in her husband’s word. When he says something, she’s got to be able to take it as being gold plated. If she can’t, then she can’t trust her husband. That’s a big deal. Amongst other problems that causes, it causes her huge problems in being able to give herself to him. Like I said, it’s a big deal.

So, make sure that your word is that famous gold plated one. When you tell her something; that should be it. She’s able to have confidence in that word and run with it; knowing that you’ll come through. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Rose by any Other Name

Ah, flowers; the great equalizer which helps all the romantically challenged men of the world. If there was ever a good reason for God to create flowers, this is it. To give men an emergency fallback position, if they can’t come up with any other romantic act to do. Granted, they’re pretty and smell nice as well, but that’s just part of what make them work so well as a romantic gift.

It seems everyone knows to buy their wife a dozen red roses. But wait! Why does it have to b a dozen? Why do they have to be roses? And why do they need to be red? Granted, red roses have a reputation for romance, but that doesn’t mean that they’re the only flowers which can be romantic. Any flower can.

Actually, for some women, red roses aren’t the best choice. My wife doesn’t particularly like roses and red is definitely not her favorite color. So, I’m not going to have the maximum impact if I buy her red roses; I’m much better off buying her some other type of flower.

While I have nothing against red roses, I see three problems with only buying those and not buying other types of flowers. First of all, romance needs variety. If you’re always buying the same type of flowers for your wife, there’s not a whole lot of variety. That alone is enough reason to throw a few other types of flowers in there from time to time. The second problem I see with red roses is that they don’t show any creativity. Creativity goes a long way in romance, because it shows your personality and that you’ve thought about the gift. But the big reason I have a problem with red roses is that if they’re the only type of flowers you ever buy your wife, it shows that you aren’t studying her.

You see, everyone has their own favorites. Now, maybe your wife’s favorite flowers are red roses, that’s fine. But maybe she really likes pink. If that’s the case, then you’d be better off buying her pink roses. If roses make her sneeze, then you’d be better off with another type of flower. More than anything, the choices you make should be based on what she likes. That’s the key. You’ve got to find out what your wife likes, and then find something that matches it.

Maybe she really likes lilies, or chrysanthemums or even carnations. My wife really likes alstroemeria (good luck pronouncing it) and lilies. Her favorite color is peach. Okay, so I look for peach whatever you call them and lilies. That way, I’m “customizing” the gift to her tastes. While I’m sure she’d appreciate the red roses, I’m also sure she’d enjoy the others much more.

Since I want my gift to give my wife pleasure, I’m willing to put forth that extra effort. That way, my romantic act has the most possible impact on her. So, what kind of flowers does your wife like the most?