You Don’t Have To Get It! You Just Have to Do It!

August 31, 2009

As I was reading over some of these first few posts, it dawned on me that many men will read these and not have any way of understanding what I am proposing that they really do. Many of you will have no frame of reference where to check what I am saying against their personal experience or personal knowledge. For many of you, you have never seen a man demonstrate this type of love to his wife, this type of commitment. What you no doubt have seen is myriad broken homes, broken relationships, hurting men, hurting woman. But most importantly, notice that where you have seen these hurting people and families, you have not witnessed men doing what is right, what is needed.

I think about the bravery of men and woman at war right now. The courage that they show everyday. And I remember what a man once told me, “courage is not the absence of fear, it is the recognition of fear and choosing to do what is right, what is needed in spite of the fear.” How would anyone be considered courageous if they had not acted when others recognized a fearful situation. That is what I am asking of all you men. To be courageous. To accept the fact that you may be fearful of trying to act in a way that is new, in a way that is foreign, in a way that makes you unique, but do it anyway. Even more, I am asking you to do all of this not having your own historical evidence that it will work. That there will be any change in your relationship. Or that your wife or girlfriend will accept this new you. That they will believe you have really changed. Or that you are doing this because you love them. That you are in love with them. That you want this to work. That you want a healthy relationship where you are both strong and thriving.

And even if you are one of those men who can’t say that he is in love with his wife, remember, love is not a feeling, it is an action. Love is a verb. Love is what you do, not how you feel. If love was a feeling we have in our stomach, how would we know the difference between the feeling of love and some bad spaghetti. Again, if this is you, I am asking you to do it anyway. Choose to rebuild your relationship. Choose to encourage your wife. Choose to be a man. Choose to be the reason that your family stays together. And after you make that choice, don’t settle for the bare minimum. Don’t settle for getting by. Wake up everyday and do what’s right. Put the time in to this. Put your best efforts here.

I guess what I’m saying is this really will be a great journey if we do it together. Every day I have to recommit to this way of living. But it is worth it. I see it in my wife. I see it in my kids. They may have to live in a world of doubt, but they don’t have to live in home of doubt. I think I may have said it best in the title. You may not get everything I am sharing with you. You may not understand it at all. That makes sense to me since very few of us have watched men act like men in this manner in our presence. But even if you don’t get it or understand it. Even if you are scared out of your mind to risk it. Do it anyway. Just DO IT. I will guarantee you that it won’t hurt anyone or anything and it just might be all you need to save your family.


Brag About Her

August 30, 2009

Why is it that so many women feel unloved? Why do so many women feel unappreciated? What is it that we do, or don’t do that leaves them with this sense of insecurity?

I am sure that many of you tell your wives or girlfriends that you love them. I have spoken with many men who tell me they do this but know that it is not enough. Even so, they don’t know what to do about it. It is simple, brag about them. Brag about them to your family. Brag about them to your friends. Brag about them to your coworkers.

Remember when you first fell in love. How easy it was to talk about her. How easy it was to tell others about the great new girl you were dating. How great she looked on a date. How great she was with your family. If you didn’t feel this way or talk this way, you need to look at your choice in prospective women or worse yet your problem with pride. If the people around you weren’t sick of hearing about her, there is something wrong. It should be just like when you have a new baby. We have all been around new parents. The constant bragging about how smart their kid is because they said Mama at 13 months old. (Months after any other normal kid.) But that’s awesome. That is how it is supposed to be with parents. They should brag about their kids, always. They should be their biggest advocate.

That is also how it should be with husbands and wives. I cannot tell you how many times I have been in a social setting and heard women brag about their husbands. Even more, they so often defend their man when anything remotely derogatory is said or insinuated about their husband or something he did. Where are all the men to do this for the women they love.

I can’t possibly know each of your situations to help you find things to brag about but I can tell you how I do it everyday. You see, I am blessed. I have the most amazing wife God has ever created. She is talented. She is smart. She is wise. She is kind. Oh my gosh is she kind. She is an incredible mother. She is a magnificent wife.

I have mentioned it before, her name is Janine. Janine has almost singlehandedly created all the marketing material for my company. Every time someone mentions our materials, I tell them Janine created them. I tell them of her brilliance. I try to do it in front of her every time she is near. She also is an amazing interior designer. When someone comes to our office and sees how beautifully it is designed, I tell them about Janine  and what she did. How she designed everything they see and how she ran the construction without any prior experience. When she is in the office, I take them to introduce them to Janine and brag about it all over again in front of her. She also designed and ran the construction of her home that has now become our family home. Being the great entertainer that she is, I often have the opportunity to have people in our home. No one has ever entered our home without hearing me brag about what she has done there. When I am with our family and friends, I take the time to tell them all how she has loved my kids and how she has loved me. That each of our lives have been immeasurably changed by her hand, her touch, her words, her love. I tell my friends how she writes me love notes. How she makes me laugh. I tell them all. And I do it in front of her. I know that it can be embarrassing for her but I don’t care. I would rather have her embarrassed by my unending love for her, my feelings of pride for her, my awareness of all that she does, than to have her go to bed one night with any question of how I feel.

This is what you must do. Make a list of things your girl has done. It doesn’t matter how trivial they may seem to you. Find her strengths, find her victories, and tell the whole world about them. No matter how broken your relationship might feel today, take the step to brag about her. BE A MAN

Demise of the Family

August 29, 2009

I was in 7-Eleven today waiting in line while the man behind the counter was speaking with another man about his thoughts on woman. I don’t know if it is more ironic that I would be there when he happened to be speaking about a subject I am so immensely interested in, or that I actually was not in a hurry, a condition I rarely find myself in. But today, I stopped long enough to not only listen for a minute but actually entered into the conversation.

The man was basically saying that woman are the reason that so many marriages fail. His main point was that woman don’t cook at home anymore and this has led to men getting fat and more importantly feeling unimportant to their wives, becoming uninterested in their marriages and thus they fail. While this is a major paraphrase, this was the crux of his argument for the demise of the family.

I have to say that I was mildly amused by the over simplification of such a complicated issue as is the deterioration of the traditional family. The humor in it aside, I was struck by how easily this man, and I fear, so many men are able to dodge all culpability for what I believe to be largely our fault. You see, I am really old fashioned I guess. I believe it is the man’s responsibility to lead the family. It is my responsibility to provide a safe, healthy, structured positive environment in our home where my wife and children can feel empowered to attain the highest level of success. Whatever that might be. And if they fail in part due to my inability to do so than it is my responsibility for that failure. Now I am not so ridiculous as to believe that any failures of my wife or kids are all my fault nor should any of you. But it is healthy and indeed required that as a man we take full responsibility for what is appropriately ours. Furthermore, I am quite certain in homes where you find a husband and father who is an adequate provider, a considerate lover, a clearly defined moral compass, a demonstrator of strength and hope, you will also find a strong and thriving wife and family.

I have often heard that this argument is somewhat sexist and that by speaking of men in terms such as these devalues the role of the woman. Or even that this clear delineation of roles is in itself sexist. Not true. Ask any real man what he finds most attractive in a woman and even most sexy in a woman, and you will find that it is a strong woman. A confident woman. A directed woman. A smart woman. These are the qualities we need to seek in a woman. If these are not what you look for in a woman, or try to encourage in the woman you love, check yourself. You are the problem. Your being strong is not dependent on weakness in your spouse or any woman you love. To the contrary, a strong woman will help you to do better. She will in turn encourage you. She will give you a safe place to come home to. Isn’t that what we really want.

What I am saying to all of you men is that very few of us can lay the blame for our failed relationships at anyone’s feet but our own. If you find yourself in this trap, stop it. Look at what you are doing, or are not doing, that is detrimental to your relationship, detrimental to the woman you love and fix it. Take responsibility for the success of your relationship and pat yourself on the back for your part in moving it there.

Say your sorry

August 22, 2009

Why is that men have such a hard time saying, “I’m sorry”. Do we think it makes us look weak? Do we think it somehow takes away from our image? I don’t think it is any of these things. I think it is nothing more than false pride. What do I mean by FALSE PRIDE? Well, I don’t think there is anything wrong with pride itself. Don’t we all try to teach pride to our kids by praising them for a job well done? Don’t we encourage our team mates with a high five or a pump for a great hit or a great tackle? Of course we do. They earned it, we acknowledge it and it gives them a sense of pride. There is nothing wrong with pride. We need to feel good about the things we do great. It builds our self image. It makes us stronger. The women we love want a strong man. They want a confident protector even.

So it is not having a strong self image or personal pride that hurts our sweetheart. It is when that pride gets in the way of us being honest. When we fail to acknowledge our faults, it does not keep our pride intact, it actually builds a wall between ourselves and the woman we love. As we build that wall taller and taller we cannot reach out and touch that beautiful princess we fell in love with.  If anything gets in the way of you touching the woman you love, physically or metaphorically, you are killing her. It is a gradual and slippery slope that will take away her confidence, her trust, her strength, her beauty, and I don’t mean any hyperbole but even her very life.

So when you speak unkindly, when you break a promise, when you come home late, when you forget a special day, apologize. That’s right! Take her in your arms, if she will let you, if not, sit with her and say that you are sorry. Tell her specifically what you are sorry for. There is nothing more insulting than an insincere apology. Be humble. Speak softly. BE A MAN.

Well, that was the starter lesson. That is the minimum that she should be able to count on you for. How much effort is it really to apologize for something that you can clearly see has hurt her. But being the night in shining armor that she dreamed of takes so much more. You have to demonstrate that she is special to you. That you are always thinking about her. That you are pondering your relationship throughout your day, even while you are away from her.

Everyday I spend some time reflecting on how I treat Janine. I think about the things I have said. I think about the things I have done. I question whether I have done anything that could have been hurtful. No matter how small it may seem. And being a man, I have yet to find a day that there isn’t some small thing I could have done different. Something I could have done better. These are the opportunities I use to show her how important she is to me. Everyday I find something that I can apologize for. For many of you, these may also be the way you practice saying your sorry. For me, it may be that I forgot to kiss her goodbye when I left the house. It could be that I fell asleep when I knew she wanted to talk. It could be that I left my shoes in the family room when we went to bed rather than put them away. It doesn’t matter what it is. These are great opportunities to show her I am aware of what is important to her and that I value her. Everyday I find something I did that was unthoughtful and I say I’m sorry to her. Even more importantly, as I think about these things, I get better at remembering to do them for her everyday. Their is no doubt in her mind that I spend time thinking about what is important to her.

Start today reflecting on your words and actions. Think about what matters most to her. Think about what would make her happy and do it. And when you miss one, say your sorry. Watch how much she appreciates it. Watch how she responds.

Choose Her Above All Others

August 8, 2009

Over time it is so easy to take our wives for granted. For many of us it is not a sign of any love lost or a lack of interest. It is merely a reflection of busy lives, pressing issues at work or just plain laziness. For some of you it may actually be that you have ignored your relationship all together and it has been all but destroyed. Regardless of how we get to this point we really can turn it around and heal the damage we have done.

One area where this deterioration is so plainly evident is when we compare our relationship with our wives to our relationships with our kids. For most of us when a baby arrives we fall in love all over again. The baby becomes our primary focus. We give our children our attention, our love, and most of all our time. At the end of a long work day we are often exhausted and have given the best of us to our customers, employees, bosses, and coworkers and have very little left for those who mean the most to us – our family. But ironically, we usually can muster some of the good stuff for our kids while having nothing for our wives. This is unacceptable. You cannot possibly hope for a strong family, a good marriage, and well behaved kids if it doesn’t start with your relationship with your wife.

While it so easy for many of us to choose our kids over our spouses it is truly one of the most damaging things we can do to our wives. It is rarely a conscious choice but rather a slippery slope we start by kissing our children hello at the end of the day before we stop and focus on their mother. When you come home, from anywhere, before you do anything else, seek out your wife, grab hold of her, hug her, kiss her, look her in the eyes and tell her you love her. If you can, make sure the kids see this as often as possible. There is nothing you can do more loving to your kids than to love their mother. If you have been divorced and are remarried it is just as important. Let your kids, your stepchildren, her kids and anyone else see that you choose her first, above all others. This not only establishes her priority in your life and gives her a sense of safety and comfort, almost as importantly it teaches your sons how to love a woman and your daughters what to expect from the man she loves. Be an example for your children to follow.

Each day find ways to choose your wife before your kids. There are so many times in a day that we have to meet the needs of our children because they are dependent on us. Make a commitment to focus on your wife and CHOOSE her. Above everyone else. You married her and committed your life to her. Keep your commitment and watch her flourish. Watch you kids flourish. Give your family the stability of knowing that there is a structure and hierarchy and that their mom is at the top of it. Give your wife the best of who you are – not what is left when you have poured it out to everyone else. When you choose her you might just GET LUCKY and watch her choose you all over again.