Chocolate. Now that’s love.

September 30, 2009

I don’t know anyone that would argue the point that love is being loyal. Or that love is being honest. Or that love is being committed and faithful. But sometimes all our wives need is a thoughtful box of chocolates to reaffirm how much they mean to us.

Charles M. Schulz opined a great truth about love saying, “All we need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” I think it might have been better said as, “All we need is love. And a little chocolate now and then proves that we do.”

It seems so easy for me to write about deep and thought provoking ideas when describing ways to love your wife. But I never want to diminish or overlook that there are so many ways to say “I love you” that don’t even require great pondering or planing. It is not in the depth of our thoughts that we show our love but in the fact that we are thinking of our wives in any way.

Love is not complicated. But loving our wives becomes complicated when there are years of hurt, years of pain, years of strife that cover our ability to see clearly. To see that the woman we share our home with today, the woman that we share our bed with today, the woman that we argued with today, is in fact the same woman that we fell in love with and married. Over time, we begin to believe that this woman is not a person at all but more a personification of the problems in our life. A personification of the painful words she might have said or things she might have done.

Starting today, set down the past hurts. Remember what you loved about her when your relationship started and grew. Make a list of all the things that you once admired and adored in your wife. Focus on that list and be thankful for your wife and those qualities in her. Look for those again in her. Then go and buy her a box of chocolates and tell her you love her.


Be selfish. It can really help.

September 29, 2009

I can’t imagine there is one of you out there who would not want to have a great marriage. Yes, I am sure that many of you have lost hope. That you don’t believe there is any chance you could still have the happily-ever-after you sought on the day of your wedding. But if you are willing to be selfish, it’s not too late.

My friend Pat has often told me that if I am greedy enough to want more, than all I have to do is help others get what they want and what I want will come to me. I was thinking about this while writing another post for you. I am always writing about what you have to do to make your marriages great. And it dawned on me that what he said is similar to what I write about.

If you want to have a great marriage, be selfish about it. Don’t let anything stand in your way. Be selfish enough to give your wife everything she needs in a great husband so that you can have a great wife. Accept the fact that you selfishly want a great marriage and that you can have it. All you have to do is meet her needs first.

Don’t accept the notion that your marriage sucks and you can’t do anything about it. I do know that if you are not willing to do what has to be done, you will not have what you want.

I remember an old proverb that went something like, “Chop your own wood and you will be warmed twice.” Obviously, whoever said this was saying that you will be warmed as you do the work of chopping the wood, as well as being warmed by the heat from the fire when burning the wood.

It is the same in working everyday in your marriage. You will find comfort and hope in your marriage as you put forth the effort of loving your wife. But you will again find comfort and hope as your wife loves you back for loving her. Be selfish. Your wife will thank you for it.


September 28, 2009

I was recently talking with my dad about business. Which I must say for both of us is not well at this point. We both have our own businesses and have experienced great success at times as well as times of great struggle. Today we both are in one of those times of struggle.

In talking with him I realized that one of the greatest lessons I learned from my dad he rarely ever talked about. He only demonstrated it everyday. That is to persevere. He has been the greatest example of getting up everyday, no matter what you know you will face that day, and just persevering. Never giving up. He has in no way insinuated that he has all the answers or that everything is always great. But what he has shown me is that if I don’t give up, I can work through what ever struggles I have by showing up and facing them.

Looking forward with that experience, I know that I can apply the same ethics and commitment of perseverance to my marriage. With the understanding that there will be tough times in my marriage, I can choose to get up everyday and face them with the knowledge that I don’t have to have all the answers, I just have to remain committed to the plan. To love my wife when times are good or bad. To show her that I am here for the long haul no matter what we face together.

Accept the fact that you don’t have all the answers. Accept the fact that you don’t know what to do in every situation. Accept the fact that when things are not the way you want them to be,  you don’t have to give up. You can’t give up. You just have to persevere. Stand firm in your commitment to your wife. Stand strong beside your wife and face the struggles you find yourselves in. Show her that no matter what life has for the two of you, it will always be the two of you. As one.

Why do we do all that we do?

September 27, 2009

I was recently talking with my son. He was telling me how he and a friend of his were talking about their dads. They both were wondering how it is that a father can put so much time and effort in to making a good living and then so freely give much of what he has  to the ones he loves.

I can only imagine that as young men, they were looking forward to a future time in their lives, when they too would have families to care for of their own. And with the experience they had to draw from, as single men, they only knew what it meant to take care of themselves. But it is in the taking care of ourselves that we learn to care for others.

It is only my experience and what I have been through in my own life that I can draw a conclusion as to why, as fathers, as husbands, we would pour ourselves out for our family. It is from that same need to care for ourselves that we do this. For their is no comfort in money. There is no comfort in business or professional success. These are merely a means to an end.

It is through our caring for our loved ones, through the meeting of their needs, helping them to be successful, that we have peace of mind. What father could enjoy any of the fruits of his labor if the ones he loved were not okay. Not cared for. What man could be fulfilled by things or money while his loved ones suffer.

As men we are driven to provide for our families. And that means to not only provide for them financially, but also emotionally and physically. To pour ourselves out to and for them. There is no great sacrifice in giving what we have to those we love. It is easy to give of ourselves to our wives and children when we desire peace of mind. When we desire and value the happiness that they have given to our lives, we give back in gratitude. It is in this giving that we become satisfied. Enjoying the results and effects of using our resources for the benefits of others rather than holding onto it for ourselves.

Let’s be honest. We have and do plenty for ourselves without much prompting. Let us all as men, make sure we are also generous to our family and to others in need. Giving and giving abundantly. Don’t hold onto things or money. Instead, hold onto the results of your generosity as it is made valuable in those you love.

For those of you who haven’t had a chance to read the wisdom that my son shares on his blog, take a look. He is quite an amazing young man.

I love you Zack.

Are you one of the lucky ones?

September 26, 2009

Why do people say that you are lucky if you married a good wife? I don’t think luck has much to do with it. I am not even convinced that you have to marry a great woman to have a great wife. That takes too much of the responsibility off our own shoulders for what we do as husbands.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.” I love this quote because it gives me hope. Yes it puts the responsibility on me for the future of my marriage but I would much rather have the option of effecting my marriage in a positive way than have to rely on luck. To believe that luck is my hope, is to believe that I cannot change anything in my future.

Believe me when I tell you, I know that I do not have the ability to control every outcome. As I think I might have said in a previous post, I know there is a God, and I know that I am not Him. I know that God created the amazing world we live in. I know that God created me and the amazing woman that Janine is. But knowing that does not change that everyday I have to choose to be a good man. Everyday I have to do the work to make my marriage great.

Knowing that my actions, my efforts, my commitment to my wife can have the effect of building a great marriage and that encouraging my wife to be great, can change the woman that she is, is enough for me to want to do the work.

Don’t spend another day thinking that you were lucky or unlucky. And definitely don’t look at your friends and think that they were somehow more lucky than you with their wives. Never take your eyes off your own wife and never look at someone’s else wife for comparison. Look at what you do everyday to make your marriage great. Look at what you do to make your wife feel loved. Look at what you do to make your wife see that you are thankful for her and that she chose you.

If you will accept that your actions do have an effect on everyone around you, and that it is your responsibility to effect your marriage positively everyday, than you will see the effects in your wife, your home, your kids and everyone else in your life.

Are you successful?

September 25, 2009

As men, we often measure our success by how big our house is, how much money is in our bank accounts, and whether or not we have the corner office. I don’t think any of these things are accurate indicators of our success. I can tell you for myself, I have had times of great financial success, and I have had and am still having times of drought. And I feel more successful today, without any financial comfort, than I ever have.

Cullen Hightower once said, “The true measure of your worth includes all the benefits others have gained from your success.” I totally agree. I count myself successful not for the riches I have once held, but for the effects I am having in the lives of those I love.

I have a daughter that has given me a grandson that I love with all my heart. I am trying to be a father figure for him as his dad passed away before he was born. I have a son, that I have spent hundreds of hours talking with about life, love and things of this world. He lives in San Francisco now and is successful in living and learning. He is writing and sharing his experiences as well.

I have a daughter that has just started college, I see her growing into a woman who I am so proud of. She is developing relationships that have meaning and depth. And I have a son, that lives with my wife and I, and because we love him, spend time with him, nurture him, he is adapting to a new life with strength and confidence.

I have two step-children that I love and am starting to influence. I do homework with them, I spend time with them, I comfort them. I teach them right from wrong. And then there is my wife. I try everyday to give her the benefit of being loved, being adored, being needed. Giving her the confidence to be the incredible wife and mother that she is.

It is the effect that I have in all their lives that will reflect whether I am successful or not. It will not be because I bought them things or left them an inheritance when I am gone.

Take everyday to work on your success. Read to your children. Take them to the batting cages. Play a game of chess with them. Whatever they are into, get into it too. Love your wife by loving your kids.Take your wife on a meaningful date. Give her your time, your attention, your commitment. Make your life a life of impact on those you love.

Cancel your plans for her.

September 23, 2009

It seems that as men, one of the hardest things for us to overcome is our own selfishness. I have some theories as to why we are so selfish by nature but they are in fact theories and nothing more. As men, we are by definition, grown up little boys. As little boys and young men, everyone gets to tell us what to do. Our parents, our teachers, our bosses and many other authority figures.

As we become adults, our first opportunities to exercise our  independence is to be able to do some of the things we want to do. As we gain additional freedom, we do more and more of what we choose. But time passes and we begin to take on responsibilities that limit how much of the time we can spend doing those things we want to do.

For many of us, as we get married, have kids, start careers, and take on all the responsibilities of adulthood, we can become overwhelmed. This brings back those same feelings we had as children and draws us back towards our selfish nature. This selfishness is our way to exert some control.

Unfortunately, there are very few places in our new lives that will allow us any real opportunities to coddle our selfish nature. Our careers are typically somewhat controlled by other parties.  And our kids are so dependant on us that we have little say but to keep up our responsibility to them lest we be classified a bad parent.

But not so our relationship with our wife. Not only is this the easiest relationship to let slide, we often will find our wives doing the same thing giving us unspoken justification. Additionally, we can always count on our buddies to support us in our decisions to go out for a beer after work, catch a couple of games on the tube, and play a round or two of golf. All in the same week.

That being said, this is obviously the area we have to be most aware of. Again, I want to make it really clear, it is not required that you abstain from all personal activities and time with your friends. It is only required that you balance your life and keep your priorities straight.

One of the best opportunities to show your wife how much you love her is to cancel something you have planned for the benefit of doing something that is important to her. I suggest you do this right after she tell you she wants to do something, and you tell her you forgot to mention some plans you had made. Before she has the opportunity to question you about why you failed to mention these plans, tell her you would rather go and do what she wants to do. Immediately make the calls to whomever it is necessary you call to cancel your plans. And then tell her how much you love her. You will have averted the catastrophe you might have caused by forgetting to tell her what you were doing and more importantly, you will have demonstrated your love for her and your lack of selfishness.