October 12, 2009

That stands for laughing-out-loud for those of you not up to speed with the texting that happens on almost every phone in America today. Okay. So it’s a little cliche. So it’s a little cheesy using the texting language to bring up laughter. But there is nothing cheesy or unimportant about the value of laughter in our marriage and our home.

Michael Pritchard said, “We don’t stop laughing because we grow old; We grow old because we stop laughing.” That goes for our marriages as well. We don’t stop laughing with our sweethearts because of the struggles we all face. We succumb to those struggles and feel overwhelmed because we stop laughing.

I am so fortunate that I married a girl that makes me laugh everyday. She has the best sense of humor I have ever known. She makes me laugh with her jokes about me. She makes me laugh with her jokes about herself. She makes me laugh when she tickles me. She makes me laugh when she plays with the kids. But most of all she makes me laugh when she laughs.

Laughing is one of the most life giving things that I experience in our home. Just writing this and thinking of how Janine makes me laugh is making me feel better. It overcomes any negative feelings I am feeling.

That is what we have to bring into our homes everyday. We have to bring joy and happiness and especially laughter. There are so many things in each of our lives that bring solemnity and harsh realities. There are so many things that bring a sense of dread or fear into our homes. And sometimes the only medicine for this is laughter. Sometimes we can’t change the realities we face but we can change our outlook.

Our wives need to be able to count on us to lighten the heavy load they bare. Sometimes that is through helping around the house. Sometimes it is through getting them out and away from the situation. But sometimes nothing more is needed than a good laugh at the situation.

Try each day to make your wife laugh. For some of you, it is just being willing to be silly. For others, you know how to tell a story about your day with great humor. Still others might be good at telling a joke. Whatever you can do to make your wife laugh, do it. And if you really feel humor challenged, stop and get a funny movie or a DVD of a stand-up comedian. Use whatever means you have to bring laughter and a lighter mood into your home and marriage.


The little things

October 11, 2009

It is so easy to overlook all the great things we have in our life. All the great things that we have in our marriage. All the great things we have in our wife. They are often the little things that go unnoticed.

When we fail to see the little things that bring us joy and happiness,  we put ourselves at risk of losing them forever. Robert Brault reminds us, “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” How important is that to us in our marriage? How many people have suffered through the pain of divorce to only realize they failed to see and appreciate all the great things they had in their marriage?

We often take so much for granted in our wives that we fail to see what our lives would be like without them. We are so focused on what they do wrong, or what they don’t do for us, that we miss all the things the do right, and all the things they do.

How aware are you of what your wife does for you? Does your wife go to work everyday just like you and help provide for your family? Does your wife buy you clothes? Does your wife do most of the cooking? Does your wife do most of the cleaning? Does your wife do most of the work in taking care of the kids needs everyday?

If you are focused on what you are unhappy with in your wife, you will fail to see the lengthy list of things that she does everyday to support you. To care for you. To meet your needs. Don’t be that guy.

Make a list of all the things your wife does everyday, every week, every month, and every year for you and your family. When you are feeling that she isn’t meeting all your needs, take the list out and look at it. Then go up to her and thank her for everything she does do. You will quickly find yourself being thankful for the little things instead of complaining about the others. And with your thankfulness you will find you will keep your wife, your marriage and all the little things that make them great.

You take my breath away

October 8, 2009

As many of you know, my wife Janine has changed my life in so many ways that I often have a hard time getting my hands around it all. But what I can clearly see above all else is who she is as a person and all her abilities and accomplishments. She is truly amazing. She is so talented. She is kind to everyone. She is a great mother. She is a great friend.

I was reading a tweet that reminded me that, “Life isn’t about the number of breaths we take, but the moments that take our breath away.” That is truly how I live today. Janine takes my breath away almost everyday. She does this in myriad ways. I want to share some of them with you in hopes that you will see opportunities to have your breath taken away by your wife and the things she does.

The easiest one for me to recall is that her beauty takes my breath away. Yes, I mean her physical appearance and form. I can honestly say that each day, when I look at her, I am some how more attracted to her. She is more beautiful to me everyday. I don’t know how this can be or how to explain it. But when I look at her each day, I am overwhelmed by how she appears to be more beautiful than the day before. I know that I thought the same thing yesterday, but looking at her, I am certain that I have never seen her look as beautiful as she does today. She takes my breath away.

When I watch her play with the kids, so loving, so compassionate, so selfless, I am amazed by this woman. She loves in a way I cannot understand or comprehend. She loves completely. She loves with her whole body and soul. She takes my breath away.

When I am in a bad mood, she overlooks it and tries to make it better. She does something to make me laugh. Or she does something to change the direction of my thoughts. She changes my mood. She is like no one I have ever known. She takes my breath away.

When things are tough at work, or money is too tight, she tells me how proud of me she is. She tells me how she has faith in me. She tells me how she trusts me. She makes it about our love and our family, not the situation we are in. She takes my breath away.

When she is hurting or is sad, she tells me how she is feeling. She tells me her fears. She doesn’t point the finger or place the blame on me. She just authentically opens her soul and talks to me. She takes my breath away.

I know that it is all these things that she does that makes her more beautiful to me everyday and that takes my breath away all over again. I am so blessed to have a life of moments that take my breath away.

I hope you will take notice of your wife and what she does. It is not that anyone is perfect or is able to do it right every time, but if you will allow yourself to be taken by her acts of kindness, her acts of love, you will be blessed with a life of moments that take your breath away.

Know when to be quiet

October 7, 2009

There is an amazing phenomenon that seems to be universal with men, that is , we seem to miraculously have an opinion on everything, be convinced we are right about it all and have an unending need to let everyone else know. While I am not one to buy into the image of men being stupid, unneeded, or inept, that is so often portrayed on TV and in the movies, I do know that we at least occasionally give some good ammunition to build these stereotypes from.

When it comes to having to say something about everything your wife says or does, or in helping her correct her opinion that you are sure is somehow incorrect, I think it is best that we remember the old proverb, “Better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.”

It is not that we need to keep our mouths shut in every situation. That is ridiculous. We need to be a wise counselor, a trusted adviser and a valued part of our marriage and family but it doesn’t have to be on every comment made or heard in our home. Our wives are very adept at handling most situations with our family, friends and neighbors and don’t need to be second guessed at every turn.

I know there has been many times my wife will recount some of the things that have happened throughout her day and I have quickly told her how she should have done it different or better. Often times, she wasn’t asking for my opinion or my analysis of her dealings but rather was just talking with me to share her life and be a part of mine. On many occasions, nothing I said would change what she did or more to the point, did it really need any changing. I was just sticking my opinion where it served no purpose. Unless making her feel stupid or inept was my purpose.

As I am trying to do, I hope that each of you will take the time to listen to your wives. Be a friend that she can talk to and tell things to. If she doesn’t ask for your opinion or for your advice on how to deal with something, keep it to yourself. You are not the hall monitor or the relationship police. If you are a trusted ear that she can talk to, she will tell you everything you need to know about her. And if you are trusted, she will listen to you when you have something to say to help her in any way.

What do good men want?

October 6, 2009

I have seen quite a few comments and quite a few other blogs talk about how I only address what a woman needs from a man and not what a man needs from a woman. While many of these are very derogatory, I find most of them to be simply ignorant. Not because they are wrong. But because that is what this blog is about. Hence the name What She Needs From You.

But nevertheless, I wanted to address the point directly.

To all of you amazing women that read this blog everyday and comment on your great husbands or lack thereof. Here is my list of what we need from you.

We need you to support us in our work.

We need you to tell us we are handsome, even if we are not.

We need you to kiss us when you see us.

We need you to make us look better in the way we dress. (Maybe not all of us.)

We need you to kindly point out when we are offending someone.

We need you to remind us when we are neglecting you.

We need you to remind us when we are neglecting the kids.

We need you to be affectionate with us.

We need you to desire us.

We need you to brag about us.

We need you to hang up the phone with friends and family and spend time with us.

We need you to want sex. (Even when you don’t want sex.)

We need you to amazed by us.

We need you to stroke our ego.

We need you to think we are smart. Even if no one else does.

We need you to encourage us.

We need you to patient with us.

We need you to surprise us with things.

We need you to care about your physical appearance.

We need you to mother our children.

We need you to point out the little things in life that we often miss.

We need you to remind us there is a God, and we are not Him.

I am sure there are a million other things we need and maybe I will start a new blog someday to better explore and articulate those things. But for now, you have a starter list and I hope all those that thought I didn’t know that we men have needs too, now know that I am aware that this is a two way street. That while I don’t specifically address it on a daily basis, you women have to be willing to work just as hard as we do. And you have to respond to what we do to show you how much we love you.

For those whose intent was to say that a man shouldn’t have to do all the things I write about in this blog, I am so sorry for you. You will never have the amazing gift that is a good wife, until you are willing to be a good husband. Or more to the point, a good man.

To be desired

October 5, 2009

Although this post will tell you more about what women need and want from us as it closes, it gets there by looking at what men want as well. As much as we men want to be strong, confident, and self-sufficient, the truth is we want to be desired. We want to be needed. We want to be loved. We may not admit it to anyone or even be willing to admit it to ourselves, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is true.

Robert Frost said, “Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.” It is true for all of us. Not just women as many of us would like to think.

Knowing this is true allows us to make ourselves more desirable. Sure, we already know the things the world tells us we can do to become more desirable. We can lose weight. We can exercise. We can work out. We can buy fancy clothes and drive fancy cars. But these things only make us desirable to those who don’t know us.

It is who we truly and authentically are that can have the most dramatic impact on our desirability to our wives. It is how we love. It is how treat others. It is how we handle our money. It is how we act when few or none can see us.

Our wives are witnesses everyday to the men we are, or unfortunately the men we are not. They see everything about us, or see that we have things we are hiding from the world, or worse, from them.

But there is hope for all of us to become more desirable.  We can change our actions if we know what our wives desire. We can shape ourselves into that which they most crave. Fortunately, most women want many of the same things. They want a man that can listen without having to fix everything. They want a man that will be affectionate. They want a man that will be patient. They want a man that will stand up for his wife. They want a man that will be a great father. They want a man that will forgive easily. They want a man that will admit to a mistake and say he is sorry. They want a man that will be considerate of her thoughts and feelings.

None of the things they want will cost you a dime. They will only cost you your time, your effort, your commitment. And in return, you will gain what it is that you truly desired all along. To be desired.

Catch up on your reading

September 18, 2009

I recently did something with my wife that I have never done before. Prior to this it had never even crossed my mind that she would enjoy it. I have always been an avid reader. I cannot get enough of it. I love everything about reading. Whether it be the Bible, a novel, a magazine, a newspaper, believe it or not, even a cereal box will do in a pinch. One night Janine asked me what I was reading. She never knows because I use a Kindle to do most of my reading. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is an electronic book. I tell everyone it is the greatest material gift I have ever received. I got it from, guess who, Janine. I had to be truthful with her and all of you, so I will tell you, as I told her; I was reading the second book of the Twilight series. She looked at me and asked if I would read it to her.

I really can’t explain why this was such a great experience, but I can tell you that it was. Over the next few days I read the second half of the book to her after giving her the background of what had already happened in the story. I held her in one arm while I held the book in the other and just read. At the risk of hyperbole, it was one of the most romantic and special times we have ever shared together. The book was a little silly and is written more for teenagers than what I would normally enjoy but we had such a good time reading it together.

Now I am not suggesting that each of you start reading to your spouses. I know that reading is not something that everyone enjoys as much as I do. But I would suggest that you try new things with your wife. Get out of your comfort zone and experience things with her. Take her to a museum, take her to a play or musical, or maybe take her to a park and play catch. Just try new things.

It is not as important what you do with your wife as it is important that you just do things with her. Spend time with her. Share things with her. Show her how important she is to you and that you love to just be with her. If you can’t come up with anything else, stop at the book store and pick up a book. You just might find yourself reading your way to happiness.