Be different.

October 27, 2009

I think one of the things that has the most detrimental effects on men in their desire to be better husbands is the fear of being different. It is so common in our culture to see men talk badly of their wives, to see men demean their wives by the things they say when with other men, and to even see men ignore their commitments and responsibilities to their wives. In light of that, it takes a man of great character to be different. To be a voice for commitment. To be an example of a loving and devoted husband.

Suzanne Gordon pointed out the reality of this when she said, “To be alone is to be different, to be different is to be alone.” We have to realize that just because a road is less traveled, does not make it any less the right road to follow. If we choose to follow the crowd in everything we do, we will only find ourselves often lost along with a large group of people.

There is no doubt that it takes great effort to do what is right when so many are doing something else. It takes a man of courage to stand against the masses. To stand for what is true and good.

When we make the commitment to marry the women we love, we stand-alone, hand-in-hand with our bride to be, and promise to honor, cherish, love, care for, and protect her. The masses don’t stand beside us and join in. We choose this path alone, yes with support from family and friends, but the commitment is not made conditional to that support. Therefore, we must continue to do these things whether anyone else agrees or supports us in our efforts.

Take the time to find your wedding video or any other source that would remind you of exactly what you committed to do for your wife. Write it down and put it somewhere that you will see it and read it everyday. Then direct your actions to fulfilling those commitments regardless of what anyone else says or does. And keep yourself clear from anything or anybody that promotes behavior that contradicts your promises to your bride. In doing so, you will likely be different, but you might also find the greatest difference is your happiness.


A little about me

October 19, 2009

As I was reading over some of the posts I have written here, it dawned on me that it sounds like I do everything right when it comes to loving my wife. I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth.

As far as the things I write about in the various posts you have all seen here, I believe in every one of them. I also have done every one of them some of the time. Like everyone else, I miss doing many of these things sometimes as well.

Like all of you, I get tired, I get grumpy, I get my feelings hurt and don’t do the things I talk about everyday here with you. But what I try to do is get back to them quickly. I try to catch myself in the middle of a bad mood, apologize and start showing Janine how much I love her. How much I appreciate her. How much I adore her.

The thing I like so much about having written this blog, written these thoughts down, is they are always on my mind. I spend very little time lost in complaining or griping about someone else. The focus is on me. On my actions. How I am treating Janine.

I hope as you read these thoughts, these posts, that you too will start to have them on your mind. That the ideas written here become a part of your conscious thoughts. That they will help you to get through the tough times in your life. That they will help you deal with the situations you face in your marriage.

It takes a strong commitment to change any habit, behavior or situation in your life that you are unhappy with. Make a commitment to read and reread the ideas I have posted here. Buy books about marriage and relationships that offer the help you need. You have to be willing to make the ideas and techniques that are proven to build a great marriage the thoughts that are in the front of your mind all the time.


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.


I know they’re broken

October 9, 2009

From some of the comments I have received, it seems that it has been perceived in my writing that I don’t think that women cause as much strife in a marriage as men do, or that I think they are blameless, or are somehow perfect. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am crystal clear that women cause damage in relationships just like men do.

And with the knowledge of my wife’s imperfection, I choose to love her anyway. Just like she does me. One of the best quotes I have ever heard about accepting people with all their faults was coined by Bernard Meltzer. He said, “A true friend is someone who thinks you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.”

That is the essence of any good relationship. That is the only way to have a good marriage. Acknowledge that you both are broken. That you both have flaws. That you both are imperfect. Then choose to love your wife even with her imperfections.

Over time, after years of strife and struggles in a marriage, it is easy to only see the problems or cracks as it were. But that is only a result of exhaustion and frustration. That is not all that is left in your marriage. It has just become the focus of the marriage for too many people.

Also, sometimes our perspective has just gotten a little out of focus. Sometimes things that are small and insignificant at first, will somehow become big and monumental. Sometimes the crack on the egg is perceived to be more like a crevice to wide to cross. But if you could remove yourself from the heat of the fire, you might not even think many things are worth all the consternation. I know that for me, it is in some of those less than perfect ways of my wife, that I find her most attractive. It is her idiosyncrasies, that make me laugh and that I can count on.

Make a point of acknowledging the fact that your wife is less than perfect. (Not out loud. Keep that one to yourself.) Than make a decision to look at her for all she is. Not just seeing the cracks in her shell. Once you get your perspective right, you might find that she is a lot closer to having been made over easy, rather than the scrambled you thought you were seeing.


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.


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.


Gratitude

October 3, 2009

I was reading a post on another blog this morning and was hit squarely between the eyes with something I have failed to mention here. That being, the best way to love your wife, to build your marriage, and to change your perspective is to be a beacon of gratitude.

In all the lists and ideas I have espoused here, I have failed to mention that being grateful is one of the easiest ways to show your wife how much you love her. For those of you who might feel they have nothing to be grateful for, or thankful about, let me remind you of some of the many things that you can be thankful for. This list will not be for you to check and see if she hit them all. It is merely a list that you might find a single thing you can appreciate.

Did your wife say I love you today?

Did she make a meal for you?

Did she make you laugh?

Did she go to work?

Did she stay home and care for your kids?

Did she do homework with your kids?

Did she go to the bank?

Did she go to the grocery store?

Did she do your laundry?

Did she pay some bills?

Did she buy a gift for someone from both of you?

Did she care for one of your relatives?

Did she make a bed or clean the house?

Did she give you grace?

Did she overlook something you did?

Did she help avoid an argument?

Did she care for your sick child?

Did she take one of your kids to the doctor?

Did she hug your kids?

Did she listen to you about your day?

Did she help your daughter mend her broken heart?

Did she take the kids to practice or a game?

Did she call you to see how your day was going?

Did she welcome you home?

These are not things that your wife should or has to do for you. If she did them, she did them out of love whether you realized it or not. I could write another hundred things that wives do everyday for their husbands without any gratitude. Without any recognition. Without as much as anyone even noticing.

Take some time everyday to tell your wife thank you. Tell her specifically what she did that you appreciate. Tell her you love her for all she does. Tell her your sorry for neglecting to show her your appreciation in the past. Be humble. Admit that you have been amiss in this area before but that you will not do that again.

In showing your gratitude, you will build her confidence. You will give value and purpose to all that she does. She will likely want to do more and more as she sees your appreciation. As you both do this in gratitude you will rebuild and strengthen your marriage. That’s a great return for very little investment.