To be honest, it takes a lot of work.

October 31, 2009

Begrudgingly I admit to you all that having a good marriage does not take work, it takes a lot of work. To become more selfless and more giving, requires us as humans to overcome some of our most basic attitudes and desires. One could do this only if they believed that what they would receive is of greater value than what they will sacrifice. But what value have you established and ascribed to a great marriage in your own mind? Do you really believe that there is a great value and great return in a healthy marriage?

Once you have determined that there is in fact a great value in this, by definition you can understand that there will be great costs to achieve it. Some time ago, J. Allen pointed out, “He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would accomplish much must sacrifice much.” That is true of everything in life. To accomplish anything possessing great worth, there will be a high price to be paid.

In marriage, the price for greatness is overcoming our own selfish nature. But as I wrote about in a previous post, (Be selfish. It can really help.), one of the best ways to get what you really desire, is to give of yourself first. So what I am saying is, you have to overcome your selfishness by being selfish enough to want a great marriage and to receive the value it brings. Thus empowering yourself to put your wife’s needs, desires, wants and so much more, before your own. Which will bring you all that you desire as well. (Did I leave you all more confused than before I began?)

I really want to help you all establish in your 0wn minds the value of a great marriage. I hope to do that in future posts. In doing so, I am confident that you will see the benefits truly outweigh the price that must be paid to attain it.


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.

You’re not the only one that matters

October 26, 2009

One of the things that seems to have invaded our society is an overall sense of selfishness. You see it in the things people say and do everyday. One of the worst examples I have seen is the idea that as individuals we can do whatever we want as long as we don’t believe we are hurting anyone.

What happened to the concept of being greater than ourselves. The concept of having a responsibility to those around us. Even to our society as whole. John W. Gardner pointed out that, “Some people strengthen society just by being the kind of people they are.” Don’t you want to be one of those people? Deep down wouldn’t you love to make this world a better place by just having been yourself.

I know that I do. I want to have an impact on this world. I want to be remembered as someone who made a positive contribution to society. I have decided that for now, the best way I can do that is to have a positive impact on the people in my life. I try to do this with my wife, my kids, my extended family, my employees, and even to those I have a more limited relationship with.

I desire to effect change in even small ways by being kind to those I encounter. Encouraging those I interact with. Even if it is nothing more than sharing a smile with an unknown passerby.

If I can do this in my marriage, I will have improved society as well. My wife already does this too. She has a positive influence on the people she comes into contact with. Together, we can influence our kids. Our kids can influence their friends. As they say with just a few degrees of separation we can reach anyone in this world. Thus, our actions truly can improve our society as a whole.

I hope that you too will make a change towards this end. I hope you will see yourself not just as one person who can do whatever you want. But more as one man, one husband, one father, that recognizes that you do in fact matter, but not only to yourself. You can start today to make this world a better place by just loving your wife, loving your kids, being positive in the workplace, just being a great man.

Do it with fervor

October 21, 2009

One of the things you might have noticed about me, although I don’t know if it comes across in my writing as strongly as it does in person, is that I am passionate about whatever I do.  My marriage is no exception and thus loving my wife is done with the same zest and zeal as every other personal or work endeavor.

As you might have seen in some of the comments that have been received, there are many people who disagree with my ideas, my style, and my suggestions on how men should love their wives. And although I sometimes don’t understand what value they garner from an opinion that seems, at least to me, to devalue another human being, I do in fact welcome and enjoy their involvement and participation. That being said, I have never been one to follow the road more traveled, when truth and historical evidence point me to another path.  I worry much less about those who would discourage me than I ever do about the cost of not doing what I know to be right.

I believe it was Ayn Rand in one of the dialogues in her famous book Fountainhead, that said,

“My dear fellow, who will let you?”

“That’s not the point. The point is, who will stop me?”

That is how you must feel about doing what is good for your wife. What is good for your marriage. You have to have the strength and conviction of a mighty and noble man, to be considerate, caring, affectionate, and kind to the woman you love while maintaining a clear and fortified image of your masculinity.

You cannot do this halfheartedly. It will take the very best of who you are. It will take a focus and determination that no one can stand against. It will take the fullest measure of your passion and your fervor to effect change. But ask yourself, what is of higher value in your life than for your wife to be loved, your kids to be witness to true love, and for your family to be strengthened and confirmed by your honor.

The rest of the story (Part two of a two day post.)

October 18, 2009

So in yesterday’s post, I focused on how important it is to believe that we can make a real change in our marriage. And with all the possibility that you open up with those thoughts and beliefs, they are absolutely a waste of your time and energy, if you don’t do the work that is required to turn your beliefs into your reality.

So many great men and women have spoken about this important truth, but none has stuck with me as much as what Simon Batcup was quoted saying, “A plan without action is a dream, a dream without a plan is a nightmare.” It really is so simple. Yes we have to believe and have hope to ever be able to muster the energy for great challenges. But beyond that we have to have a plan on how to make those dreams our reality. And furthermore, we have to be willing to do the work. Whatever it is.

How do you plan to have a great marriage? By clearly identifying the things you can do that will bring about the change. By being more patient. By being more considerate. By being more kind. There are thousands of things we can do that will bring us closer to a great marriage. But you have to break them down into simple actions towards a great plan. And it has to be specific to you and your wife.

Take some time to imagine what you want your marriage to be like. What would you change in yourself? What would you want your spouse to do different? As you imagine your marriage already getting to that point, write down what you will have to change in your own actions. Write down how you would want to be treated. Write down the things that would change the feeling and temperament of your wife and home. Then put them into action. Do the work. Love. Love is an action not a feeling.

The difference between men and women

October 14, 2009

I know that it is politically incorrect to say that men and women are different. Just by saying so, a man is deemed to mean that they are unequal and furthermore that men are better. That is not the truth. The truth is we are just different.

I don’t know who said it but I always loved the saying, “When women are depressed they either eat or go shopping. Men invade another country.” As much as I often use hyperbole to make my points, and as much as this is hyperbole at it finest, it is nonetheless very poignant and to the point of our differences.

We must always be aware that as men, we react differently to situations than women. When things are difficult at home, we can tend to be more offensive. We even tend to be more aggressive. When things are difficult at work, we often bring that struggle or difficulty home with us and give it to our family in the way of anger or being standoffish.

It is in these situations that we have one of the best opportunities to bring a change to our marriage. We can choose to deal with strife in our relationship by being more considerate. By being more patient. By being more compassionate. In doing so, we will minimize the fallout of these situations. We will limit the effects to just the issue at hand rather than turning a single issue into two or more conflicts that need to be dealt with.

When you face an argument or a disagreement with your wife, deal only with the issue before you. Deal with it calmly and kindly. Don’t bring up past issues. Don’t invade another country, as it were, for the sake of issue dodging or defensiveness. By being a better man, a man who is safe and stable, you will give your wife a sense of security. You will give her an opportunity to be her best as well. You will both be at your best. Still different, but still your best.

Fear of failure

October 13, 2009

I think one of the greatest things standing in the way of successful marriages is the fear of failure. So many of us are afraid of putting forth new effort in our marriages because of the history of failure we have experienced already. We are so focused on what hasn’t worked that we fail to see what can work.

I have heard it said that in order to succeed, your desire for success MUST be greater than your fear of failure. Isn’t that what we all want? Don’t we all desire to have a successful marriages? Isn’t that why we married in the first place? And what is there to fear in working on our marriage? Why would we be afraid that if we put forth the effort we will fail?

What situation is really made worse when we try our best? Yes, sometimes our best efforts will not bring the total result we hoped for but it certainly won’t make it worse. If we make a commitment to be patient with our wives, if we make a commitment to be considerate of our wives, if we make a commitment to encourage our wives and show them love and adoration, will it not yield something good?

I think we are often more afraid that we will not be able to keep our commitment than we are afraid that total commitment won’t produce results. That is the fear that binds us. It is our own failure we fear rather than the fear that our marriage won’t survive.

Don’t be bound by the fear of your own inadequacies. Don’t fail to try. Be the spark that reignites your relationship. Do the things that will change the outcome of your marriage. Desire success. Make that desire your focus. Elevate your desire to a level that exceeds any fear you have and success will be yours.