Constructive Criticism

October 10, 2009

Constructive Criticism. I have found that these two words are responsible for more damage between husband and wife than possible any other two words ever spoken. I am sure that there are other examples of what are supposed to be helpful hints, misused, but I can’t think of any that have caused more damage and broken more spirits.

I think it is because it is so easy to be critical. It is so easy to point out in others what we think they are doing wrong. What we think they should do differently. It is so much easier than living by example. Living in the way we think everyone should live but we fail at just as often.

Why do we think that our wives are not trying just as hard as we are? Why do we think that we have all the answers? Why do we think that we do it all right and our wives need us to come along and point out everything they are doing wrong?

I don’t know why we do any of these things but I do know for sure that we would be well served to do it a lot less. As husbands, we have to be as loving as possible with our wives. We have to encourage them with our words. Not break them down. Not make them feel stupid. Not damage their spirits. We have to recognize that whether they admit it or not, they depend on us to build them up. They depend on us to affirm them.

When your wife feels loved, she will respond with love back to you and your family. She will have confidence that she cannot get from herself alone. She will be strengthened to do more as your wife and as a mother to your children.

There will be plenty of opportunities to discuss things you both would want to different and better. Do these when you are alone. Even better, do these things through example before any discussion.

Take the time to encourage your wife everyday in the things she does well. Compliment her rather than critique her. Tell others about the great things your wife does and make sure she  hears your compliments and accolades. Your praise will do more to influence your wife than any “constructive criticism” you might say.


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.

My confession

September 16, 2009

I have a confession. I love writing this blog. I had forgotten how much I love writing in general but writing this blog really makes me happy. I feel good about the topic, I feel good about the advice, and I feel good that I may be actually helping some of you.

The confession is that, since I started this, I think I have been failing to heed my own advice. This thing takes so much time. It is so all consuming that I think I have not been giving the focus, attention and interest that I have been espousing to the amazing wife I have told you all about. You might be wondering how I stumbled across this hidden revelation. It was actually quite insightful on my part. On Sunday, my wife looked at me and said, “Ever since you started this blog thing you always have your face in the computer.” I am sure you are duly impressed with my deductive reasoning to take that little hint and determine that I have to be more careful, more considerate, and a much better husband.

The funny thing is she also now tells me all the time that she is going to tell all of you when ever I screw up. I wish you all knew her. She has the most amazing sense-of-humor. Even the few comments she has made have all been in fun but I am aware of it nonetheless.

For those of you that might not be familiar with what really goes into keeping up a daily blog and also trying to let others know your here, it is a lot of work. I spend about 7 hours a week on writing and editing the posts. I spend at least that in surfing other blogs, reading them, offering thought out comments and leaving them the link back to my blog for them to check it out. I use the wordpress tag surfer as well as and technorati. And finally, I spend another couple of hours doing research on how to make my blog successful so that it can effect as many people as possible.

I know that many of you have read my about page and know that I already have a very busy life. I have six children, 1 grandson, two companies of my own and consult for a dozen more. I surely didn’t need this blog to fill the empty spaces but I am so glad that I have it.

I would never have done all this had I not been inspired by the great blog my son writes, I hope you all will give it a look. It is full of great wisdom from a young man I am so proud of.

That’s it for today. Just my confession and attempt to keep myself accountable to my wife, my family and to all of you. This has been a great experience for me already and I hope you all are enjoying it to.

As my dad always says, “Make it a great day.”

Focus on her at parties.

September 13, 2009

I have heard many wives talk about how much they hate to go to parties with their husbands. That they are often heartbreaking events rather than something that brings anticipation and fulfillment. The main complaint is that when they go to parties, as soon as they get there, their husbands vanish. They either disappear with a group of men to a TV or they seek out conversation with anybody other than their wives.

Now there is no reason that we have to spend every minute at an event with our spouse and only converse with them. And I don’t get the feeling that they want that either. But they do want to be with us. They do want to be a couple. They want to be seen with us, talk with us, laugh with us. Is that so bad?

When we spend all our time at parties, speaking with everyone else, it says to our wives that we value the thoughts and ideas of everyone else, more than we do of our spouse. I know that we can talk with them all the time but it is important to do that in front of others as well. It shows that we place a high value on our wives. That we enjoy their company. That we are glad to be with them.

When I go anywhere with my wife and we are with a group of people, I have a game plan. I make sure that we enter together. I stay with her while we go around and meet everyone and say hello. I stay by her side until she engages with someone else. I then will take some time to go and mingle with people I want to see or maybe haven’t spoken with for awhile. While doing this, I look for her often. I make sure she catches me looking at her. I make sure she sees me adoring her. I go back to her often and talk with her about who she was talking to or who I was talking to.

When we are in a group talking, I compliment my wife about things she does or says that are relevant. I make sure that everyone knows, especially Janine, that I am in love with her and glad to be with her. This may all sound contrived or too much like an agenda rather than me being myself. But that is not true. I just know myself well enough to know that when I don’t have a game plan, I don’t do as well. I try to have a game plan in so many other areas of my life as well. I do this because I want to achieve the desired result.  I desire for my wife to feel loved, to feel needed, to feel valuable. I have to focus on this if I want to achieve it.

The next time you are going anywhere with your wife where you will be with a large group of people, think about how you will act when you get there. Have a game plan that focuses on your wife as well as the other people. She will appreciate your focus and attention. She will reward you with her attention and care for your needs as well. Now that’s what I call a win-win.

A Mom is an Incredible Thing To Watch

September 1, 2009

I don’t know yet as I begin to write this how it applies to the original intent of this blog, but I am going to write it anyway. I need to tell somebody and you all seem to be the best to hear it. I hope for many of you men, it might give you some idea as to the things your wives do everyday that you may take for granted and forget to applaud.

Janine and I had the opportunity to have our grandson Chase over for the weekend and it was awesome. And although Janine is not Chase’s mother, I don’t think it effects the story at all or the intent of what I am sharing.

Janine always does myriad things that need to be done for all our kids and for our grandson without complaint or actually without anything but a smile on her face. The wash, making sure they are all fed, making sure they are all clean and watching out for their general safety. I guess by some standards, that would make a great mom, but to me that is the minimum entry for a mother. Because you can do all of these things without love, without compassion, without inspiration and that is not life-changing. What I watch Janine do is life-changing. With her smile, with her laugh, with her tenderness for the kids, she is changing their lives.

Saturday night, all the kids were somewhere else and it was just Janine, Chase and myself at home. She was getting Chase ready for bed and asked me to come in and play with him because I had been at work all day and hadn’t the opportunity to spend time with him. It really should be notable enough that this crossed her mind and she acted on it. To ask me to do this, she had to be thinking about his well being. She had to be thinking about his needs. Which means she had to be putting thought into someone’s else needs above putting thought into her own. She didn’t stand to benefit by my spending time with Chase instead of her. She didn’t stand to gain anything at all. But all that aside, that was not what was so amazing. As I began to play with Chase, she lay down on the bed with us and began to play as well.  She began to kiss his feet and tell him that they smelled funny. They didn’t, she had just bathed him. It is a game she plays with all the younger kids and they love it. It is like a tradition that they all wait for her to do. Then she began to raspberry on his tummy, over and over again. He laughed and laughed until he was going crazy. Then she started tickling him on his neck. He laughed some more. By this time, I wasn’t playing with him at all. I was so overwhelmed with admiration for this woman, who has taken on the job of loving this new family that came with me when her and I married, that I temporarily forgot to play with Chase. Always aware, she noticed this and began to tickle me on my neck. This is actually more thoughtful than might first appear. She was playing with Chase but was still aware of what I was doing and wanted me to be back involved. That is thoughtful. How she did it was even more so. Being tickled on my neck is actually one of my phobias. I know that sounds like a crazy phobia, but it is weird to me. As she began to tickle me, she told Chase about his crazy Papa’s phobia. And did it in the sweetest way. She had to be totally aware of me and my life to remember that what she was doing to him would get me back involved too. We all had a great time. But most importantly, Chase was loved. He was loved by her time, he was loved by her affection, he was loved by her commitment, and he was loved by her thoughtfulness.

The whole incident was less than 20 minutes long. What I want you to see is that if you are not aware, you will miss all the amazing things that your wife does in any given day. There won’t be any horns blowing to get your attention. There won’t be anyone else around to point it out. You have to be looking. You have to realize that while many things might not seem life-changing at the time, they really are. I know that everyone in our family has experienced some change for the better in their life because of Janine. I am also sure that for many of you it is the same. Watch what your wife does as a mother. Watch what she does as a wife. Watch what she does as a friend. Then let her know how much you admire her. How much you appreciate her.

You see, it is not about her. She is already doing these things. It is about you. Make it about you.

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