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.

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LOL

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.


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.


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.