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.

Advertisements

Tomorrow may be too late.

October 29, 2009

I have to imagine that from the creation of our world, mankind has always suffered from the illusion that we have plenty of time to do whatever it is that we want to do. I believe that this misconception has resulted in the failure of many great people to have attained many great goals.

A rarely seen quote by Leonard Bernstein says, “To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” The very first time I read this quote, I didn’t quite understand the brilliance in it. I knew there was some great truth being conveyed yet I couldn’t put my finger on it. Over time, I began to recall how often I am able to complete a number of tasks, that I had procrastinated in dealing with, in a very short time when a deadline presented itself. Even if it was just my going away for a few days, knowing I would be out of the office, I would complete all the things I had put off prior to my leaving.

This is a luxury we are not afforded in our marriage. There are no deadlines to meet. There isn’t a specific date that requires us to complete a specific task. We have reviewed many tasks here that would surely make the list of things to do but there is no force compelling us to institute these by any deadline. Thus, we often never begin, just because we feel no pressure to do it today.

I assure you, there will come a day, where tomorrow will be too late. Whether it be a divorce or death or some other reason, that day will come. Don’t wait another day. If you have any desire to strengthen and improve your marriage, then do it today. Don’t wait one more day to tell your wife you love her, to show her you are committed to her, to fulfill her dream of you being the prince charming that you led her to believe she was marrying.


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.


Look the other way.

October 25, 2009

Focus is a very powerful thing. What we look at, what we are focused on makes a huge difference on what will be in our future. Both literally and figuratively. When we are in marriages that are troubled, marriages that are filled with strife, it is easy to focus on the problems rather than the solutions. But we have the ability to change that. To change our focus.

There is a Maori Proverb, a native Polynesian population of New Zealand, that says, “Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.” That directly speaks to how we can begin to change our own situations. If we will just begin to focus on the things that are good in our marriages, the things that really do work, we can use these as a foundation to build upon.

I know that even in my own marriage, I could easily begin to focus on the problems. I could get lost in the things I want Janine to do different. Do better. And sometimes I do. But when that happens, most of the time, I am aware of it, and that doing this has caused me problems in my past, and I don’t want to do that again.

Do your best to focus on the positive. Do your best to identify the things your wife does well. The things she does that helps and supports you and your family. When you are directly focused on those, they will be your sun, and the shadows of the things that are hurtful or detrimental will be behind you away from your constant view.


Don’t give up

October 24, 2009

I would never want to pretend or deceive any of you men who are in marriages that are very difficult by telling you that if you do all the things I have talked about here, then everything will be perfect in your marriage. That is just untrue. Difficult marriages are difficult because of the two people in them together. But the truth is that one is often more culpable for the strife than the other. Although some have said that it takes two to tango, even in dancing there is often one of the two dancers that are better or worse than the other.

That being said, no broken or hurting marriage would not be somehow improved when one of the parties decides to make a positive difference.  When one party makes a commitment to love completely, to appreciate the other for the good they do, to forgive the past errors and move the relationship in a new direction.

When you make a commitment to do these things there will be days that you want to give up. There will be days that you feel completely defeated. There will be days where you can’t help but think that you are wasting your time and it isn’t helping anything. On those days you just have to dig deeper.

I don’t know why I can’t seem to see Ben Stein saying this but I know he did and it so apropos to today’s message. He said, “The human spirit is never finished when it is defeated…it is finished when it surrenders.” That truly is the whole of it.

It is so important to love your wife completely. It is so important to encourage her daily. It is so important to appreciate everything she does for you and your family. But none of those will matter if you don’t make the decision right now to see it through till the end. The most important thing you can do to change the future of your marriage and family is to first decide to never give up.


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.


Princess for a day

October 20, 2009

Today’s post really has nothing to do with what a man can do for his wife to make her feel loved. It could certainly help a man who is getting married though.

Janine and I are starting to get our photos back from our wedding and have watched our wedding video a number of times lately. While doing so, we have watched myriad other wedding videos on the site where ours is hosted.

While watching all these videos, something really amazed me. Every woman in every video looked beautiful. Now I will have to say that none looked as beautiful as my wife did on our wedding day, but nonetheless, every bride was beautiful. I kept having her click on more and more to see if it was really true.

After watching at least a dozen weddings, I was overwhelmed with the fact that at least for one day in every woman’s life, she gets to be beautiful. She gets to be a princess. And that made me happy. It made me happy for all women but most of all it made me happy for my daughters.

I have always tried to encourage, honor, adore and praise my daughters for all of their gifts and abilities. But I really am looking forward to honoring them as a princess and a bride on their wedding day.

I hope that whoever they marry, will in fact ascribe to all the things I talk about here and all the other ones I don’t even know, that will make my daughters feel like princesses for the life of their marriages.