An Attempt To Thank A Supportive Wife

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When trying to describe the amazing job my wife does in supporting me… I would have liked to use an analogy. Nothing I came up with really said what I was trying to say.

She keeps me uplifted and where I’m supposed to be… just like a good bra.

She helps me in my daily walk… like a Dr. Sholes shoe insert.

She keeps me straight… like a retainer.

Like a neck brace… she keeps my head on straight.

She helps me take things slow when I should… like a speed bump.

Like a Jr. High yearbook photo… she reminds me of how far we’ve come.

She keeps me focused… like a locker room peephole.

She keeps me motivated… like a pound bag of Peanut M&M’s.

And last, but not least…

Like a glass of water from Mexico… she helps me get rid of my crap.

None of these things do her justice. She is truly amazing. I know that not only am I a better person because of her… but that my life, and every other life she shares hers with, is a better life for it. Literally, opportunities would not otherwise be a possibility without her with me. She is a close rival for 1st place in my heart… the only one who beats her is The One who gave her to me.

Thanks Jenn.

To Be Or Not To Be

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Just a quick thought today… in the form of a question:

Are you a great spouse & parent, or are you just not a bad one?

In other words…

Are you the spouse and/or parent you were created to be… or are you just the product of a list of things you have committed never to be?

There is a difference.

I realized a while back that though it was a good thing to have a list of things I never wanted to do or be with my wife and kids… basing my goals exclusively on what I want NOT to do was limiting my potential as a husband and father.

How can you become all you were meant to be if you’re focused more on what you don’t want to be rather than what you could be?

I don’t want the best I can be to just be a good version of someone else from my past. I want my best to be all that God wants for me to be.

Confused much? Holler at me in the comments if you get me.

How To Properly Manipulate Your Husband

Yesterday I talked about the scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding where Mom and Daughter were talking. Mom says, “The Husband may be the head, but the Wife is the neck.” or something to that effect. I love that line… because it’s so true.

Today’s post is for the ladies. I want to give you the inside scoop on how to get we men to do pretty much anything you want… assuming you’re intentions are pure.

1. Be nice.

We married couples tend to forget how to ask for things nicely. We tend to take one another for granted. It’s assumed that we’re supposed to do this or that. Men like to be treated the same way you do… like they’re not expected to do things. Ask and you shall receive.

2. Don’t assume we know anything about what you want.

I used to get into a lot of trouble for not doing things that I never knew needed to be done. If you want your man to do something, you can’t hint around… clearly say what you want.

2. Tell us what you’re thinking AND feeling.

We don’t know what your thinking. Even if we have a clue… we don’t know what that means to you. We think differently… so even if you tell us what’s going on in there, we don’t know how it makes you feel. So when you communicate, you might say something like this, “When you don’t do this… it makes me feel….” Sometimes we don’t do what you want because we don’t see it the same way you do. When a loving husband knows how much something bothers his wife… he will change it, fix it or hit it with a club or something.

3. Let us do it our way in our time.

We’re not going to do it exactly the same way you do. Most of the time we won’t do it exactly when you want… and it’ll probably take longer as well. Be ready to truly delegate whatever it is you need. Give it away. If you’re going to worry and fret over it the whole time, you might as well keep the task for yourself.

4. Ask permission to nag in advance.

Nagging is okay… if it’s done right. Tell us a due date on a project… by the weekend, or maybe a week or so. If you give us a due date, and we don’t do it… that’s permission to nag all you want. We can’t even fight you on it. Reminders work better than nagging. Reminding is gooder.

5. Treat us how you want to be treated.

It’s the old Golden Rule. We want the same treatment you want. So even if we’re dropping the ball a bit, give us the benefit of the doubt. Offer to help. Find out if there’s something you could do to help us get motivated. Some of us don’t like making phone calls… maybe you could help us with that part. Some of us hate shopping. If you’ll take the lead on this attitude thing, assuming we haven’t, most men worth a crap will reciprocate.

6. Brag on every little thing we do. Three times each.

Men are not as simple as the media portrays us… except in this one way. If you brag on is OMG! OMG! We will lift mountains to get you to do it again next time. Sometimes wives take what we do for granted. If you wanted the roof fixed… then we fix it… it’s not a problem anymore so we’re on to the next issue. Take a moment and be grateful. It’s good for us… and it helps you enjoy the good things that are going on around you.

7. Pray for us.

Please, pray for us ladies! We’re a mess. And the better your man is… the more you should pray for him! Being a good man in this world is like running up a down escalator. It’s hard work and we need your support! We’re like computers in that way… if you put good stuff in, you’ll get good stuff out. I guess that’s another way we’re simple.

I know there will be readers who may be angered by this post… that’s fine. Everyone has been hurt by a stupid man, even we men, but that doesn’t give us the right to hate on all of them. There are good men out there… and sometimes they’re ruined because they’re taken for granted and unappreciated. Let’s hear it for the boys. 🙂

Did you enjoy this article? Listen to the podcast: Geek Loves Nerd 55 – Manipulate Your Husband

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About Roles & Trust In Marriage

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In the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” the main character’s mom mentioned something that stuck with me. It went something like this:

“The man may be the head of the house, but the woman is the neck.”

I gotta say… I love that. Never before or since have I heard a better illustration of how a man and wife work together to lead their family. It’s the perfect blend between traditional values and common sense.

In my marriage my wife is more than happy to leave the leadership to me… that’s because she knows I truly have her and the kid’s best interests in mind. I don’t make decisions selfishly. I’m no Giaus Baltar. That being said, I don’t make a single family decision without the complete support and agreement of my wife. We are a team. If we don’t agree, it’s not a right move for us. I trust her even when I’m not crazy about our disagreement on a particular move. In that way she is the neck to my head. We are inseparable. She gives direction and support.

In so many marriages I see spouses struggling with one another over power… over who will lead. Wives unable to trust their husbands and husbands unable to make selfless choices. Neither are able to fulfill their roles in the family because they’re out of sync, each trying to make up for the shortcomings of the other.

Secretly it’s not about power though… it’s about self-preservation and the avoidance of pain, which looks outwardly like a lack of trust and a grab for power. When couples are open and honest with one another about their own fears, they can start working for one another instead of against.

Here are some tips that have worked for Jenn and I when it comes to trusting one another’s roles in our marriage.

1. Figure out what your issues are.

Why are you unable to trust one another? What happened in your past (probably early childhood) that have caused you to make vows to protect yourself.

2. Share those issues, fears and shortcomings openly with your spouse.

Chances are that all of your issues are bumping into your spouses issues. Each of you pushing one another’s buttons unintentionally. This is not a time to be defensive. It’s a time to share your feelings and hear the pain behind them. If someone feels more strongly about something than you can understand… it’s because that’s how big of a deal it is to them.

3. Realize that your spouse is not your enemy or competition. They are your partner, friend and teammate.

If one of you have issues… then you both do. It’s not about one person working it out… it’s about both of you working on your issues together. You are more than a team… you are a unit. What hurts one hurts the other. You can abuse the relationship by taking your frustrations out on one another, or you can stick together and work out your frustrations together. In this way a bad situation can serve to bond you together rather than tear you apart.

4. Do all you can in yourself to help your spouse heal.

Once you figure out the reasons behind your trust issues the healing can begin… but it’s not instant or easy. Every day you have to make a choice to keep working on it and believe what doesn’t seem true… that you can trust those who love you completely. Spouses can help that process along by showing their love in new ways… by making real change that can be felt by the other. That’s where knowing your spouse’s love languages can come in handy.

5. Focus more on your own self-improvement than your spouse’s.

You can’t work on your trust issues if you’re waiting for the other person to start getting better before you do anything. You have to work on your problems like you want them to work on theirs, rather than monitoring them and only going as far as they do. This is the only area you’re supposed to be self-centered in. If we want an better relationship with an improved spouse… we have to become a person who deserves that.

When we can trust our spouse to fulfill their role, we are free to fulfill ours. It’s not about who’s the boss and who’s the slave… it’s like a machine, where every part does a different job… but they’re all equally important because without one if them the machine doesn’t work.

Young & In Love? Some Advice.

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A 17 year old girl asked me for advice last night. She has found The One… she is sure of it…. at 17. She’s struggling with her relationship with God but putting 99% of her energy into her flawed relationship with this guy. Here are some of the things I shared with her that I’d like to share with anyone who is considering marriage.

1. Put 99% of your energy into improving your relationship with God.

Connecting with God through prayer, Bible reading, Church attendance, obedience and struggle will benefit every area of your life. Marriage is basically connecting every part of your life to every part of someone else’s life… so why wouldn’t you want to work on it all rather than just your relationship?

2. You both deserve the best spouse in the world… but you can’t change him nor he you.

Focus on improving yourself rather than trying to change the other person. If they truly love you, they will do the same for you… and you will be able to trust them to do it. Dating someone and committing to marriage is the ultimate acceptance. If you connect in such a way to a severely flawed person, you are accepting the flaws… they will be less motivated to correct and work through them. So many times I see couples focused on the other persons flaws, putting most of their energy into turning the other person into someone they don’t even deserve themselves. We must become a person who deserves the best rather than finding someone flawed and trying to turn them into what we want.

3. Your spiritual life will in many ways be duplicated in your future children.

Most of us would probably admit that though our spiritual lives aren’t perfect… they work for us and are better than they once were. So the question I’ll ask you… would you want to give one of your children your spiritual life? If you said no, then you’ve got work to do. Having our hearts focused on God is the key to every bit of raising a child properly. If you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing… how can you hold a child to a standard you’re not even holding to yourself?

4. I don’t know what I’m eating for dinner tomorrow, much less if I’ve found The One.

We humans are so limited… we can’t even choose where we want to go to dinner on a date… but we’ll be 100% sure that we’ve found the person we’re destined to marry. The truth is we don’t know anything… but we feel everything. Much like a new pair of shoes that we love until they become flawed… the feelings of an exciting relationship can change in an instant. A real relationship is not based on feelings alone.

5. Pray for what you want… but be open to what God wants.

She asked me how she should pray. I reminded her of Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was about to be crucified… he was stressed. He prayed something like this… “If there is any other way You can do this… let’s do it that way and leave me out of it.” But then he said, “But not what I want… Let’s do what you want.” That’s how I pray. I pray for the things I think I need in my limited understanding. I ask for solutions that will work out best for me and in my timeline… but then I pause and open my heart and life for God to meet the needs He wants in the way He wants. How many times have thought God wasn’t working in our lives because we limited ourselves to believing that he was going to do things our way?

I don’t know if my advice was heeded… time will tell. I hope so. She’s at such a pivotal time in her life. It seems unfair that a 17 year old has that kind of power. If the 30 year old version of herself could only make an appearance… I’m sure she’d listen to her. Or would she?