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.
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. 🙂
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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.
Today I got an email requesting some information on how to find happiness in a marriage where one spouse is Christian and the other is not.
I just came upon your site & looked through the marriage topic for anything on being unequally yoked. Do you have any wisdom on this subject? I am Born Again and in full-time ministry but my husband is not a Christian. This is becoming harder and harder. Thanks.
I replied asking for any specific questions or angles she’d like to hear about… but I thought I could address the whole topic in a general way.
I’ll start by saying that this is a difficult topic to address since I have never been in this situation personally. I have, however, seen the effect of being unequally yoked on the people involved in such a union, both spouses and children, in my 10+ years of ministry. It’s never ideal and in ever situation it’s a struggle for everyone involved.
Why Is Being Unequally Yoked A Struggle?
When is the last time you got into an heated discussion about Religion or Politics with a friend or co-worker with opposing views? There is nothing in the world people are more passionate about than those two topics. Now imagine being married to that person… sharing a home and a bed with someone who thinks everything you hold dear and sacred is stupid and a complete waste of time.
My wife and I always joke about how different we are… how there is no way we should be able to get along… but the reason it works is because our differences are on the surface. Just underneath we are in complete unity. Our Faith, politics, theories on child rearing, the trust we have in one another, our love for our family… exactly the same. But imagine a marriage where the only thing you have in common is what you eat for dinner, what you watch on TV and where you watch it.
Why Do Christian People Marry Non-Christians?
Most of the time folks who marry someone who is not of the same faith do so because they simply do not think it matters at the time. They believe that they can change the person… or that love will be enough to carry them through. Then others are not very committed to their faith and so their beliefs, though different than their potential mate, are not really practiced and are therefore mostly irrelevant. In rare cases one of the spouses find Christ afterward and then find themselves unequally yoked by accident.
Usually people with a Christian background will begin to depend on their faith more as they age and experience life. Having children also gets people taking their relationship with Christ more seriously. If they were raised in church, they’re typically going to want their kids raised in church. Though the Christian parent has the best intentions, they typically become the ‘bad guy’ of the family forcing children to get up early for church when Dad gets to stay home, enforcing rules that only they believe in… it can really be a huge hassle.
If you are a Christian and single, do yourself a favor. Realize that the feeling of being in love is not what keeps a marriage together… it is the depth of your commitment to what you believe that makes marriage vows stick. It makes so much sense it’s scary. How can you trust your potential spouse to believe in and live out his commitment to you when he doesn’t even share, much less live out, your commitment to God.
How many times do arguments in a relationship start with a misunderstanding… um… every stinking time perhaps? Something like that. Here are a few hoops you can jump through before dragging yourself and your mate into a three hour shout-fest over nearly nothing.
1. Ask Them To Repeat And Clarify Their Comment
Before you get all angry over a comment, at least make sure you heard what they said correctly. I can’t tell you the times I’ve blown up over something that was never ever said!
2. Assume That You’re Taking It Worse Than Was Intended
I recall in the movie Wolverine where he says “Bub” but The Blob character hears him say “Blob” because he’s sensitive about his weight. We’re the same way. For some reason our brain loves to trick us into thinking folks are saying the exact thing we need to hear in order to be the most offended and hurt. Just knowing this about ourselves can help.
3. Is The Comment A Reply To Your Misunderstood Comment?
When people who love one another say hurtful things, 9 times out of 10 it’s in an attempt to defend themselves against something hurtful. You can judge how bad something you said hurt them by how much their reply stings you. If you say something that gets that kind of response, rather than fire back something awful, realize they may have misunderstood you and find out what they heard you say. Once they understand that you weren’t trying to rip out their heart… things can deescalate.
Two people who love one another are two people who put the other person’s feelings before their own. That doesn’t happen naturally. If it were, it wouldn’t be an act of love in the first place. Take the time and make a decision about your actions rather than allowing yourself to simply react to a comment and you will have that much more peace in your relationship.
The key to getting to do whatever you want is to outwork your wife… or at least try.
Clean the house, bathe the kids, do the dishes and the floors… then go play video games and see if she says anything. I have discovered this great power recently and I want to share it with you. It’s not easy to do because it actually feels at first like you’ll never get another free moment again in your life… but I believe that very feeling is what most of our wives feel every moment. Once they know we feel it too we become unified. The goal isn’t to equalize the work… but to be willing to do even more. So quit keeping score… and you will find that there is more time for the things you love to do than you ever thought possible. Guilt-free time… which is precious and rare.
Do you like bullet lists? I do:
- Become completely selfless.
- Set a goal to outwork your spouse.
- Commit at least three days to this goal before cashing in.
- Make it a part of your daily schedule… not just a one time thing.
- Game on!
You’ll also find other benefits… like a cleaner home, a calmer wife, happier kids, more enjoyment of your free time. The list goes on. Try it today!
Husbands and Dads… what kind of things do you do around the house to bless your wife and kids? Share in the comments!
I hope to God you folks don’t think Jenn and I have a perfect marriage. We don’t. We have a few things going for us… but some days are better than others. One of the things we struggle the most with is remembering that we’re on the same team.
What does that mean exactly… to be on the same team?
- We have the same goals.
- We take care of one another.
- We do not do things that hurt our teammate.
- When a teammate is down, we fill in for them.
When someone in a marriage gets angry or frustrated it’s easy to turn that toward the other spouse. Sometimes the stronger a relationship, the more damage it can take… so the more likely we are to abuse it. It’s like hitting a pillow. It doesn’t hurt the pillow so we punch away at full blast. The only problem is even the best relationship isn’t a pillow. It’s a connection… not unlike The Corsican Brothers. They were conjoined twin brothers who were separated. From then on they could each feel what happened to the other. If they fought one another, for instance, it wouldn’t hurt the brother… it would actually hurt themselves. This is how a lack of teamwork affects a marriage.
One of us is hurting. It is taken out on the spouse. It does hurt the spouse… but not as much as it turns around and hurts us. It does this because we’re hurting the very person who is there to help us. Rather than lashing out at someone… why not share your hurt and have someone to lash out with you? That’s what teammates are for.
Jenn and I are a team. The trick is remembering that. We are for one another, not against one another. We want the same things for ourselves, one another and our families. It can be hard to let a spouse help you when you’ve forgotten they’re on your team. That’s why we have just got to let ourselves be vulnerable… blindly believing above all else that we can trust our spouse.
It’s called Faith. When faith is proven enough… it turns into Trust.
Marriage is a lifetime of ‘testing the fences for weaknesses’ like a Raptor in Jurassic Park. We find it so hard to believe we’ve found a love we can keep for a lifetime… we pick away at it to see if we can find a hole. It’s nothing we do consciously… but as we do… and find (and fill) the gaps… the love grows stronger. You find less gaps, less weakness and you can begin to trust more and more because of what you’ve gone through.
I don’t mind admitting we don’t have the perfect marriage because we have a strong one… because it’s been picked at the entire time… and it’s withstood and grown stronger as a result.
I love you Woman!. I’m on your team.