Category Archives: Marriage

List of ways to love your wife that you’ve never thought of before!

Ok, so I’m all about finding ways to show Julia I love her.  And I think it’s a great challenge for all husbands to do the same with their wives.  Feeling loved is such a pivotal connection for a wife, and they need to feel it from YOU!  A man who fails to show his wife this will have difficulty creating a genuine intimate relationship with her.

So if it’s so important, you would think this would be easy for all guys to do, but it’s NOT!  Personally, it can take me a while to figure out something that works well.  When I do it’s like…BOOM…EUREKA!…I’M GOOD TO GO NOW!  So, I stick with it.  And then stick with it some more.  And then keep doing it some more.  And eventually I realize that it doesn’t quite have the same impact that it originally did.  Hmm…I don’t understand!  If it blew her socks off the first time, why does it not have the same impact now…after beating it into the ground 100 times??!

So the point I want to make is…always be trying to find NEW ways to show your wife you love her.  The same old thing will STILL be good, but keeping things new will have a much bigger impact.  So, I want to give you a list of ideas to get you thinking…

-Leave sticky notes around the house with messages for her

-Ask if you can watch (insert her favorite TV show/movie) with her

stock-footage-father-and-son-doing-homework-on-the-table-in-the-living-roomAsk her to leave the kids’ homework until you get home so you can do it with them

-Write an “I love you” message on the driveway in chalk

-Pick a random day to celebrate your wife (like a birthday…but not on her birthday)

-Hold hands when walking somewhere

-Sit next to her on the couch

-Pick a book she might like and have “read-aloud” dates at night until you’ve read through it

-When she asks how your day was, think of some details to share rather than just saying “good”

-Ask for her input on something you have to decide about

-Brag about her to other people

-Defend her if your kids are disrespectful to her

-Get up early and proactively make sure the rest of the house is quiet so she can sleep in as long as she wants

044-Get her some flowers

-Get her some chocolates

-Get her some sort of food you know she loves

-Buy her an outfit you think she would like (but keep the receipt)

-Buy her any present

-Make her something out of pictures that is creative and meaningful

-Pray with her

-Schedule a sitter so you can go out on a date

-Plan an at-home date

-Plan a weekend getaway without the kids

-Do the laundry without her asking

IMG_8420Do the dishes without her asking

-Unload the dishwasher when it’s clean

-Plan, shop for, and cook a nice dinner

-Plan, shop for, and cook a week of dinners

-Vacuum the house without her asking

-Clean the bathrooms without her asking

-Pick-up something of yours that is always messy around the house

-Make lunches for the kids without her knowing

-Make an all-day plan to go out with the kids on Saturday so she can have a free day

-Get the kids ready and put them to bed

-Send her a nice email letting her know you were thinking of her

-Handwrite a letter telling her how much you love her

My challenge to you:

Pick a few of the ideas above that stand out to you.  Maybe something you’ve never tried before, or something you think your wife might appreciate.  Then, make a point of doing it!

It’s that time of the year again…!!!

One of my favorite times of the year is here!  No, it’s not the leaves changing, Halloween, or great fall weather (although all of these are fun).  I’m excited about annual budgeting time…woohoo!  We start our family’s fiscal year on October 1st, so late September we get to plan out how we’re going to budget for the next year.  It’s so great!

I spend a bunch of time putting together spreadsheets and running reports from Quicken to see what we spent last year and estimate what we need to do for this year.  Then, Julia and I will sit down and figure out what we want to do.  I think what I love about it is the clean slate it creates.  No categories will be overspent.  We have total freedom (within the budget we create) to spend without feeling bad.

budgetingHere’s the tricky part though…Julia HATES it!  Getting her to want to sit down with me to go through it is like winning the lottery.  So here’s my challenge…because she doesn’t like it, it’s easy for me to want to make decisions without her.  It would be really simple to just budget however I want and just tell her afterwards what it is.  After all, I am the man of the house right?  Can’t I just do whatever I want?

Even though she doesn’t like the process, I feel it is SO important for us to do this together.  It is not MY money to decide what to do with just because we got it from the job I worked.  It is OURS because we work together as a family.  And really, it is not OUR money either simply because we earned it, it is GOD’S money that he has blessed us with.  I want to make sure our family manages that money well in a way that is non-selfish, loving, and responsible.  So an important part of that is to talk with her to hear her opinions on how things should be allocated.  Julia has very good insight and opinions.  Even if she wants to use money for something I didn’t want to, it’s good for me to know that.  If we only made financial decisions based on what I thought was important, I wouldn’t be honoring and loving her.

My challenge to you:

Make sure you and your wife are BOTH involved in your family’s budgeting process.  Even if one of you is more interested than the other, I think it’s incredibly important for you BOTH to have input and honor God together through it.

For wives only… (part 2) – 3 steps to take when your husband doesn’t seem to care

My last post was directed to wives about the importance of communicating with their husbands.  If a husband isn’t loving his wife well, one of the best things that can help is for the man to understand what “loving her well” means.  And the best way to do that, is for his wife to talk with him about it.

But, the sad reality is that sometimes a wife can do a great job of communicating exactly what is frustrating her, or what she NEEDS her husband to do, or an area she’s not feeling loved….but he either doesn’t hear her, or he just doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it.  YIKES!  So wives, what do you do now??!!  Unfortunately there is no magic solution for this,  but I do have three steps you can take to address it.

1.  Don’t forget to pray

This is the MOST important step!  When you try to solve a problem without relying on God, it’s like a blind person trying to drive through Atlanta traffic…it’s  not woman_prayinggoing to happen…at least not well.  With God, all things are possible…not for YOU to accomplish, but for GOD to accomplish through you.  When you’ve communicated an issue, but your husband doesn’t seem care or doesn’t change, you’re not dealing with a knowledge issue, you’re dealing with a HEART issue.  And God is the only one that can change that.  So talk with God.  Let Him know what you need help with.  Let Him know what you hope for your husband.  Trust Him to affect the change in HIS timing.  And keep at it!  Remember, just because it doesn’t change right away, doesn’t mean God is not hearing you.  Stay faithful and “cast all your cares upon Him.”  And don’t do this alone!  Find a prayer group, or a women’s bible study, or simply a friend or two that will support you in praying.  This will help provide more prayer as well as encourage with (hopefully) godly advice as you work through it.

2.  Don’t gossip

I know this is going to be tempting, but if your husband is not loving you well and doesn’t seem to care about your needs, don’t trash talk him with your girlfriends.  This will not gossipaccomplish anything positive.  It only creates an atmosphere of negativity which is contagious and self-perpetuating…meaning your friends will be likely to focus on the negative aspects of THEIR husbands, and you will continue to focus on the negative aspects of yours.  Never-NEVER put your husband down to other people.  The only exception is this…as I mention in the prayer section above, it can be good to talk with a friend (in confidence) to have their support and advice.  There is a lot of purpose in this, but it is very different than unloading pent up frustrations to a group of people.

3.  Don’t give up

If you don’t see a change in your husband after talking with him and praying for him, it can be easy to get discouraged and want to give up.  Change almost ALWAYS takes time, so DON’T GIVE UP!   This can be a tricky one, but you should keep talking about the issue 1-Dont-give-upwith your husband.  Now here’s why this is tricky…it can be VERY EASY for this to turn into nagging.  When this happens, many men push even farther away from what is being asked of them.  However, it IS important to talk about things like this more than once.  Try talking about it from a different angle.  Try helping him to see from your perspective in a way he may not have realized before.  And make sure there is a good bit of time between this and the last time you brought the subject up.  There are two reasons to keep bringing it up.  One is that sometimes guys need to hear things more than once for it to sink in (I’m raising my hand here!).  And two is that maybe God has been working on his heart since the last time you talked.  Maybe NOW he is able to hear you better.  But like I said, be very careful about bringing something up too frequently, this can cause more harm than good.

My advice to you (women):

If you’ve communicated with your husband about an issue where you need him to show you love more, but he doesn’t seem to respond, remember these steps.  Start with prayer because it will be the MOST important thing you can do.  Remember to not put him down with your friends while you work through things.  And don’t give up!  Keep praying, and keep talking with him about it.  Just make sure any conversations you have are respectful and full of love and humility on YOUR part or they will not be received well.

Also realize that change can take time.  It may happen after talking about it once, or it could be after praying for 10 years.  Be faithful in loving your husband well trusting that God will work in His timing

My advice to you (men):

What issue has your wife been trying to communicate with you about?  What area does she need to feel love from you in that you’re not giving her?  Does she feel alone in housework?  Does she feel alone in child raising?  Does she feel like you don’t make spending time with her a priority?  What has she told you that you haven’t responded well to?  Don’t make her bring it up over and over.  Put your selfishness aside and think about what you can do to START loving her well in that area.

For wives only…

Usually my posts are directed to guys talking about some way they can love their wives in a way that reflects God’s calling to them in their role as a husband.  But today I’m going to mix things up.  I still want to promote husbands loving their wives, but I want to address a VERY important aspect of developing this.  And that is…their wives!

There is a type of marriage relationship that grieves my heart, and unfortunately it is very common.  Let me paint a picture of it.  The husband works all day and comes home in the afternoon.  When he gets home, he’s minimally interested in spending time with his kids or connecting with his wife.  The family eats together and the evening is spent with the husband and wife doing separate things.  Then they go to sleep and the next day is the same thing again.  The couple feels more like roommates than best friends and lovers.  They WANT a better relationship, but don’t know how to get it.  The work seems too hard, so they don’t bother.  Maybe there is a lot of stress at home too.  Maybe the wife is frazzled because she’s doing all the housework and all the taking care of the kids.  Maybe the husband doesn’t feel like it’s his job to do those things because he “worked all day”, and his wife has been home doing “whatever she wants to”, and as a result there is tension between them.  But addressing it just leads to fights, so it’s generally left un-dealt with and is repeated again the next day.

The posts I write on my blog are mostly focused on encouraging the husband to break this cycle.  I try to find different ways to share ideas for men to love their wives.  But, I feel probably the BIGGEST thing that can help with this problem is communication from their wives.  At my job, one thing I often tell people that our group works with is, “the only problem we can’t fix is the one we don’t know about.”  This is true for marriages too.  A man can’t take steps to fix something unless he is aware that it is an issue.  So…ladies…here are some things you can do to help your husband love you…

  • Communicate about workload at home:  Many guys grew up in a house where their mothers did ALL the housework, so that’s what they feel is normal.  Many guys are tired after working and if their wife stays home, they feel she should take care of 29005463074937079090981336945nALL the cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc.  Also, many guys are selfish (trust me on this…firsthand knowledge here!) and just don’t want to help out.  If this is happening in your marriage, you need to talk about it.  If your husband is at work “all day”, he needs to understand that you are all work “all day” too…either working a job or working at home.  We are very blessed for Julia to be able to stay at home, and I think she does more work than me during the day!  For a husband to come home and assume HIS work is done is show his selfishness and lack of respect for what his wife does.  Sometimes fixing this could be as simple as a bit of communication…simply asking for help…telling him you feel like the expectation placed on you has been unfair.
  • Kid responsibilities: This is pretty much the same as the above paragraph.  Does your husband share the responsibility of taking care of the kids (feeding, diapers, taking to sports, baths, putting to bed, etc)?  Just like household chores, this should NOT just be the wife’s responsibility.  If your husband is leaving what feels like an unfair amount of this work to you, have a talk about it.
  • Initiate dates: Ideally I’d like to see guys doing this, but if they’re not, the important thing is for you two to get some time together.  If your husband is not taking the lead in it…give it a jumpstart and set it up yourself.  Maybe after going out on a date or two, he may realize the importance.  Then, maybe you can encourage him (in a loving way) that you’d love it if he was more proactive in scheduling them too.
  • Tell him where you “love tank” is at:  It’s important that you occasionally let him know how your “love tank” is doing.  Is he showing you love in the ways you need?  If not, sometimes it just takes a conversation to help remind him of what you need.

And probably the most important point to make about this ideas is the need to make sure communication is done WELL.  By this I mean respectfully and with love rather than with accusations, sarcasm or spite.  For example…

Bad communication:

  • Effective-Communication-TipsWhy don’t you get off your butt and do that yourself!”
  • “Maybe if you’d take me out on a date every once in a while…”
  • “Maybe I should just go buy myself flowers sometime, because you’re obviously not going to!”
  • “She’s your daughter too!  Why don’t YOU change her diaper sometime!”

Good communication:

  • “Hey honey, I realize the bathrooms haven’t been cleaned in a while, and I’m sorry that I haven’t gotten to it.  It’s been tough because I’m so busy doing other things during the day.  I know you work hard too just like I do, but do you think we could maybe come up with some sort of plan to divide up some of the chores around the house?  Because right now, I feel alone in taking care of them.”
  • “Hey, I really miss us getting time alone together to go out.  I’d love if we both tried to make it a priority to go on dates together.  Are you interested in organizing them, or would it help if I helped plan them?”
  • “Hey babe, I’m having a really rough time taking care of our daughter.  I’m exhausted every day and REALLY could use more of a hand in sharing the responsibilities.  Do you think you would be able to help with…”

***IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER*** – Now what if you’ve DONE these things, but your husband doesn’t seem to hear you or care?  What do you do then???  This is a very real problem and I’m going to talk about it in my next post, so stay tuned!

My challenge to you:

Ladies…if there is an issue in your marriage, don’t just write it off because your husband is lacking in something.  Find a non-threatening way to bring it up so you can talk about it.  Generally men will be receptive to hearing what you have to say, and actually doing something about it…if they are able to understand where you’re coming from…and don’t feel like you’re attacking them.

Men…if your wife talks to you about something, don’t get your back up.  Listen to what she has to say, try to understand her perspective, and think about what you can do about it.

Possibly my WORST trait as a husband…

active-listeningI stink at listening.  Seriously…I’m bad at it.  USUALLY, when someone introduces themselves to me, I’ve forgotten their name 2 seconds later…I’m not exaggerating.  I wrote a couple months ago about how I’ve been trying to work at listening when I’m BUSY, but there is so much more to this issue to work on.

I’ve recently realized how my poor listening skills can really hurt my relationship with my wife.  For us to have a great relationship, we need to be able to communicate.  But, for communication to work, there needs to be good talking AND listening from both parties.  If I don’t give her attention when she speaks, and if I don’t attempt to really understand what she’s trying to say, then I am telling her that I don’t really care about what she wants to communicate.

Recently, I started reading a book called The Lost Art Of Listening.  It has been so good for me to help identify areas I need to work on.  In addition to listening when I’m busy, I’ve been working on the following areas.  Do any of these sound familiar to you?

1. Zoning out:  Sometimes I start off so great.  Someone is talking…I’m listening…everything is perfect!  But then, I think about something from work…or a tv show I watched…or dinner.  And then, I realize that I have no idea what was just said over the last minute!  Does this happen to anyone else?!  And then the worst happens…”so what do you think?”  Oh man…I don’t even know what the question was!  Forget about being embarrassed by being caught not paying attention, the real shame is that I missed a chance to learn something they wanted to share with me.

2. Thinking about what I want to say next:  I’m guilty of this WAY too much.  It seems like a practical thing to do in order to keep a conversation going smoothly…am I right, or am I right?  But, I find that usually when I’m thinking about this, I COMPLETELY miss the rest of what they’re trying to share.  I’ve been trying to stay present more.  I know that If I lose my train of thought…that’s ok.  A lull in the conversation is not the ultimate doom that I always though it was…it’s ok.  It’s much better to hear what they’re saying and to go from there.

3. Trying to solve the problem rather than listen:  Yeah this is like EVERY DAY!  I don’t know why it is, but if there is a problem, my reaction is ALWAYS to give advice to fix it.  After 12 years of marriage, I realize that Julia doesn’t want me to solve her problems, she wants me to listen and understand.  I still don’t quite get it…but I’ve learned to accept it.

4. Hearing words, but not the meaning behind them:  If Julia and I both hear someone say something, it’s very common for us to come away with 2 totally different perspectives on what they just said.  (Spoiler alert…she’s usually right)  Julia has an uncanny ability to understand people in ways I just don’t.  So, given my lack of intuition, I find that I often hear things Julia says to me, but make wrong assumptions about what she’s trying to communicate.  I’ve been trying to use the phrase, “…so what I hear you saying is…”.  This is very helpful in summarizing what I THINK she’s saying.  This gives her the chance to either correct me if I didn’t connect with her meaning…or it allows her to go deeper in sharing more.

5. Doing other things while listening:  I like being productive.  If I’m having a conversation with someone that is not very deep, chance are I’m trying to do something else during it, like doing something on the computer, or putting away dishes, or something.  It’s not that I’m in the middle of something, it’s just that talking takes time, and then I think of all the other things I could be doing with that time!  The problem is that doing this shows the other person that I’m not THAT interested in what they’re saying.  This could be ok if I’m talking about a tv show, or what happened at work that day.  But, if I’m talking about something important, it doesn’t go over well.  In situations like this, I’ve been trying to listen with my body.  By this I mean, facing my body to them, not doing anything else, and making eye contact.

None of these things come naturally to me, so it has been quite a challenge.  But, I have to tell you that just thinking about them has made practicing listening SO much easier, and has really changed my actions A LOT.  As a result, I’ve found a MUCH better connection to Julia!  It’s amazing how good communication can grow a relationship!  :-)

My advice to you:

If you struggle with listening as I do, I encourage you to think if any of these points I made sound familiar to you.  If they do, start trying to make small changes in how you communicate with your wife or anyone you talk with.  If you enjoy reading, I encourage you to check out The Lost Art of Listening.

4 words never to say to your wife…

aTqb45nTMOk, imagine you’re debating with your wife over the best way to pack your car for a road trip.  She wants to put the cooler in the back because it’s the flattest place and you’ll be able to keep all the contents level.  But, you disagree.  You want to put it in the middle, that way it will be easily accessible.  Since you’ve both been packing and loading the car, you’re a little on edge.  You’re stressed and sweaty and start to argue about the all important cooler placement.  Finally to avoid confrontation, you say “FINE, we’ll put it in the back!”  You don’t think it is best, but you don’t want to fight anymore.

A few hours down the road, your wife is thirsty and wants a drink from the cooler.  You respond with a slight air of smugness that she can’t get one because it’s back in the back.  But, she’s really thirsty, and asks if you can pull over.  So, you pull over on the shoulder of the interstate and go open the trunk.  But you still can’t get to it so you have to unload a few bags first.  Finally, you get to the cooler, get out a drink, re-load the bags you moved, and come back around to the front.

As you hand her the drink you have an important decision to make.  What do you say??  I’m going to give you some choices:

  • “I told you we should have put the cooler in the middle!”
  • “Don’t you wish we hadn’t put that in the back now?”
  • “Well, that was annoying!”
  • “Next time, I’m just going to pack the car myself.”
  • Say nothing, but silently indicate that you’re not happy

The best response is…NONE OF THESE!  These are all the WORST!  You feel wronged…I get that.  Yes, your opinion to put the cooler in the middle may have been better, and now you’ve been inconvenienced.  But, nothing is gained by pointing this out to your wife.  Mostly likely she is KEENLY aware of the fact that your idea would actually have been better.  She doesn’t need you to point it out.  By doing so, you’re rubbing it in her face.  This tells her that you think you’re better and you want her to know it, and you don’t care how she feels…as long as she knows you’re right!!

But, what if she gives no indication that she realizes the error of her packing ways.  She is completely clueless to the egregious error she made.  What do you do then???  NOTHING…except get her the darn drink, hand it to her with a genuine smile and ask if there is anything else you can get for her!  You DON’T need to be right.  You DON’T need to point out when she was wrong.  The accomplishes nothing except a feeling of superiority on your part.

Now, imagine you’re on the flip side of this.  Let’s say YOU were the one who wanted to put the cooler in the back, and it becomes apparent that your wife’s opinion was a better one.  TAKE THE HIGH ROAD.  Nothing will make your wife feel better than you saying, “You know what?  Your idea to put the cooler in the middle WAS a better idea.  I’m sorry that I didn’t listen to you.”  How awesome would THAT be!!  There is nothing lost by saying this.  It prevents you from perpetuating tension, and shows her you can be humble.  And it acknowledges to her that you feel she has valuable things to offer.

My challenge to you:

These 4 words, “I told you so” need to be completely taken out of your vocabulary.  If you were right, forget about it.  There is nothing to be gained by rubbing it in your wife’s face.  And if you realize you are wrong, admit it.

Something I want to change about myself

imageI think I am a pretty funny guy.  But, not really in the sense you would normally think.  I’m a pretty introverted person who stays quiet in large groups.  But, in smaller settings, I’m often ready to unload with amusing quips.  What’s strange is that I do best in improper locations like hospitals or funeral homes.  It drives Julia crazy.  I’m always whispering things to her that at least I find to be hilarious.  Often I have to tell them to her after the fact so as not to be too inappropriate.

But, I also find this happens in serious conversations.  In general I’m not very good at talking about feelings or serious topics of importance.  My eyes start to go dry like they do in shopping malls.  It’s medically proven…I’m not making it up.  Basically I zone out for a bit.  But…I still listen, and every once in a while I think of something hilarious to say and BOOM, I drop it.  It’s great.  Then, I go dormant for a while until BOOM…another zinger!  So, when all is said and done, there has been an awesome conversation about…something…interrupted intermittently by me trying to be funny.  Mission accomplished!…right?

Now, as funny as I think I’m being…I’m really not that funny.  It’s probably actually more annoying than anything.  And what I find is that when I’m trying to be funny, I leave no impact of significance on others.  I WANT to be able to have meaningful conversations with my wife and others.  I WANT to be able to encourage people and make a difference in their lives.  But, when the only substance I offer is jokes, I’m failing miserably.

So, I’m working on it.  I’m working on being real.  I’m working on listening.  There is nothing wrong with saying funny things.  I just don’t want it to be all that I offer of myself.  So my challenge to myself, and anyone else who may fall into this category, is to remember to be real.  Developing a real relationship with your wife or other people takes conversations of substance.  For me, this requires effort.  If you’re the same way, I encourage you to work on it too.

What can you do with your kids that will help your wife love you?

IMG_3179Raising kids is A LOT of work.  Raising kids WELL is even more work.  It takes a lot of time, endless energy, good ideas, tons of patience, lots of prayer, and the grace of God to do so.

I am very blessed in this subject though.  Julia is an amazing mom!  Seriously…she is.  And it really makes my job easy!  She thinks of cool ways to teach things all the time that I would never think about.

So, one area that I struggle in is being passive as a parent.  I see the awesome things that Julia does and, to be honest, it’s easy to get lazy.  If Eli does that needs correcting, I know Julia is going to have a great way to address it and teach him something from it.  If he is upset about something from school, Julia is going to be there with some great comforting and will draw him out to get to the root of the issue.  So sometimes I get caught in this trap feeling like I don’t NEED to do anything.

I realize this is frustrating for her though.  No one wants to have to parent on their own.  It’s exhausting!  But, when I sit back and leave it to Julia to address all these things that come up, I’m forcing her to do all the work.  So, I have to make a conscious effort to be active at this.

When Eli speaks back to Julia, I try to step in and address it before she has a chance to.  When he interrupts someone when they’re talking, I try to talk to him about it.  When he is wandering around when he’s supposed to be getting ready for bed, I try to get him focused back on task.  Julia does all these things (and MUCH more).  But, I want him to hear from ME that it’s not ok.  I want BOTH of us to be teaching him these things.  I feel when parents are unified in the message they are teaching, it makes the message so much clearer and will be more effective.

So guys, if we want to show our wives that we love them, get on board with parenting.  This is very much a work in progress on my part.  Don’t let her shoulder the burden alone.  Talk with her about strategies of how to address things.  Talk about whatever phase your kids seem to be going through.  And make sure you’re engaging your child when the need arises.  I guarantee you she will appreciate it.

I know I need to do SOMETHING…but what do I do?

I think one of the most challenging things to do, as a husband, is to lead by example.  I have a good job, a great family, good friends, and a nice house.  Life is great, but you know what I find to be difficult?…stretching myself.  When my needs are met, I find it tough to be motivated to get out of my comfort zone.  There are so many things I could do more of, that I’m not doing now.  But, I often make the excuse that I can’t possibly do it all, so instead I don’t do anything!  Or, if I feel convicted about an issue I know that if I ignore it for enough time it will fade from having to consider it.

The other day, Eli and Julia were having a conversation about why everything seems to be made in China.  This led to discussions about child labor, poor working conditions, and fair trade opportunities…with something about Charles Dickens thrown in there somewhere.  Eli seemed really into it and I realized this was a great opportunity to do something.  I realize I’m probably not going to reform our global economy, but at least I can do SOMETHING.  So, I brought it up at the dinner table for us to think about what are some ways we can make a difference in our family.  We decided to brainstorm things we could buy that could be “fair trade” that we don’t normally.  Eli emailed his uncle Brian and aunt Becky (who have a lot of great insight into this) to get some ideas.  So far, I’ve found a good coffee source where I can buy “fair trade” coffee that is grown using environmentally IMG_3320friendly techniques and emphasizes on getting the profits back to the 3rd world farmers rather than large distribution companies.  Yes, the coffee was more expensive than what I normally buy, and chances are it won’t be dramatically better either.  But, I’m happy to know that I’m making a small difference in someone else’s life, and that makes the extra couple dollars a bag worth it.  I’m going to continue to look for other things I buy where I could do the same.  And I’m excited to teach Eli that sometimes you need to take a stand for something.

So, what does this have to do with being a good husband?  Generally, I don’t do things like this.  But, in this instance, I’m proud to say that I didn’t just sit on my butt and say, “yeah it stinks for those sweatshop workers that get paid next to nothing” before moving on and forgetting about them.  I decided this was something I could do something about.  No more getting whatever coffee bag is on sale at the grocery store while ignoring the social injustice it represented.  I hope that the example I set showed my wife and son something and encouraged them to consider similar things when faced with the opportunity.

My challenge to you:

Be an example for your wife and kids.  Don’t wait for your wife to take the initiative on doing good things.  Look for opportunities to help other people, even if it cost you something…scratch that…ESPECIALLY if it cost you something.  Don’t try to take on the world.  All you need to do is start small.  Pray for God to show you opportunities and act on them when you see them.  And build from there.

What if your wife hates chocolates?

BoxOfChocolateIt sounds simple…loving your wife.  All you have to do is…take her on dates, cook dinner from time to time, dress nicely, keep your breath smelling good, buy her flowers, and buy her chocolates…right?  Unfortunately it’s not that simple.  What if your wife hates chocolates?  What if she doesn’t enjoy it when you cook meals?  You can’t assume that something the majority of the population appreciates applies to your wife too.

Let’s say for example that some of the things your wife loves more than anything are having a clean car and eating out at restaurants.  Those things just make her feel alive!  Instead of sneaking out to buy her some chocolates as a surprise, how about sneaking out to deep clean her car?  And instead of showing her love by cooking a meal at home, surprise her by taking her out to eat.

This seems like a no brainer, but the tricky part is how do you KNOW what those things are that she loves?  I suggest simply talking about it.  Tonight after you put the kids to bed, don’t open up the computer to do some work, don’t turn on the tv…sit down with your wife and answer these questions:

  1. What are things your spouse does that you feel loved from?
  2. What are things you wish your spouse would do that would help you feel loved?

You may be surprised at what comes out of this conversation.  Make sure to take notes and keep them where you see them frequently.  The first step to loving your wife is to know how she receives it.  The second step is to act on it.  And the best way to act on it is to be reminded of what it is.

My advice to you:

Sit down and talk with your wife going through the questions above.  Maybe tonight before bed.  Maybe on the next date you have.  It doesn’t matter when, just do it.  And then, make sure that the effort you put into loving your wife is directed in the right areas.