Monthly Archives: March 2014

A gift that you (and only you) can give to make your wife feel loved

Questions

Women like to be given gifts, and there is something you can give your wife that no one else can.  No, I’m not talking about something you can give her in the bedroom. 😉  I’m talking about something special that will make her feel loved that is unique to you.  I can’t suggest that you take her up in a biplane for a sunset flight because few men can do that.  I can’t suggest that you tap dance your wedding vows in morse code because few men can do that.  So here is what I AM going to suggest…

Use the talents and skills God has given you to love your wive in a unique and memorable way.

I have a couple of talents that I feel are somewhat unique, and I LOVE using them to do things for Julia.  One is music.  I love singing and playing guitar, and every once in a while I’ll get inspired to write something for her, record it, and even make a video out of it.  One of my favorites is the power ballad My Snuggs that I wrote a couple years ago for Valentine’s Day.  Just recently, I recorded Julia is Awesome (based on the Lego Movie theme).  And last year, when Julia was gone at student ministry camp for a week, Eli and I did Mommy, I Love You with him at lead vocals.

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Another thing I like to do is build things (climbing wall, window reading nook, indoor playground, etc).  My craftsmanship isn’t particularly amazing, but I enjoy the creative challenge.  So, for a present, I built some wooden display cases for a rock collection she has.

I believe these things have helped her to know that I love her for a couple reasons.

1.  They took thought, which shows that I really wanted to do something for her, and I had to put some creative effort into coming up with it.
2.  They took time.  It wasn’t something that I just threw together in a couple minutes, which shows that she was WORTH the time and effort to me.

Not everyone can write songs or build things,  BUT everyone has SOME sort of talent…something that sets them apart and makes them unique.  Think about what talents and skills you have and come up with a way to use them to make your wife feel loved and appreciated.  Here are some ideas:

  • Photography – use pictures you’ve taken (either of her and your family or of an artistic nature) and print and frame them to give to her as a present
  • Music – write, sing, or record a song for her
  • Art – draw, paint, or sketch something for her
  • Writing – write a story for her
  • Video – make a video of something that shows that you were thinking about her
  • Construction / Woodwork – build her something that she would like
  • Connections with people – use a connection you have to arrange some sort of creative date that you wouldn’t normally be able to do
  • Sports – find a sport/activity SHE likes (or would like) that you haven’t tried and give it a shot WITH her.  Something like dancing, running, zumba, yoga, tennis, etc.
  • Cooking – take a week and plan, shop, and cook all the meals…maybe trying some new recipes you think she will like
  • Computer skills – Spend some time helping her with the computer (lessons, cleaning up clutter, etc)
  • Encouraging – focus on something difficult your wife is going through and make a point to regularly follow up and encourage her in it

This is just a very small list from tons of possibilities that are out there.  Everyone has things they do well.  So, think about what yours are, and USE THEM to love your wife!

Words No Woman Wants to Hear From Her Husband

mouth-coveredI believe men often don’t realize the power their words have.  When something hurtful is said to them, a woman will often play it over and over in their minds.  Unfortunately, there are many times when these hurtful words come from their husbands, and they didn’t even mean it…they were just trying to be funny.

Don’t Joke at Your Wife’s Expense…Ever

Something that drives me crazy is when I hear men make jokes at their wives’ expense.  What’s that?  You meant it in good fun?  Oh, you say you were just joking?  BUMP THAT!  I don’t care how funny of a person you think you are, making a joke that puts your wife down is not cool.  It makes you look bad.  It makes your wife look bad.  And it makes everyone else feel awkward even if they did politely laugh at your joke.  It doesn’t matter how much you insist that it was just a joke, there is ALWAYS some element of truth in whatever you say.  You may have been 99% joking that your wife looks ugly today, but the 1% that believes it is the part your wife is going to hear.

“Honey, why don’t you get back in the kitchen where you belong?”

“Oh, I just smack her around a bit when she doesn’t do what I want.”

“By my next marriage I’ll have things all figured out.”

WHY?!?!  I’ve heard these words and others like them said SO many times.  Sure, they’re always said with a lighthearted tone and added laughter at the end to emphasize that they weren’t serious.  But, ALL jokes like this have at least the smallest element of truth in them.  Nothing good can come from talking like this, so just don’t do it!

Another aspect to this topic is when your wife is NOT around.  Even though she is not there to hear and be hurt by what you say, you still need to be careful for several reasons…

  • What habits you create in the way you talk when your wife is NOT around will make it more likely to act that way when she IS.
  • Even though she’s not there at the moment, it is always possible for her to hear what you said from someone.
  • Be careful not to lead your friends into bad habits.  If they see you making jokes about your wife, then they will be more likely to feel it is acceptable and expected of them too

When in doubt, with any words you use…be genuine, be loving, and build her up not tear her down!

Can’t You Hit it Over the Net? Come On!

tennis-ball-hitting-netTwo of my favorite things are participating in sports and spending time with my wife.  So, when I can combine these together, it’s one of the greatest things ever!  For most of my married life, these 2 activities have been separate though.  Running, tennis, and ultimate frisbee dominated my sports involvement for the first 10 years of our marriage.  I loved doing them, but hated the fact that it meant time away from Julia and Eli.  As long as I wasn’t overcommitting myself, this was an ok trade-off, though.  It was important for me to have an athletic outlet, and I have always loved it.

Julia started playing tennis a couple years ago.  Right away, we joined a mixed doubles team and have played together ever since.  It has been so much fun for me to have both of us doing something together that I love and can share with her.  It surprises me when I see how few couples that both play tennis actually play TOGETHER though.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “oh, my spouse and I could NEVER play together.  We’d kill each other!”  I think it’s a shame really.  Here is what I think the problem is…  Many people are very competitive when it comes to sports.  There is nothing wrong with that, BUT there IS something wrong when that competitive nature leads to hurtful actions and words toward the person you are playing with.

Let’s picture a scenario…  Your wife hits the ball into the net on an important point.  You’re so upset that something like, “Come on!  Hit it UP!” or “Aaargh!  Watch the ball!” comes out of your mouth.  And your poor attitude and muffled grumblings only convey a sense of how disappointed you are in what she is contributing to your team.

Now, imagine how she is feeling…she is probably just as disappointed as you are with losing the point.  But, on top of that, she now feels belittled by your disapproval of her skill.  She WANTS to feel…that you love her even though she missed that shot…that it will be ok because it’s just a tennis match…that everyone misses shots (including you sometimes) and you don’t judge her for it.  Do you really think that getting upset at her or yelling at her is going to get the point back or prevent the same mistake from happening again?  As if the only reason she missed the shot is because you weren’t mad enough yet?

Now, I realize most people don’t play tennis, but everyone has SOMETHING they can do with their wife that has a competitive side to it.  Board games, cards, video games, sports, etc all have potential for spouses to enjoy doing something together, but also have potential for hurtful attitudes and overly competitive behavior.

Here is my challenge to you:

When you’re competing at something with your wife…ease off on the pressure.  Do your best, but have fun first and foremost.  And above all, if she makes a mistake, make sure she knows it is ok…that you’re not mad at her and your love for her is WAY more important than a game.

Yes, I am Selfish (part 2)

Last week I wrote about my selfish tendencies here.   I hate that I have them, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’m not alone in feeling that way.  In the 10 years that I’ve been married, something I’ve come to believe very strongly is that the majority of issues that come up between us (or any couple) have selfishness as a major contributor to them.

  • The man who hurts his marriage by drinking too much
  • The man who gets upset at his wife over her spending habits
  • The man who cheats on his wife
  • The man who has trouble listening to his wife when he is doing other things.
  • The man who doesn’t see his family much because he’s too involved in other activities

At the root of all these issues is a desire for a man to do what he wants, not considering the feelings of or impact it will have on his wife.

So, why is this behavior a big deal?  Let’s see what the Bible says about it.  Here are just a few of the MANY references calling us to live selfless lives…

Philippians 2:4 – “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
1 Corinthians 10:24 – “Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.”
James 3:16 – “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.”
Romans 2:8 – “But for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.”

dsc_00361Picture for a moment what the reverse of this looks like.  Your wife enjoys the last piece of cake that you left for her.  She is able to relax instead of doing the dishes because you decided you would.  She is able to go shopping with extra money you wanted her to have.  She goes to fold the laundry and is surprised to find it’s already done.  She gets to watch a movie with you that she wanted to see.  She enjoys listening to her favorite music when you’re in the car.  Date night is at her favorite restaurant.  These are all small things that only take a small amount of effort and sacrifice.  If you can get in the habit of giving up your desires, it will go a long way towards making your wife feel loved.

So here’s my challenge to you.  Realizing that selfishness is something we ALL have issues with, try to attack it two ways.

  1. Identify opportunities to be selfless and take them.  When neither you nor your wife is feeling up to it, and it is HER turn to … (pick your favorite chore) … put the kids to bed / make dinner / take the kids to activities / whatever … don’t relax and take it easy.  Identify it as an opportunity to put your wife’s needs before yours.  Man up and tell her to lie down and rest while you take care of it.  Try to identify the feeling … “man, I want to do this so much”, and when you realize that you’re feeling it, act on it FOR HER.  Give up YOUR desire and put your wife first letting HER experience whatever it is that YOU wanted to do so much.
  2. Pray about it.  Like Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”  Jesus modeled this behavior in how he GAVE HIMSELF UP for us.  Not much selfishness going on there.  Now it’s true that we can’t be perfect like Jesus, but there lies our calling as husbands. The goal is to work towards it.  Don’t try to do it on your own though.  Ask God to reveal to you where you are selfish and to help you make changes that will put your wife’s needs above yours.

Yes, I am Selfish (part 1)

LoveSelfishness

When I got married in 2003, there was a significant statement missing in my vows.  When I made my promises to Julia, I told her how I would take care of her in sickness and in health and in good times and bad.  And I let her know I would love her and cherish her as long as we were alive.  But, what I failed to promise was that I would not be selfish.  It’s probably a good thing I didn’t either, because I don’t think I would have kept it for long.  And what good is a promise you can’t keep…right?

It’s a tough subject for me to talk about because…I’m a selfish person!  I want to spend money the way I think it should be spent.  I want to spend my free time doing what I want to do.  I want someone else to cook meals for me, clean the house, and give Eli a bath at night.  I want to eat at the restaurant I like.  I want to watch the TV shows and movies that I enjoy.  I want to prop my feet up and read a book when I’m done with a full day at the office.  I want to go to bed when I want and sleep as late as I want.  Oh, it would be so glorious!  I’d be living like a king…doing whatever I wanted to, whenever I wanted to do it.  HOWEVER… that in itself would not be a complete picture of my life.  In order to truly understand what was going on, you’d have to see my wife and son, who were picking up the slack to provide my kingly lifestyle.

Selfishness-e-cardSomething I have realized, is that anytime I “do what I want,” I am putting MY desires ahead of the other people in my life.  For example, I love eating at Henry’s Louisiana Grill in Acworth.  It’s probably my favorite restaurant.  But spicy food as well seafood are two of Julia’s LEAST favorite types of food.  So, if I decide that we should go to Henry’s for dinner, I am saying that we’re going to do what I want to do and I don’t care how it makes her feel.  Or another example is the dishwasher.  If I see that the dishwasher is full of clean dishes, it would be very easy for me to walk away knowing that Julia will get to it eventually.  But, if I do that, I am telling Julia that I value my time more than I value hers.    Or, if I have a night planned out with the guys, but Julia is feeling really sick and needs help.  If I decide to still go out, I am putting my desire ahead of fulfilling a need she may have to be taken care of.

I don’t always get to it, but I try (whenever I have the time) to unload the dishwasher first.  Not because I love to do it…but so that Julia doesn’t have to, and it’s a way I can show her love.  If she is sick, I want her to know that her welfare comes first and I will cancel anything I have going on in a heartbeat if it will help her.  And…as much as I like Henry’s, my wife deserves to know that I love her WAY more than I love crawfish!

Now realistically…if I decide that we should go out to eat at a spicy restaurant…and take the remote control so we have to watch a TV show that I like…and relax on the sofa while Julia  cooks and cleans…that is not necessarily going to cause problems in our marriage.  Sometimes you just need a break…or to watch some explosions…or to eat some cajun food.  HOWEVER, if these types of decisions are the norm, it tells Julia that I feel MY interests are more important than HERS.  And that she exists to serve me and meet my needs, and that if she has a problem with it, she needs to suck it up.  To put it mildly, that is the LAST thing I want to communicate to her.

Stay tuned next week for the gripping conclusion to this topic…