Monthly Archives: October 2014

…in sickness and in health

Close Up of Football Players Face in HelmetProfessional athletes spend most of their lives preparing for the game. They work in the off-season. They practice in the pre-season and between games. During this time they are conditioning their bodies to be in shape. They are fine tuning their swing, working on their routes, studying the plays, and practicing their shots. They go through scenarios of what the game will be like over and over, and then they rest. There is a purpose for all this training. When it’s game time, they need to be ready. Their bodies have to be at peak performance the whole game. They have to know how to execute all the skills they need during the game flawlessly. And, most importantly, they don’t have time to rest. They have to give it their all and then some. This is what they trained for.

Back when Julia and I got married, there was something that was asked of us at the ceremony, which is very common to most weddings. We were asked if we would love and care for each other in sickness and in health. Of course we said yes and went on our married way (see what I did right there :-) ). It’s easy to agree to that statement, but it’s much tougher to live it out.

stock-footage-sick-woman-in-bed-checking-her-temperature-and-blowing-noseOn a regular day, marriage can be tough. Some days are easy, but many are not. I’ve found that when one of you is sick, the difficulty is amplified significantly. If your wife is sick, and you want to care for her, you are going to step the work you do. You’re going to take care of the meals, and the household chores, and the kid duties. Plus, you’re going to be extra attentive to what her needs are, physically and emotionally.

I’ll be honest…this can be exhausting! When I am at my weakest, I sometimes feel…that I just don’t want to do it! But, then I realize…

My regular day-to-day life has been my practice field. I’ve been conditioning myself to learn how to do the chores. I’ve been practicing how to make meals and take care of Eli. I’ve been honing my skills so that meeting her needs becomes like a second nature. And now…IT’S GAME TIME! She needs me now more than ever. It doesn’t matter how tired I am or how much I want to relax. If I start to feel bad for myself, I just remember that she feels much worse. So, I will not stop. I will not slow down. I will do everything I can to meet her needs and take work off her plate. This is what I’ve trained for!

My challenge to you:
If your wife is sick, you better bring your A game. It will be tiring, but it will make a world of difference to her. Try to anticipate and meet every need she has. And, don’t stop until she’s feeling better.

How a clean shower leads to a happy marriage…

...not our actual shower :-)
…not our actual shower :-)

I know a surefire way to bring conflict into a marriage…one person NOT doing something that is expected of them.  This statement could apply in lots of ways, but today I’m specifically referring to household responsibilities.  I’m not going to tell you which of us does this in our marriage, but I’ll give you a hint…it’s both of us!

For example, I’m responsible for taking out the trash.  Every once in a while I forget to do it though.  When that happens, the trash starts to pile up, and the can in the garage starts to stink.  Also, I’m responsible for cleaning the tubs and showers in the house.  For some reason, I have a habit of letting this go for weeks…scratch that…for months…before cleaning them.  Julia doesn’t complain though.  She’s very understanding and forgiving.  But, when I do this repeatedly, and my negligence results in her having to put up with smelly trash and dirty showers, so naturally she is a little upset.

There are two problems I run into concerning chores.  One is that I sometimes forget what things I’m responsible for.  And, the other is that sometimes my tolerance for what is “acceptable” doesn’t match hers.  This isn’t to say that her expectations are unreasonable by any means.  I’m just not putting the necessary amount of effort and attention into doing something that I agreed would be my responsibility.

Just recently we sat down and redefined our chore list.  It was a great chance to do a couple things:

  • Now that Julia is working part-time, she has much less free time.  This gave us a chance to re-balance the amount of work each of us was responsible for.
  • It helped remind of us which chores were on our list
  • It gave each of us the chance to discuss if there was an area the other person wasn’t meeting what we felt was a reasonable expectation for that chore.

As a result of this conversation, we BOTH have done a better job with our responsibilities.  This has helped us to feel more loved by each other, and resulted in less frustration…woohoo!

My challenge to you:

Sit down and talk with your wife about household chores.

  • Make a list and divide up who is going to be responsible for what areas.
  • Make sure things are divided up to where you are both sharing in the load.
  • Make sure you are able to RESPECTFULLY discuss if someone isn’t currently taking care of an area to the extent you would like.
  • Set a calendar reminder to touch base again in 6 months or a year to see how it’s going.

5 simple ways to throw your wife under the bus

bus11By show of hands…who wants to look bad?…who wants to disappoint other people?  No one does!  It’s in our nature to want to pass blame along to someone else…especially if it’s true.  So, what do you do when you’re married to that person?  Do the same rules apply?  Here are some scenarios to consider…

1.  A group wants to go out to a certain restaurant, but you know your wife hates it:
Just let the others know that your wife doesn’t like that restaurant…even though you do.  And suggest some place different to go.

2. You can’t go out with some of your friends because your wife is being needy:
“The guys” are all watching a game over at a friends house.  But you can’t go because your wife has guilted you into staying with her because you haven’t spent much time together.  Don’t let them think that you don’t want to hang with them.  Just let them know that your wife is being extra needy and is making you stay home.  I’m sure they can relate.

3. Your wife made you late:
You don’t want to be seen as irresponsible for being late, so make sure to let everyone know the truth…you WOULD have been on time if your wife hadn’t taken so long to get ready.  Dignity saved!

4. You can’t afford to do something with friends that you would like to:
Normally, you’d be all over it, but money is tight right now.  You don’t want your friends to think you’re poor do you?  Just let them know…that you’d have plenty of money if your wife didn’t spend so much!

5. Everyone wants to do something awesome…everyone except your wife:
Simply tell everyone the truth, “guys, I would love to do that amazing thing, but my wife doesn’t want to, so we aren’t going to.”  Perfect…now everyone knows that you’re still cool and your wife is LAME-O.

I hope you can tell that I’m being sarcastic in these examples.  This is NOT the best way to deal with them.  But, what I find to be interesting is that the above responses are my (and I think most people’s) usual response.  I do this…ALL THE TIME!  What is the result?…it makes my wife look bad, but saves my dignity.

Make sure you are your wife’s biggest defender.  It doesn’t matter that things like this are little and can be silly issues.  Take every chance you can to stand up for your wife.  Never throw her under the bus…it doesn’t matter if the issue is big or small.  How about these responses instead…

  1. Let them know you’d rather not go to that restaurant and suggest another.  Leave out the fact that your wife is the main reason.
  2. Let the guys know that you WANT to stay home because YOU need to spend some time with your wife…not that she’s guilting you into it.
  3. Apologize for being late…and that’s it.  Other people don’t need to know why.
  4. Let them know you can’t do it.  They don’t need to know that finances are the reason.  Or if you do mention it…don’t pass the blame to your wife as why things are tight.
  5. Own the decision yourself.  If your wife doesn’t want to do something, and YOU don’t want to do it because you don’t want to put HER in a position she doesn’t like…then tell your friends simply that YOU don’t want to do it…because it is the truth.

10488020_10152600392804328_3462622841212661978_nAlthough I find myself “failing” at this subject all the time, I did recently handle it better in one instance.  We were hanging out at a coffee shop with family in from out of town.  Everyone wanted to sit outside on some nice outside chairs they have.  But, they were by the grass and Julia gets eaten alive by mosquitos (seriously…they love her).  She didn’t want to go outside, but didn’t want to say anything because everyone else was super-excited about it.  So, after I got my drink, I sat down inside.  The others were surprised that I didn’t go outside, but I simply told them, “I’d just rather sit inside.”  Julia was saved from bites, AND she didn’t have to “look bad” by going against what everyone wanted to do.

My challenge to you:
When there is a problem at work, everyone respects the boss who accepts responsibility for a problem rather than pass the blame on to his direct report who was actually the one who caused the issue.  On a sports team, people love a coach who accepts responsibility for a loss, rather than blame the team for not performing well.  Be the same way in your family.  Don’t throw your wife under the bus.