Tag Archives: husband

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.

“Talk…now? Doesn’t she realize I’m busy?”

stock-footage-man-hands-typing-on-a-keyboardSo, the other day I was working…and Julia came in the office and started talking with me about something that was bothering her.  I was in the middle of finishing something up, so my thoughts were…”doesn’t she realize I’m working?  How does she expect me to have a meaningful conversation now?”  In order to balance to two, I slightly cheat my head toward her (never taking my eyes off the computer or fingers off the keyboard) and engage in deep conversation along the lines of… “yeah….uh huh…yeah…hmmm”.  After a bit, it’s obvious to her that I’m not really paying attention or communicating with her.  So then she feels hurt and leaves.

This was NOT an isolated incident unfortunately.  It happens all the time.  Sometimes it’s while I’m working.  Sometimes it’s while I’m watching something on tv.  Sometimes it’s doing something on the computer.  But, it’s always the same…I’m doing something…Julia comes up to try to talk with me…I don’t care enough to stop what I’m doing and give her my attention…she feels unimportant and hurt.

As a result…I usually don’t remember anything about what she’s said, and she feels like I don’t care about what she has to say.  Both of these are bad.  The good news is, this is an easy problem to avoid using my handy two-step process.

Step 1 – Stop what I’m doing:  Seriously…just stop.  There is very little I could be doing that is SO important that I can’t stop for one minute.

Step 2 – Give her my attention:  Make eye contact, listen, and contribute to the conversation.

That’s it!  BOOM!  Welcome to the awesome.  :-)

Now, it’s possible that I may actually be in the middle of something important and time sensitive.  Ignoring her and hoping she catches the hint is NOT the best way to communicate this though.  A much better way to communicate it is…WORDS (imagine that)!  It’s actually pretty easy to say, “Hey, I really want to hear what you have to share, could we talk in a few minutes instead?  I really need to finish something up first.”  I’ve found this approach goes over much better.

This is a problem that I’ve had a tough time with for quite a while, but I’m working on it.  I find that the more I think about it, the more likely I am to apply it.  And when I have a win, it helps reinforce what I want to do.

My advice to you:

If your wife has something to tell you, it’s for a reason.  She’s not just exercising her vocal cords.  Take a moment to stop what you’re doing and listen.  Maybe that means pausing the tv, turning to look at her, or closing the laptop.  Remember she is your wife and ask yourself, “is what I’m currently doing more important than my wife and her feelings?”

Ice ice no baby…literally

87611732A few weeks ago I participated in a man’s rite of passage.  The passage from being a man one day…to being a man who won’t be creating any more kids the next.  That’s right…it starts with a “V” and rhymes with schlasectomy.  Overall, it wasn’t too bad.  The worst was the interminable drive home when I felt like I was going to die.  But, once I got home, I did a lot of resting and felt much better.  For the next couple days, it was actually nice to have no responsibilities…and lots of drugs (prescribed by the doctor).

Julia was amazing.  Whenever I needed something, she was there.  Books, remote controls, ice, food, pillows, movies, water…more ice…she was ready with it all!   I got taco pie, guacamole, frosted lemonade…whatever I wanted.  After all (in the words on Phil Dunphy), “is it a vasecta-you or a vasecta-me?”  I felt so loved how she took care of me.  I felt free to rest and to allow myself to be taken care of.

It was a difficult weekend for Julia though.  She was waiting on me hand and foot, plus taking care of Eli, plus visiting with out of town company and baking things.  She was stressed and I could feel it.

It was tough for me to be passive, especially as I started to feel a little better.  I wanted to stop and clean up the kitchen.  I wanted to tell her to sit down and relax while I made a nice dinner.  But, she wouldn’t let me.  She knew that the most important thing was for me to rest so my body can heal.  She was determined to take care of me and wouldn’t have it any other way.  So, I had to resist the urge to exert myself.  Julia was right.  It was the right move, and the rest I got helped me to recover quickly.

Looking back on it, it was actually a really awesome weekend.  I felt special and very much loved.  I learned first-hand from Julia’s example how much taking care of your spouse means to the person being taken care of.

My advice to you:

Sometimes you will be the person that needs the help, and sometimes you will be the person who needs to be helping.  In either case, do your job well!  I know that I will be there for Julia the next time she’s in the spot I was.  Make sure you see when your wife needs it and help her out too.

My wife will never be all I need

IMG_1506Guys have needs…can I get an amen out there??  I don’t often consciously think about what my needs are.  But, the one time I really realize it is when a specific need isn’t being met.  When it’s been a while since I’ve been hiking or camping, I realize I have a need to get outdoors.  When I haven’t been spending time with God, I realize my need for spiritual direction.  When Julia and I haven’t been on a date in a while, I realize I need quality time with her.  I have A LOT of needs.  The list goes on…eating food, having friends, feeling safe, a sense of accomplishment at work, sexual intimacy, exercising, getting enough rest, etc.  Unfortunately, some guys place unfair expectations on their wives to meet them.  

The phrase “you complete me” was made popular by the movie Jerry McGuire, but this statement couldn’t be further from the truth.  Your wife will NEVER complete you.  She WILL make your life better.  She WILL help meet SOME of your needs, but expecting her to fill every void in your life is a disaster waiting to happen.  There are some needs in your life that it IS your wife’s role to fill.  This centers around the design of marriage and bringing two people together as one.  You are BOTH meant to work together as parents, as managers of where you live and what it takes to make life happen, and to meet the physical and emotional needs in your relationship with each other.  But there are many needs in life that fall outside of this.

One major source of meeting your needs is YOU!  As great as your wife may be, she doesn’t know what you need better than you do.  Take responsibility for yourself.  If you feel down because you don’t enjoy your job, or if you are disappointed with the number of friends you have, don’t take it out on your wife.  She can’t make up for it by loving you more in other areas.  You need to evaluate what your needs are, and if something is lacking, think about what can be done to meet it.  An even better idea is to involve your wife in the conversation.  There is a good chance she will have some great ideas!

But, the biggest factor in this conversation isn’t you or your wife, it is your relationship with God.  Everything good in MY life is a blessing from Him.  He is the ONLY one that can complete me, because He is ALL I NEED!  A lack of outdoors time or playing sports don’t mean anything compared to the presence of God.  If you are living in Him…there is nothing else in life that truly matters.

My challenge to you:

If you are disappointed with how your needs are being met or feel there is a void in your life, don’t blame your wife!  First and foremost, take it to God.  Spend time in prayer asking Him to reveal what needs to happen in your life, and to help you put all your trust in Him.  Then, reflect on what YOU can do to meet those needs.  Lastly, if there is something still lacking that involves your wife, talk with her about it in a loving and respectful way.  But, at the same time, try to find if there are any needs YOU are not meeting for HER.

The marriage trap

New-Members-Only-267x300”Free tablet for new customers!”, “Special 12 month introductory rate!”, “Sign up today and save 20%!”…don’t you love these types of promotions?!  I always get excited when service providers try to woo me with deals that can save money or give me free stuff.  But, you know what stinks about these specials?  The company does so much work to get you signed up with all these promises and special deals, but once you’re locked in, they often do little more than the minimum that is expected of them.  There are no more special deals or free stuff.  They often assume they don’t NEED to put much effort into making you happy or keeping you since you’re already locked in.  After some time with high rates, no more specials, or a few instances of bad customer service I find myself wondering if I need to stay with that company.  Maybe there is another service provider out there that would be better and could give me some special deals to move to them?!

I realize that unfortunately I sometimes treat my wife this way.  When we were dating, I put so much thought and effort into making her feel special.  I was constantly thinking of special things to do for her and cool dates to take her on.  It’s never been my intention, but, now that we’re married, over time it has been easy to fall into the trap of not putting as much energy into PURSUING her as I used to.  I call it the Marriage Trap…and it is lame-o!

Here is what I want to do…I want to pursue my wife…even now.  Sure, she has a ring on her finger.  Sure, we have a life and family together.  But, I never want to take it for granted that she has chosen me.  I want her to choose me over and over again every day!  My hope is to always be thinking about special things I can do to show her I love her.  I want to plan fun dates and experiences for us to go on together.  I want to bring her gifts to show I was thinking of her.

Now, I do believe that marriage is for life.  And I don’t think that a LACK OF pursuit justifies “shopping around for other deals”.  But, I think it is important for a husband to continue to treat his wife as he did when they were dating.  God has brought you together and has a plan for your marriage.  You owe it to your wife, to God, and to yourself to make it the best marriage you can.

My challenge to you:
No matter how long you’ve been married, make sure you continue to pursue your wife and treat her as good (or better) as you did when you were dating.  Don’t give her the opportunity to be disappointed in who you’ve become or the lack of attention you give her.  Keep blowing her away with awesomeness and you will see your relationship continue to grow!

What do you do if your wife messes up?

1792984756_1396528939This is a tough subject to write about.  For one thing, I can’t speak from experience. 😉  But seriously, this is not a light topic.  It is one where advice is easier to give to others than it is to live out.  No marriages are perfect.  This is not a shock because we are all flawed human beings fighting against selfishness every day, so we have issues.  You know what I mean…one of you is upset and says something hurtful…one of you takes the last piece of cake that the other wanted…one of you spends money on something that the other gets upset about.  These are common sorts of issues that all marriages deal with.  They are not huge and can usually be sorted out with a small amount of communication.  What I want to address is, what do you do if your wife does something that hurts you significantly…something like hiding an addiction from you or having an affair.

Before I get into it, I want to first say that I know I run the risk of appearing insensitive.  I realize that I’ve not been through this, and if I HAD, there is a very real chance that my words would be different.  I know that men who experience this will have their lives turned upside down and can feel broken and helpless.  I apologize if this opens any wounds or feels insulting to anyone for the situation they are in.  Considering all of that, I still feel God leading me to address it, so I am going to go out on a limb trusting that you know my heart…and know that it is not my intention to offend or trivialize anything you way have experienced.  If you do feel that way, I apologize.

For starters, it needs to be said that problems like this probably need professional help to appropriately deal with it, both for you and for her.  It’s important for her to understand that what she has done is not ok.  I am NOT professional help and am only sharing some thoughts I have in hopes of being helpful to someone.  I am not going to attempt to craft a complete response to this question as there is too much to deal with.  Rather, I want to focus on just one aspect…forgiveness.

Ephesians 4:32 : “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Matthew 6:14-15 : “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

From these verses, I find 2 significant points:

– God forgave us for sinning against Him, and He wants us to forgive other people.

– If we do not forgive others for their sins, God will not forgive ours.  (YIKES!)

These points are important because it sets ground rule expectations for how we should live.  It also assigns gravity to it based on the fact that if WE want to be forgiven for our screw-ups, then we need to be willing to forgive others.  I know we ALL need this.

Luke 17:3-4 : “Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

Matthew 18:21-22 : “Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”

There are 2 significant points I get from these verses:

– If someone is repentant of what they’ve done, then we MUST forgive them.  I think it is worthwhile to mention that we should forgive others even if they AREN’T repentant, but this passage specifically mentions when they are.

– Jesus’s call to forgive seventy times seven is an indication that there is no limit to the number of times we should forgive someone.  

So, what exactly does it mean to forgive someone?  Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you act like something never happened, but rather that you give up your desire for revenge and feelings of resentment.  NOT forgiving someone will result in anger, resentment, and frustration that will never go away.  Forgiving frees you from those feelings and makes way for hope, joy, peace…and yes…even love to fill you again.  Forgiving your wife for something she has done may even help you to have compassion and empathy for her situation.

Now, there will likely still be consequences from the actions.  Trust takes a long time to earn back when broken.  There could be physical consequences, and it will certainly affect your relationship.  Concerning marital infidelity, it also should be said that I realize there are biblical grounds for divorce.  I’m not going to take the time to go through what they all are here or debate whether or not it is good to do so in certain situations, but I just want to point out that forgiveness is something that SHOULD be present no matter what the action was or the consequences that came from it.

So here’s where the rubber meets the road…putting this into the context of real life.  What do you do when your wife messes up?  There are a lot of things to say, do, and work through, and again I suggest getting help to do so.  The one thing I want to encourage you to always be ready with is…forgiveness.  If she is repentant for what she did, forgive her…unconditionally…over and over again if necessary.

 

5 easy steps to always win an argument with your wife

bigstock_you_win_road_sign_4335631All I do is win win win no matter what…that’s how I roll!  LOL…not really…but seriously…I do.  One thing I always win is arguments with Julia.  So, what’s my secret you ask?  I’ll share it with you!

The first thing you need to realize is that you cannot “win an argument”.  Yes, you read that right.  It doesn’t matter how clever of a defense you come up with, or what sort of glaring mistakes you point out in the other person, you will lose.  Winning an argument is not predicated on proving who is right.  The more you continue to argue your point, the bigger the hole you are both in.

I know, I know…THAT’S TOUGH!  We all want to be right.  And it feels SO GOOD to lay down the hammers of justice and truth with some witty retorts and truth-bombs.  So, where does the “winning” come into play?  A win comes about by resolving the argument in a loving way where each of you learn and grow in your relationship.  BOOM!  So, you want the secret?  Here you go…

5-steps-office-renovation5 steps to take in order to win:

  1. Get to the root of what your wife is upset about.  Hint…it may not be what you originally think it is.  Ask some questions to make sure you understand what she’s upset about.
  2. Share your side of the story.  Be careful here because this step has the potential to stir things up more.  Make sure to be cautious and loving with any words you use.  This step is important because it’s important for BOTH of you to understand where the other person is coming from.
  3. Figure out what part of the argument is your fault.  I don’t mean figure out what % at fault you are, then compare that to her…but figure out what YOU did wrong.  If you are arguing with your wife, you did SOMETHING wrong.
  4. Take a minute to calm down.  Maybe go to a different room or take a short walk.  Use the time to think and pray for perspective.
  5. Apologize first.  Admit what you did wrong and be genuinely sorry about it.

I bet you’ll find that if you go through these steps, the argument will soon be a thing of the past.  Then…YOU WIN!  That doesn’t mean you “won the argument” by being right, but rather that “you won” by resolving the argument and both of you growing.

6 steps to rock Valentine’s Day

valentines-dayOk guys, it’s coming…Valentine’s Day!  Are you ready?  Do you ever have the feeling of, “We just HAD Valentine’s Day!…like 12 month’s ago!”  Do you ever feel pressure like you HAVE to live up to certain expectations?  Expected gifts, dinners, or activities?  That pressure comes from The Man.  I’m not sure who The Man is, but I think he works for Zales.  I admit that at times Valentine’s Day can feel like more of a responsibility than a joy.

Even though sometimes I dread aspects of it, when I get the right perspective, I ALWAYS love it.  You know why?  It’s another special date with my Baby!  Even if I’m being corralled into certain expectations, I always love when we get to spend meaningful time together.  So to help you with this, I have 6 tips to not just survive, but THRIVE during Valentine’s Day!

  1. Do SOMETHING:  This may sound silly, but it’s important to make sure you are doing SOMETHING to celebrate the day.  The last thing you want is to disappoint your wife by not doing ANYTHING!  It doesn’t mean things have to be fancy or expensive, but just make sure you’ve planned something.
  2. 10492391_10153079122079328_2286394721021814369_nIt’s ok to flex what day you celebrate: Have you ever tried to find a babysitter on Valentine’s Day?  Have you ever gone out to a nice restaurant on Valentine’s Day?  These can be more stressful than they’re worth.  A nice way to combat this is to pick a substitute day to celebrate.  For this to work though, you need to really commit to the substitute date.  It may sound silly, but try to ignore the real day completely and treat the other one as if the whole day is actually Valentine’s Day.  Julia and I celebrated last weekend.  We went downtown and stayed at the Ritz for a night!  The restaurant we ate at was nice and relaxing, but they said they had 600 reservations already for the ACTUAL Valentine’s Day!  I’m glad we went early.
  3. Stay at home:  If you don’t want to deal with sitters or crowded restaurants, an At Home Valentine’s Day may be best.  Put the kids to bed early.  Cook something nice or simply order take-out and eat by candlelight.  Watch a romantic movie or plan your own at-home activities.  Check out my post from 2 weeks ago if you want more “at-home” ideas.
  4. Give a gift…IF YOU WANT TO:  Don’t buy chocolates or jewelry or flowers because you think you’re supposed to.  Buy a gift if you WANT to.  This may take knowing your wife and if that’s a big deal for her.  Whatever you do, don’t buy something trite just because you think you have to.  If you get a gift, make it something meaningful that she will like.
  5. Share responsibility:  A couple years into our marriage, Julia and I realized that Valentine’s Day and our Anniversary were creating stress.  I felt like I had to plan something special EVERY TIME and Julia WANTED to plan something special, but we both had trouble doing so not knowing what the other person was planning on.  So we started sharing responsibility.  One year, I will plan what we do for Valentine’s Day and she will plan what we do for our Anniversary.  The next year we switch.  It is such a relief for each of us to know what’s expected and to not feel like either of us ALWAYS has to do it all.
  6. Play offense not defense: Don’t make your goal to NOT disappoint your wife from whatever expectations she may have.  Make your goal to WOW her.

With all this being said, THE most important thing is to put thought into it.  No matter what you do, if you’ve put thought into how you can love your wife, it’s going to be good and she will appreciate it.  So if you haven’t started thinking yet guys…get on it!