Tag Archives: wife

Treat your wife like you would your golf club

2015area-golf

For anyone who has ever learned to play golf, you know how tough it is to learn how to get your swing down.  When you’re trying to do it, there are a million things you’re trying to remember all at once in order to do it right…keep my arm straight, head down, back straight, bend my knees, wait…not that much, don’t swing too hard, what was the first thing again???  One way that helps to learn is to practice a lot focusing on one area at a time until you get it down.  Once that happens, it becomes second nature, and you no longer have to think about THAT thing and you can add in the next.

Loving your wife well can also be very difficult.  And learning to do it right can be taught the same way.  If you don’t feel you do a good job with loving her now, it can be a little overwhelming trying to think through all the things you need to do

  • tell her you love her regularly
  • buy her gifts to show her you value her
  • compliment how she looks
  • be a spiritual leader for her
  • spend time together (alone) on dates or vacations
  • show physical affection (that’s not sex)
  • surprise her by doing things around the house that she normal would
  • etc.

This list is only a small fraction of what loving your wife can look like.  So, how are you supposed to remember it all??  The answer is…you can’t!  Just like swinging a golf club, there is no way I can remember every thing I need to do in the 2 seconds it takes to swing.  However, with enough practice, I don’t have to think about each of the steps, and I’m able to do it automatically.

My advice to you:

If you have areas where you’re not doing a good job loving your wife, don’t try to do it all at once.  Rather, think about focusing on one thing at a time.  If you keep your focus small it’s much easier to remember and to do it right.  Then, after you have created a habit and are able to do it without thinking, add in something else.  Eventually you’ll be able to remember all the things you want to because they will be habits you don’t even need to think about.  So…the question is what ONE area are you going to focus on first??

It’s good to spoil your wife sometimes

IMG_1308Sometimes Julia and I have different opinions about how we should spend our money.  That doesn’t mean we always do what I want.  And it doesn’t mean we always do what she wants.  We try to make large decisions together, but ultimate we have decided that finances are my area of responsibility…meaning I have to make the final call.  So…when we’re not on the same page about something big, it’s bound to lead to conflict.

So, rewind to last year when Julia discovered the musical Hamilton.  It was new on Broadway and got amazing reviews and a lot of hype.  Julia instantly became obsessed with it…not in an unhealthy way…but simply meaning, she thought it was amazing and wanted to go see it SO much.  So, she made sure I was aware of her desire, but all I could see was large dollar signs.  First off, you can’t buy tickets for any shows in the next year because they’re sold out.  So, you have to buy resale tickets costing several hundreds of dollars a piece.  Plus, we’d have to fly to New York, stay in the city, and eat in the city…all of which are very expensive activities.  Not to mention getting around and all the other sight-seeing we’d end up doing.  This cost added to the fact that we’ve been to New York a couple times before led to me NOT wanting to do it.

After resigning herself to the disappointment that we would not be going, she was able to share her heart with me.  Musicals have always had a special place in her life.  Growing up, her family would go see musicals at The Fox downtown and she had such great memories of listening to the recordings, reading through all the programs, and remembering the fun her family had.  One of her dreams has always been to see a musical on Broadway with the original cast.  So…enter the obsession with Hamilton.

Now, to give perspective…Julia doesn’t ask for much.  She spends hardly any money on herself.  She doesn’t have expensive tastes…a BIG shopping trip means a few things from Target…half of which are eventually returned.  I have it pretty easy…and I am very aware of this.  :-)  So I started to think…it would be a great way to love Julia if we DID go!  Add that to the fact that giving gifts is one of her top love languages, and I started to realize that this could be a great opportunity.

IMG_1360So, we did it!  The tickets weren’t cheap, but I felt a lot better when I found out later (after the Grammy’s and Oscar’s) that they were selling for double what we paid.  Also, we found ways to get great deals on a hotel and most of the places we ate, so the cost wasn’t as bad as it could have been.  And you know what…it was an awesome trip!  We both had the best time…not just going to the show, but also seeing different areas of the city that we’d never been to before.  I was so glad we took the trip…even though I didn’t want to do it at first.

My advice to you:

Spoil your wife every once in a while.  It doesn’t have to be with an expensive trip.  It could be something like making the kid’s lunches for a week, or doing all the laundry sometime when she’s away, or taking her out to eat at a nicer than normal restaurant.  Find something that your wife will not expect but will LOVE…suck it up…and make it happen!  :-)

Four magic words to reach your wife’s heart…

4-wordsI could give you a list of a thousand phrases that would make your wife upset at you.  I often stumble across them by accident. :-)  So, every once in a while, when I say something good, I try to remember it.  I’ve realized one phrase that stands out to me as always reaching my wife’s heart.  Four magic words that I can say to her…”what do you think?

Why is this phrase magic?  For a few reasons…

1: It shows I care about her.  By asking what she thinks, I am letting her know that it matters what she thinks and I WANT to know what it is…so her opinion can be part of the decision making process.

2: I’m acknowledging the fact that what she says has value.  The fact that I’m asking what she thinks means I anticipate substance from her response.  This lets her know that her words have meaning and that our marriage is a partnership rather than a dictatorship.

3: I’m admitting that I need help.  Nothing good comes from thinking I can do everything on my own.  Asking for my wife’s input is a small step toward relying on someone else.

Something I’ve realized after 13 years of marriage is that Julia is very wise.  In many areas she is wiser than I am.  In any given circumstance, I have a tendency to make a quick appraisal of the situation and come to a conclusion about the best way to address it.  Once I’ve decided what to do, everything else seems wrong.  However…I’m not always right.  I’ve found that asking Julia’s opinion often opens me up to new perspectives that I hadn’t considered.

My advice to you:
Don’t make decisions on your own.  Even if it’s something you’ve decided that you are the one “responsible for”, ask what your wife thinks.  Let her know that her opinions have value and you never know when you may be surprised by an idea that’s better than yours.

How can you love your wife “as Christ loved the church”?

Part of my calling in writing this blog comes from Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for it.”  So, what does that mean?  How did Christ love the church and give Himself up for it?  And what does that mean for how I need to love my wife?  Let’s break it down…

For starters, we need to see how Christ loved the church.  What did Jesus do that showed love to others, and how did He give Himself up for them?

  • He served: Washing the disciples’ feet.  Taking time to heal people in need.  (John 13:1-17, Matthew 4:23)
  • He forgave:  The woman caught in adultery deserved to be stoned, but Jesus forgave.  Jesus asked God to forgive the soldiers crucifying Him. (John 4, Luke 23:34)
  • He led:  Everywhere he went, he taught people.  Starting when he was a boy in the temple, and then traveling to villages as an adult and speaking to thousands of people at a time.  He sought other people to come and follow him.  (Luke 2, Matthew 14, Matthew 4:18-22)
  • He took consequences from others: WE deserved death for the sin in our lives, but Jesus DIED in our place.  (John 19)

He gave up time, glory, position, and ultimately even His life to serve and love others.  So, if this is our example, how can you love your wife in the same way?

Serve her:  Ideas are easy to spot for this.  Make dinner, clean the house, do laundry, etc.  Find something that she normally does that is not enjoyable…and do it for her…without her asking.

Forgive her:  Has she ever wronged you?  Has she ever been dishonest about money, or about her time, or maybe said something mean about you to someone else?  These things can really hurt.  The most important thing you can do is to forgive her.  See my earlier post for more thoughts on this.

Lead her:  You may not be a biblical scholar or a genius at family wisdom, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to lead.  Being a leader is not easy and takes a lot of responsibility, but it is worth the effort.  Do what you can to point your relationship with your wife and your family as a whole in the right direction.  See my earlier post for more thoughts on this.

Take consequences:  This was Jesus’s ultimate act of service and love to us.  So, how can you do the same thing for your wife?  What if she broke the side mirror on her car and you swapped cars with her until you could get it fixed?  What if she spilled something in the kitchen and you cleaned it up so she didn’t have to?  What if she accidentally tore her favorite shirt and you used YOUR clothing budget money to go buy her a new one?

My challenge to you:

Are you missing opportunities in any of these 4 areas?  If so, what can you do to change that?  But, don’t just take my thoughts and stop there.  Think through this for yourself.  How did Jesus give Himself up for us?  And in the same way, that is how you need to give yourself up to show love to your wife.

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.

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?”