Mate

Each week, I’m challenging myself to complete a Dare of the Week. A weekly goal designed to live more intentionally and be a better man. And I’m inviting you to join me.

THIS WEEK: SHOW HER WHAT SHE MEANS TO YOU

loveyourwife

I love my wife! She’s not only beautiful, she’s smart, strong, and supportive. No doubt about it, like most men I know, I married out of my league.

We have a rock solid relationship, but like most couples, we can find ourselves going through the motions and assuming the other knows how we feel about them.

I don’t want to get caught in that trap. This is why I need to be intentional about expressing my love and adoration of her.

I imagine you do too.

This week’s dare is to show our ladies what they mean to us. Of course, this shouldn’t be contained to just this week, Valentine’s Day, or your wedding anniversary. In fact, if you only show your lady how you feel on special occasions, you’re doing it wrong. It needs to become a way of life.

To help, here’s a simple grid I use to make sure I keep the romantic fire stoked. Make it your goal to do the following three things this week (and every week) and show her what she means to you:

Something Practical - Whether it’s cooking dinner, rubbing her feet, or putting down the toilet seat, performing simple everyday actions can go a long way in expressing your love for her.

Remind her how thoughtful you can be.

Something Fun – Remember how much fun you had when you were dating? While you were building your relationship, you were also building a friendship. You enjoyed being together and hopefully, you still do. This week, plan a fun date. Make it enjoyable. Take it a step further and make it unexpected.

Remind her of the man she fell in love with in the beginning.

Something Romantic – We should woo our ladies as much AFTER marriage as did BEFORE marriage. Buy her chocolates or flowers, write her a love letter, and give her long kisses. Whatever she’s into. If you have children, get away from them for a bit. Sometimes we get so caught up in being mom and dad that we forget that we’re husband and wife.

Remind her how attractive you think she is.

Be practical, fun, and romantic. That’s our marching orders this week.

Will you accept this week’s challenge?

If so, let me know. Drop a comment, shoot me a tweet, or post a comment on the GoodSirs Facebook page. I would love to hear from you.

 

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GENTLEMEN,

Let’s face it. None of us have women completely figured out. Once you think you have all the answers, the questions change. But that’s one of the reasons why we love them. They keep us on our toes.

One thing I do know is that her happiness directly impacts your happiness. Since I want you to be happy, and you want her to be happy, here are seven phrases you should avoid when communicating with your lady.

1. “That’s not how my mom did it.”

You may have a wonderful mom, but don’t suggest your mate be like her. She’s her own person and she wants you to love her for who she is, not some ideal of who you want her to be.

Instead, let her run with her ideas. Chances are, she’s a bright girl, and if there’s a better way to do something, she’ll figure it out. Just like your mom did.

2. “Are you going to wear that?”

Translation: you look ugly, have terrible taste, and I would be embarrassed to be seen in public with you. Whether you meant it that way or not doesn’t matter. What matters is how she takes it.

Instead, when you’re going out, let her know what you are wearing and have her match you (or vice versa). While you’re at it, let her know how beautiful she is and how you’re a blessed man to have her.

3. “Is it that time of the month or something?”

If she doesn’t slap you for this one, she’s a saint. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, this phrase is off-limits. It’s like putting gasoline on a fire. You just don’t do it.  Besides, her bad mood might not be caused by her monthly visitor, it might be because she has to deal with you on a regular basis. I’m sure you’re not always a peach.

Instead, do everything in your power to make the atmosphere around her better. If you have kids, make sure they behave. If the house is dirty, clean it up. If she seems crabby, help her out. Offer a back rub, a foot massage, or give her time take a relaxing bath. Be helpful, not hurtful.

4. “My ex used to _______________.”

First of all, if you use any form of this phrase, you are a tool. I mean that in love. Do you really think your lady wants to be compared to the other women in your life? Bringing up an old flame rarely leads anywhere constructive. Plus, you’re not together anymore for a reason, why should she accept pointers from a failed relationship?

Instead, create new memories and experiences with your lady. Show her your present reality with her washes over your previous memories with another. Prove to her that your past relationships were merely rivers that led to the ocean of your true love.

5. “If you really loved me, you’d _____________.”

If you’re using guilt trips and manipulation to gain her affection, that’s a weak play. You may get whatever your (blank) is, but you won’t get something real. Real love doesn’t use conditional words like, “if, when, because.”  Real love is unconditional and flows naturally, not by coercion or shame.

Instead, ask her how you can better love her and then do it. Speak her love language and see if it doesn’t come back to you in spades.

6. “It detracts from your beauty.”

This is one I got in trouble with early on in our marriage. My wife got a nose ring, and it looked pretty cool. Over time, I couldn’t help but stare at it when I talked to her. One day, she mentioned she was considering taking it out. I chimed in, “I like it, but it does sort of detract from your beauty.” She ended up getting rid of the nose ring, but those dreaded words have come back to haunt me. Today, we can laugh about it. But it was another lesson in, “It’s not what I mean, it’s about what she hears.”

Instead, I should have been more clear and let her know she is beautiful just the way she is. Accessorized or not.

For you, it may not be facial piercings, she may ask you about her hairstyle, hair color, make-up, jewelry, etc. Let her know how attractive she is and suggest she ask her friends for their take on beauty care. Because all you know is she looks good.

7. Say nothing.

You may resort to the safest play you can make—silence. You think you’re good to go sitting there parked in neutral. But in relationships, there’s no such thing as neutral. Let me repeat that. In relationships, there’s no such thing as neutral. The silent treatment is like going in reverse.

When you choose to say nothing, what you are really saying is she’s not worth communicating to. Again, it doesn’t matter if that’s what you mean, it’s about what she hears. And your silence is speaking volumes. The safest play you can make isn’t to keep quiet, it’s to think before speaking. 

Instead, listen to her and talk to her openly. When you screw up and say the wrong thing (it will happen), apologize, and make things right. And never leave her guessing as to how you feel about her. Show her and tell her. She deserves it, after all.

There you go. Seven phrases you shouldn’t say to your mate. Now, it’s your turn.

What else should a man never say to a woman? (Ladies, your inside secrets would be greatly appreciate here). 

 

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I had lunch with a good friend of mine and we started talking about how his first year of marriage has gone. He revealed a not-so-surprising confession—it hasn’t been easy.

He shared how he and his new wife got into an argument over who was going to take out the trash. It turned into a big deal. I asked him why he just didn’t do it and be move on. He replied, “Well…I really don’t know.”

It’s a familiar argument, isn’t it? My wife and I have been there. If you’ve been in a relationship, I’m sure that you have too.

I asked my friend this question: “You’d lay your life on the line if it meant saving hers, right?” He replied, “Absolutely.” I replied, “Why is it that we would die for our wives, yet we won’t get over ourselves for a couple of minutes to take out the trash?”

That’s the question.

Some of us are willing to sacrifice our life, but we won’t make a small sacrifice to show love to our lady.

I know that’s something I need to work on. How about you?

I caught up with my buddy not too long ago and asked him how things were in his marriage. “Never better” he shared. Turns out he decided to add taking out the trash to his chore list. “It’s funny. Every time I take out the trash she can’t keep her hands off me.” He added, “If I’d known taking out the trash turned her on, I’d have done it from the beginning.”

Lesson learned.

May we all learn to lay down our lives for the one we love, especially with the little things. They add up and show her everyday that you love her.

That might just be the best kept secret to a happy marriage.

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Like most husbands, I like to connect with my wife at the end of the day. I hear about her daily adventures, listen to her work through decisions, and all the while, I’m thinking about how to solve all her conundrums. I am a Mr. Fix It.

My “Mr. Fix It” approach has improved over the years. I’m learning (present tense) to set aside my instinct to solve everything and be a better listener. I’ve found that with my wife, friends, and others, they simply want to put words to their feelings, not necessarily have me looking for missing puzzle pieces.

If you’re like me, a Mr. Fix-It, don’t be a tool. Instead, reach for these tools in your relationship toolbox and put them to good use.

1) ASK QUESTIONS

Mr. Fix-It’s are prone to answer quickly, but a better strategy is to ask questions.

Even if we think we know the answer, we need to allow others to journey there too. Providing quick answers to someone’s dilemma is like blindfolding them on the journey to their destination. Instead, allow them to see the road, the markers, the turns, the landmarks along the way from their problem to the solution.

2) ADMIT SHORTCOMINGS

No one likes a know-it-all. Mainly, because they think they know-it-all (honestly, who does?). Regardless of your intentions, Mr. Fix It’s can come across like arrogant jerks. So how do you help your mate without coming across wrong?

Admit shortcomings.

Listen, you’re not perfect, and your spouse knows that more than anyone. And by sharing your struggles, mistakes, or frustrations, you come across as more human.  This makes you more relatable and invites others to open up more with you. Your words hold more meaning because they aren’t coming from up-on-high, but from beside. Which is where we’re supposed to be anyway.

3) WATCH YOUR TONE

Mr. Fix It’s are pro’s at providing information, but communication is much more than that. It’s about influencing thoughts, actions, and emotions. This rule is this: It’s not about what you say, it’s about what she hears.

I was reminded of this in a recent discussion with my wife. It went something like this:

Her: “What pillow case color do you think would better accent our comforter?”

Preoccupied with something else, I said: “Whatever you think looks best.”

What she heard: “Whatever, I’ve got more important things to do.”

What I meant: “Your eye for design is so much better than mine. Left to myself, I’d throw an old Philadelphia Eagles comforter on a pull-out sofa and would be lucky to even consider a pillow case. You make our bedroom comfortable, warm, and inviting. Because of this I have absolute trust in your taste.”

Looking back, I can see why she would feel the way she did. I didn’t say anything wrong, but my disinterest in the topic at hand made it seem like I had a disinterest in her. That’s not what I intended, but later she told me that’s how it came across.

You may be quite good at choosing the right words, but what you communicate could be something else entirely. In relationships, communication is a crucial survival skill that we continually need to sharpen.

4) FOCUS ON HER

She matters more than anything to you, right? Then you need to make her feel like she does. When visiting with your mate, remove all distractions and zero in on her. Put away your phone, reading material, and all electronic devices. Look at her in the eyes and repeat what she is saying in your own words.

Why does all this matter? Because she matters. Prove it with your actions.

If she’s in a boat of joy, sadness, confusion, frustration, whatever…Get in the boat with her!

If you want to offer a solution (if there is one), you need to earn the right. You do this by letting her know you really understand her and what she’s going through.

Remember, relationships are more art than science. There’s no magic formula, but if you put forth the effort to do these things, it will only help make your relationship even better.

At least that’s what I’m learning.

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“Between You & Me” is a guidebook I created for couples. It contains nearly 200 questions designed to spark conversations about the stuff of life and love. Some of the questions run deep, others are whimsical, yet all are meant to help couples know one another better.

This guide is what you make of it. It isn’t rocket science nor does it contain all the answers, but if a couple is honest, open, and takes their time, it can be quite beneficial.

It’s fun too!  In fact, going through these questions make for some interesting date nights and discussions. You could use them to see how well your mate knows you and how well you know your mate.

And I’m making this resource available for free!

Why? Because I want to help couples and those who mentor couples. What can I say? I’m a sucker for love.

To download the pdf, simply click button below. Feel free to share, email, Twitter, Facebook, print, whatever you want. All I ask is that you keep it in tact and give credit where credit is due.

Enjoy!

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Between You & Me

Between You & Me | Conversation Starters for Couples

 

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Gentlemen like John Wooden are rare these days.  As men, I think we’ve lost the art of being gentlemen. Of being courteous, gracious, thoughtful, and romantic.

These love letters from John Wooden not only reveal the love he had for his bride but are an example for us young guns on how to treat our ladies. Enjoy.

 

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