Did you know that marriage experts have identified 5 Phases of Marriage? In today’s article, I will give you a bird’s eye view of the 5 Phases of Marriage and in the next few posts, I will go into more detail on each one.
One of the ways to develop a more intentional and resilient marriage is to be a life-long learner.
Married life can be very frustrating at times. In the first year of marriage, the man speaks, and the woman listens. In the second year, the woman speaks, and the man listens. In the third year, they both speak, and the neighbors listen.
Forty-seven years into this adventure called marriage, and we are still active learners. As a long-time participant and observer of relationships, I can tell you that, like children, marriages go through specific, predictable stages and phases. By preparing for these, you can learn to resist some of the temptations to take short cuts or bailout of the relationship, and you will learn to be resilience. If you fail to understand these common, predictable patterns, then there could be a rough road ahead of misunderstanding, overreaction, which can lead to the death of your relationship.
Make sure you’re a buckled in as we take off and overview these phases and stages look like from 30,000 feet.
Phase One – Crazy in Love/Lust. This stage can last from months to years. It is all about you and your lover and the excitement, sex, and intimacy you are experiencing. You have fallen in love and knew the two of you would spend the rest of your life together. The little differences in personality and style were seen as cute and endearing.
Phase Two-What on Earth was I Thinking? At some point in the relationship, the little differences begin to annoy us. What was cute a few months ago is now a significant source of irritation. The little voices in our heads start to wonder if our spouse is the right one, or did I get a lemon. In this stage of the relationship, we begin to realize that we didn’t marry Mr. or Mrs. Wonderful. Slowly it begins to dawn on us that the “perfect relationship” is flawed.
Phase Three – I Can’t Change My Spouse; Maybe I Should End It! This is the stage where a couple may seek the counsel of friends, clergy, or a therapist. Usually, there have been several hurts, continued harsh conversations, a significant drop in communication, and an increase in disengagement within the marriage. It may have gotten to the point where one spouse is pushing for a divorce, and the other is pleading to save the marriage. This phase is where the relationship is at risk of an affair.
Phase Four – Maybe We can Work it Out. In this phase, we begin to come to terms with the fact that we are never going to agree on everything with our spouses. As a couple moves into the phase, they begin accepting the fact that you have to take the good with the bad. We become more open to forgiving our spouse, recognizing that we might not be the easiest to live with.
Over the next several weeks, I will be going into more detail about each phase and stage to give you some tools to enhance your relationship. I hope to hear your thoughts and ideas on this subject so feel free to leave a comment.
Phase Five – We’re in this Together “Divorce Busting” expert, Michelle Wiener-Davis says, “It is a tragedy that half of all couples who wed never get to this stage when all of the pain and hard work of the earlier stages begin to pay off. Since you are no longer in a struggle to define who you are and what the marriage should be, there is more peace and harmony.” Many times this stage of a marriage is a time to renew your friendship and passion. I hope you will choose to have a long-term, rewarding marriage that is both intentional and resilient.
Hey, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article. Shoot me a comment and let’s have a conversation!
For the next four weeks, as my wife and I approach our 47th anniversary, I will be posting some articles about ways to build and maintain a long-term, resilient marriage.
What would you think if I told you I’d discovered 5 practices of successful, resilient couples, all starting with the letter C, that you could use to give your marriage a jump start?
Recently I was speaking to a group of about 140 folks at Cannon AFB in Clovis, New Mexico. While my presentation was on Resilience and Stress Management, a couple of the participants and I get into a brief discussion about marriage and what makes some marriages work. I mentioned a few things like communication, compromise, being honest, you know the usual stuff and pretty much forgot about it and went back to the session.
Then, the other night we had several friends over for a dinner party, and while a couple of us were visiting we discovered that they had just celebrated their 46th anniversary, another was going to be celebrating 24, and we are preparing to celebrate our 47th next month. That is 117 years of marriage! While we didn’t get into the subject, I have known these folks for a while, and I could safely say, they demonstrate the 5 practices of successful, resilient couples.
So here are the 5 practices of successful, resilient couples or practices you can develop in your marriage.
Ready? Let’s jump in.
Compromise – One of the things you learn about marriage, usually within the first few days or weeks is that a marriage is all about giving. Compromise is a vital part of any successful, enduring marriage. For two individuals to develop and work as a married team, you must learn to give and take.
Communicate – Your marriage will shrivel or thrive based on the number of meaningful discussions that you have. Communication in your marriage is like a life-giving river. When you fail to communicate you dam the lifeblood of your marriage. Do what you can, read what you need, spend the money necessary to guard your communication. Many potentially significant marriages crumble simply because of poor or no communication.
Clear the Air, don’t hide your hurts. WARNING: I am not talking about downloading on someone. One of the components of a long-term marriage is that you allow your spouse to encourage, nurture, comfort, and support you. As couples learn to mutually do this, several positive things can happen. A few benefits include feeling accepted, which leads to more emotional connection, lower stress, and increased intimacy.
Choose your Battles Carefully. When you have two people sharing the same space, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and sexually, the conflict will ensue. So, don’t be blindsided by this. The critical thing here is to be careful to choose what you will be investing your energy in. Here is a helpful acronym from my friends dealing with addiction, the word HALT is one of the tools they use to avoid “falling of the wagon.” I believe it can also be a powerful way to lower the risks and level of conflict in your home.
H – Hungeris a physical and emotional need. Hungry people can be grumpy people, and cranky people tend to be more combative.
A – Anger is a normal, healthy emotion that we all experience from time to time. Slow down and take some time to try and understand what is causing the anger and know how to express it appropriately.
L – Loneliness– If you are feeling lonely and. or misunderstood, do you best not to isolate,but to find meaningful and safe ways to connect with your spouse.
T – Tiredness impacts us across the board, body, soul, mind, and spirit. Realize that if you or your spouse are experiencing tiredness and fatigue, you are more at risk to fight.
Hopefully, this acronym will help you in choosing your battles carefully.
Last, but certainly not least is what I believe is the most important one.
Want to receive my Free Ebook 21 Ways to Improve Your Marriage? Text the word Marriage to 33777.
Capitalize on trust, truth, and honesty. Dishonestly in a marriage is an almost sure-fire way to screw things up. Why? It destroys trust. It sets a horrible example. It undermines your goals as a couple.
Being married is at the same time, one of the best and toughest things you will ever do. My hope is that you will be able to use these 5 principles of successful, resilient couples to enhance your marriage.
Ancient Relationship Wisdom
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT
So, which of these do you need to work on? Which one could you prayerfully consider doing this week? I’d love to hear from you.
Have you ever been at a party and overheard a couple say, “Oh, we never fight!” Don’t believe them! In this article I will show you ten rules for fighting fair.
Couples fight! We will be married 47 years this August, and we have had our fair share of fights. As a matter of fact, we had a pretty good one yesterday, as I recall it had to do with my being distracted by my new iPhone. The good news is that over the years, we have learned to fight fair. One of the traits of a resilient marriage is the ability to manage conflict.
Did you know that most of what we fight about really doesn’t matter? As a matter of fact, Dr. John Gottman, the leading authority says, “Our research has shown 69% of relationship conflict is about perpetual problems. All couples have them — these problems are grounded in the fundamental differences that any two people face. They are either fundamental differences in your personalities that repeatedly create conflict or fundamental differences in your lifestyle needs. [i]
The key to fighting fair is to maintain control. You do not have the right to be immature, childish, or abusive. If you do have legitimate feelings and issues, you are entitled to give a reasonable voice to those feelings in a constructive way. (That includes not being self-righteous or taking yourself too seriously.
So here are 10 Rules for Fighting Fair.
Make it private and keep it private. Fighting in front of your kids is nothing shortof child abuse. It can and will scar them emotionally and spiritually all because you don’t have the self-control to keep it together until you can talk about it privately. It is not advisable to share information about your fights with family and friends – the information always gets twisted and enhanced.
Deal with the issue at hand. Keep it relevant. Stay on task! Focus on the problems rather than attacking each other. Don’t bring up old issues or grudges when they are not a part of the solution. Put boundaries around the subject so it won’t turn into a free-for-all. Limit the discussion to the one issue at the center of the conflict.
Stay in the room emotionally, keep it real. Deal with them, not with symptoms. Tell your spouse what is bothering you. Focus on the issue rather than the attack! When people are involved in a conflict, it is easy to feel flooded and overwhelmed, here is one quick free way to make sure you are staying in the room. Check your pulse if it around one hundred, 80 if you are athletic, then step back take a few moments and attempt to re-engage.
Eliminate “You never,” “You always.” These phrases will always lead to someplace you really don’t want to go.
Avoid character assassination like the plague. Stay focused on the issue rather than ripping into your spouse’s personality, family, or past.
Don’t “mind read!” Have you ever said or heard, “I know what you are thinking?” If you have, then consider yourself duly busted. If you are not sure what your partner meant by something they said, ask for clarification. Because asking for clarification always adds bonus points by slowing the conversation down. It lets your partner know that you are really trying to connect and understand.
Stay on task! The mission is to resolve to conflict and come out with a “win-win” not an “I win you lose” outcome.
Be proportional in your intensity. You don’t kill a fly with a cannon. There are basically only two types of problems people have – solvable and unsolvable (or not solvable right now.) Everything that you disagree on is not an earth-shattering issue. Remember, you don’t have to get mad and upset every time you have a cause to be.
Commit yourself to openness, honesty, and acceptance. This will help you relax, listen, and give feedback.
Allow yourself and your partner to retreat and/or regroup with dignity. How a fight ends is crucial. Recognize when an olive branch is being offered to you (it might be disguised as an apology or a joke) and give each other a face-saving way out of the disagreement.
Are you serious about improving your relationship? If you are, I want to challenge you to review this article and pick two or three specific things you can do to make your next fight more productive.
Cheap ways to strengthen your marriage by adding humor to your reationship.
Several years ago, my wife and I had come to an impasse in our relationship. I was detached and living in my career; something men often do, and my wife was into other things. I wish I could tell you that I suggested some counseling, but no, I was too proud and bone-headed to do that. It was my wife who strongly encouraged me to make a call. Our counselor was a wise man who helped us learn to re-negotiate our marriage and reconnect. As we wrapped up therapy, he made a comment that surprised and encouraged us. He said, “Angie and John, like many couples that come to see me, you guys were way off track, but even in some of the tougher sessions you both maintained a healthy sense of humor in your relationship. That let me know that you two are going to make it.”
Those encouraging words were a gift to us nearly 34 years ago and have sustained us through the ebbs and flows of our marriage. Through the Winters, Springs, Summers, and Falls of our lives, we have managed to maintain humor in our relationship.
Humor, laughter, and joy have a powerful effect on health and well-being. It alleviates tension and stress, boosts the mood, raises creativity, and provides an excellent, drug-free energy boost. Humor brings people together and helps them manage life better. An occasional shared belly laugh is an essential part of a robust and healthy relationship.
Laughter and joy and playful communication are some of the most effective, free tools that can keep your relationship vital, fresh, and stimulating. Humor and laughter can keep your relationship exciting, light, and joyful. Want more sex, laugh more. Want to increase your overall well-being, chill out, and giggle.
Here are six things that laughter and humor can do to enhance your relationship.
1. Links you to others. We are hardwired for relationships. Your happiness and health, in no small degree, depend on the quality of your relationships. Real connections are engaged in face to face, eyeball to eyeball, not in the glow of the blue tinted screens. And the laughter helps strengthen the relationship’s connect on several levels.
2. Helps smooth over differences. Using soft humor often enables you to deal with sensitive subjects, work through disagreements, and gain a fresh perspective on problems.
3. Develops resilience. A sense of humor is one of the keys to resilience. The American Psychological Association defines resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress–such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors.
4. Increases energy and relaxes at the same time. Joy, humor, and laughter relieve fatigue and relax your body while recharging your batteries and helps you get more done.
5. Renews perspective. Most relationships, life, or job situations are not as bad when viewed through the window of joy and laughter.
6. Increases creativity. Playfulness and humor release certain brain chemicals that loosen you up energize your thinking, and inspire creative problem-solving.
As we move into the summer months, I want to challenge you to be more intentional about experiencing more joy in your relationship.
Have you ever blown it the arena of intimacy in your marriage? I have. There have been times when I have been a knuckle-dragging, selfish, and ignorant Neanderthal. I am thankful for my wife, who has extended grace as we have spent most of our 46 years together in a learning mode. In this post, I am going to show you how to have more meaningful intimacy in your relationships.
If you are feeling brave, I encourage you to take some time and read this post. It is a compilation of things that I have learned over forty-six years of marriage and over fifty thousand hours of counseling experience. I can guarantee you that you can enhance your relationship with more meaningful intimacy.
One of the foundational principles of building and maintaining a healthy, resilient, relationship is to recognize the foundations of meaningful intimacy and communication. It is not about technique, positions, or power, but about getting to know someone genuinely.
Dwight Bain, a long-time friend, therapist, and life coach shared some great thoughts in a recent presentation which I would like to pass along. It sets a good starting point for this article. Dwight was addressing married couples, but the points he makes are crucial to developing any romantic relationship.
There are so many failed marriage stories in the headlines it can make you wonder, “Is an intimate relationship even possible anymore?” and if so, “How do you get one?” It seems that some couples quickly move from being fired up with a romanticpassion to wanting just to fire each other as a bully boss does to an exhausted employee.
It’s no wonder people are more cautious about opening up their hearts to another person. It might be because they have likely witnessed the process of intense romantic chemistry quickly eroding into hateful rejection and ugly conflicts.
Everybody talks about genuinely wanting a meaningful relationship where they are loved and accepted, yet few are willing to take the chance of being vulnerable or hurt again.
Genuine, meaningful intimacy is about seeing into the heart and mind of your mate. It’s learning to connect with them in multiple ways like feeling close, accepted, and loved on the inside no matter what kind of pressure might be happening on the outside.
To experience this kind of intense relationship, you need understanding regarding both sides of an intimate connection to grow to a new level of purpose and passion together. These different levels of connection reflect the differences between a cultural view of relationships where romance is the primary goal; and a long-term view of marriage where learning to connect together through the realities of daily life is joined alongside love to build intensity, regardless of the circumstances. You need both sides to make your relationship go the distance from short-term infatuation to create long-term success in your marriage.
Building a meaningful relationship and/or being married is a team sport; you either win together or lose together.
One of the keys to building meaningful intimacy is communication. Two-way communication that is based on respect, honor, and grace is essential for two people sharing a life together.
Two marriage researchers whom I have known over the years, Drs. David Olson and Peter Larson have discovered 10 things you and I can do to be better at communication and increase your menaingful intimacy.
1. Give full attention to your partner when talking. My wife gets very annoyed when I think I am listening, but I am distracted. My suggestion, turn off the phone, IPad, computer, or television and turn towards your partner.
2. Focus on the good qualities and be intentional about catching them doing good. People tend to rise or fall on our expectations when you are intentional about finding the good in someone they rarely disappoint.
3. Be assertive, not aggressive or passive. Share your thoughts, feeling, and needs. One way to do this is to the old therapist stand by, using “I” statements versus “you” statements. (e.g., “I worry when you don’t let me know you’ll be late” rather than “You are always late.”)
4. Avoid criticism. It is a relationship killer. I think William Arthur Ward hit the nail on the head when he said, “Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I may not forget you.” You can never share too much encouragement. If you must criticize, sandwich it with a least two positive comments. (e.g., “I appreciate it when you help out by cooking, the food is excellent. It would mean a lot to me if you could straighten up a little after you are done. Thanks again for dinner.) This is known as the sandwich method.
5. Listen to understand, not to judge. Two eyes, two ears, one mouth. Listening is all about trying to understand.
6. Use active listening. Summarize your partner’s comments before sharing your own reactions of feelings.
7. Avoid blaming each other at all costs. Instead, work together for a solution. There is energy when we accept responsibility and decide to work towards a mutually beneficial solution.
8. Manage your conflict. (I will give you ten steps for resolving conflict in my next post.
9. Seek counseling. If you are not able to have better results with your communication as a couple. Then take action. Enroll in marriage/relationship class, read a book together, see your pastor, priest, or get counseling if you need to.
10. Hit the pause button, slow down, catch your breath. Sometimes a dinner date, a night away from the house, a weekend escape can go a long way in lowering the stressors in a marriage.
One of the best ways to increase the frequency of physical intimacy is through solid communication. When men and women feel heard they usually are open to more intimacy.
What is intimacy? One definition of intimacy is it is an act of familiar expression serving as a token of familiarity, affection, and love
I believe as a culture we have lost some of the essential components of intimacy by limiting it to just a physical response.
There has been some breakthrough research that shows which there are at least five different areas of meaningul intimacy! Take a moment and grade yourself in each area, then ask your partner to do the same.
The first is Intellectual Intimacy. On this level, couples are able to talk about current events, share ideas, laughs, and thoughts, even debate political and religious topics. They are able to participate in the exchange of thoughts and ideas jointly.
The second area of intimacy is Recreational Intimacy. This means there are some recreational activities that a couple enjoy together. It does not mean they do everything together.
The third area of intimacy is Social Intimacy. After decades of marriage, my wife and I realized that it is entirely okay for her to have her friends and me to have my friends as long as we share some “we” friends. Couple friendships can be an added bonus to a relationship by being a sounding board, providing feedback, and accountability.
The fourth intimacy area is Spiritual intimacy. While this area of intimacy is the most subjective, due to the various religious backgrounds & practices a couple may have, it is still an essential component. In my opinion, one of the most important because a growing relationship is at its core spiritual in nature. Spiritual intimacy is also a crucial factor when and if children become a part of the family.
The fifth and final level of intimacy is physical intimacy. Sexual expression is part of our hard wiring and can be both exhilarating and refreshing for a couple, in the right context. In recent years the primary focus has been primarily on physical intimacy. We have reduced physical intimacy into a series of positions and practices based more on applied physics than on building relationships.
Could it be that one of the reasons we see so many relationships falling apart is that we have failed to understand that intimacy works on several levels? If a relationship is based primarily on sexual expression, it is doomed to fail in the long run. However, if a couple can grow in their understanding of these different levels of meaningful intimacy, their relationship will experience growth in all areas. As you grow in these other areas, then sexual expression within your relationship will become more intense and meaningful. This is because it is based on getting to know your partner and being recognized by them.
So how can you have more meaningful intimacy in your life? Be mindful of the ten communication tips and the five levels of intimacy and how interconnected they are.
Keeping things lite, fun, and romantic can strengthen your relationship.
February is here, and we all know Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.
Men, please get your shopping done before Feb. 14. If you wait too late, the roses will be wilted, and the selection of cards and chocolates will be pretty much picked over. It seems simple enough, but how many times have we men suffered from procrastination a condition related to waiting until the last minute to shop for your wife or girlfriend. Good news: There is a cure – buy early!
I got a chuckle out of this story.
Nuts About Love
“Driving through Southern California, I stopped at a roadside stand that sold fruit, vegetables, and crafts. As I went to pay, I noticed the young woman behind the counter was painting a sign. ‘Why the new sign?’ I asked. ‘My boyfriend didn’t approve of the old one,’ she said. When I glanced at what hung above the counter, I understood. It declared: Local Honey Dates Nuts.”
Contributed by Theodore Bologna
Here are five guy tips that will help you in your Valentine gift selection:
1. If you buy chocolate, make sure you don’t get it at the grocery store or the pharmacy. Buying high-quality chocolate shows her how special she really is. You need to know if she likes milk chocolate, dark chocolate, soft centers, assorted nuts or just plain chocolate.
2. I spent part of my young life helping my mom out at her florist shop. It was always interesting to see stressed-out men coming into the shop on the 13th or 14th of February hoping Mom could work a miracle. She usually did.
Don’t wait until Valentine’s Day to pick up flowers at a florist shop or grocery store. If you want to earn extra points, spend a few extra dollars and have them delivered to her work site or home. Women have this fantastic quality: While the other women at her workplace will ooh and ah over the flowers you sent your spouse, they will walk away with envy, wishing their man had done the same.
3. When looking for a card, try to avoid the “ I know I don’t say it enough, but I really do love your card.” I promise she will not be impressed. Instead, you might ask one of the women at the store to help you pick the right card. Make your card purchase based on words she would like to hear. For an additional bonus, write a short hand-written note of love and appreciation.
4. Help your kids select a card or gift for their mom.
5. You do have permission to get your wife some cute, flattering pajamas. Just don’t buy anything too revealing, flashy or trashy. If you decide to get something on the naughtier side, just make sure she has pre-approved it. Remember the gift is for her.
In closing: Being thoughtful on Feb. 14 does not let you off the hook for the rest of the year. Your wife and or girlfriend desires to feel valued, cherished and secure 365 days a year.
Want to have a happier wife? One of the keys to having a resilient, long-lasting marriage is to do what you can to make sure your wife feels good about your the relationship.
As a man, I had no idea how ignorant I was when I first got married! Mom and dad were great examples, but about three weeks after Angie and I were married I felt like a complete idiot. While we have experienced all the seasons of life together, some with grace and others as a “hot mess” we have never quit. We have been in and out of counseling, read scores of books and attended more than a few seminars and retreats. And while both sets of our parents faced both great and tragic times, they hung in there.
I believe that as you read this article, you will be able to discover some nuggets of truth that will help you develop a more resilient marriage.
Here is a secret about most wedding days.
When the day arrives, there you are standing in front of a crowd of family, friends, and a minister. Then that magic moment occurs, your bride, the lover of your life appears at the back of the church or venue. At that moment you are filled with a sense of awe and wonder as your bride approaches the altar, and before you know it, the ceremony is in full swing. You exchange vows, you kiss, you greet your guests at the reception and off on a new journey we go.
Well, that is true for the most part. While he will have a blast at the reception, he is looking forward to the festivities ending and getting naked.
I know, right now some of you are going “Eew!” But alas, it is true.
Women, on the other hand, see things in a completely different way. When she faces you on your wedding day, she sees the man of her dreams, her hero, the man she has given her heart to. Now, here is the difference. When she sees him standing there looking so sharp and handsome, somewhere deep in the recesses of her mind she is thinking, he is my man, my mate, but I’ve got my work cut out for me as I shape him into my image of what I think he should be.
Well not that I probably have offended you, let’s jump into how to have a happy wife.
6 Basic Needs of a Wife
Once again, I’d like to start with a section from Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn’s book For Men Only.
Our Surface Understanding What it really means.
Women need love.
Even if your relationship is great, she likely has fundamental insecurity about your love, and when that insecurity is triggered, she may respond in ways that confuse or dismay you until she feels reassured.
Women are emotional.
Women deal with multiple thoughts and emotions from their past and present all the time, at the same time – and these can’t be easily dismissed.
Women want security-in other words, financial security.
Your woman needs emotional security and closeness with you so much that she will endure financial insecurity to receive it.
She doesn’t want you to fix it; she just wants you to listen.
When she is sharing an emotional problem, her feelings and her desire to be heard are much more important than the issue itself.
She doesn’t want much sex; she must not want me.
Physically, women tend to crave sex less often than men do – and it is usually not related to your desirability.
She wants to look attractive.
Inside your smart, secure wife lives a little girl who profoundly needs to know that you find her beautiful and that you only have eyes for her.
I am so thankful for the work that the Feldhahn’s and others have done in helping men and women better understand each other.
I am also thankful for the loving patience that my wife Angie has extended to me in our journey. By the way, it is a journey that you do not complete until the end of your life.
So, with that in mind, what are ten ways that you can have a happy wife.
10 Things You Can Do to Enhance Your Wife’s Happiness
1 .Be as Attentive, Fun loving, and Adoring as You Were During Courtship or Close to It.
I know you can have rough days. I spend my days with people who are in various states of crisis. I know it can be tough to be upbeat some days but do what you can. Studies of optimistic people show that they are less affected by adverse events and bring about brighter responses in other people.
2. Be More Affectionate
Before we talk about how to express affection to your wife, I want to review the job description of being a good husband.
Love, honor, and respect her.
Be sexually and emotionally faithful to her.
Listen without being judegemental
To your wife, affection means more than cuddling or holding her hands or having sex. She desires a sense of closeness from you because knowing you are close to her is paramount for her being able to stay in a relationship with you.
For those of you that might need this simplified; if your wife does not feel connected to you, she will leave you at some level.
3. Support and Nurture Her Ambitions in and Outside the Home.
Roles are changing, and that is not a bad thing. More men than women work outside the home, but due to the economy, more and more women are either entering or re-entering the workplace or are starting home-based businesses. As your children grow and opportunities open up for your wife to pursue her pen dreams, will you be there to support her?
4. To Make an Effort to Understand How She is Different Emotionally.
Guys, our job is not to change her to be more like a man, but to acknowledge and respect your differences.
5. To Be Honest at All Times and Always Do What You Say You, Will, Do.
To be clear. When I talk about honesty, I mean there is no room for lies about infidelity, addiction problems, or other vital matters that reflect on who you are (such as belief systems or underlying medical issues). You need to be accountable for what’s important the core issues, the crucial stuff, your promises.
6. To Share in Child Care and Domestic Work.
If you want to mess this up just come home from the office and tell her, you have already worked enough. Instead, catch your breath and help out a little, without any drama. Trust me, this will get you some points.
No matter where you have been in your marriage, you can show up for work today. You can begin, right now to protect your career as a husband by treating this day as if it were your first day on a new job called marriage.
7. Help her feel special.
Show your wife the same traits that make you valuable as an employee: focus, discipline, reliability, devotion, loyalty, stability, intelligence, and flexibility.
Be determined to get better at this job of being a husband.
8. Maintain your appearance! This may sound a bit juvenile, but guys, watch your hygiene, shower regularly, remember your favorite “hang around the house” clothes do need washing. Every now and then Angie reminds me that my closet space is beginning to smell like a locker. Just remember, this does not take much effort.
9. Plan some “us time” getaways. This does not mean inviting her to your elk hunt or boy’s weekend. It could be a weekend at a Bed and Breakfast, or maybe a day trip to a nice place. You could see where the cheapest “Southwest Airline Getaway” airfares are and go there. Being able to just get away from the day to day grind, and even the kids can go a long way in refusing both you and your wife.
10. Learn ways to maintain romance and specialness in your relationship. Spontaneous flowers and quality chocolates never hurt, post-it notes, and cards have never hurt. Do what you can to make her feel special.
To use a baseball metaphor; No Major League hitter bats 1000, but if they are hitting 325, they are being well compensated. to be clear, we are not talking perfection, but intentional progess.
Forget Hollywood and Hallmark Channel stereotypes and don’t try to be a hero in some romance novel. Instead, apply some of your natural strengths to your job as a married man and see immediate improvement.
Focus on the benefits of marriage, not the day to day frustrations
Show your wife the same traits that make you valuable as an employee: focus, discipline, reliability, devotion, loyalty, stability, intelligence, and flexibility.
Be determined to get better at this job of being a husband.
Learn from your mistakes and don’t get your eyes stuck in the rearview mirror of regrets.
Commit yourself to the mission and responsibilities of your marital job description and reassess your progress as you go along.
For those of you who are Christ followers, “Love your wife as Christ loves the Church.”
Thanks to Scott Haltzman, M.D., and his excellent ideas from The Secrets of Happily Married Men. This article is adapted from that resource. Another couple of resources I like is For Men Only and For Women Only by Shaunti & Jeff Feldhahn
This is the first part of a four-part series to help you have a meaningful Valentine’s Day. In a couple of days I will publish How to Have a Happy Wife.
With all the static about the Gillette commercial and the APA’s discussion about toxic masculinity, I thought this would be a great time to do a few posts about marriage. Since Valentine’s Day is around the corner, I thought it would be fun. After all, I have been married to the same woman for 46 years. In those forty-six years, we have had our ups and downs, great times and times that were pretty bad. We have had beautiful seasons of growth as well as seasons when things were pretty sucky and we could hardly wait until Springtime. Two key ingredients to building a resilient relationship are extending grace to one another and having an appreciation for the differences between men and women.
What Men Need
Ever wondered if there were any way to tell if your husband is a happily married man?
While every relationship goes through its seasons, here are some proven indicators that your man is happy in your relationship. Shaunti Feldhahn, a bestselling author and nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, author of For Women Only, shares some critical insight into men. Her book and its recent revision surveyed thousands of men across multiple socio-economic levels and cultural backgrounds. Here are seven revelations her research revealed. This is taken directly from her book.
10 Signs of a Happy Husband
Our Surface Understanding What That Means in Practice
Men need respect. Men would rather feel unloved than inadequate and disrespected Men are insecure. Despite their “in control” exterior men often feel like imposters and are insecure that their inadequacies will be discovered. Men want more sex. Your sexual desire for your husband profoundly affects his sense of well-being and confidence in all areas of his life. Men avoid issues by “checking out.” Men address issues by first pulling away to process and think-so they can better talk about them later. Men are visual. Even happily married men struggle with being pulled toward live and recollected images of other women. Men are “unromantic clods.” Actually, most men enjoy romance (sometimes in different ways) and want to be romantic-but hesitate because they doubt they will succeed. Men care about appearance. You don’t need to be a size 3, but your man does need to see you making efforts to take care of yourself, and he will take on significant costs or inconvenience to support you.
Remember, these insights are from a well-respected author and columnist. She and her husband have also written a companion book For Men Only.
Here are some proven ways to help your man experience a more meaningful life and relationship.
He knows that he can be himself without being judged or criticized. You see, there is nothing that can kill a relationship faster than criticism. Just to be sure, this goes both ways. Guys, being critical towards your wife is a guaranteed way to shut her down.
He smiles a lot. He feels that you notice him and appreciate all that he does for you and that you do not take him for granted.
He realizes that you love and accept him for who he is, but he also knows that you will not put up with any bad behavior. He knows that your love is the “real deal” and respects it because he sees that it is not based on submissive compliance, but a loving choice.
He likes that you care about looking attractive in your own personal way. He doesn’t expect you to look like someone you aren’t, but seeing that you care about your appearance makes him feel you value yourself and your relationship with him.
He understands that you desire him and express it through physical intimacy. Every man wants a wife who loves physical intimacy. What do most wives want? A man who provides the intimacy that her soul longs for. You see men only need a place, but a woman needs a reason.
He is around the house more, partially because he feels respected and admired by you. There is no love outside of respect. Feeling the admiration and respect of the one you love boosts self-esteem, increases intimacy, and promotes communication and passion.
He speaks highly of you primarily because he rarely or never feels belittled, berated, or humiliated by you.
He sees that you do not hold on to grudges, keep score or consistently feel victimized by life. The helps your relationship develop flexibility and adaptability, and keeps the possibility of a rewarding future intact.
He is faithful to the vows he made with you.
He seeks you for comfort and consolation. When your husband makes a choice to share his problems with you, it is an excellent indicator that he is happy with you even when he is feeling dejected and vulnerable. Take a moment to reflect on your feelings about these 10 indicators.
Are you happy with where you are? If so, outstanding! If you feel you need a little work, then pick one or two and try them out as a pilot project with your honey.
Ever wondered if there are any ways to tell if your husband is a happily married man?
While every relationship goes through its seasons, here are some proven indicators that your man is happy in your relationship.
1. He knows that he can be himself without being judged or criticized. You see, there is nothing that can kill a relationship faster than criticism.
2. He feels that you notice him and appreciate all that he does for you and that you do not take him for granted.
3. He realizes that you love and accept him for who he is, but he also knows that you will not put up with any bad behavior. He knows that your love is the “real deal” and respects it because he sees that it is not based on submissive compliance, but a loving choice.
4. He likes that you care about looking attractive in your own personal way. He doesn’t expect you to look like someone you aren’t, but seeing that you care about your appearance makes him feel you value yourself and your relationship with him.
5. He sees that you desire him and express it through physical intimacy. Every man wants a wife who loves physical intimacy. What do most wives want? A man who provides the intimacy that her soul longs for. You see men only need a place, but a woman needs a reason.
6. He feels respected and admired by you. There is no love outside of respect. Feeling the admiration and respect of the one you love boosts self-esteem, increases intimacy, and promotes communication and passion.
7. He sees that you do not hold on to grudges, keep score or consistently feel victimized by life. The helps your relationship develop flexibility and adaptability, and keeps the possibility of a rewarding future intact.
Take a moment to reflect on your feelings about these seven indicators. Are you happy with where you are? If so, outstanding! If you feel you need a little work, then pick one or two and try them out as a pilot project with your honey. After all, it is a budget-friendly, powerful tool that you can use to enhance your marriage!
Want to build a happy, resilient relationship? If you answer is yes, then continue to read.
We are into February, and we all know that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.
So guys, for heaven’s sake, get your shopping done before Feb. 14. If you wait too late, the roses will be wilted, and the selection of cards and chocolates will be pretty much picked over. It seems simple enough, but how many times have we men suffered from procrastinitis (my word), a condition related to waiting until the last minute to shop for your wife or girlfriend. Good news: There is a cure – buy early!
Waiting to purchase her a last-minute gift is not a good thing for your health or maybe even your life! It sends a message that you don’t see her as a high priority. It lets her know that you don’t know who she is and what she likes.
Here are five guy tips that will help you in your Valentine gift selection:
If you buy chocolate, make sure you don’t get it at the grocery store or the pharmacy. Buying high-quality chocolate shows her how special she is. You need to know if she likes milk chocolate, dark chocolate, soft centers, assorted nuts or just plain chocolate. Hint: One of my favorite Chocolatiers in Albuquerque is Theobroma Chocolatier.
I spent part of my young life helping my mom out at her florist shop. It was always interesting to see stressed-out men coming into the shop on the 13th or 14th of February hoping Mom could work a miracle. She usually did.
Don’t wait until Valentine’s Day to pick up flowers at a florist shop or grocery store. A quick way to earn extra points, spend a few extra dollars and have them delivered to her work site or home.
Women have this incredible quality: While the other women at her workplace will ooh and ah over the flowers you sent your spouse, they will walk away with envy, wishing their man had done the same.
When looking for a card, try to avoid the “I know I don’t say it enough…but I do love your card.” I promise she will not be impressed. Instead, you might ask one of the women at the store to help you pick the right card. Make your card purchase based on words she would like to hear. For an additional bonus, write a short hand-written note of love and appreciation.
Help your kids select a card or gift for their mom.
You do have permission to get your wife some cute, flattering pajamas. Just don’t buy anything too revealing, flamboyant or trashy. If you decide to get something on the naughtier side, just make sure she has pre-approved it. Or better yet, ask her to go with you. Remember the gift is for her.
I enjoy feedback, so leave me a coment and let me know your thoughts, or even better if you have a good story feel free to share it.
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