After a haitus for our son’s marriage, we’re back in the saddle! Thanks for your patience.
Today is a blog post from Jeremy. The same topic from the wife’s perspective was posted last week by Kari.
It’s sometimes difficult, especially after a long marriage, to remember to do “the little things” that make for a happy wife and a happy home.
We men can become very complacent in long-term relationships. It’s easy to believe the “hunt” is over, and now we can get comfortable.
The problem is, when men get comfortable, women get bored.
Here are five things I’ve not always been perfect at, that have meant a great deal to my wife over the years. You wife may have different needs, or find different things more valuable (and if you don’t know, share this blog with her and talk about your marriage with her).
Be decisive. Take the initiative.
The old cliche of women not being able to decide on where to go for dinner holds truth in our house (and so does picking a movie to watch, picking a weekend activity… you get the idea).
I don’t think it’s that Kari wants to be difficult; it’s that she doesn’t honestly know sometimes what she wants.
In those moments, guys, wives appreciate when you can make the decision.
I’m not saying that you should always make the decision on the restaurant or activity, but you should be able to pick a place to have a meal when she’s not sure what she wants. In our house, it often works both ways. I tell Kari to pick 3 movie options or restaurants she’s good with, and I veto until there is one to watch.
Pro Tip: have two or three videos / restaurants / weekend activities in the queue of your mind, and let her veto. This gives both of you some “say”.
Dress and groom like a man you’d respect.
I’ve run a financial planning and investment practice for about 11 years (shameless plug – here’s my financial firm if you’re looking for an advisor, and here’s my money and success blog if you’re a do-it-yourselfer).
I built my practice and spent nine of those years in Texas, so I used to have an office I went to every day. But since we moved back home to Denver, CO two years ago, nearly all of my client appointments are now done by video. Even my new Denver clients hate the traffic and hassle of in-person meetings, so nearly 100% of my work now is by video or phone appointment.
Because of this, I decided, at least for now, that it made no sense to pay the expenses of an office here in Denver, and drive to an office that clients will never see. My ego doesn’t demand an office like that. So, I have a home office and study here in our home in Brighton where I spend most of my day.
I tend to be pretty practical, and so the fact that I’m working from home, and there are many days that I don’t have client appointments scheduled (and I’m just doing administrative and planning/investing tasks), makes we wonder why would I waste the time and expense of dressing up just to move from my bedroom to my home office?
As a result, I got way too comfortable putting on a pair of blue jeans and a t-shirt to go to work. In uber-libertarian, Wild West Denver, that actually isn’t out of place, even for business owners (Mark Zuckerberg wears only jeans and a gray t-shirt as the CEO of Facebook).
But Kari is a regional HR manager for a major media corporation and has to commute to her office in downtown Denver. As a result, she’s always dressed impeccably each day, while I became comfortable schlepping to my home office in my favorite t-shirt, jeans, and only socks on my feet (why dirty the carpet with shoes?). And once it made sense to not dress for the job anymore, there were lots of days that I even didn’t bother to shave. Because, why not? No one is going to know one way or the other.
Men tend to take the path of least resistance when we can. That’s not to say I’m lazy; far from it – I work out several days a week, take great care of our home and cars, go out of my way for our neighbors, friends, and family. It’s just that I felt making an effort on my appearance when no one would see it, was wasted effort.
Pretty soon, the jeans & t-shirt mentality infected other parts of my life, too. I stopped dressing up for church. I stopped going to events that required a suit. I loathed the ironing board with a passion.
The problem with that thinking (that a lot of men fall into) is, our wives see our appearance. Our children see it. Our neighbors see it. Our community sees it.
I know others see a stark difference between my comfy wardrobe and proper work attire, because whenever I do dress up for a meeting, I universally get praised for it. My wife, grandmother, kids, neighbors, all say something about how nice I look today. My daughter even started commenting when she sees me in a long-sleeve, button-up shirt, that I must have a meeting today.
Guys, make the effort. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Have enough self-respect, and respect for your family, to look just a notch or two better than you could get away with.
Don’t spend all weekend in crappy gym shorts and a t-shirt you got at a concert in 2005. Take a damn shower. Pluck your ear hair. Manage your beard and keep your hair cut. Manscape the rest and get some decent underwear.
Groom yourself. Make the effort. Look like a guy who actually respects himself. You’ll be rewarded with her compliments, her appreciation, her sexual interest, and most importantly, her respect.
Nothing I can write is truer than this: women cannot and do not respect a man who doesn’t respect himself.
Pro Tip: I’m a huge fan of the great men’s website The Art of Manliness. You’ll learn a ton of grooming, and many other, life hacks there. And if you need a manly kick in the backside to get started, my I also recommend the wonderful Chad Howse. He just might make you remember you’ve got some stones down there.
Get yourself in shape
I’m probably going to flare the nostrils of some of the more ardent feminists with this next tip, but men, ladies want you to lead.
(By that, I should be clear that I don’t mean rule with an iron fist, or subjugate women in any way. The right type of leadership men should practice is servant leadership; what the Bible refers to as “cherishing your wife, laying down your life for her as Christ did for the Church”. But I digress.)
I’ve found three definite truths on the subject of leadership in our marriage:
- You and your wife will grow over time. You’ll either grow together, or you’ll grow independently. One way leads to success long-term. The other… well, you can figure out what happens.
- Your wife wants you to be the Captain of your family starship. You set the pace and tone. She’s your First Officer and every bit your partner, but ultimately, she wants you to lead. (I know that goes against everything our culture says right now, but male/female relationships have been around a lot longer than third wave feminism).
- We will cover this a lot more in a future post, but you will either challenge each other to be your best, or you’ll enable each other to be your worst. Ever notice the couples that are both addicted to drugs, or living in deplorable conditions (or even homeless)? Ever see the couples that are both in poor health, overweight and depressed? That’s 100% on you, dude.
Where men go, their wives generally follow. If you don’t give a damn about your appearance or your health or your body mass or your job, one of two things will happen: either she will stop caring about hers, or she’ll (justifiably) go find a man who does care.
It goes back to self-respect again. Women do not respect a man who doesn’t respect himself.
So, get in good physical shape, my man. Lift weights. Take a jog. Ride a bike. Put the beer down and pick up a glass of water.
Anytime I’ve been watching my diet and exercising, Kari will, within a couple of weeks, start doing it too. I would never push her to do something like that by herself. Instead, I lead by example.
Get your dumpy, fat self off the couch and into the gym. Your attitude, blood pressure, erections, self-confidence, mirror reflection, and your wife will deeply appreciate it.
Pay attention to her.
Nothing makes a woman more angry than being ignored, but my advice goes beyond that, and I’m chewing myself out here while I scold all of you.
Men, notice her. Pay attention to her. Let her finish her sentences. Let her complete her thought. Don’t talk over her.
We’re probably not going to get it 100% right, because men need a 2×4 across the head sometimes to get something through our thick skulls. But make the effort. And apologize when you screw up, for heaven’s sake.
- When she looks nice, tell her.
- When she cuts her hair, comment on it.
- When she’s got on a cute outfit, compliment her.
- When she’s been promoted at work, or learns a new skill, or tries something she was afraid to, praise her!
- When she wears makeup or dresses up for a day with you, notice and express your appreciation!
She went through all of that effort so you would notice. (And if you don’t you risk another dude noticing for you.)
Like I said at the beginning, men get comfortable in long-term relationships. Women really should take that as a compliment, but it certainly doesn’t mean you can neglect all of the things you did while you were still courting her.
Old School Chivalry
Again, this runs counter to all of the things we hear in media and on many blogs, but when I do these things for my wife, other women always comment about how much they wish their husbands did these things.
There was an old-school code of chivalry that showed a woman that the man she was with honored and respected her. You need to learn and use that chivalry again.
It’s not “too old” and it’s not out of style. And frankly, if you’re dating a woman who resents you for showing her she’s special to you in ways that only her man can, then you ought to reconsider that relationship.
Some quick pointers, though there are many more on The Art of Manliness for you to review:
- Help her with her coat.
- Tackle your honey-do list.
- Hold her hand in public.
- Praise her in front of others. Never put her down in front of others.
- Offer her your coat when she’s cold (they almost always are).
- Walk between her and traffic on the sidewalk.
- Assist her in and out of the vehicle, over puddles, and up ramps and stairs. You ever try walking in heels?
- Get the door for her, everywhere.
- Pull out her chair when she’s sitting down at a restaurant. Or at the very least, get her seated before you plop down and grab the menu.
- Hell, men in groups used to stand up anytime a lady entered the room. That may be going too far in 2019, but can you imagine the importance and respect she’d feel if it happened?
- Text or call her during the day, to let her know you’re on her mind. (And yes, they can sometimes be sexual, but not ALL of them. Go with the 80/20 rule on sexy texts: 80% heart-felt, 20% penis-felt.)
It’s all about showing her that she matters to you. And that she’s the only one. She’s worth the effort, or why did you marry her?
I’m confident I’ll get some pushback, maybe from both sexes, from this post. But discussion about marriage is what this blog is all about!
So what did I miss? Where did I get it wrong? Where did I get it right? (And ladies, if you’re nodding in agreement to this list, which I know a lot of you are, tell the men who read this what you think.) Use the comments below!