She has created a list of 25 ways to show your husband he is respected (I am wondering about wives and respect. Do we get some?). I’m wondering if she is heavily medicated, has a picture perfect husband, or is simply delusional. Anyway, I thought I would go through this list with you and see how it might apply to creating a picture perfect life.
1. Choose Joy. “A happy wife makes a happy life. Don’t forget that.” Wait! She really said that? I think that is one idiom that should be on the man’s list to building a happy marriage. Don’t you think? I’m about as happy as they come but no, I do not feel obligated to put on my happy face every single time I see my husband. Because sometimes an unhappy wife is just the motivation a man needs. Love is not about lying to your partner about how you feel; it’s about working together to make life good for each other. I guess if you ever hear me advising you to “choose Joy” you can be sure I’m trying to pick out your new daughter’s name.
2. Honor His Wishes. The author seems to think your husband will really really wishing you would have his dinner on the table the moment he walks in the door each evening. She never has met my husband. See, when my husband gets home from work the table is set for dinner, the house is clean (or at least reasonably so on bad days), and the kids are excited to reconnect with their Daddy. He wants none of that. If I am to honor his wishes I will have all of the kids and myself cleared out of the house when he comes home. We will stay disappeared until he has had a chance to relax and use the bathroom – that usually takes about 40 minutes. He really doesn’t enjoy coming home to the bustle of family life. Oh, and when we do finally make our reappearance, could I please have the kids already bathed, fed, and ready for bed? Because the next thing he wishes for is sex. Every night. Right after I’ve brushed my teeth. Not going to happen.
3. Give Him Your Undivided Attention. I almost fell off the couch while laughing at her advice; not going to lie. She advises us women folk to lay all things aside when your husband speaks, look into his eyes attentively, and “listen to what he is saying with the goal of understanding and remembering his words.” Me-thinks she has confused the word wife with the phrase “favorite pet dog.” I found this a little condescending and was thinking about it when my husband tried to talk to me tonight. Well, all marriages can use improvement so I gave it a try. I stopped doing the dishes, told my three year to go to her room so I had some time for eye gazing, and tucked the baby into a closet where I couldn’t hear him demand to be fed again (breast feeding is going well, but I will need to stop this nonsense if I am to drop everything to listen attentively when my husband speaks – especially if I am to make it a goal to understand and remember what he has said.) It took twenty minutes to “drop everything” but I finally turned to him to share this meaningful moment. I gazed into his eyes and said, “Yes, Dear, what did you want to talk to me about?” He told me he saw cows having sex (in the field, by the freeway on his way to work) and that he was really glad the Red Sox took the World Series. I am trying to remember, I will never understand, and I think the kids could have stayed in the room for that one. I guess I’m just never going to be a model wife.
4. Don’t Interrupt. Okay the author and I have found one area in which we agree. Don’t interrupt your spouse. It’s rude and disrespectful. Let him complete his thoughts without the pressure of you nipping at his heels with comments that impede his ability to finish his thought. Even if his thought is about the cows having sex, you can wait until he is finished to meaningfully add to his tale. Wait, I’m not sure if that author allows women to have meaningful conversations. We’ll have to wait until we have read item #25.
5. Emphasize His Good Points. “Choose to focus on your husband’s admirable qualities.” At this point in my life, I’m not sure how this would look. Do I wake him to admire his kind eyes when he has drifted into an exhausted sleep; knowing one of us must be up in 2 hours with our night owl baby? Perhaps I should admire his once-toned muscles as he hoists the groceries into the back of the car. In reality, the only good points he wants to hear about at this point goes something like this, “I’m hot for you, the kids are watching Sesame Street, and I know you can take care of my salacious needs in 10 minutes flat so….go!” He knows I married him because he is a good man with admirable qualities but when a couple has young children, nobody has time to point them out or we will miss our window of opportunity for sex and then I would not be Honoring His Wishes. La Dee Da.
6. Pray For Him. OMG!! This is a quote from her article – “tell your mate the positive, and tell God the negative.” Doesn’t that make me a two-faced byatch? I refuse to tell him all is great and he is great and we are great and then run tell God all the bad things. My mom always told me that Rule #1 to a good relationship is to make your partner look good to everyone. That means I don’t bad mouth him or reveal his weaknesses to anyone – not even God. What is this author thinking?
Okay, there are 25 of these and I think I might have to find a way to crawl through cyberspace to kick this woman in the shins and yell, "Shut up, Patrice!" Oh how I wish her name was Patrice. What is she thinking? She is so completely unrealistic regarding what it takes to make a good marriage or relationship. So I’m going to tell you the secrets every woman needs to have a happy marriage (well hetero marriage because that is all I know)
The Real Road to a Great, Long-Term Relationship
1. Find the Right Man. No man is perfect but there is someone out there who is perfect for you. Find a man who will love you, treat you with respect, and be faithful to you – even when you look like an insane homeless person because you decided to combine yard work with child care and things got out of hand when the dog jumped the fence and bit the mailman. And you need to feel the very same way about him. If you start with the wrong man, you just can’t make it work.
2. Make Each Other Look Good. There is a lot of value in creating a relationship where your spouse will never bad mouth you to friends or make you the butt of his jokes. Even if you deserve to be bad mouthed (and don’t we all at one time or another) there is solace in knowing that your husband will spin the situation so others continue to hold you in high regard. This builds trust in a marriage – which is necessary because day to day living is messy and sometimes not very attractive. It also works to create an excellent image of the two of you for others. No one values a person who does not love his spouse and absolutely no one values that spouse – and vice versa. Making each other look good also speaks toward how you treat each other in public. Rolling your eyes and/or being disrespectful to your loved one in public invites others to do the same – and devalues your relationship.
3. Value What Each Other Values (core values only). If this seems impossible, refer to #1. You must have shared values or you can’t have a respectful, loving marriage. That doesn’t mean you have to value cows having sex – but it does mean you need to value the humor his story brings to your relationship. He doesn’t have to value the bustle of family life the second he gets home from work - but he does have to value his family and be committed to supporting and loving the people who comprise that family. When you share values, you can work through the hard stuff. You can make space for his love of baseball and he can make space for your love of an uninterrupted weekly bubble bath (well, you might have to take said bath at 3 a.m. because kids don’t really honor those times that exclude them). This goes for religion (you either need to both value the same religion or a degree of religious devotion). If you are a devout church non-attender and he is a devout church attender there will be problems at critical points in your marriage. Holding vastly differently values should be a deal breaker when your goal is a long-term relationship.
4. It Takes Two To Tango. If you’ve ever had a fight with your husband and asked someone for advice, you have probably heard (or even used) this adage. The truth is, it does indeed take two to Tango. And when the Tango happens; it is a thing of wonder. However, it takes two to Tango. When doling out the advice remember this. If one of the partners refuses to Tango, it isn’t going to happen. Don’t blame the person who is up for the dance and doesn’t have a willing partner. And don’t advise that poor schmuck to try harder. This is also advice you need to take to heart if the Tango ever dances away from your marriage.
5. Don’t Lose Track of Who He Is. You love him for who he is, you agree to marry him for who he is, and as your marriage progresses you can honor who he is by remembering him. This is such a difficult thing to do but it is integral to your long term success. Buy him little gifts that remind you of him, take walks with him (family in tow) so the kids can run while the two of you talk to each other, go on dates that are regularly scheduled and pre-empted by nothing but death and possibly labor pains. Making each other a priority is important as life has a way of swooping you away and making you forget who even you are – if you each hold a tiny part of each others’ essence in your hearts, that will keep you together through the toughest of times.
6. Always Kiss Goodbye. These kisses will ensure you are kissing each other at least once a day and will remind both of you about who you love while you are apart. When I was in my teens, I laughed at a girlfriend who kissed her dad goodbye as he dropped us off at the movies. She said, “I always kiss him goodbye because I never know what will happen to either of us while we are apart.” A friend of mine was killed recently in an auto-bicycle accident. I really hoped he had kissed his wife goodbye before he left home. You never know when your kiss goodbye will be final – so don’t let the moment pass.
Now go read the other article if you need a really good laugh.