10 Things I’ve Learned from Three Failed Marriages, Part 7: More Do, Less Talk


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Photo courtesy of taliesin at morgufile.com Was lightened slightly.

Doing Is Better Than Talking

Do something every day to show you love your wife. Talk is nice (and cheap), but doing is even better. After all, actions really do speak louder than words, especially in the area of romance.

For instance, you might offer to help her with the dishes, providing she hasn’t already hoodwinked you, . . . er, convinced you it would be in your best interest, . . . er, asked you to help her. Or you might ask if there’s anything she would like you to work on.

Of course, the downside of this is: If she tells you something you could do, then you’d better do it . . . with cheerfulness. No eye-rolling, whining, wheedling, nor any other self-serving mechanism to avoid an unpleasant task. If you don’t sincerely want to help, don’t ask.

Some men will ask with the hopes that nothing will be forthcoming, freeing them to a night on the couch, the remote and a six pack. These types of men are better off not married, in my opinion. I can imagine such a one fist-pumping whenever the answer is, “No, but thanks for asking,” silently grinning and saying, “Yes!”

On the other hand, by actually conversing with your wife, you shouldn’t need to ask if there’s anything she would like you to work on. You would already know.

In this case, you could say something like, “Honey, unless there’s anything else you’d like me to do, I’m going to work on . . . whatever.” Life isn’t just about sitting in front of the television set, Wii or computer every night, becoming zombified.

You work; your wife most likely works outside the home.

Unless you have a very high-paying job or own your own highly successful business, it’s almost impossible to do more than eke out a living without both heads of household working outside the home. This makes it imperative that work around the house is shared, and not just on Saturdays, or whenever it is you have a day off.

Most wives, I think, like to have their husbands help around the house. In fact, I know they do. Sometimes they even like you to assist them in whatever it is they are doing, even if it’s something as thrilling as stringing popcorn for the Christmas tree or drying dishes.

Stringing popcorn can be fun. If you’re lucky, you might even wind up having a popcorn fight, not only with your wife but with your kids . . . as long as everyone helps clean up the mess. You can’t buy happy memories like this.

Life Is Not a Sports Game

Just lounging around on the couch with a beer in tow, watching the latest seasonal sports game is not going to win many points when your wife has spent the day doing housework and/or other chores, and/or has spent a hard day at work, just like you.

Life isn’t about sports games or even beer. Really. It’s about relationships. And the most important relationship you will ever have in this life is with your spouse, secondly, your children—not your boss or best friend. Marriage isn’t a 50-50 proposition: it’s a 100-100 proposition. (We’re not going to get religious here.)

You’re not there just to bring home the bacon and then be taken care of, like you were a child instead of a husband. In other words, you’re not there to be mothered.

Being mothered should have been taken care of in your formative years. If it wasn’t, you may not be ready for marriage. I wasn’t but I went on with it anyway, much to everyone’s disappointment, including mine.

Relax But Don’t Overdo It

But to get back to the point. I do realize that men, according to Dr. John Gray (Men Are from Mars; Women Are from Venus and tons of other relationship books), need to spend a few minutes when they get home to wind down and relax, but it shouldn’t extend throughout the rest of the night.

When I say doing is better than talking, I’m not talking about conversing. That’s a subject for another part of this series. Rather than talking about doing something, do it. Preferably now, if it’s convenient for everyone.

So, what are some of the other ways you can show your wife you love her that speaks louder than words?

After all, you men, supposedly, married your wife to have a companion, not a babysitter or another mother to take care of your every whim and desire. So, get off your butt and interact with your wife on some level.

If she tells you to go watch TV while she fixes dinner, or whatever, then you’re free to do so, as long as she isn’t being sarcastic. If she’s being sarcastic, you might want to stop and think carefully about what you do next, as that could, and likely will, affect the rest of the evening, and perhaps longer.

This is also where spontaneity comes into play. (See part 4: Be Spontaneous)

Earlier, when I talked about doing things for your wife, that is not to the exclusion of doing things with your wife. For instance, you might sit down and read a book together, taking turns reading out loud. You might have an evening walk together, if nothing more than around the block. Holding hands while walking would be admirable. (See part 1: Never Tire of Holding Hands)

I’m sure if you put your mind to it, you can come up with some ideas of your own. You’d better, if you know what’s good for you.

Remember, these are things I’ve learned. I realize I’m not Dr. Phil, but even those who have failed in marriage can learn a few things, albeit a little late. Still, anything learned is valuable and can extend into other types of relationships.

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