Make Your Spouse Your Best Friend

Can I just say this?  Marriage partners should be best friends.  When I got married, it always bothered me when older women would serve their husbands up for lunch.  Not because they were having a serious issue.  I’m not talking about sharing with others to get comfort, prayer or resolution (and that should be with people you know will be confidential) I’m talking about just tearing the brother down.

A marriage should be a friendship first and foremost.   This should be your absolute best friend in the world.  It should not be a place where you play games with each other and psychological tricks just to live together.

Sometimes women are selfish in a marriage and they talk about how they got over on their man.  This is especially bothersome when people say they are Christians. Christian women–we can be extremely judgemental and well–petty.  First, because we think we know what “everybody” SHOULD be doing.  Second, we often seem to feel that we can approach anybody about anything if it’s said with a “soft voice”.  We put so much gossip and tearing down under the heading of “I want you to be praying”.   Let’s face it, ladies.  Some things are just not our business.  The Bible does tell Christians not to be busybodies in other people’s lives. ( I Thess 3:11).

Don’t ask so much and don’t tell.

Now if your husband is beating you and psychologically abusing you, then I’ll go BUY the mic if you need it, but some of the things women trash about are honestly just a beat down.

I used to hear older teachers of women’s issues tell how you get over on your husband. Either “whip” him in the bedroom or don’t let him know what you’re doing. He doesn’t have to know everything.  For example,  If I shopped too much outside of the budget, well….he won’t know.  I’ve heard this stuff for years from various sources.  I’m sorry.  That’s not an honest relationship.  You may love one another, but you don’t respect one another.

There’s a difference.

If he is that mean that you can’t buy a pair of stockings and have to sneak them in the house, then you have a bigger problem to deal with than the price of those pantyhose. I should ask myself  “why do I feel I  have to go around him like that”?  “What is our communication problem”?    If you have to handle your BEST FRIEND like that, shouldn’t you really look at what’s wrong with your friendship and relationship?  Can’t a wife deal with her husband on an honest level?  And this is for men that have to tip around their wives as well, but today, I’m talking to us.

If he’s a cheap skate, shouldn’t you be talking about that and not just sneaking items in the house for 10 years just so you won’t have an argument? Confrontation and conflict are part a relationship building.  Avoiding discussion about problems is not solving them.

Women, we should be able to approach our husbands.   I’m talking about a regular guy with NO psychosis.

Advice is one thing, results are another.  I’d hear the old advice, but when I would see the results.  It would make me do this:

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The results were: a marriage that looked the part– no arguments –but not very close- like two separate statutes,  and very little growth in the relationship.   If every time I want something,  I have to figure out how to get it and go through hoops, then sweetie-pie and I need to have a talk about why I feel that’s necessary and get to the root of the problem.

–Renee

Listen to Gino give a weekly encouragement on friendship in marriage.

 

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An Ear to Hear

The goal of this article is to help people understand the crucial importance of listening, and hearing in relationships, and why it is the most important part of communication.

When you get into a fight or an argument, you cut off the possibilities of good communication (i.e. listening and hearing).

Whatever you want to call it: a verbal fight, a disagreement, or a spat, when voices are being raised, and names are being called and the verbal exchange turns personal, ugly and we hope not, but possibly physical, that’s not an argument….that’s a fight! And both sides are trying to “win” the battle.

Here’s the problem, someone is going to lose.

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Most misunderstand where they are in a discussion.  They believe that what they are doing is just an argument when it’s really not, it’s a fight! The definition of a fight: a violent confrontation or struggle, a battle or war.  This is the beginning of the destruction of communication and the relationship!

Why do I say that you ask? Here’s why: Anytime I say things to deliberately hurt my spouse, or they say something that cuts to the heart to the point that it creates a spark that kindles deep animosity and resentment.  As a result, I see them in a light that I’ve never seemed them before, a light that reflects a hurtful person.  This is a fight and not an argument. An

An argument or disagreement or a “discuss-ment” as my wife calls it, is an attempt to get the other person to see your point of view, not so that you can win, but so that you both advance in the relationship.

Now, the reason I focused on this for my first series of articles is because so many relationships have fallen apart because of this particular misunderstanding in communication. It’s time we learn how to communicate in a way that brings success and satisfaction to both parties.

Feel free to comment or share your experiences.

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re- posted from 2015 article on Irresistible Husbands blog

Listen And Listen Good! Communication 101

One day, I was having a conversation with my daughter. We were talking about general bad habits around the house. Although my daughter is an adult, I went into my father- knows-best mode and started giving her instructions on how to watch her bad habits when visiting other people’s homes; but as I was in mid-sentence, she cut me off!

She didn’t want to hear the lecture. I guess she figured she’d heard enough and knew the speech I was about to give. She didn’t want to hear a long lecture and so she launched into her own dissertation on her excellent outside-the-house- good-habits! She went on with how careful she was about her conduct around her friends, her good– no, excellent manners. She went on about being polite and how conscience she was of leaving things clean, how she ALWAYS put things back where she found them. She was on a roll!

She was on a roll!

I’m almost thinking…..who are you and what have you done with my daughter!?  I took both of her hands, to get her attention because I knew she wasn’t listening.  I  looked her in the eyes and asked “How much have we learned in life by just talking?” She smiled and apologized for going off.

One of the major ways to learn as we go through life is from listening, hearing what’s being said, and sometimes what’s not being said.

To the men reading this post, someone once said:

“Listen very closely when a women is quiet!

 And to the women:

If you wish to know the mind of a man, listen to his words.” –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

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Want to know what’s one of the first steps in the development of a healthy relationship? Start with listening to each other. Listening is crucial when it comes to learning your mate!  I can’t overemphasize this point. When a husband and wife learn to listen to what is being said in a conversation between the two and take into consideration that they are individuals and deserve to be heard and appreciated, the building blocks of a solid relationship are being established.

Has this ever happened to you? Your husband or wife has done something or said something that didn’t sit well with you and as a result, you were hot, mad, upset! However as you heard them out and listened to their explanation, anger began to leave. I know this doesn’t happen all of the time, but you get the point, that it was through listening that a blow-up or fight was averted.

So remember, One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.

Feel free to leave a comment.

 

Couples, It’s OK To Get Angry

 It’s ok to be angry.  Just don’t be stupid!

A young man just met a young lady and felt that she was THE ONE, and when I say “young man” I mean he’s younger than me ( he’s in his 40s). He told me how well they got along and just how well they clicked, he was very excited.

 I listened, and after he had finished his declaration of the new found Love Of His Life, I told him this: “Well that’s nice. I’m happy that you found someone you can share your life with.  I asked him “Is she a keeper?”

He said with enthusiasm, “YES!!!”

I then said, ” Well, the real measure of how well you two will get along is how you handle your arguments.”

A week later he came to see me, saying ” Man, this woman got attitude!

Me: What woman?

Him: The girl I’m dating!

Me: What happened?

Him: well man, you know we had a misunderstanding, and she got a nasty attitude with me, I ain’t got time for this!

They were angry at each other over a miscommunication. And of course, I reminded him of what I mentioned to him a week earlier. In relationships, it’s not the good times that make the relationship: It’s enduring the disagreements while remaining friends, lovers, and each other’s biggest support. Everyone get’s angry, EVERYONE! (Yeah I’m talking to  church folk too– “be ye angry and sin not”–Ephesians 4:26!)

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Getting angry is normal, it’s human, but how one handles their anger toward their husband, wife, girlfriend or boyfriend will determine the eventual success or failure of the relationship. So my advice is simply this: It’s ok to be angry, just DON’T BE STUPID!

If you know you are a ” Hot head” or, like me, have “Hair trigger, rapid fire, one-liner comebacks” or one of those wanna just throw something across a room type, it’s imperative that you first understand that yielding to your emotions during times of anger can cause irrevocable damage. Why ruin an otherwise good relationship with unkind words and hurts that will last long after they are said.   It’s vital to comprehend that stepping away gives you time to think, to reflect or be introspective.

Understanding yourself helps with personal growth.  The by-products of this introspection will affect your relationships in a positive manner. There’s a Greek maxim: “Know thyself (Socrates). In my opinion knowing and understanding yourself is even more important than knowing your mate. The reason I say this is because when you have an understanding of yourself, it is easier to work on understanding your mate, your girlfriend or boyfriend. You’ll put yourself in the position to avoid doing or saying something that can ruin the relationship.

So take the time to understand yourself, take the time to know and understand the love of your life and remember, it’s ok to be angry….just don’t be stupid!

What Women Want Men To Know

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“A woman wants to be cherished, loved, protected and appreciated by her man. She wants to be the apple of his eye, his living fantasy. She wants to be in his thoughts throughout his day, and when he sees her….all of the world fades away because he only has eyes for her.”  ~ D.G Milton

As a younger man, I became interested in understanding more about women. I did learn some things that helped me in my relationships.  I’m not proclaiming that I’m an expert on women (who really can make that claim?) however when I got married I quickly realized that understanding women was not nearly as important as understanding and knowing my woman, my wife….the love of my life.

I would venture to say that most women would want a man to know something about a woman, have some understanding about the female, however, I believe it is much more important to a woman that her husband knows about her, the individual….his woman.

In my experience in counseling couples over the years, one of the constant threads I’ve found is this: women are much more interested in relationships than men are. I believe that this is one of the reasons that there are so many lopsided marriages. You can ask a man: “How’s your marriage going?” He’ll likely say “Great!” Now….ask his wife the same question!

Several years ago I knew an older man who was very bold. When he walked to into a room he would say “GOOD MORNING!” in a loud booming voice. Every day he’d do this. He’d come into the lunchroom laughing, talking loud, and slinging insults to anyone who got in his way. He was actually a very nice man and friendly.  One day he came into the lunchroom very quiet, very somber, and thoughtful. One of the other men who was older asked him was he ok. He was nearing his retirement….and it hit him. He said to me: “I’m about to retire and live with a woman that I’ve been married to for over thirty-five years…but we don’t really know each other anymore.” I sat there stunned, and vowed: “I’m not letting that happen to me”.

I was in a store that I frequent and over time I got to know some of the workers. I don’t remember, but I somehow got into a conversation about marriage with one of the lady cashiers. She had been married for over thirty years.  She is one of the friendliest people, always smiling. She seemed to be very happy.   Yet when I asked how was it going after all of these years….the look in her eyes told the story…her husband of many years did not really know her!  She only said in a disappointed tone, “well, we could be closer, it could be better.”

Some time later I spoke to a different worker in the same store. I was having a conversation, and I told her about my  27th anniversary.  While the first person I spoke with seemed slightly disappointed in her relationship, in contrast,  when this woman mentioned her many years of marriage, she said she’d hit the Jack Pot when she married her husband. She described how he takes care of her and was interested in her as a person, her goals, her growth and her dreams, it was refreshing to hear.

When I counsel experienced couples, those who have been married for 10+ years,
one of the first things I say to them is “both of you have changed and are going to change again”.  As time goes on: stay current with your mate! keep up with who they are and are becoming. Don’t lose track of them as an individual.

I then tell them and I invite you to read the lyric to the Rupert Holmes song “Escape”  (the pina~colada song).  It talks about a couple that had been together for a while and had gotten bored with one another.  They were both looking for someone new and didn’t realize that they were still compatible.

Please feel free to leave a comment.