Tag Archives: wife

Tell your wife she is beautiful

file0001696146113I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Your wife doesn’t think she’s beautiful. How can she? The world is busy pointing out all of her flaws.

Particularly at the beginning of the year, I have noticed many women feeling insecure about their appearance. Maybe it’s a few pounds they put on during the holidays, or even if they have maintained their weight, feeling like they are not fit enough. But in general women are not as happy as men are with their appearance.

Magazines, TV shows and print ads are pointing out the tiny wrinkles and the need for more radiant skin, shinier and thicker hair, and a perfectly made up youthful face. Media accentuates and celebrates long, slender legs, tiny waists and ample, perky breasts. Fashion dictates that anything in our closets is just not trendy enough.

What does that have to do with your wife? She probably thinks more about her appearance (and her perceived flaws) much more than you realize. You may have told her she is beautiful, but she has heard 100 times more frequently through subtle messages that she is not. So when she hears you say it, she may at first not believe you. She may even argue with you.

Don’t give up. Tell her she is your one-of-a-kind woman and that in your eyes she is the most beautiful woman. Tell her what you love about her, and give her sincere compliments often. If she wears a flattering outfit, tell her she looks great. And if the clothes and the makeup and the special hairdos don’t matter to you, tell her that as well.

I’m not suggesting husbands don’t require compliments, but I’d be willing to bet men spend less energy, money, and brain power worrying about how they look.

Ladies, if your husband tells you that you’re beautiful, smile, say thank you. Know that he sees you with his own eyes and heart, and he means it. You might even start to believe it.

If body image or self-confidence is an issue in your marriage, read Is Low Body Image Harming Your Marriage? and Improve Sexual Sparks with a Better Body Image.

Lori Lowe is the author of First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage. It tells the inspiring, true stories of couples who used adversity to improve their marriages–from overcoming drug addiction to cancer, infidelity, religious differences, family interference and infertility, among many others. It’s available at Amazon.com and in various e-book formats here.

Photo courtesy of morguefile.com

Focus on Loving Communication with Spouse

Marriage is not about keeping score. However, the positive and negative comments we make certainly do add up. Even if you compliment your spouse once or twice a day (thinking you are doing SUCH a good job), a criticism or complaint can negate those positives.

Remember that experts say successful marriages have five positive interactions for every one negative interaction. (Read Avoid Divorce with 5:1 Ratio.) And a ratio like that takes effort. The negative interaction may be addressing a concern one of you has, but it should still be communicated with love.

Remember that game of “s/he loves me, s/he loves me not” where you remove petals to decide if someone loves you? It reminded me of a similar analogy. Envision that you give some daisies to your sweetheart at the end of the day. Each time you roll your eyes, complain, criticize, ignore, lecture, or tease, you’re removing a few more of those petals. Each time you praise, act lovingly, hug/kiss/touch, speak respectfully, cherish, adore, appreciate you preserve those petals. At the end of the day if your bouquet is dismal at best, your spouse may not feel very affectionate or welcoming of you. When you’ve had many loving interactions during the day, this communicates care, concern and love.

Especially harmful to men are comments that leave them feeling disrespected or unappreciated, while those that are especially harmful to most women cause them to feel unloved or unattractive.

Loving communication is not about being right or wrong. It is about being considerate and aware of your partner’s feelings, even when you have to address problems.

When you are preparing to react negatively, give your spouse the benefit of the doubt that their motives are good. Instead of being defensive, try to understand where they are coming from.

Surprise your spouse with honest compliments, positive text messages or emails, notes of appreciation, and hugs or kisses for no reason. You can focus on the love language that your partner most enjoys, but expand to other areas as well. (Read What is Your Love Language?) For example, if they like acts of service best, they may also enjoy words of affirmation.

How can you communicate your love today?

Lori Lowe is the founder of Marriage Gems and author of First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage. It tells the inspiring, true stories of couples who used adversity to improve their marriages–from overcoming drug addiction to cancer, infidelity, religious differences, family interference and infertility, among many others. It’s available at Amazon.com and in all e-book formats at www.LoriDLowe.com.

Photo by Dan with freedigitalphotos.net

Strategies for Manly Married Men

Lots of men seem to be looking for a magic button of sorts to satisfy their partners in bed. I’m guessing that is why there are so many magazines and books focused on various sexual techniques, finding the elusive “g-spot” and other tips for men.

Notwithstanding the fact that women can be a bit complicated, when I read the following paragraph from Tom Basson’s blog, I thought it might just be the best sexual advice I’ve read for husbands to always remember. The article is called This one goes out to all the manly men, and he offers very good advice on how to create the love story in your life you’ve always wanted.

“Husbands, make love to your wife’s heart, not just her body. As ferociously as possible, find that woman’s heart and connect with it. Learn everything about her and connect with her in as many ways as possible. Understand her story and care about her past. Then her body will respond in ways she never thought humanly possible, and, for that matter, so will yours.”

The advice isn’t only intended to satisfy a mate sexually, but to build a better connection between both partners and satisfy a deep longing in both of them. Husbands and wives have a deep desire for connection, and the pace and technological influences of our day don’t help us meet that desire. Instead, they create obstacles that impede us in our drive for true connection, because they take our eye off the ball with many distractions.

What can you do to move your love story forward, and to bring you and your spouse closer together? How can you truly connect this week, understand your mate’s cares, desires and longings? How can you help stay connected despite your many obligations? How can you remove distractions that get in the way of your focus on your spouse? If it seems like too much of a challenge, read on.

How much time are you spending a day together?

Here’s one possible way to get a jump start. Dustin Reichmann at Engaged Marriage blog has a 10-minute test drive, with eight short things you can do with only 10-15 minutes of time to spend each day with your spouse. He nicely did the math for us, and explained that if we spend just 15 minutes a day connecting with our spouse, we will spend more than 91 hours together in a year. And this type of daily connection is more important than an annual vacation, especially if you are neglecting the rest of the year.

So check out the 100-minute challenge (10 days, 10 minutes) and you’ll see the steps are not at all daunting. For instance, day 5 is relaxing with your favorite dessert or drink together while sharing three things about your day, and day 6 is sharing a foot or back massage. Days 1 and 10 involve rating your marriage to see if you have made a difference in just 10 days. I think these bite-size challenges are a great way to infuse a little extra connection into your day.

What other ideas do you have to help you build a daily connection? Discuss your ideas with your spouse, and feel free to share your ideas here!

Lori Lowe is the author of First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage. The book tells the true stories that demonstrate that marriage can thrive even in the most difficult circumstances. Learn from 12 inspiring couples who experienced child loss, infidelity, drug addiction, cancer, financial crises, brain injury, stranger rape, military service, infertility, opposing religions, unsupportive families, interracial relationships, raising special-needs children, and much more. These couples found the pressures of life didn’t destroy them; instead, they crystallized their commitment to each other. Available from Amazon.com or at your favorite e-book retailer.

Photo by Ambro courtesty of freedigitalphotos.net.

Rules for Reconnecting with Your Spouse

 A big thank you to Wanda Collins from Christian-Marriage-Today.com for today’s guest post!

 If your children, employer, cell phone, or computer are getting more “playtime” than your spouse, it’s time for a little marriage intervention.

Like a lot of us, you probably lead a very busy life. But if your busy lifestyle is coming between you and your spouse, something’s got to give.  You see, a marriage cannot run on autopilot; it needs your time and attention to soar. Thus, it is essential that you learn to create balance in your life by loving harder, working smarter, and making your marriage a daily priority. Consider these Rules for Reconnecting with Your Spouse:

 Rule#1: Set Boundaries with Your Children

It’s crucial that you find time to invest in your children but investing in your marriage should come first. Teach your children to respect and appreciate mommy and daddy’s time alone. After all, your marriage is a heritage for your children and their children. So, provide them with the healthiest example of married life that you possibly can. Go a step further and explain to your children, in an age appropriate way, how important your time alone is and how it benefits them in the long run.

Rule#2: Shut it Down

Although technology provides us with many conveniences, these conveniences can also become habit forming. My advice is to create a new habit. Try shutting down all electronic devices, such as your cell phone, computer, and television at the same time each night. Once you are unplugged, give your spouse your undivided attention. Use this down time to simply talk with your mate. Try not to discuss bills, children, or work.

Rule#3: Make Time for Sex

I recommend you put sex on your calendar.  This may sound prudish but planning sex has many overlooked benefits. For starters, you can negotiate how often the two of you have sex during the week. This way both partners are satisfied. Scheduling sex also eliminates the old excuse of not being in the mood because the two of you have all day to mentally prepare and get in the mood. Sex is no longer “Hit or miss,” pun intended.

 Rule #4:  Put Date Night in Your Budget

My husband and I would sometimes skip date night because we thought we couldn’t afford it.  We made paying bills and saving for the future a priority over investing in our relationship.  I’m not suggesting you skip paying your utilities this month.  What I am suggesting is that the two of you set aside an agreed upon amount of money each month for date night. That way, date night doesn’t become a burdensome expense. Keep in mind you don’t have to over spend to have fun. Date night can be both fun and inexpensive.  Side note: Sitting in front of the television is OK occasionally, but technically is not a date.

 Rule #5: Just Say No

 Don’t say “No” to your spouse. Say “No” to anyone who attempts to give you added responsibilities that will upset the balance in your life.  That includes saying “No” to yourself. Some of us are workaholics; we have difficulty unplugging from work. Force yourself to stop doing whatever it is that you do and give that time to your spouse instead. By the way, you should also feel free to say “No” to bringing work home with you.

Rule #6: Be Creative

One couple told me that they created special email accounts just for the purpose of flirting with each other through out the day. They started by choosing sexy usernames, and then proceeded to email each other sexy suggestions to stay connected during the day.  Here’s an idea: After implementing Rule #3, you can use your special email accounts on the days that you have designated for sex. Flirting all day will prepare you for the real action later that evening.

Rule #7: Pray Together

Praying together is one of the most intimate things you can do as a couple. Not only is joint prayer an act of intimacy, but joint prayer is also a powerful weapon against the attacks of Satan.  So, make praying together a daily routine for reconnecting with each other and with God.

Rule #8: Just Do It!

It was Nike who first coined the phrase “Just do it!” back in the late 1980’s.  Although marriage is a life-long commitment, life is shorter than you realize. So, instead of simply reading this article and thinking about the ideas, take an active approach and put these rules into action.  Like Nike says, “Just do it!”

Thanks for the great advice, Wanda! These are all rules I try to abide by in my home. How do you choose to reconnect with your spouse?

Photo by Arvydas Kniuksta

Genes May Contribute to Relationship Empathy

A new study out just this month that appeared in the online journal Emotion, published by the American Psychological Association, suggests that our genes may determine how inclined we are toward empathy. This means that the level of connection we have toward our spouse’s negative emotional state may have more to do with their biological makeup than with how much they care.

Researchers suggest that our genetic makeup may make some people more responsive to their partner’s emotional states and others less so. Their theory is that the serotonin transporter gene 5-HTTLPR might play a role in making us either less or more responsive to our spouses’ emotions.

The study involved data from 172 couples who remained married after 11 years. Researchers found some people have one variant of the gene, while others have a second variant. Depending on which variant you or your spouse has, your emotions may be more or less connected to your partner’s emotions. The gene appears to control how long your reaction lasts, and how responsive you are to your spouse’s emotional cues.

While we can’t blame our actions on our biology, Bradbury says we do need to realize that who we are is in large part a makeup of our biology, and that our reactions are sometimes outside our control. However, researcher Tom Bradbury says, “It’s much more complex than a single gene.”

The reason this understanding is important, say the psychologists, is not so that we can explain away our own behavior, but instead that we learn to be more forgiving of our spouse. “This research may imply that we should be forgiving of the behavior of a loved one and not demand that a spouse change her or his behavior,” said the psychologists.

  “Who you are and how you respond to me has a lot to do with things that are totally outside your control,” said Bradbury. “My partner’s biology is invisible to me; I have no clue about that. The more I can appreciate that the connection between who I am and who my partner is may be biologically mediated leads me to be much more appreciative of invisible forces that constrain our behavior,” he added.

Researchers believe multiple genes are at play in helping to contribute to our reactions. They say that if you realize how hard it is to change yourself, you may see that your partner can’t control this aspect of him or herself either.

There’s much more to the full research study that I’ll write about later, but this biological component is important to helping understand why we need to have a forgiving bent within marriage. It’s difficult at times to see things the way our spouse seems them, and at times we would like them to be more emotionally understanding of where we are. However, this may be harder than you realize for your partner to accomplish.

From my own experience, I believe my husband to be very empathic with others, but I don’t believe we are always emotionally on the same page. So, this research helps remind me that we have a different makeup and that he can’t always choose to be where I am emotionally. It doesn’t mean that he can’t understand my emotions, but rather that we may have to work harder to maintain emotional connection and understanding.

Do you find these results interesting or enlightening—or dull and unhelpful? Does it help you view your spouse’s reactions in a new light? Or, do you think individuals can exercise much more control and choice over the way they respond, and shouldn’t rely on biological excuses?

Photo by Photostock courtesty of freedigitalphotos.net.

Lori Lowe is the author of First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage. The book tells the true stories that demonstrate that marriage can thrive even in the most difficult circumstances. Learn from 12 inspiring couples who experienced child loss, infidelity, drug addiction, cancer, financial crises, brain injury, stranger rape, military service, infertility, opposing religions, unsupportive families, interracial relationships, raising special-needs children, and much more. These couples found the pressures of life didn’t destroy them; instead, they crystallized their commitment to each other.

Are Your Personality Traits (and Your Spouse’s) Viewed Negatively or Positively?

My husband and I assisted with a marriage conference last weekend led by Dr. Tim Heck, LMFT. One takeaway we learned is that our view of our spouse’s traits is often skewed. When we are dating, these traits skew very positively in our minds, and at times during the marriage this remains true. However during the days or years when we may be disenchanted or displeased with our spouse (or even just because we have been together for many years), our perception of those traits may skew negatively.

For example, I tend to be a tidy person. I like things fairly neat and in their place (although my desk is often piled with files and projects and some areas of the house are less than perfect). Being organized/tidy can be viewed as a positive trait. My husband might appreciate that I keep up with the laundry and not allow the house to become a complete disaster, and that I teach the kids to pick up after themselves. However, he could also see the trait as a negative and view me as a “neat-freak” or controlling or having too high of standards. He may see that I get anxious when things are very messy and see that as fault.

His perfectionism is great when it comes to making a home improvement just right or when an important purchase must be thoroughly researched. However, when standards for unimportant things are terribly high, the trait can be seen as compulsive or critical.

In this way, literally all of our traits can be viewed with both a positive and negative lens. Even kindness and compassion may turn into a complaint that you neglect yourself or your immediate family to take care of others. Being hardworking may be viewed as workaholic. A very social person may be criticized for not making enough one-on-one time with her spouse. A serious person may be seen as too high strung, while a funny person may be seen as not serious or driven enough.

If you have a frequent complaint of your spouse, consider trying to look for the positive side of his or her traits. If he sometimes works late, consider that he may value being a provider and keeping a good job. If she is a saver and doesn’t want you to spend money on unnecessary items, perhaps she values economic security and careful financial decisions. Whatever traits your spouse possesses that sometimes irritate you, try to flip them and see if you can find a positive angle. You did this when you were dating, and it’s one of the reasons you selected your mate without seeing a long list of faults.

Share with your spouse on or two traits for each of you that you sometimes see the bright side of, and sometimes see the down side.

What traits do you have that are sometimes viewed negatively? What traits does your spouse have that you used to view positively, but sometimes see negatively?

LINKS:
Read The Importance of Playful Partners by Simple Marriage. I often forget about the need to add good, old-fashioned play to our relationships. Good ideas here.

Check out Blindly Driving a Marriage to its Death and then Blaming the Victim by the Generous Husband. Is it possible you’re feeling disprespected at work and that putting that on your spouse?

Photo courtesty of freedigitalphotos.net.

Best Advice from Readers: 19 Great Marriage Tips

A couple of weeks ago as I celebrated my 16th wedding anniversary with a Happy Anniversary to me post, I asked you to share one great marriage tip. Thanks for coming through with some wonderful advice. I decided to collect all the reader comments for you:

1. Remember that no couple is perfect and that every married couple has problems. What makes or breaks your marriage is how you confront problems, communicate about them and ultimately work through them.
2. Our marriages are reflections of God’s love for His church, and every choice, every thought, and how we deal with conflict matters. Our marriage tip is pay attention to whom you worship – if it’s God you will grow all the more closer to Him and each other. If you’re worshiping self or your marriage, it will only grow increasingly more difficult because God is a jealous God. As your love grows vertically it will certainly grow horizontally.
3. Learn to take delight in delighting your wife or husband.
4. Marriage is not only between the couple, but it involves two families, which can be very complicated. We learned a lot through the process, and we have been changed and grown up a lot.
5. Simply spend a little time each day focused ONLY on each other. This sounds easy, but it can be really difficult in the high-paced and distraction-filled times we live in. If you spend 15 minutes each day simply being a couple, your marriage will be blessed incredibly!
6. Stay connected to one another physically, emotionally and spiritually no matter what else is going on in your lives.
7. One key is mutuality. Spouses need to fully participate with one another in experiencing intimacy, paying attention to the other’s needs, desires, and value.
8. Keep a good sense of humor, keep your promises…never let go. Hang in there even when you don’t feel like it. And when you are mad as mad can be, think of your three favorite things about your husband/wife that makes you smile. Or at least something s/he said or did lately that was funny.
9. Do everything in your power to communicate unconditional love and acceptance to your spouse, making especially sure to show affection and speak approval whether you feel like it or not.
10. Spend money on your marriage – after 45 years of marriage – what fun we’ve had!
11. Remember that only YOU can make you happy. Always respect your husband, and respect yourself.
12. Mutual respect and compassion is the key to everything!
13. Nurture your friendship with your spouse. Spend time together. Ask for each other’s opinion. Extend grace. Hug. Listen. Share. Fight fair. Laugh together. Support each other’s interests. When a married couple authentically are friends with each other, so many positive results flow out of this (including great sex).
14. Be willing to grow and to let your spouse grow. Marriage is organic; it must be nourished. And its members may grow at different rates. The good news is that they ARE growing.
15. Which tape/CD are you going to listen to? Are you going to focus or dwell on the way your spouse annoys you, or are you going to focus on the positives, the many ways they bless you? I firmly believe it is a choice. We see what we want to see in each other.
16. Some of our most memorable ‘dates’ are very simple. We have a better time just hanging out on the patio with a bottle of wine versus spending a small fortune in a stuffy restaurant!
17. Write a note or card detailing what first excited you about each other when you met. Post it on the refrigerator. Refer to it often.
18. Marriage always gets better if you hang on, and the best is yet to come.

And one bonus tip from me, in gratitude for all your advice: Remember that love is a choice, not a feeling. Our feelings change with our mood and our circumstances, but our actions and attitudes speak volumes. When we act lovingly, we begin to feel more in love.

I am thankful for all the love and joy in my life, and I wish you all more of the same!

What is your favorite marriage tip?

Photo by photostock courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net