Tag Archives: husbands

Making Father’s Day Memorable for Your Family

hotdogs morguefileWe talk about “honoring fathers” on Father’s Day. What does it mean to honor the fathers in our lives? We mostly celebrate by grilling hamburgers and steaks. Don’t get me wrong, many Dads are pleased with grilled meats, but maybe the concept of honor deserves a second thought.

We honor others through time spent together, words shared, thoughtful acts, and perhaps gifts or symbols of our love and appreciation.

My kids laughed flipping through the Sunday ads showing suggested Father’s Day gifts they knew their Dad would not appreciate—dumb bells, ties, and Beats headphones. They will select a couple of things that are closer to their Dad’s interests. However, research shows most Dads seek respect from the family more than the latest gadgets.

The most heartfelt stories I hear about what Dads/husbands mean to people is unfortunately at a funeral. Even young fathers need to hear how much their role means to the family.

Dads want to hear the stories of how you felt supported and loved by their actions–how you appreciate that his daily efforts at work put you through school, or his quirky personality gives you a positive life outlook, or his moral leadership has helped you create a great life with meaning. Husbands want to know you appreciate their family leadership, their physical presence, their sacrifices, and that you understand the true value of fatherhood in your home.

Time spent doing something Dad enjoys is another way to honor him. My kids used to give me gift certificates for things like “taking a walk with you”. The Generous Husband reminds us that investing in experiences (vacation, going to the movies, seeing a sports event) provides greater enjoyment and memories than purchasing things.

So, along with that pocketknife, burger, or ice cream cake, give the Dad in your life a glimpse of how you really honor him.

Have a happy Father’s Day!

Lori Lowe has been married to her husband, Ming, for 19 years. She 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, and infertility, among many others. It’s available at Amazon.com and in various e-book formats here.

Photo courtesy of Morguefile.com.

12 marriage pitfalls husbands can fall into

hold hands couple freeditigalphotos.net by photostockThe following dozen “don’ts” for husbands are excerpted from Turn Your Relationship into a Lifelong Love Affair by Bill Syrios. Read the pitfalls for wives here. What do you think of his advice? What important don’ts are missing in your opinion?

I would suggest you look at both lists, because there may be some crossover. For instance, both lists suggests it is the man who is working and who may need some down time, but in our society this is likely true of both spouses. Plan ways to spend your time together, and plan ways for each spouse to decompress and get some relaxation time alone when needed. In addition, both lists comment on the wife’s appearance, but keeping up one’s appearance can be important to both partners. That being said, I think both lists are useful reminders and focus on what are often the most important complaints of husbands and of wives. What do you think?

1. Don’t invalidate her feelings or patronize her.
2. Don’t intimidate her with your anger, ever.
3. Don’t stop listening even if she has a lot to say.
4. Don’t forget to pamper her or to touch her often in non-sexual ways.
5. Don’t neglect to tell her what you are feeling.
6. Don’t avoid saying, “I’m sorry; please forgive me.”
7. Don’t assume she knows you love her unless you tell her so.
8. Don’t tell her how to “fix it” as if her feelings don’t count.
9. Don’t neglect taking pride in how she makes everything look, especially herself.
10. Don’t come home from work thinking your job is done.
11. Don’t ignore your role as father in the family.
12. Don’t assume sex works for her or means the same to her as it does to you.

Do any of these areas need more of your attention? Are any points missing or wrong in your opinion?

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 freedigitalphotos.net. Turn Your Relationship Into a Lifelong Love Affair was published by Crossover Press.

Real Men aren’t Like TV Dads—How To Be a Good Family Leader

I recently talked at a men’s group about marriage and family leadership. We discussed the dads we usually see on TV. They’re inept, unorganized, forgetful, immature, and easy to make fun of. The moms are usually in charge of the family and very bright, not to mention gorgeous and well dressed. And the kids are terribly cute and funny and have all the answers before they leave grade school.

Thankfully, most real men aren’t like those we see on TV. Most of the men I know are hard-working, intelligent, and try to get as much time with their families as they can. These real men (sometimes) cook dinner and scrub floors, change diapers and bring home the bacon. And the best of them provide excellent family leadership as well.

During my talk, some of the guys said their wives don’t always give them a voice, let alone allow them to make decisions. This is fairly common in our modern world in which women learn to multitask and make many decisions at work. We may forget that men want to be respected and appreciated. They want to feel like men, not little boys who are told what to do. So if you’re thinking that your husband needs to be a better leader, ask yourself if you have prevented him from taking that role. Do your best to encourage and support him, rather than nagging or complaining.

What does it mean to be a family leader?

Leaders are responsible for the wellbeing of their family/unit/group. Being a good leader means having a servant mentality—being willing to help without being asked and do whatever is needed for the good of the family and its members. Second, it means being aware of the direction the family is taking and being willing and able to redirect course if needed. Third, a leader gets input from everyone involved and is willing to make tough decisions.

A strong leader helps develop a common vision and a plan for achieving that vision. Everyone in the family should participate in this process. Other important skills include budgeting, ability to deal with change, encouraging/supporting everyone in the family, and developing the team (family members). Here’s a list from CNN of 23 traits of good leaders that is a great start if you want to assess your own leadership qualities or develop your leadership skills. It mentions things like having confidence, caring for others, having integrity and humility.

My thinking about family leadership is of course colored by my own experience with my husband who has always had strong leadership skills both at home and at work. He does well to be a consensus builder and seek out input. He researches thoroughly and is not afraid to make a decision. He models service to others and has strong financial leadership. He spends time with other mature men who support him, and vice versa. He is a spiritual leader in our family, leading prayer and character lessons for the kids. (You might think kids would find this dull, but there are so many resources to make it fun. Our kids remind us that it’s time to do another. ) He encourages each family member’s development of skills and hobbies and cheers us on. He always displays honesty and hard work. And one of his more important leadership traits is that he admits when he is wrong. We are much more willing to listen to a leader who admits he has faults and failings, aren’t we?

Delegation is a skill not to be ignored. Being a leader does not mean that person is in charge of everything. A husband who is weak at finances may do much better with the wife at the helm of the family’s pocketbook. A tech-savvy teen may be just the person to make a decision about the family’s computer needs. A loving husband respects his wife as his equal, and a family leader makes the most of each person’s contributions.

Being a leader doesn’t mean ordering other people around or being a control freak. I grew up in a house like that, and it wasn’t fun, nor was it productive.

What does being a family leader mean to you? Husbands, how do you show loving leadership? Wives, how does your husband best display family leadership? Does media’s portrayal of dads/husbands affect your view of how they should act?

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 digitalart courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.

Are Husbands under More Pressure than Ever?

Experts are now saying working fathers are experiencing the most pressure in families, even families in which both spouses work. I’m not here to suggest wives or husbands are getting more of the brunt of lifestyle stresses. However, I think it’s helpful to discuss what kinds of pressures are most common and how they can affect marriages.

This is the final discussion of the research coming out of Time Magazine’s August issue. It shares a report by the Families and Work Institute, which surveyed 1,298 men. The report concluded that long hours at work, increasing job demands, and increasing parenting expectations are combining to make working fathers feel enormous pressure. The institute had previously found 60 percent of fathers said they had a hard time managing work and family responsibilities, while only 47 percent of working mothers said the same.

  • Men are still expected to be the breadwinners (although more women are the breadwinners as explained in this article).
  • Men are expected to be very involved parents. Many feel pressure not only to attend all their kids’ sports activities but to also coach and help them practice.
  • Today’s fathers don’t have many role models for today’s cultural expectations of domestic help. Their own fathers rarely changed diapers, cooked or cleaned, and they left the parenting to their wives. Many of them are surprised at how much they are expected to do at home after putting in long hours.

“What these new findings mean is that the widespread belief that working mothers have it the worst—a belief that engenders an enormous amount of conflict between the spouses—is simply not the open-and-shut case it once was,” says the Time article.

Men who are experiencing overwhelming stresses should discuss their feelings with their wives in a way that is not accusatory. At some point decisions about whether to continue working the long hours, or whether to stop coaching baseball, may need to be made. Perhaps lawn work is farmed out, or other family members can step in to help.

I know some families in which the woman works and handles the vast majority of child care, all of the cooking and the majority of the chores. So, I don’t believe all fathers or husbands are quite as conflicted, but it’s a cultural change that is occurring. And many wives would benefit their marriage to understand the stresses that each of them is facing.

When is the last time you had a vacation? Americans aren’t great about using their vacation time to refresh and renew. Europeans, on the other hand, believe going “on holiday” is an important part of their culture and quality of life. Taking a real break with your spouse can help both of you de-stress and begin to communicate about more than the daily agenda.

Women and men in each generation who try to stretch themselves too far eventually realize they must prioritize. Too much stress on either or both partners can be unhealthy to the individual and even more unhealthy for the marriage. Spouses who feel they are on the same team and support one another as much as possible fare much better.

What’s your solution to this age-old issue?

Related Links:
Reclaim Relaxation for Better Relationship
How is Work Load Being Distributed Between Husbands and Wives?
Who’s Marrying for Money–about the increasing number of breadwinner wives

Photo courtesy of PhotoXpress.com

Blogger Educates Men on Getting Lucky with Wives

Keeping the Sparks Alive” Series

When eight women get together to talk openly about love, sex, and marriage, it can be a very eye-opening experience. Sarah Barton (not her real name) found such value in these discussions with her friends that she opted to make those talks public with the blog, Anonymous8, on the condition that they all keep their identities a secret. Why? For one, they want to be as honest as possible, and for two, many of the women have children old enough to be completely embarrassed by their moms’ candor. The resulting discussions are “smart discussions on taboo topics” on everything involved with love and marriage. Check out the discussions here at Anonymous8 from date night ideas to tips from a woman who needs no sex advice.

Initially designed to be a womens-only forum, Sarah found that quite a few men enjoyed lurking around to hear what women really had to say. The more she heard from men, the more she realized how frustrated some of them are about their love lives, particularly after kids come and their wife’s sex drive and available time falls. As a result, Sarah penned Getting Lucky with the Wife to help men keep their relationships fresh and to learn to communicate effectively with their wives in a way that is respectful and not nagging. This book is aimed at couples in which the husband has a higher sex drive than the wife, and it’s written for husbands who would like to increase the amount of quality sex in their marriage.

Sarah has a background in her “real life” in strategic planning, so the 60-page e-book is more than a quick read; it’s a business book about your most personal business. By following the steps, husbands end up with an action plan they can immediately begin to put into practice.

Starting by providing a knowledge base of a woman’s body, it begins with some education about why a woman’s sex drive can be different and why it doesn’t mean she isn’t attracted to her mate. He can start to understand what’s going on with his wife and then help her understand the importance of sex in his life.

Sarah then helps husbands understand what has worked in the past, whether that’s date nights, helping out at home, increasing romance, etc. There are plenty of ideas on how to change the patterns that occur in many marriages. I think the most important aspect of the book includes tips on how best to communicate with the wife about these matters in a way that isn’t blaming, demeaning or disrespectful. In fact, the husband is invited to tell the wife about the book and the steps he is taking rather than using it as a secret strategy to get into bed more often. It’s about both partners getting more of what they want and nurturing the relationship.

Sarah says if sex is important to you, fight for it. She adds that there are many ideas in the book worth trying, and even if only one idea is effective for you to improve your long-term love life, it would certainly be worth the $18 cost of the book. I think the book is an excellent tool for men and women who want to help bridge the gap between the differences in their sex drives and who wish to understand each other better. If this sounds like you, check out Getting Lucky with the Wife (affiliate link). Sarah even offers a 30-day moneyback guarantee if you think it wasn’t effective.

So Cute, So Hard on a Marriagea good post from the Wall Street Journal about the effects of children in a marriage and pre-emptive steps that can help.

Keys to thriving in marriage and how happily married couples can help build and support marriages from StrengtheningMarriage.com.

Considering bariatric surgery? Read about how marriage rules may change after bariatric surgery.

Are Married Men Mellower? Yep.

Have you ever wondered whether marriage settles men down, or whether a certain type of man is more likely to marry? Researchers say both are true.

Men who are married are likely to engage in fewer aggressive or illegal behaviors than single men. Matrimony has been known for some time to “mellow men out” reducing criminal behavior by 35 percent. A new study to investigate why was reported by CBSNews.com.

To determine why this is the case, researchers Alexandra Burt and her colleagues at Michigan State University, studied 289 pairs of male twins over time. Participants included identical and fraternal twins. At ages 17, 20, 24 and 29, they reported on marital status and filled out questionnaires about aggressive behaviors and illegal activities.

Because the men were only teens when the study began, they were all single. By age 24, about 23 percent were married, and by age 29, about 59 percent had wed. They found that men who were married by age 29 were less likely to have committed antisocial acts during their younger years. Burt said it suggests that nice guys do get the girl.

The more surprising outcome was that even the men who were more aggressive early on became less aggressive after they married. “Comparing an unmarried man with his married identical twin takes genetics out of the equation and makes it more likely that you’re uncovering environmental effects,” said Burt. The study showed marriage seemed to reduce antisocial behavior by 30 percent.

It is unclear why exactly marriage has this effect on men, and whether cohabitation has the same effect. Other studies are planned to examine the social bonds of matrimony and whether less time with negative influences might be part of the reason.

I wonder if men some men will flinch at the news that getting married can impact their behavior to such a great degree. However, I believe the researcher’s hypotheses are likely correct—that less time with friends who participate in illegal behaviors, and stronger social bonds with their new bride and perhaps new friends and family, is likely to help him make healthier choices. Particularly when children enter the picture, men are motivated to act in more socially acceptable manner. Not because their wives tell them to, but because their goals and interests likely change as their family changes.

Marriage News:
Separating couples in the United Kingdom will be ordered to try mediation to resolve disputes over their breakup before heading to court. This order, which is to begin in April, is aimed at reducing the number of people involved in costly divorce battles. Every couple seeking to use the court system to resolve their disputes must first meet with a mediator. The Indianapolis Star reports that the reason is too many cases coming before judges, straining Britain’s legal system and costing individuals—and in some cases the government—large fines. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear this action will help save marriages; it just appears to be a way to more efficiently handle the divorce caseload with less animosity, time and fewer fines.

Photo credit: ©Mat Hayward/PhotoXpress.com

9 Ways to Keep Your Marriage Healthy

Almost three-quarters of wives have considered leaving their husbands at some point, according to a Women’s Day and AOL Living Poll. CNN.com reports it’s a wonder anyone ends up walking into the sunset as “geriatric lovebirds.”

Because each stage of life offers new challenges, CNN.com provides nine ways you can protect the health of your relationship no matter which stage you’re currently in. Here’s a brief summary of the tips:

  1. Watch your waistline—Married couples have larger waistlines, which can cause chronic health conditions and diminish sexual attraction. Watch portion sizes.
  2. Make a financial plan— Money is the number-one argument topic for couples. Even if you have different spending tendencies and priorities (many couples do), resolve your issues by making a plan and maintaining honesty about money.
  3. Create family rules—The way you grew up may be different from your spouse’s background and different from how you want to raise your family. Discuss home responsibilities, family priorities, how you plan to raise your children and how you will run your home as early as possible.
  4. Make sex a priority (but not a chore)—If you schedule sex, it may turn into yet another responsibility. Regular intimacy is necessary for a healthy marriage.
  5. Be flexible—During life transitions, your roles may change or be adjusted. Your spouses’ value (or your own) doesn’t depend on his or her paycheck or job.
  6. Remain active—Find an activity you can enjoy together, to remain healthy and enhance your sex life.
  7. Confide in a friend—A close friend can provide empathy and advice, but share carefully.
  8. Rediscover one another—After the nest is empty, marital satisfaction generally improves. Use the freedom to enjoy each other.
  9. Be a conscious caregiver—As you and your spouse age, chances are good one of you will need to be caregiver at least for a time. Ask for help when you need it. Caring for yourself will enhance the care you provide.

For the full CNN.com article, visit: http://tinyurl.com/nkj2w6.

Who will Make the First Move?

Continuing from our last post about not keeping score in your marriage, there is often an internal debate with husbands and wives that if she would only stop nagging him, he would fulfill her every need, and visa versa. Are you waiting for your spouse to change before you are willing to do your part? Then once you do your part, are you only willing to continue if you see your spouse adjust accordingly?

No one should tolerate an abusive spouse, but if you are regularly focusing on perceived faults of your spouse or personality failures (how they “should be” or how they “should act”), you are not really valuing them as a person along with the attributes they have been given. Remember, if you don’t build up your spouse, who will? If they fail and you aren’t there to help them through a crisis, who will? (In fact, a crisis is a wonderful opportunity to solidify your marriage and what you truly stand for. This is why I have interviewed so many successful couples who have been through extremely difficult circumstances.)

Since wives are prone to nagging, try to be the sweet voice your husband longs to come home to, the one who praises his strengths and encourages his dreams. Make him miss you the minute he backs out of the driveway. Husbands, keep your focus and priority on your wife. Be aware of her needs. Praise her beauty and her skill. Listen to her concerns. Be affectionate. Put your computer and phone down when she’s sharing her day or her struggles.

Put effort into your marriage, not monthly but daily. Forgive when you’ve had a bumpy day and try again tomorrow. Work together through adversity. If these acts seem too difficult given your current conflicts, it’s time to see a marriage counselor.

Share the small actions you or your spouse take that make a big difference in your relationship.