FOREVER MY LOVE!--By Margaret Hardisty
This book is written by a woman, a Christian, for men, but has good tips for both men and women!
WOMEN ARE ILLOGICAL!
One friend said to me with all the strength of male certainty, "The biggest problem with women is that they are totally illogical!" I laughed out loud. It isn't that women are illogical, they're just on a different wavelength. For instance, a wife may pat her husband's stomach affectionately & say, "You need to stay away from desserts for awhile." He shoots back with, "You aren't exactly a candidate for a model yourself."
The husband goes about his daily affairs, the teasing forgotten. But the wife runs to the mirror, inspects herself, drags out the scales for a weigh-in & remembers the pretty woman who smiled at her husband last week when they went for a walk. And hadn't slim Helen (who never gains a pound) said to her at a party recently, "I do believe you've gained weight, dear"?
A day or two later, as her husband gives her a bear hug & affectionately states, "Wow, what an arm full!", he may be astounded when she "blows up" or begins to cry. To him, her reactions are illogical. To her, they are a natural result of her concern.
The weak one. Your woman is unique. She is different from any other woman created. But there is one basic way in which she is like every other woman created: She, by nature, approaches life from an emotional plane. Whether she reacts coolly or tempestuously, she is an emotional creature, & this is especially true where her relationship with her man is concerned.
She wants to be the "everything" in your life. She wants to be the warmth in your sun, the milk in your gravy, the steel in your bridge. Her very nature cries out for someone to lean & depend on, all the while remaining independent. A woman who shares in a sexual experience with a man considers each moment of love, whether enjoyable or not, a deep part of her life. To a man, such an interlude can be but a moment in time when he is satisfying a physical need. But a woman has to possess that man as her own & to feel that he is so in love with her that this act, no matter how often repeated, is important to him because he is with the one who means everything to him.
What do you want your wife to be? A better cook? A better mother? A better housekeeper? A better bed partner? It can be yours. Do you wish her to remain young, vibrant & lovely until "death do you part"? There is a way!
You, in all your wonderful masculinity, individuality & personality are being called to battle. You can help your wife become the woman you want her to be. The job may be easy & you'll wonder why you didn't start long before now. Or the job may be very difficult, but risk it! It will pay off & you'll be able to spend time together, not putting up with the status quo, contemplating divorce or looking for greener pastures, but in peace & harmony with the thrill of a newly-found, young-again romance.
MEN TO ARMS!
When a man says, "Where did you get this meat?", a woman replies, "Why, don't you like it?" not because she is unable to take directness & honesty but because her basic nature wants her man to be totally satisfied & pleased with everything she does.
An awareness of this truth is your key to the treasures that lie behind a locked door of uncertain leadership. One man said, "Women just wait to be supplied so that they may return the favor. Men are not as willing to give as women, but would do so if they knew what to give & it didn't take too much effort." But all things that reach a point of excellence require time & effort. Are you willing to invest the time & effort it takes to make your life with your mate reach a level of excellence?
Let's get down to basic facts. Silly though it may sound to your practical mind, storybook marriages do exist. I know of several & I have one. They are a bit of Heaven on Earth. But they don't just happen. They are the result of deliberate achievement.
Some of the greatest achievers in business today are the list makers. List making may not be your thing. It isn't mine either, but I try to do it anyway, because it is a tremendous organiser & incentive. It clarifies matters when you see them in black & white.
For or against, now is a good time to make a short list as you evaluate & analyse your situation with your wife. When she isn't around, put down the things you would like to see changed in her. It might go like this: (But don't let her see this!)
I want my wife to:
1. Be a better housekeeper.
2. Enjoy sex more.
3. Be able to take criticism.
4. Let me have more to say about disciplining the kids.
5. Look pretty when I get home.
6. Not yell at the kids.
If your wishes are reasonable, you can expect to see a majority of them come true if you set out to change your mate in the right way!
Next make a list of the things you like in your wife, such as:
1. She's a good cook.
2. She stays within her budget.
3. Her counsel is helpful.
4. She doesn't hold a grudge.
5. She has a good sense of humour.
This list can be shown to her or fixed up nicely & given to her as a gift on a special day.
You might be surprised. After making the last list, you may decide she isn't so bad after all & make up your mind to keep on putting up with the things you don't like. And you may be listening to your own ego, convincing yourself that your wife is completely satisfied with the situation as is. Maybe she's even said so. Would she dare say otherwise?
Jeannie, who's been married 19 years, confided in me, "My husband loves me dearly. I know that. He treats me better than most men treat their wives, but he still isn't giving me what I need." Most people who know her believe that her marriage is very happy & almost perfect. But it isn't.
Jesus told the story of the man who built his house on sand. When the waves came, the sand was washed away & the house fell. It was destroyed. Your house may not fall, but the house of your marriage might be imperfectly built, with green boards instead of seasoned ones, with sloppy workmanship instead of a skilled master.
GOOD GRIEF, WOMAN, WHAT DO YOU WANT?
I suppose most men are aware that their wives' eyes light up at the thought of going out to dinner & realise that they are pleased when they bring them gifts. And many men would be willing to do anything to keep that light shining in their wives' eyes if they knew how to go about doing it. It's amazingly simple to do.
Romance me, please. At the top of the list for most women when it comes to what they want from their husbands is ROMANCE. This truth was borne out very clearly in our survey & in personal interviews. But your wife's idea of romance & your idea of what it means may be two different things. Romance in the male mind is what he does in order to get his wife in the right frame of mind for sex. That isn't the way a woman thinks at all. But whether or not she is able to respond fully to you in your physical relationship will depend largely on whether or not you supply her with her idea of romance.
Words, words, words. "Pleasant words are like an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, & health to the bones," the Proverb states. How you say it is important! It doesn't take much to adjust your communication so that you set your wife glowing instead of glowering. Once you practice awhile & get the hang of it, you'll find it rather fun, for the results you see will astound you.
Words like "Babykins" may not be to your liking, but most people can adjust to "Sweetheart", "Honey" & "Darling". Some husbands are willing to supply a few of those at bedtime, but in daytime can show an amazing lack of skill at handling women. A man who is going to outsmart his wife will be liberal in his use of them.
Do you love me? Our survey pointed out very emphatically that men find it important to be told by their wives that they love them, with many of them voting for an everyday experience. How much more does a woman require those three words! Words are important to a woman. Several men have said to me, "If I told my wife I loved her every day, the words would become cheap." We were interested in finding through our survey that the men who supplied lots of romance to their wives generally stayed true to form in telling their wives daily & sometimes several times a day that they loved them. And if that doesn't impress you, maybe this will: Those proved to be the most stable & well-rounded marriages with the happiest wives. Words never become cheap to a woman if they are said sincerely. Some women don't react visibly to outward displays of affection from their husbands, but you can be sure they are reacting underneath the surface, & favorably!
If you really don't love your wife any more, but you would like to keep the marriage together, you can always find something you can love every day. Her cooking, if nothing else! Perhaps you can tell her sincerely that you love her hair or her lips, & soon you will be saying "I love you" to her once again & meaning it. She may start falling in love with you again too, for love begets love.
Get started. All this is a start. But if you really want to be the man amongst men, you'll want to consider other ways of romancing your wife. A man who would have a wife who adores him will get in the habit of touching her hair as he goes by (gently, lovingly), taking her hand & kissing it occasionally, helping her with her chair at dinner (yes, even at home) & helping her on with her coat. He will open doors for her, not allow her to carry heavy loads, wink at her across the room, inquire if she is warm enough etc. It is so easy to be thoughtful once you set your mind to it.
Say it another way--with a gift. Although I have had my share of lovely flower arrangements from the florists, I have been just as pleased when my husband comes in holding a bunch of flowers he picked up in the supermarket for a Dollar. And I hold very tenderly in my heart the many times he has stopped working long enough in the yard to enter the house, sweaty & dirty, to hand me a tiny rose or the first blossom of Spring.
Our survey showed that most women preferred romantic or frivolous gifts to expensive or practical ones. The men generally admitted that they gave practical ones or ones that had sexual overtones (perfume etc.) Of course she needs a toaster, but how would you like to receive a hammer on your anniversary?
Some women insist on a night out every once in a while because it is the one way they can force some romance into their lives when it is lacking in other ways. You'll find, when you start supplying in the other ways, you won't have to take her out so often. But when you do take her out, make it a festive occasion.
The experience of one friend of mine isn't unusual. She says, "When my husband does ask me out to dinner, which isn't often, I get all excited. But when we get there, he is so unresponsive & seems so concerned about the cost, that the romance I had anticipated is gone. I'm just sitting in a restaurant instead of on the cloud I had envisioned, wondering how many other couples there find each other so uninteresting that they have nothing to talk about."
Hey, over there! When you are with other people, make it a special point to single her out a few times during the evening. A wink or a soft look across the room, a quick hug as you say something to her, holding her hand if you are sitting beside her, will do wonders to keep her assured of your love.
Use your imagination. Even if you are unimaginative by nature, you can always use ideas you've heard about. One pastor leaves little notes in drawers & cupboards for his wife which contain such goodies as, "There's a rumour going around the church that I'm in love with you." Does her heart sing? You can count on it!
Another exciting way to supply her romance, & something she'll be sharing with every friend she knows, is serving her breakfast in bed. You get up early, before she's awake, on a Saturday or Sunday. Call her in time, so she can pretty herself up, with instructions that she can't come out of the bedroom because you have a surprise for her. Plan a simple but colorful breakfast, served on a tray with a flower tucked in the corner & a little note which might say, "To the loveliest wife in the World." If your children are allowed to help, no matter how small they are, & they're not scolded for their spills & mistakes, they'll get the idea that Mom is pretty special. They'll also understand that it's nice to do special things for others.
Without a doubt, our time here on Earth is at best a single note of time in the vast symphony of Eternity. Shouldn't we strive, with all our heart, not only to prepare for eternal life, but to spend our time bringing as much joy to those we love or should love as we possibly can? What a challenge! What a test of strength! This real test has yet to be met by many a man.
HE TURNS ME OFF!
One pastor with whom I discussed the subject of sex estimates that 95% of the marital problems that have come to him in over 50 years of counselling have had a poor sex life as their basis. Generally the woman, not enjoying it, is resisting, & the husband, who wants to enjoy it, resents her resistance.
I was in a dress shop one day when I heard blaring over the radio an astounding result of a survey which the announcer said indicated that 80% of the women in the U.S. had never experienced a climax in the act of intercourse. That included single women as well as married. It was an interesting contrast to a survey taken of American middle-aged women in the 1950s in which it was stated that 67% of the women polled enjoyed a climax "usually or always".
If there is such a thing as a frigid woman, I have yet to meet one. "Ha ha," laughs the husband of a frigid woman. But hear me out. All other things being normal, a woman who dislikes sex & "turns off" is generally a woman who has not been handled correctly.
The answer is you. Dear husband, statistics show once again that the key is strong, exciting, swashbuckling YOU. And if you don't fit that picture at this point, you can. Unless your wife is physically incapable of normal relations or emotionally handicapped, she can enjoy sex as much as you do, & it is not to your credit if she doesn't.
"Rights Reggie" has a schedule in his mind. He feels he has a right to sex with his wife four times a week, & if he doesn't get it, he is furious. It's no wonder his wife is developing headaches, backaches, frequent bouts of fever & anything else she can think of to avoid her "duty".
When your mental processes begin to tell you that you have to guard against being cheated out of your "rights", you've lost a good portion of the battle. Now is the time to use that male computer of a brain to program your reactions differently.
Doris' marriage to Bill is as fresh & exciting as it was when they were married. Even more so. It's as if the honeymoon has never stopped. Wise husband that he is, he never insists that they make love because, as he says, "If my wife is anxious to have me make love to her, I will enjoy it more because she's enjoying it. Her response will be passionate, not just submissive. I want an exciting woman & she is. So we never count the times. Sometimes it is two or three times a week, sometimes two or three times a month. Whichever, it is always a thrill."
You may respond, "If I were to let it go like that, my wife wouldn't ever let me near her." If you've read this first part carefully & are working on the suggestions there, & you read the next part with an open mind & put it to use, that won't be the case at all--in time. Instead, you will have a willing bed partner & your enjoyment will be increased a hundredfold.
One more word about Bill & Doris. When it is not possible for them to get it together for a lengthy period of time, Bill continues his romancing of her. If he were to turn it on or off according to when he wants sex, she would turn it off & not respond.
In sickness or in health. One of the biggest complaints of wives is that they are tired. If you hear your wife complaining about being tired for any length of time, & especially as soon as she gets up in the morning, don't pass it off with a shrug & a "not that routine again" look. It may be the signal that could save her life later on, if you pay attention to it. For years I suffered this same morning tiredness, before going to a doctor & finding that I was actually quite sick! One of the main problems was a poisoned liver & low blood sugar, which, surprisingly, is brought on by stress.
Stress is present in all lives & can be generally placed in four categories: Nutritional, emotional, physical & chemical. Some bodies can handle more stress than others, but if anyone has too much stress to deal with, he begins to lose the battle for good health.
Nutritional stress is brought on by a wrong diet punctuated by a heavy intake of carbohydrates (sugars & foods that turn to sugar) & stimulants, as well as the eating of refined foods.
Emotional stress comes from such sources as quarreling, worry, anger, fear, sorrow, excitement etc.
Physical stress comes into being through overexertion & inadequate rest.
Among chemicals the body has to fight are preservatives, impurities in the air & additives to our food & water.
One doctor estimates that 80% of the men & women walking down the street have low blood sugar. It was causing my exhaustion. Low blood sugar can contribute to the cause of practically any undesirable condition, including serious diseases. So the answer was to begin the process of cutting down on the various stresses. What resulted in me, over years of abuse, may be the basic root of your wife's problems.
And this brings us to the nitty gritty of lovemaking, which every man thinks he knows everything about. But our survey pointed out emphatically that the wives didn't agree with their husbands on this point at all. The husbands generally considered themselves good lovers. The majority of the women felt their husbands were "in need of instruction" or were "clumsy". So swallow your pride & forget your male ego for a little bit. Let's see is we can't light some fires that have been out for some time.
SEX--WOW OR DRAG?
Who has ever watched a glorious sunset or a deer suddenly dart out of the bushes in the forest that hasn't wanted to turn & share it with someone? All things are enjoyed more if they are shared. Man was meant to share. He is not generally a loner. God made man to want & need other human beings. After Admiral Byrd spent those days alone in the Antarctic, he stated that the worst thing he had to endure was the loneliness of being away from other human beings. God created most men to need a female as a partner. He intended her to round him out, & to make him complete. It was not good that man should be alone. He was to share his life with her.
And since God very ingeniously invented sex, not only as a means of propagating the race, but as a delightful experience, it was His plan for the woman to get as much out of it as the man. If this were not so, He would never have given her the organs which give her pleasurable sensations & bring her to the ecstasy of the orgasm.
Prepare, prepare, prepare! The majority of women I've talked with & who answered our survey felt that their husbands didn't prepare them enough, & some stated flatly that they aren't prepared at all. This preparation, which is essential if your wife is going to enjoy sex to the fullest, should be a continuing thing, never ending, whether you are getting ready for sex or not. But it can be concentrated when you are looking forward to intimate relations with your wife. As a sensitive creature she shouldn't be made to feel that you're just using her for your own physical satisfaction. Women generally resent this. She needs to feel that you care about her welfare & enjoyment, even above your own.
If Wednesday night is what you have in mind, you might hold her tenderly on Tuesday night & say, "How about a date tomorrow?" If she says no, try another night.
As Wednesday approaches, do thoughtful things for her: Help her with the dinner, kiss her tenderly, sometimes briefly, longer if she responds. Admire her out loud. Of course, you don't want to overdo.
Try it, you'll like it. There are many things you can do to put your wife in the right frame of mind, & if you decide on one thing for Wednesday night, you may try something else on Saturday night.
You must keep in mind once again that women are not as physical in their approach as men are. You get turned on by the sight of physically attractive women. You're ready for sex if your wife kisses you passionately. You feel excitement at just the thought of a naked body inside a flimsy nightgown. But she reacts very differently. She may admire your body, but a man's torso does not generally affect a woman by arousing her sexually. A passionate kiss from you probably won't get her excited either, especially if it's ill-timed. Her desires will be aroused by the little romantic things you do for her. She may instigate the lovemaking once in a while, which is fine, but you were created the pursuer, she the pursued, & basically that responsibility will be yours. Here are some ideas which you may use:
1. Always bathe yourself. Put on cologne, brush your teeth, comb your hair & shave (unless you wear a beard). Get an attractive wrap-around garment to wear instead of the same old white shorts she's been seeing for years.
2. Don't come at her naked & passionate. This is OK at rare moments, but you are likely to be the one who will feel passion rise because of it, not her.
3. Bring her a little bouquet of flowers, & light a candle nearby.
4. Have soft music playing, the kind she likes.
5. Pick a flower & put it in her hair.
6. Massage her feet (no tickling, please).
7. Massage her back, brushing her neck & back with your lips.
8. Share your heart with her.
9. Undress her slowly before she takes a bath or shower, complimenting her on how beautiful her body is to you.
10. If she wishes, let her undress you.
11. Sing a love song to her.
12. Say lots of sweet things.
Whatever you do, don't rush her. A man who thinks 5 minutes is enough preparation is kidding himself. That length of time is welcome only to the woman who isn't enjoying her experience anyway & wants to get it over with. Be prepared to take whatever time is necessary. Let her decide & you react accordingly. Sometimes women like to be handled passionately, & sometimes gently. You'll have to heed your understanding & her response concerning that.
Practice control. Remember, just as being able to control your temper is a sign of maturity, so is being able to control your sexual responses. To do so, you must truly desire to put your wife's needs above your own. As you sincerely try, time & again, for as long as it takes to gain your control & help your wife achieve an orgasm, she will be doing all she can to help you, & will appreciate your sacrifice more than you will ever know.
Be honest. One counselor told me that she felt lack of honesty was the biggest problem in marriages which aren't making it. Being able to talk to your mate about the things that bother you is vitally important. But hold on there, you manly types who usually "tell it like it is". There is a way to be honest without hurting either your wife or yourself. A woman that is pounced on about her faults is not going to like it, no matter how you spell t-r-u-t-h. Only a few can take this approach, & usually they do so because they're afraid of their husbands. This approach should be relegated to the Dark Ages where it belongs.
Generally a woman will listen to suggestions & counsel for housekeeping etc. from her husband if the husband is not criticising her & if she feels he understands the situation. One sure way to have a very resentful wife after awhile is to sit & relax in the evenings while she has to work on & on. But there are timesaving hints that everyone can learn. My husband taught me several & I have picked up a few myself.
Everyone: Never leave a room without taking something that is out of place with you. Picking up constitutes the largest part of keeping up a house.
Husband: Should help with dishes whenever possible.
Husband: Can make it an automatic two-minute job each morning helping wife make bed. It gets a good start on the day & is so encouraging to her.
Husband & wife: Encourage your children to make their beds every morning, even if they can't do them well. Later on they'll be able to. Messy beds are depressing.
Wife: Should work as fast as she can at unpleasant jobs & tackle them first. Leaving them until she is tired almost assures their not getting done or done right.
Husband: Never leave anything for her to pick up: Clothes, shoes, hobbies, magazines. She isn't your mother, or your servant.
Husband: When things start getting ahead of her, grab the vacuum cleaner. Or do the windows. Or sweep & mop etc.
Wife: Keep a list of needs & shop in volume. Frequent trips to the store play havoc with your schedule. And going there without a shopping list is a real time-waster.
Chart the day. My husband accomplishes more in any given period of time than anyone I know. He is a list maker. He maintains two: One for the office & one for home. He crosses off the tasks as he accomplishes them. Those that remain undone at the end of the day go on the next day's list. Every day he tries to work on something big on his list that can't be done in one try. His temperament & abilities work together to make him a perfect list maker. It comes naturally for him. But it doesn't for me. It is very difficult for me to fit into any mold, & self-discipline does not come naturally. But through the years, seeing the tremendous help that it has been to him & to our family, & because he wanted me to, I have attempted to put this method to work in my own life as well. I don't do very well at it, but what I have learned has helped me tremendously.
Taking care of a family doesn't always fit into a schedule, & no home can be run like an office, but charting the day to allow for housework, playing with the children, napping, cleaning & cooking etc., will keep the time from flying away with little accomplished.
Keep repairs & yard up. A man who can't stop a leak, de-spider a house or fix a piece of broken furniture is at a great disadvantage financially, & if the jobs are ignored, he is at a great disadvantage as far as his relationship with his family is concerned. His boys grow up the same way, frustrating wives who have to wrestle with the problems. You may not be a super plumber or a carpenter, but you can learn to do most jobs.
I don't believe there is anything my husband won't tackle & can't do. It stems from two facts. First, when he was 13, his dad died & he had to become the man around the house. Then he believes in the philosophy of the old poem by Edgar Guest:
Somebody said that it couldn't be done,
But he with a chuckle replied
That "maybe it couldn't" but he would be
Who wouldn't say so till he'd tried.
It goes on to say:
So he buckled right in with a trace of a
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the
That couldn't be done, & he did it.
Push her. Back to the wife. Some people tend to be on the lazy side by natural temperament. One friend told me, "I have to be pushed. I just don't have a self-starter." But once she gets going, although she isn't fast, she's thorough & efficient. If your wife is like this, you may have to set definite time limits for her to get things done & have a sense of humor when she doesn't quite make it. Be gentle & kind, remembering all the other lovely things about her that we pushers & rushers don't have...like her calmness, for example.
MAKE-UP OR NOT?
It depends. The keynote seems to be moderation, as in most other things. As they grow older, women sometimes need to enhance their natural beauty more than younger ones who have the beauty of youth on their side. Overdone or poorly applied make-up is no help to anyone, no matter what age.
One boon that is coming to the market is the idea of make-ups with vitamins & natural ingredients in them. The skin readily absorbs anything put on it. How much better to furnish it with body builders rather than chemicals that tend to age the skin.
If you tell your wife today that she is: The most beautiful woman in the World, or the most precious, adorable creature in your life, or like a pretty flower, or a living doll, or a sexy woman who turns you on, or an exquisite treasure, or anything that makes her feel smashingly attractive in your eyes, the next day she very likely will be puttering around with new make-up, new hairdos, redoing some old clothes or buying a new item to keep your eyes shining. The cost will be minimal compared to the joy it will bring her when your eyes light up.
If she doesn't respond to your compliments the next day, it may be because she's in shock. Try it again, & again, & soon you will see her begin to respond.
LITTLE KID STUFF!
An immature wife is a sight to behold. She cries to get her way. She pouts when you offend her. She clams up & won't speak when she is angry with you. She bangs pots & pans when she is upset. She sighs in exasperation when you ask her to do something. You know the kind. Perhaps you live with one. She needs to grow up. Unfortunately, her immaturity will not allow the instruction & help that could aid her in becoming a woman. But if she is intelligent & has a sincere desire to make the marriage go, she isn't a hopeless case.
One of the most effective ways to get your wife to grow up is to be really mature yourself. If you have a mature wife, it is essential that you be mature if you want her fullest respect. Most men consider themselves very mature, but most women agree that it is very easy to spot an immature man, no matter how venerated a position he holds. Let's take a look at some old wives' tales, or maybe it'd be wiser to call them old husbands' tales. They stem from people who act immature but don't want to believe it or change.
"That's the way I am & nothing can be done about it." That's the way you are--true. Nothing can be done about it--false. What you are really saying is, "I don't want anything to be done about it." The term "prima donna" was originally meant to indicate the female lead in a production, such as an opera. She was the star. But prima donnas often felt it so necessary to yell & cry to get their way with conductors, managers & people in general that the word has come to apply to anyone who insists upon his or her own way in an emotional outburst. Or, instead of outward expression, the prima donna may be one who quietly insists that things go his or her way, or else, & he closes his ears to all alternatives. These people don't want to change because change means sacrifice, & "That's not my cup of tea, brother."
"When I make a statement, my wife shouldn't challenge it." Why? Is she an imbecile? Can she have no ideas or opinions of her own? One writer commented, "The home is often the place where Christ can speak most clearly, but I would rather hear God speak through almost anyone else than through my wife or my children. I can take it when He speaks through a minister, a friend, a book or His Word. But to recognise God speaking through my wife's loving rebuke or suggestion takes a great deal more grace. And if God is to speak clearly, whom can He better use than the one who sees me most clearly, loves me most unreservedly & understands my needs most deeply?"
Even the God of the Heavens talks things over with us human beings, including the women. The Bible says, "Come now, & let us reason together, saith the Lord." If the Great King is willing to sit down & talk it over & listen to us, shouldn't the same courtesy be given to your wife, especially in light of the fact that God is perfect & you aren't? Agreed, she should not challenge you in front of the children, nor should you challenge her for the children to hear. And ideally, her questions should be as full of love & respect for you as your treatment for her is. A wise & mature man always listens to those around him. If he is truly great, he will be willing to change his mind if he finds out he's wrong.
"The strong, silent type is manly." TV & movies have been the culprits. While many women have thrilled at the John Wayne type who favors his lady by nodding in her direction after ignoring her through most of the movie, I don't know of any woman who enjoys living with that type of man. Suddenly all the he-man qualities aren't so he-man after all, & instead she is saddled with an individual whose life is wrapped around himself & who expects her to be wrapped around the same idol.
Communication is important. My husband has often said that many couples who come to him for divorce are people who can't talk to each other. People need to talk about their problems, their joys, their fears & victories. Your wife needs to talk, especially when she has had no one around all day except for little people who can barely lisp "three". She needs this communication to be part of you. No "woman talk" can take your place.
My husband & I discuss everything, if we have time. Some of the most yummy moments in our life together have been when we lay in bed just talking & sometimes dissolving in hilarious laughter over something. I prize the times when I can get him to sit still long enough to give me his opinion about certain matters I wish to talk over with him. The fun part is, I don't have to talk them over with him. He doesn't require that of me. So I want to. Oftentimes he will say, "You decide, Honey." Other times he will weigh the possibilities, lay them out for me in his logical, male way, & make his suggestions. When he makes a definite suggestion, I usually take it. If I feel he hasn't considered the whole question, I will push it further, & sometimes he changes his viewpoint.
"We have a right to gossip in our own home." Gossip is tantamount to criticism. Your children will learn early to view others with suspicion & always see the negative rather than the positive if gossip is a regular "recreation" at your dinner table.
My husband hates gossip. I have sometimes been all set to share a shocking thing I heard or to speak against someone who "done me wrong" with my husband. I would tell my tale, but he would make no comment & his eyes would register blank. Then he would quickly change the subject. I learned that we do not talk against others in our home. As the Proverb says, "The words of a talebearer are like wounds, & they go down into the innermost parts. Where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth."
"The wife should be the one to apologise." Only big men can apologise. It takes a setting aside of childish pride. My husband always apologised even when it was obvious to both of us that it was my fault. It taught me to appreciate his maturity & I learned to follow suit.
When I was angry & I refused to talk, George would say, "Now honey, we can't solve our problem if we don't talk it over. Come on now, let's figure out how we got into this mess." What can you say to something like that?
"I'm funny. I make people happy." Do you know anyone who is the eternal kid? He loves to couch every compliment in an insult. Somewhere along the line he got the idea that cynicism & backhanded compliments were funny or manly. They are neither--they are childish. Such a man may look at a woman & say, "You don't look bad. Not good, but not bad." He can't carry on a conversation with a man either without some "clever" insulting compliment. He is so pleased with his brand of humour that he fails to notice the glimmer behind the eyeballs of his victim that is saying, "I don't like this guy," even though the smile on the face is polite. He will say, "Well, if my wife can't take teasing, it's just too bad."
There is a harmless kind of teasing that doesn't hurt anyone, & then again a cruel & unkind humour everyone can do without. A checklist for humour might go something like this:
If it brings a child to tears
If it makes something beautiful look ugly
If it turns cleanliness into filth
If it capitalises on another person's weakness
If it causes a heart to ache
If it brings embarrassment to another
Then forget it. It isn't funny!
OTHER MEN--AND WOMEN!
There is a lot of heartache & hate in the World we walk & talk in. People are quick to get offended should anyone act unpleasant to them, & just as quick to respond unpleasantly. I recall with gratefulness the various men I have met in my life whose whole manner was warmth & gentlemanliness. I remember the warm twinkle in the eye, the strength of a firm but gentle shaking of the hand (instead of a bone-breaking handshake), or the helping with my chair when my husband was not available. These rare individuals never give you the impression that they are flirting or undressing you mentally. They do give you the feeling that they are sincerely very pleased they could meet you. In an instant, they make a woman feel attractive, interesting & worth their efforts to see that she is treated like a lady.
Most women adore having doors opened for them. They are terribly flattered when a man jumps up to carry a load for them or stands up when they enter a room. There are men like that around & they spread pleasure among women wherever they go. They are just as considerate of their wives, whom they seem to adore. Their wives don't feel threatened with their attentions because they aren't neglected. They know they have charming husbands & are proud of them for that reason.
THE IDEAL HUSBAND!
So what is the ideal husband? Can we fit him into a neat little mold & say, "Be this way," or, "Be that way?" No. Every husband is a unique individual who is "fearfully & wonderfully made", as King David noted in the Psalms.
Scriptural Guidelines. Your relationship with your wife will be different from any other husband-wife relationship in the World. But there are certain guidelines laid out by God for a man. The ideal husband is:
1. Willing to spend time using his marvellous mentality to dwell with his wife in knowledge (See 1Pet.3:7). He figures out why she is like she is & sets about to help her overcome her weaknesses by applying his knowledge of her basic nature, & proceeding accordingly.
2. Willing to supply her needs, even though his practical nature may try to tell him it is nonsense. This fantastic mate supplies the words & the actions that spell romance to his wife. He treats her like the lovely little flower that she is, careful not to crush her with insensitivity.
3. Realises that her sexual response will be in direct proportion to his determination to supply her emotional needs.
4. Is willing to sacrifice his own comfort in order to lovingly help his wife keep a good home as he bends to help, guide & lead. "Speaking the truth in love," he organises & works. He makes chores around the house a fun thing for his wife, the children & himself.
5. Realises that as a man, it is time to put away childish things. He becomes mature in his thinking.
6. Treats all women with gentleness & respect.
7. Realises that he is incomplete if he neglects the spiritual part of his life, devotion to the Lord, His Word & others.
8. Provides time for his family. He knows that it is unmanly for a man not to take care of his family's needs financially, emotionally, spiritually & physically. Indeed, the Bible backs this up when it says, "But if any provide not for his own, & specially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith, & is worse than an infidel."
A Celebrity in the House? Let's say the Queen of England came to stay overnight in your home. Would you tell her off if she didn't get the bed made in the morning? Would you ignore her in the evening, burying your head in the paper? Would you tell her she was a big baby if she started protesting about the kind of treatment you were giving her? Of course not. You would treat any such personage with as much honor as you could muster, wouldn't you?
Guess what? Your wife is just such a personage. The Bible says you are to give honor to your wife!
"What?" gasps the head of the wife. "You've got to be out of your mind! I'm to give my wife the kind of treatment I would give a celebrity?" I didn't say it, God did. Honor is honor, regardless of how you spell it. But if that shakes you up a little, hang on. There's more. The entire verse referring to honouring your wife reads like this: "In like manner, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, & as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered."--1Peter 3:7.
Amen? God bless you both as you become better husbands & wives to the glory of God!