We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.
A few months ago my wife and I went on a 3-day-love-extravaganza trip to New York City. We saw zero landmarks. No Statue of Liberty, no Madison Square Garden, not even the top of the Empire State building. We chose to focus on each other. We ate the foods we wanted to eat together. Walked the streets we wanted to walk together. And remembered again why we sleep next to each other every day.
The last two years, Catherine and I have been on a journey of healing that has brought us closer (even when it had the potential to tear us apart). We have been through marriage counseling, painful conversations and lots of red wine. And as I shared in the article Reviewing The Worst Year of My Life, the discovery of, “I am at fault” and “I need to change” became the most liberating thing. The perfect invitation to surrender.
I took ownership of my stupidity. I started to embrace my weakness. And I began to prioritize my wife.
Today, I write because I am still growing and learning. And I invite us, men, to become more self-aware. To stop making excuses. And to try a few of these:
1. Kiss her on the way out:
If you want to be happy, healthy, successful, and live longer, give your spouse a kiss before you go to work each day.
A study found that those who kiss their spouse each morning get sick less often. They also have fewer auto accidents. They earn 25 percent more monthly and they live about five years more than those who don’t even give each other a kiss. The reason for this, says Dr. Sazbo, is that the kissers begin the day with a positive attitude. A kiss signifies a sort of seal of approval, offer Sazbo and his colleagues, and they believe, those who don’t experience it, go out the door feeling not quite right about themselves.
2. Don’t watch porn:
Stop making excuses. Find a couple of friends and be accountable. God loves you even when you struggle with porn, but He loves you (and your wife) too much to leave you struggling. Don’t the miss out from the best-sex-ever with your lady, because you’re wasting your time having the worst sex ever with yourself.
3. Surprise and delight:
Stop waiting for Valentine’s day, her birthday or your anniversary. Everyone else does that. You are in a league of your own brother. Go ahead and make today memorable. Find the gift she been talking about for months and get it for her, or buy flowers on your way from work, or actually sit down and write a love letter. Yes, a love letter. It’s not about what you want to do, it’s about making the most special person in your life feel like the most special person in your life.
“Happily ever after is not a fairy tale. It’s a daily choice.”
4. Give up control:
Being a controlling macho man is so 1952. Stop watching Mad Men. Read Wild at Heart properly. True strength is permission, freedom and honor. My wife is at her best when I respect and value what she wants. She responds with gratitude when I stop trying to dominate her and I begin to validate her dreams and desires. I give her space to hang out with her friends, to go ride horses, to be Catherine without Carlos. Yes, some days I hate it! Selfish-me gets frustrated. However, it always comes back to me in good things (time, space, fun, rice and beans etc). And more and more I am realising that this is exactly how God loves all of us. He has never taken away our free-will. Never will.
Because true love is permission, it’s freedom, it’s honor.
And He loves well.
5. Learn Her:
These lists are helpful. I write a few, and I read a lot. Nevertheless, every woman is different. No list is complete. Sometimes they can even be more damaging than helpful. So stop reading this junk and start asking the right questions. Talk to your queen about her wants, joys, frustrations and dreams. Do not take it personally if it contradicts you. Listen to understand her, don’t listen to defend yourself.
And start moving in the direction of friendship. Find the things that connect you both and prioritize them above everything else. You will end your days next to her, not with your boss, pastor, leader or beer buddy… She’s your true comrade, your partner in crime, your best friend.
It’s both of you, against the world.
Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife.
My Challenge To You Is This:
Are you brave enough to say sorry? To embrace your role as her husband, hero, lover, servant? Are you willing to try things that are out of your comfort zone for the sake of her comfort?
This is real manhood. This is where it’s at.
So why are you still reading? Open a bottle of wine, kiss her like you mean it, and start re-discovering your most valuable relationship.
+ Ladies, share this with your husband. Guys, don’t share it with your wife! Just start living it. Everyone else, share it with your married friends. Thanks & Hugs!
“If God had the gospel of Jesus’s salvation in mind when he established marriage, then marriage only ‘works’ to the degree that approximates the pattern of God’s self-giving love in Christ.”
– Timothy Keller in The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God – Invest in your marriage today!
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