Browsing Tag

relationships

Blog

What is Most Important For Men in Marriage?

I struggle even answering this question because it is hard to answer on behalf of all men, “What’s the most important thing for Men to have in their marriage?” All I can do is answer for myself and hope that my response aligns with other men, perhaps some men can chime in down in the comments section.

Consistency

Men are creatures of habit. At least, I am anyway. I like consistency. I like to know what to expect. I don’t mind being spontaneous at times, but it has to be within my level of comfort, and to be honest, somewhat my idea.

Women are typically more flexible and spontaneous at times, at least from my experience. If they were not, why are women always desiring their husbands be more spontaneous? Not to say that women don’t desire some consistency, I simply think there is a difference between what men and women require to be comfortable.

Most men have a day that revolves around a routine. I wake up every day and follow a very similar routine. Sure it sounds boring to some, but all men have a routine or some kind that is consistent. Routines are very important, especially with children. Routines can be modified from time to time, but the idea of having a routine is that for the most part, you can expect what will happen next.

Thinking about it more, it might not even be consistency that is important, it’s knowing what to expect and not being surprised.

The World is Random

Though I often hold tight to my routine, the world does not understand that. My clients needs don’t always fit into my routine. Having allergies for the last two weeks doesn’t fit into my routine. So the last thing we want after a long day of having our routines tested is inconsistency when we get home.

It is important to me that the place I am supposed to be most comfortable be consistent. After a long day of inconsistency, I just want to fall back into my routine.

Home Can Be Random

My wife and I are both busy people. I run a business and she runs a household with three young children. Both of us spend our day getting wrenches thrown into our routines. This is just part of life. I know that despite the best intentions my wife and I both have at the start of the day, it only takes one client phone call or a child meltdown to throw everything off for the rest of the day.

Recentering

When we get off path, it is important that we recenter. If we continue to go off path, who knows where we will end up by the end of the day. A routine does not have to be 100% consistent every day. There are ebbs and flows in every routine. However, there are cornerstones of a routine that hold it up. It is easy for me to recognize what those cornerstones are with my children.

The routine cornerstones for my children are making sure they go to bed and wake up close to the same time every day. They need to be fed at consistent times. My youngest still takes an afternoon nap. When she doesn’t get her afternoon nap, she falls apart around 3pm. The activities that fill in the gaps can be different each day so long as the cornerstones of the routine remain intact.

Routine Cornerstones of a Husband

I will be the first to admit that when the cornerstones of my routine are threatened, I get cranky. I spend all day dealing with everybody else’s needs, so when I come home, I simply want to fall back into routine for a while. The challenge here is that I also realize my wife has been dealing with the needs of our children all day and would love to curl up next to one of her routine cornerstones as well. This is where I have to remember to give my wife grace first, before showing frustration.

I used to start each day by going to the gym. I still do on occasion, but it has been hard for me to get up early and make it to the gym. When I make it to the gym in the morning, the structure of my routine holds up much better. I also find that my routine is more flexible throughout the day. Having a healthy routine that can withstand some inconsistency requires a good foundation. If your day starts inconsistent, it will most likely end that way as well. Encourage your husband to find a way to start his day in a positive way. He shouldn’t be leaving the house stressed, he should be leaving replenished. Husbands, make sure to encourage your wife in the same way.

Syncing Routines

Communication is important here. A wife will not know what is important to her husband if he does not tell her and vice-versa. You should make it a goal to discover the cornerstones of your spouse’s routine so you can strive to achieve consistency in those areas. Once you both have a good understanding of these cornerstones, you can reform the foundation of your routines to match. The cornerstones of our routines mainly contain similar things, we just need to sync those up and add in some consistency to prevent structural damage.

I mentioned it before, men are creatures of habit. We can be a bit abrasive when our routines are shifted. I have found my routine threatened simply by my wife making me breakfast. I normally handle my own breakfast so when I am surprised by a breakfast containing items I did not choose, it throws me off for a second. In that moment, I have to remind myself that my wife was thinking about me and decided to make me breakfast. I should be happy about that. I literally have to remind myself that every time. I have recognized that I would rather appreciate my wife for an unexpected breakfast than get upset about my routine being threatened. It takes work. One time she made oatmeal for the kids and I. Apparently I was not interested in the unexpected oatmeal she made for me because my response was, “I hate that kind of oatmeal.” Yes, I sounded like a four-year-old.

How to achieve consistency

You will first need to find out what the cornerstones of your spouse’s routine are. Once you have that figured out, you can work that into the household’s routine. If you are typically the one who cooks dinner, make sure it is at a consistent time. If dinner seems to be a stressful situation for your husband because of inconsistency, send him a text message mid-day and let him know what will be cooking when he comes home. Understand that mid-day is also a good time to suggest eating out if you foresee the day getting away from you. I have also realized that giving my wife a solid notice before I disrupt her routine is important as well.

Consistency is simply what I find important during this chapter in my life. It might not be what you need or what your husband needs. Each person is different and has different needs. If you pay close enough attention, you should easily be able to figure out what the cornerstones of your spouse’s routine is.

My Grandparents were married just shy of 68 years when my Grandmother passed away. They retired when I was young. I remember them having a solid routine. My Grandfather would spend time out in his shop building things. My Grandmother would spend time in her office researching and reading. They were a pretty well-oiled machine. They had a routine that included spending time together and time in their zones working on things they loved. If you called them at 11:20 in the morning, you knew they were just sitting down to lunch.

Using my Grandparents routine as an example is hard to compare to a young family with three kids, but I believe that their marriage lasted until the end because they found a way to provide consistency to each other in the areas that mattered most. Watching my Grandfather struggle to find a new routine after my Grandmother’s passing confirms this.

Let me know what you think about this. Is routine important to you? Do you think it’s important to your spouse? What areas of your routine are frequently disrupted? How do you think you could fix it?

Blog

5 Guys vs 100+ Women – Mens Panel

I was asked, along with five other men, to be on a panel for a women’s group (one of them couldn’t make it today). The group is for women of children who are preschool aged. My wife has been attending this group since our oldest was born. It’s a pretty large group that meets every other week for a couple of hours. It’s called “Mothers of Preschoolers,” you can find out more about this group here.

Some of us on this panel are younger families with kids who are preschool aged, and others on the panel have children who are well into their adult years. It provided for a well-rounded range of responses to the questions. The questions that we were asked were provided to us in advance so we would have time to think about them. Imagine a bunch of guys on stage in front of over 100 women being asked questions on the fly.

The questions were put together by the women in the group. What I first noticed about the questions was how tied to a specific emotion each question was. As men, we often ask simple questions that require a simple resolution such as, “do you want Chinese or Mexican food for dinner?” These questions were rooted a bit deeper than my male brain typically ventures on a regular basis. Perhaps this is why these women had these questions to begin with. Most of these questions are pretty hard to answer in a sentence or two. It was hard to get through too many of them in the one-hour long panel. Even having prepared a bit, it was still hard to answer some of them because there are so many variables to consider.

I was intrigued by these questions as I went over them with my wife. It was quite apparent which questions were written for me to answer as there were a few tech and social media questions thrown in there. The reason I was interested in these questions was because I think as Men, we assume that our wives should already know the answers to them. There are a lot of things that we might expect to be a certain way, and when they are not, we either bury the issue or complain about it. If you are like me, you probably bury it. Most men choose to pick their battles and ignore the rest. This likely leaves our wives feeling confused with no solid direction in the matter.

If we don’t give our wives information or feedback, how are they going to know how we feel about things? I think society has made it harder for men to feel comfortable doing this. The concept of “the man” has changed a lot since our parents generation, and even more since their parents generation. Though my wife considers her occupation to be a homemaker, I don’t treat her as an employee. I do realize that I might have gone in the opposite direction in an attempt to prevent coming across as a demanding husband. We all need feedback and occasional direction.

I run a business with employees and clients. I spent my entire day dealing with requests and either delegating or, handling them personally. When I come home, my kids want my immediate attention, and my wife is relieved to see another adult. Most days I dive right in, other days I feel like flopping down on the couch and sending everybody to other rooms. I try to be as open with my thoughts and feelings as I can, but I know that more often than not, I show no signs of what I want or how I want it.

I think that we often assume that our spouse knows what we want or how we feel about something without having to say it out loud. Sometimes I feel that wife has been married to me for almost eight years, she should just know. The problem is that she doesn’t, and I don’t know what she needs as well as I think I do at times either. It takes communicating these things, and it feels awkward. It seems awkward because we seldom do it. Looking at these questions I initially thought that a spouse should just know the answers to some of these things, but they don’t.

I do not believe that I received this list of questions so I could pick a question or two and only answer them at this panel. I immediately felt that some of them needed to be answered publically. Not because my answers will be able to speak on behalf of all husbands, but so that men can see some of these questions and how I attempt to explain them. My answers won’t be perfect. I am not yet sure how to respond all of them, but they will be honest. I plan to take them on one at a time, here on this blog.

Over the last few years, I have felt a tugging on my pant leg to write to other Dads out there. I have somewhat ignored that tugging because I don’t feel qualified to write about parenting. Most of the guys on stage with me today have many years and much more wisdom than I have to offer. What I have discovered is that there are not a lot of men out there sharing ideas or advice about parenting, especially young men. There are a few books and some blogs, but not enough of them. I have also felt a desire to help Men understand that they can achieve success in their career without trading the success of their family for it. I’m not quite sure how to flesh that out yet though.

With permission from the group that hosted the panel, I am going to try and tackle these questions. There were thirty-six questions provided to us, I think about twenty-five of them are something I can answer. I will try and collaborate with my wife on this as well and get her thoughts on these questions and any feedback she has on my responses. When I don’t feel like I have a clear answer to give, I will try and reach out to those who have more experience and wisdom to offer.

If you are interested in being updated when I post these articles, I suggest subscribing to my blog. You can do that using the form below.

 

Subscribe to my blog

* indicates required




Blog

The Secrets To A Happy Marriage

Happy Marriages Infographic

Anytime you put two people together in any situation, there will be ups and downs. It’s how you react to them and how you treat each other through the downs that allow you to have more ups. I saw the below infographic on Lifehacker and as I read through it, I felt proud and frustrated at the same time. So I thought I would break down each section of the infographic with my thoughts and experiences from my own life and marriage. Beware, there will be rants…

1. Happy Couple Ratio: Anybody with any level of intelligence knows that when you keep communications more positive, than they should stay that way. I don’t understand how people let themselves get so negative with their spouse. People are so selfish these days. I hear interactions that some people have with their spouses and I just want to slap them. You chose who you married. Nobody held a gun to your head. You made a choice. Treat that person the way you treated them when you were dating. Treat them the way you wanted to treat them because they were something special that you just had to have in your life. Hopefully this is why you married them in the first place. If you married because of financial reasons, then you were being selfish in the first place. I know so many selfish spouses who seem to only be nice to their wives so long as their own needs are being met. Men like that need to get punched in the face. I know that men are not the only ones who put themselves first but I do feel like we were the ones who did it first. In my experiences, selflessness comes easier to woman than it does men.

You need to communicate more with your spouse and keep it positive. I have three kids under the age of 4 at home. Sometimes they run my wife into the ground. It’s hard work raising three kids so close in age. Do I dare try to put my day on the same level as hers? No way! I know that my day can be tiring, but it’s not the same kind of tiring at all. I compliment my wife on the job she is doing and remind her of how amazing of a mother she is to my children.

We laugh and enjoy moments new and old as often as possible. All of the photos we take with our smartphones play through our Apple TV. At least a few times a week we just sit there and watch photos of our family scroll by. It’s a happy time that I would not trade for any show that could be playing on our TV.

2. In the Bedroom: Yes I agree that intimacy is important, but I don’t think it is “the key” to a happy marriage. It helps, but no amount of intimacy can make up for a selfish spouse or a spouse that does not appreciate the other.

3. Appreciating Each other: My wife and I love to share personal triumphs with each other. When I land a new client, I celebrate with her. When she creates something with her bare hands, I celebrate with her. When our kids hit a new milestone, we celebrate together. My wife knows that I take pride in my work and when I triumph, I get excited about it. That makes her excited, and it makes me feel good that she gets excited. When she creates something, or someone asks her to create something for them, I get excited because I know my wife enjoys it and is good at what she does. I like seeing her happy. That makes me happy. It’s as simple as that.

4. Sharing New Experiences: I love experiencing new things with my wife. I am a few years older than she is so there was some catching up to do, but now we experience new things together. We get away for a weekend and try new restaurants. Sometimes “new” doesn’t even have to enter the situation. We love going to Dewz, which is an upscale restaurant in Modesto. Most of the time, we order the same items, but it is an experience that we enjoy together. The TV shows that we get into are shows we both like, that way we can laugh together.

5. Marriage and Our Happiness: This part of the infographic I did not agree with. Sure everything is easier at the beginning because you have not experienced any difficulties together. This tells me that much of the world does not do a good job dealing with conflict together. My wife and I are not the best at conflict resolution but we respect each other enough to let things go. We don’t hold on to things and let them eat us away. I am sure there are countless things about me that my wife would have never imagined having to deal with when she got married one day, but she deals with them and most of the time I don’t even know it.

Having kids has definitely added stress to our lives but we both agree that our lives are vastly enriched because of our children. If you are less happy after having children it is because you are a selfish person. I would gladly adopt your child and let you go back to your selfish ways. If you did not intend on having children yet got yourself into a situation where you now have a child, you need to suck it up and stop being selfish. Your time of selfishness ended when that child entered the world. Hopefully you realized this when you got married. This does not mean that you can not have the things that you want to have. You just have to recognize the order in which things should happen.

My wife’s happiness is my #1 priority under the sun. When she hurts, I hurt. I know that my life would suck exponentially if she was not in it. Because I recognize this, I will always strive to make her happy. I may fail at it at times but she knows how imperfect I am. My kids come second to her. Yes they have needs that may seem more immediate. I do make sure to take care of those needs and I do not neglect my children. I always check in with my wife to make sure everything is good. I put aside things that I may want to rather be doing to be with her and make sure she is cared for. It is my job alone to care for her and to make sure she feels safe and loved. I took that job from her father the day I married her.

6. Why Get Married? I can honestly say that I come across more people that shouldn’t have gotten married than I do people who I am glad did get married. This is a sad fact. Those who I have been close enough to know enough about their situations I know for a fact that selfishness comes down to the root core of their problems.

7. Kids Impact on a Couple’s Happiness: Sure kids add a new dynamic to a relationship. I am not going to lie and say that it does not make it hard. My wife definitely snap at each other more often now than we did before we have kids, but I have much more satisfaction with my marriage to my wife now that we have kids then we did before. Before we had kids my wife and I had never created anything together. There was nothing that we did that had much of an impact on anything. Sure we took some fun trips and experienced a lot together (we were married a little over 2 years before having our first child), but none of that compares with bringing our children into this world. The Infographic below says that couples are unhappiest when their kids are in preschool and that their happiness levels do not return until after their kid graduates. That is sad and it sounds like a lot of people just can’t seem to let go of their own selfish ways and take joy in their families.

Let me tell you why my marital satisfaction has increased since we had children:

  1. I get to watch my wife mother my children. This is truly amazing. We made the decision together to make sure she could stay home and raise our children. I didn’t want my children to be raised in daycare. I feel like our nation is going to hurt big time because of the decision of parents to put kids in childcare rather than make sacrifices that would allow the mother to stay home.
  2. We are investing ourselves into something together that is greater than us. Though it is hard and some days are all about staying sane, we love investing our time into our children. My wife and I both want nothing more than to raise children that will grow up and be a responsible part of society. We both know that our greatest work in life here on earth are our children.
  3. We also remember to invest in ourselves. My wife and I both allow each other to occasionally take part in hobbies we enjoy. She loves to craft and create things with her hands. I love my work and racing. We don’t go overboard on our personal activities. Sometimes months go by without making a trip to the race track. Sometimes a month or so go by without my wife having time to touch her craft area. We both have set out priorities and make choices to put others first in our family before ourselves.

Is it easy? NO! It’s not easy, but if you think that easy is better than your parents raised you wrong. If you are going to be happy as a married person and happy with having children then your mindset needs to change. You need to be able to find joy in other people’s happiness.

I love taking my wife places and experiencing things with her. I love teaching my kids to do new things and watching them experience new things. God willing, my kids will not know what it’s like to grow up in a daycare. My kids will know what it’s like to grow up with their mothers love and direction. They will know what it’s like to have a hard working father. They will know that their mother could have done great things in the world as a professional of her choosing but decided to stay home and raise them because her love for them was greater than other worldly achievements (plus I remind my wife all of the time that she will still be young when our youngest reaches age 18).

The Michelangelo Effect: I agree that the happiest relationships come from those who bring out the “ideal” selves in each other. Everything about my wife makes me a better person and even though I believe that my wife is just an amazing person regardless, I am sure I do things that make her want to be a better person as well. My wife and I encourage each other to grow. I want her to become the person she wants to be and she wants me to achieve that as well.

Final Thoughts: It all comes down to respect. If you do not respect your spouse, you will be unhappy. You will never be able to put your selfish needs and desires aside if you do not respect them. I respected my wife enough not to live with her before we got married and I decided that when we got married that it was not going to be all about me anymore. My struggles did not need to become her struggles. If you think that your spouse is the selfish one, take a look in the mirror first. My guess is that you are probably more selfish than you think. Happiness is not science nor is it difficult to understand so long as you can make yourself the type of person who can put others before yourself.

Enjoy the Infographic.

Happy Marriages Infographic

HappifyLifehacker

Get my Sunday Dispatch right in your inbox
Subscribe
Join 18.5K subscribers
close-image