July 17, 2013

Dessert-First Date

My wife and I recently read one of those inspirational, stop-taking-your-life-for-granted books. Though I didn’t think the book was good enough to warrant recommending to others, there was a passing comment made in one chapter that I thought could be tweaked for a fabulous date idea.

You know how whenever you go out to restaurants the waiter comes up at the end of your overly-sized meal and asks if you want dessert? I don’t know about you, but my wife and I always say no. It’s not because we don’t want it, it’s just that we’re too full for it. Desert always seems like a good idea at the beginning of a meal, but it’s not something you particularly want to spend money on when you’re feeling completely stuffed.

So here’s the date idea. Take your wife out on a Dessert-First Date. Tell her that you both are going out to eat at her favorite restaurant, but there’s a twist: Before she can eat dinner, she must have dessert. You’re going to spend an evening doing something that flies in the face of everything your momma taught you: you’re going to ruin your dinner. After you both enjoy a sweet first course, then order something small afterward: a soup, salad, or an entree you both share.

It’s crazy, and it’s not something anyone should make a habit of, but that’s exactly why it will be a wonderful date. It’s a fun twist on that default dinner date we're all so accustomed to.

February 18, 2013

Earn The Right To Say No

My wife often asks me to do things around the house that I often would prefer not to do. They’re small things that seem to always come right about the time I decide to sit down and rest for a minute, or that involve me exerting more energy than I feel I want to give. But, because I love my wife and try hard not to fall into the I Don’t Want To Trap, I almost always oblige.

I say “almost always” because there are times when her requests come at a most inconvenient time for me. Maybe I’m minutes away from finishing an important email, or maybe I know that if I do what she’s asking, I won’t have time to finish getting ready before we have to leave. Or maybe it’s something trivial like wanting to finish the last four minutes of a TV show. At these times, I will tell my wife no, and she graciously responds with words of understanding. Why is that?

I have earned the right to say no.

My wife knows that unless I have a good reason not to do what she’s asking, I’ll do it immediately. I have made the immediate fulfillment of her requests the normal in our household. So when I do occasionally respond with, “No, I can’t do that right now,” she knows that I mean it and that I’m not just trying to get out of helping her.

But that’s not the end of it. Just because I’ve earned her trust to say no doesn’t mean I can skip out on doing these things for her when I am able. When she asks, “Would you mind coming in here and doing up some of these dishes?” and I respond with, “I can’t right now, but I’ll be in there just as soon as I make this phone call.” This lets her know the reason why I can’t do something, and tells her that I will help the minute I’m available. Sometimes she gets to the task before I am able to, but she knows that I wasn’t just avoiding it.

And what about wanting to finish the last four minutes of a TV show? Earn her trust. Don’t be sneaky about these things, be honest. If you’re expecting guests over in thirty minutes and she’s just asked you to vacuum the living room, be honest: “This show is over in six minutes. I’ll vacuum just as soon as it ends.” If you’ve made it a habit to help her whenever she asks and have fulfilled your word when you’ve had to put the task off for a little while, she won’t have to wonder if the thing is going to get done on time.

Don’t just say no. Earn the right to say no.

December 27, 2012

Create More Than You Consume (In Your Marriage)

Every year about this time we begin thinking about how we want the coming new year to be different—to be better—than the last. We all seem to have a natural desire to grow in some way. Though my temptation is often to think of a whole list of changes I want to make, this year I’m trying to keep it simple. In every area of my life, I want to create more than I consume. I love how simplistic and how hard it is.

Create more than you consume.

We are all trained to be consumers, and that attitude seeps into every area of our lives. It convinces us that the world was made for our effortless enjoyment and turns us all into entitled little rich kids. And we’re carrying this over into our marriages.

I am madly in love with my wife, and I love the relationship we have. In fact, I love my marriage so much that I often simply consume the goodness; I feed off of it when things are going well. Why work hard when things are going so well? However, it's just like our refrigerators: if we don’t replenish that which we are using, we’re going to go hungry.

I’ve started to try and live by this idea of creating more than I consume in all areas, but especially in my marriage. Instead of just feeding off the beautiful fact that my wife and I have a good relationship whether or not the bed gets made in the morning, I’m trying to remember to make the bed. Instead of giving into my desires to consume the day’s headlines or catch up on Facebook, I’m trying to create a happier home by getting to those projects we “never have time for.” These are little things, and that’s why they’re such a big deal.

This New Year’s, I challenge you to create the best marriage you’ve ever had. Stop simply feeding off the good of your relationship. Stop wasting moments in front of the TV or the computer. Take every opportunity to create more intimate moments, more dates, more smiles—more things you can be proud of.

Create more than you consume and you be more fulfilled in every way.

August 29, 2012

The Words She Needs To Hear

I love taking pictures and I have my camera with me just about all the time. Recently, however, I dropped my camera right onto a slab of concrete and it bent the extended lens in a way that rendered the camera inoperable. My heart was instantly crushed and I was so mad at myself for allowing it to happen.

As I turned to my wife she said something to me that makes me love her even more every time I think about it. Instead of getting on to me, she looked at me ever so genuinely and said, “We’ll buy you another one, don’t worry.”

April 25, 2012

"Crazy Good Sex"

The struggle men have with their own sexuality is a quiet, lonely battle. It’s amazing to me that we can live in a culture that shouts sex from the rooftops, televisions, radio stations, and the internet, yet we are still be so embarrassed to have any real conversations about it.

It shouldn’t be this way, but it is.

April 7, 2012

"Intimate Kisses"

I love words. I love how powerful they are, and I love the imagery and emotion they can evoke in my mind. I love sitting down to write and I love editing what I’ve written so it flows better and sounds stronger.

Because I’m such a fan of words, I’ve always been just a little bit frustrated that I can’t adequately describe the beauty and emotion of sexuality and making love with my wife. Sex is such a powerful thing. It is an experience that captures your body, mind, and soul. It goes so much deeper than “I love you” but trying to express that out loud often feels so clumsy.