Tag Archives: husband

Men and the Art of Meaningful Conversation

Man and Woman in Conversation

“Honey, what’s on your mind?” “I don’t think you would really want to know…”

While we want meaningful, honest conversations with our mates, women don’t really want to hear certain things that guys have on their minds even though that’s what they are thinking.

If guys were allowed to openly share their thoughts, the following would be examples:
1. “Honey, would you wear those high heels just for me along with that bikini?”

2. “Dear, my buddies asked me to go fishing on Saturday. I’ll be gone for the day.”

3. “That striped outfit makes you look like a zebra and horizontal stripes make you look big.”

Instead, men will most likely get the following responses:
1. “You think I call-girl ah?”

2. “Who’s going to look after the kids? Huh? Fine! Go do whatever you want (which means don’t you dare do whatever you want).

3. “Well at least I don’t have a beer gut hanging over my belt and I have better taste than that ridiculously tight shirt you have on and I’m healthier than you are.”

So men must learn how to say what they want to say tactfully. Try:
1. “Honey, you look gorgeous and like ‘wow’ in those heels. And that swimsuit is so attractive. They both match. Wow. Wow. Wow. I can only imagine what you’d look like in them at the same time.”

2. “Dear, my buddies whom I haven’t seen for such a long time asked if I’d go fishing with them coz men hardly bond together and can be such loners…which can be unhealthy coz it’s important for them to share with other men. But I told them I’ve got to help my wife look after the kids because parenting is a shared task. Even though they pleaded, I said I’d ask my wife for her thoughts on that matter.”

3. “Honey, you look lovelier in the other outfit. The white areas are turning yellowish.”

It’s not what you say. It’s how you say it that matters.

Gary is the resident “blogger of few words” whose brevity and takes on love, life and daily interactions with his son are rather popular with readers. He loves his wife and son dearly, and enjoys jamming together with them as a family band.

Advertisements

What No One Told Me About Sex: Tips for Newlyweds

We spent the first few days of our married life at a mountain resort. Our loft suite overlooked breathtaking views and with a crackling fireplace and plush bed linens, it was made for romance. But what happened next was far from what I had expected! When we got home from the trip, I immediately confided in my friend and mentor and purchased a book she recommended on sex for newlyweds. If I had only sought her advice before the wedding, our honeymoon could have gone a little smoother.

Here’s what I wish someone had told me about sex:

It’s not like the movies

To be honest, my expectations for the wedding night were very much shaped by what I’ve seen in the movies. Couples onscreen are always raring to jump into bed and make love all night long. In reality, a couple’s first time together can be clumsy, messy, embarrassing and for the wife, often painful. So it’s only natural that some couples come away from the wedding night feeling disappointed. Actually, sex is something that gets better with practice, rather like learning to dance with a partner. The first few times you tango, you’re bound to step on each other’s toes! Trying to “go all the way” on the wedding night may introduce feelings of pressure and anxiety, especially when you are already exhausted from the day’s events. Instead, enjoy the intimacy of kissing and caressing each other and learning what gives your spouse pleasure. Marriage experts Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg remind married couples “that although it’s good to work toward climax, the journey is pretty unbelievable too.”

It’s important to talk about sex

Most of us feel awkward talking about the “s” word but good communication builds sexual intimacy. Start talking about sexual expectations once you’re engaged. This lays the groundwork for open communication about sex after marriage. Tell your spouse about your preferences, what excites you and what turns you off. Sex therapists Dr. Clifford and Joyce Penner say that “expressing positive messages during sex enhances the experience for both spouses”. My husband and I have developed the habit of giving feedback soon after we make love. We are careful not to criticise but share honestly, positively and lovingly. This has helped us improve as lovers and enjoy our times together more.

It takes planning

Right after our honeymoon, my husband was called away to work out of town for two weeks – I had never missed anyone so badly! When real life takes over, so many things can interfere with romance – busy schedules, stress, conflict, TV, children, illness and so on. And when you’ve been married for a few years, it’s all too easy to let sex take a backseat to that last email you need to send or that latest TV show. We need to prioritize our marriage and intentionally make time for intimacy. Make a date to be alone with your spouse, commit to it and keep it free of interruptions.

The beauty about sex within the context of marriage is that you have a lifetime together – there is no pressure to get it right on the first night, or even in the first year!

LJ and her husband have been married 7 years and have three delightful children. They keep the romance alive by putting the children to bed early and listening to their favourite playlist of 90’s love songs.

Making Love Last

Men and women are different by design. The wife’s role is to respect her husband. The husband’s role is to love his wife. This is a demanding role. Here are three ways for a husband to say, “I love you.”

  • Choose a sacrificial love
    This love is unselfish, one that seeks the highest good for the one loved. This love is self-sacrificing. The man’s place in the family is leadership qualified by the highest demand for love.

The following story by James Montgomery Boice illustrates this. In Greek history, the wife of one of the generals of Cyrus, the Persian king, was accused of treachery and condemned to die. As soon as he heard about it, he rushed to the palace and burst into the throne room. He threw himself on the floor before the king and cried out, ‘My Lord Cyrus, take my life instead of hers. Let me die in her place.’

Cyrus, a noble and sensitive man, was touched by the offer. He said, ‘Love like that must not be spoiled by death.’ Then he gave the husband and wife back to each other and let the wife go free.

As they walked away happily the husband said to his wife, ‘Did you notice how kindly the king looked at us when he gave you the pardon?’

The wife replied, ‘I had no eyes for the king. I saw only the man who was willing to die in my place.”

That’s the kind of love husbands are to have for our wives. Ladies, don’t marry a man who is not willing to die for you. He is not worthy of you. Husbands, we who don’t help our wife with the kids or housekeeping do not love our wife sacrificially.

  • Choose a securing love
    Our wife feels secure when we assure her of our love. When you love your wife, tell her. Hug her and hold her hands. Care for her as we care for our own body. Women feel loved when they are cared for. Seek what is best for her. Make her wellbeing your primary priority. For wives, being pampered is the ultimate aphrodisiac. It is a medical fact that women who feel cherished have fewer ‘headaches’.
  • Choose a solid love
    When a man loves a woman it’s a solid love. He does not worry what his mommy says. It’s all right to love your mommy as long you recognise you leave mom and unite with your wife to have a solid marriage. A solid love avoids manipulation from in-laws or kids. Communication strengthens a marriage. But guys are not famous for listening. So ask your wife about her day and listen. Let her tell you about her day. Get in touch regularly and call when overseas.

Marriage is a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman. How can love last? You’re the king of the castle and she’s your queen. The queen has no problem respecting the king when he’s treating her like the queen. Husbands, exercise initiative in loving and get the ball rolling. This is not an easy plan. But when you do, you will find a marriage that meets the deepest needs of your spouse and a marriage that blesses other people.

Written by Ben KC Lee
Ben and his wife, Dinah, will be conducting a Marriage Mentoring Training on Sep 14-15 to equip married couples to come alongside younger couples in their marriages by befriending, encouraging, and guiding them in their journey.  More information here

My Man of Courage & Honor

I’ve just gone through the past week celebrating the man of my household, on Father’s Day and his birthday. We often hear about the sacrifices a mom makes for the family but things have been very different in my household since a year ago.

This time last year, I was going through a slew of diagnostic tests that led to the biggest ‘nightmare’ of our lives – I was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer.

We’ve had to make some adjustments as a family and the load on the husband has multiplied overnight. I thank God for the financial provision (and the insurance that covered all my medical bills) that allows the husband to be a full-time husband, full-time father. Literally!

So beyond the battle of uncertainties and the onward (somewhat) steep slope of recovery, our little girl and I have been enjoying the blessing of having our “man” around. Appreciation to this “man” is often downplayed by the lists of “to do’s”, for example:

As a husband,

I go to him when I need a shoulder to cry on and a ear to listen to my ranting when “life gets tough”, or when I need a cup of freshly squeezed organic juice. I am blessed with the best of everything – I get to enjoy the mussels and prawns while he takes the rice and I get to eat steaming hot oats while he goes without breakfast because he is busy washing up the dishes.

He has also become a victim of my harsh words especially when I am in pain. He’s unafraid to speak words of truth when I am on a downward spiral and is generous to lavish love even if it means buying a random item that is completely unimportant but simply that it makes me happy.

As a father,

Our little girl goes to him when she wakes up, needs to go to the bathroom, wants to swim, play or dance, needs her breakfast, wants a cuddle, too tired to walk and wants to be carried, too tired to eat on her own and wants to be fed … the list goes on.

She is a daddy’s girl who is assured of her father’s unconditional love and hand of protection. He doesn’t hold back discipline when the need arises and seizes opportunities to teach values even though it’s “easier” to just let it go.

It is natural for a man to gain his satisfaction at the workplace through climbing the corporate ladder. The sense of achievement through providing financially and gaining a reputation out there. But my beloved husband has laid aside all these and chosen to be the “man” in this season for the family.

It takes courage and devotion, and he has done all that excellently. It is no easy task for him, I know. The path he treads can be lonely especially with the uncertainties that lie ahead. But his steadfastness in this journey is nothing short of amazing and it has been the stabilizing force for our family.

I used to think that financial well-being and concrete future plans are the keys of a stable family, but my husband has shown me otherwise.

So this season has given me an opportunity to give thanks – for the husband and father of this household who has been standing unwavering in his love and commitment to me and our little girl. And this week has given me every reason to affirm and recognize him as the Man of Courage and Honor in our family and because of that we are truly, truly blessed!

This week’s blog post is contributed by Chia Yen who worked at Focus on the Family Singapore until a few months ago

Which School?

I’m at that life stage when the no. 1 question asked of me as a parent is, “Where are you sending your son next year?”

Yep, my son is going to Primary One next year. And no, I haven’t decided where I’m sending him; I haven’t done any parent volunteerism in any school (and understand it’s too late to even try that now); I haven’t pulled any strings; I haven’t a clue when exactly primary school registration for next year starts; I don’t fully comprehend the complex system of the different phases of queuing and balloting for a place in a choice school, and so the recent news that the Ministry of Education will now give Singaporeans full priority over Permanent Residents in primary school registration hasn’t made a dent on me.

I can hear your gasp of utter disbelief and shock. Perhaps even disgust, “Such a terrible mother!”

“I’m sure you could use your position at Focus on the Family to get him into a good school.”

“Why don’t you offer to conduct family life talks and workshops for free for X-branded school? I’m sure they’ll let your son in then.”

“You should sign up to be a member of Y organization so you can get bumped up the queue.”

Well-intended words of comfort and advice.

The fact is, I don’t actually mind sending my child to the nearest neighbourhood school, if that is the only school with a vacancy for him. I’ve been trying to convince my husband that there could be hidden benefits in a school that isn’t over-crowded like the rest of Singapore, and where the teacher-student ratio could be smaller and allow my son more individualized attention. The irony is that I have attended “branded schools” all my student life and my husband the very opposite.

Okay, I’m sure you’re wondering why I don’t just enrol my son then in my alumni “branded” primary school. The reason is simple – it’s too far from home.

Let me qualify that I have given some thought to my child’s schooling:

  • Proximity of school to home. I do not wish for my son to spend 2 hours a day travelling to and from school, having either to wake up really early or come home really late. Those hours could be better spent doing fun stuff.
  • Proximity of school to workplace. I’d like to still have the opportunity to send and fetch my son to and from school as much as my flexi-work allows. I find those times invaluable in catching my son at a time when he would typically want to share about his day, before the distractions of life take over.
  • Environment in school. Like it or not, we adopt the culture of the place we’re at. Chances are, my child won’t lack stimulation or challenge. What I need to guard against is probably my child striving to achieve something that is always just beyond his reach or pegged to his self-worth. Environment is also shaped by who my child hangs out with and the parents of the kids he hangs out with, who inevitably impart their values through their child and to mine. Experience in my line of work has taught me that good parents aren’t found only in certain schools.
  • Nurturing teachers. It has long been debated whether good schools have better teachers, and if the teacher determines how well the students perform. My son’s first experience with formal learning was very much aided by his nurturing teachers, who are not of a “branded” kindergarten.
  • Match between the school and my child. I need to know how my child is wired. What pace of learning suits him best? What kind of environment would enable him to excel and fully develop as a holistic person? Which place would best shape his character and hone his natural talents?
  • Direct investment in my child. To be honest, I did consider becoming a parent volunteer. But with time being an already scarce commodity, it occurred to me that I’d rather spend my free time bonding with my son. Research after all indicates a link between a strong parent-child relationship and a child’s academic success!
  • School is about learning and not mere achieving. Learning character and values must take priority. I love Theodore Roosevelt’s quote: To educate a person in the mind but not in morals is to educate a menace to society. With the current spate of news highlighting brilliant scholars who’ve gone off the track, it seems that branded schools don’t have it all.
  • The bigger picture. I am reassured that primary school education is compulsory in Singapore. By that vein, my son has to be allowed into some school. More important than the school my son attends is the fact that I’m as involved in his life as I can be. And more important than the grades he produces is the person he becomes.

The primary school registration exercise is a great life lesson and test of us as parents. Like any other parent, we want the best for our child. But what defines “the best”? Is it the exposure to better and multiple opportunities that branded schools promise? Are “branded” families one-up on “neighborhood” families?

At the end of the day, I’ve come to realize that I have more control over my child’s schooling than I’d probably care to admit – in providing the kind of home environment that would far outweigh or complement the influence of whichever school he ends up in. That is not just encouraging, but empowering!

Much to think about Lin-sanity

Lin-sanity… yea, you know what I am talking about. Just a few weeks ago, our Facebook Newsfeed was dominated by news and videos of the latest NBA star, Jeremy Lin. “Does this guy get anymore awesome??!” This was my friend’s Facebook status after reading The Faith and Fate of Jeremy Lin on http://www.patheos.com. I can understand my friend’s exclamation. I mean a Harvard student, the underdog, near perfect stats yet humble, unassuming and persevering.

Once in a while, we need people like him to inspire us. It was revealed that Jeremy Lin’s parents played a pivotal role in shaping his character through the game of basketball. They were always more interested in his behavior on court than in his stats. If he played a good game (i.e. scored well) but lost his temper in the course of it, the topic of discussion his parents wanted to talk to him about after the game would be his behavior. No wonder Jeremy Lin is dazzling the crowd, not just with his skills but his humble attitude towards success and fame.

My son is 6 months old and I won’t lie, I simply adore him and I am guilty of spoiling him, almost. So it’s good that in view of the current of Lin-sanity, I remind myself of what truly matters in my child’s life.

1. Character
Does my son know the good, feel the good and do the good? We teach this at ‘No Apologies’, our character-based sexuality education for youth. It’s not enough for my child to know the right thing to do and feel in his heart that he ought to do something, he needs to translate it into action.

2. Confidence
Is my son secure in his identity? Jeremy Lin looks different from the rest on the court but yet he seems comfortable and confident. The security I’m talking about is not learned through any Toastmasters or Networking 101 courses, but established at a child’s tender age when he is loved unreservedly by his parents.

3. Compassion
What breaks my son’s heart? And I’m not talking about that first crush or rejection he is going to get from that girl. I’m talking about a passion, an injustice he sees in the society which stirs and moves him to action.

4. Calling
Finally, what is my son’s life going to count for? Once he grasps that, everyday for him will be joyous and purposeful. Isn’t that life at its best?

I know, my son is still a baby and I need to chill a little. But this is more for me than him. There is a wise saying, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” My husband and I have the responsibility to train and nurture this precious life given to us. And hopefully someday, he may just be that inspiration for others.

This week’s blog is written by Vicky Ho, Senior Communications Manager, at Focus on the Family Singapore.

10 Great Years & More…

Today is my husband’s birthday (Happy Birthday Hubs!) and tomorrow is my 10th wedding anniversary! We are so completely different yet I’m so amazed at how God has put us together, in such a complimentary way. He has been my mentor, my friend, my blind spot detector, my advisor and iron. Yes, iron because as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

But what’s the big deal about 10 years? Because there is a special name for it – a decade! Years 1 to 9 are called just that. But a DECADE! Seriously, a decade has gone by so fast and I dare say that our relationship has grown stronger through our time spent, conversations, disagreements, birth of and raising of our kids, etc. It’s been nothing less than an adventure.

I’ve been pretty excited about planning and spending a day with him since it’s a milestone year in marriage. It has also been a while since we went on a date, especially after I stopped having a domestic helper. I’ve been cracking my brains on how I can surprise him with a romantic gesture, but it’s been tough since this is something I’m not very good at. We thought we’d take a day off from work to spend quality time together. So with our work leave applied and approved and care arrangement for our kids settled, I was looking forward to our special day. Then last week, he said that there was urgent work to clear and he could only take the afternoon off. I was disappointed at first because that meant a change in plans and less time for our date. Then I remembered to apply one of the many lessons I’ve learnt in my 10-year marriage – Be adaptable!
In fact, marriage teaches one many things and it raises one up to be a better person if both parties work at it. So, I’ve decided to make a top 10 list of things I’ve learnt in the last decade of my marriage. Here goes:

1. Don’t nag. It really doesn’t work.
2. Speak words of affirmation to him, in front of him, and behind his back.
3. Learn to relax. Don’t be a ‘kanjiong spider’.
4. Focus on his strengths and all the good things he has done. And give thanks for that.
5. Aim to be a better person for him.
6. Don’t nag. Yes, it’s worthy of mention again.
7. Let him lead. Don’t do everything yourself and think you have to do everything yourself.
8. Listen, listen listen.
9. Make time to communicate.
10. Pray for him.

By the end of this blog, I’ve got a brain wave for my surprise gift. And I’m still looking forward to a great date with him and more to come.