Tag Archives: wife

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.

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

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.

Date with Dad

February 11, 2012 was Valentine’s Day weekend. This was also my daughter’s first-ever date and I was her special date at the Focus on the Family’s Date with Dad event. They host this annual high tea for teenage girls and their fathers.

I even got an info pack a week beforehand with an attached printable invite for my daughter. I printed it out in color and placed it on my daughter’s desk after I wrote her name on the invite. Later I saw this invite pasted on her wall.

My wife had told me that our daughter who is normally clad casually in jeans and T-shirt did not have a dress. So a month earlier my wife went shopping to buy a dress for her just for this special occasion. Two of her colleagues even volunteered to help shop with her.

On Saturday, Deborah looked really pretty in her new floral dress. My wife also helped me pick a nice shirt that would match her dress.

Our pre-booked taxi arrived but I forgot to open the car door for Deborah. Upon arriving at the Regent Hotel, I redeemed my lack of chivalry earlier and opened the door for my date!

Deborah and I walked to our table and I remembered to help her with the chair 🙂  We talked to the other 3 father-daughter pairs at our table and discovered that one dad had previously attended the same event with his older daughter. He was attending now with his younger daughter. I noticed that the participants and those who volunteered to serve at this event were all genuinely glad to be here.

This was indeed a high-quality event – the photo shoot for every father-daughter pair was very nicely done; a pair of teddy bears with a stalk of rose sat on our seats along with a goody bag; a table setting complete with Date with Dad colors and look; a professionally decorated stage and all the various meticulous details certainly set the stage and atmosphere for the program that followed.

Both the on-stage and off-stage games were fun and light-hearted. The quizzes were hilarious! The pack of questions helped us get into heart conversation. The letter writing to each other was helpful in bonding. The Father’s Pledge and the purity ring presentation were so special.

Thank you to Focus on the Family for this amazing afternoon. I am sure that the other 123 pairs of dads and daughters feel the same. For me, this day felt like a celebration of my relationship with Deborah. My daughter will definitely remember this date and the memories from this event are etched deeply in her heart. Just this morning, she showed me that stalk of rose from the event and my Date with Dad invite to her is still on her wall. What a daughter! What a date!

This week’s post is contributed by Ben KC Lee who was one of the Father-Daughter participants at FOTFS’ Date with Dad held on Feb 11, 2012.

Caring for the Courageous

Inspired by the movie, Courageous, I’ve been making some personal observation about the women behind Courageous men whom I personally know.

In the words of the producers, “Hollywood produces movies to entertain and make money at the box office. Courageous was made to change lives.” The movie has the potential to change the family climate and it is certainly changing the lives of not only the men but the wives as well.

It takes a Courageous man to answer the call and fully resolve to stay committed to a standard above mediocrity and be more than just a “good enough” father and/or husband.

I realized that he can’t do it alone. The Courageous man is not immune to the challenges, discouragement and temptations that abound when he devotes himself to making and keeping commitments that will bring him and his family all the blessings and joy.

Author Kay Arthur puts it so aptly – that one of the greatest fears that dominate husbands in particular, is the fear of being found inadequate.

After being married for almost 20 years and learning from many other marriages, I’ve ascertained that a wife is the best person to help alleviate this fear. It comes down to my three “As” – my Attention, my Admiration and my Affirmation.

It is not often articulated, but my husband desires to know more than anything that I trust him and that I believe in him. He is fulfilled when he senses that despite his inadequacies, I see the possibilities and potential God has given him; I recognize and support his divinely wired role as the leader and provider of our family.

Being that voice of support, confidence and encouragement is a morale booster to him. It quells the continual struggle against any sense of inadequacy that smolders inside of him.

The truth is that I’ve not always been that voice. I recall the earlier years of our marriage – I was so naturally quick to criticize and correct my husband’s actions. There were times when I felt justified in what I said because I think that’s the way he ought to feel about himself after what he’s done or not done! Nothing can be more damaging and destructive to him and to me and the entire family. It took me quite a while though to realize what was happening.

Our men aren’t perfect. Neither are they delusional, they know it too even if they are not quick to admit it. But just like you and me, he is not to be defined by his imperfections. Sure there are times for talking plainly and honestly about things he needs to improve and watch out for. But I’ve learned my lesson that it will go a long way for me to choose wisely what I say, how I say and when to say.

Our cutting, nagging comments can wound him deeply, especially when any disapproval and resentment are unresolved and accumulated over time. It makes him feel belittled and insignificant, beaten down and discouraged. What we think of as no more than a little jab about a specific incident becomes a stabbing wound that can leave a hole in his heart.

Yet equally powerful are our simple, honest, even casual compliments.  When we make it our resolution to remind them of the potential and possibility that lies within them – not because we are patronizing or manipulating them but because we truly believe it – they feel on top of the world. This is one sure way to care for the Courageous.

I trust that the unwavering assurance of my support and devotion will inspire him to greater things than he’s proven capable of before, breakthroughs that would bring forth a richer blessing and depth of relationships to our family.

Indeed I can say that “My husband is a rich man because he has a strong faith, children who love him and a wife who adores him.”

“To my husband, Ben – my resolution is to be faithful to you and honor you in my conduct and conversation, help you reach your God-given potential and to serve you well as a wife and to be the kind of woman who truly blesses her man. I pray that when the curtain closes on my time here on earth, you will be able to confidently say that I was a woman of resolution.”

Wedding Rings

When the man handed back our rings to us, they were so shiny that we could barely recognize them. I held mine in my hand for a while, trying to read the inscription I knew was on the inside of the ring, to also ensure I was putting it on the right way. But it just gleamed back at me such that I could hardly make out the words.

For a split moment, I felt the girlish excitement of being married once again. Then human nature hit and I turned to my husband and said insidiously, “You see, this is what you should have done for our 10th anniversary.” We could potentially have started a fight there and then.

As we walked out of the jewelry shop, I realized that what I was expecting was some romance. In that brief moment of collecting our rings, I had somehow envisaged my typically spontaneous husband holding onto my ring, asking me again for my hand, lovingly placing the ring on my finger and saying, “I marry you again. And every day of our lives!”

Even better that it would have been done in front of others – embarrassing oneself in order to express one’s love has a romantic ring to it; that willingness to devote love at your own expense is like saying, “I love you so much I’d lay down my life (aka my pride) for you”! Instead, what happened was more like, “Nah, here’s your ring. See, isn’t it shiny? Now put it back on.”

I learned in this very brief experience how intricately romance and spontaneity are linked. Romance is when, in the spur of the moment, your lover does something nice for or to you that’s unexpected. The surprise element arises because it catches you unaware, such as:

  • Receiving flowers at your office from your spouse, out of the blue and for no reason      at all – not even as a gesture of apology or to set the mood for intimacy that night.
  • Coming home to a house that’s been cleaned and tidied up without your knowledge.
  • Hearing the sound of your favorite music as you exit the bathroom after washing up for the night (even though your spouse doesn’t believe in having the music on when you go to bed). Better yet, to have a quick romantic dance in the bedroom before retiring to bed.
  • Having your favorite snack produced out of nowhere when settling down with your      spouse for a bout of TV watching.
  • Being stopped in the middle of the walkway or mall by your spouse who takes you in his arms and kisses you in public, just as if you were in Paris!

(*I hope my husband’s getting the hint…!!!)

After 10 years of marriage, I’ve learned to stop simply pointing the finger at my spouse. What is more productive is to ask myself what I can learn. Undoubtedly, I would have to ask myself when was the last time I did something romantic for my husband. If you’re anything like me, you probably can’t remember! But if you do, write me!!!