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Sometimes I Really Suck at Being a Husband

Our columnist challenges husbands to woo their wives.

Confession time.

Sometimes I really suck at being a husband.

I’m serious. I say the wrong things at the wrong time way too often!  I walk around our house with one or both of my feet in my mouth 90 percent of the time (you try walking around like that—it’s not as easy as it sounds). Too many times have I acted like a total fool and it never dawned on me that more often than not my actions knocked my wife a little.

And the worst part of it all is that very often I allow “life” to get in the way of a beautiful relationship and the woman that has stood by me for 14 years.

So after reading some Father’s Day cards that made me stop and look in the mirror, I got on the horn and started talking to some men that don’t have my problem. I searched far and wide and talked to two different guys that are still dating their wives. They are apparently resistant to our genetically predispositioned idiocy when it comes to wives.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received concerning being a dad went something like this, “The best thing a dad can do for his children is to love their mother.” With this thought in mind I picked their brains for nuggets of truth that I could apply to my love life and I would like to share with you the wisdom that was imparted to me.

Just some fair warning before we begin though . . . these conversations were a kick in the gut to me.  I’m not talking about turning into the guy from The Notebook or The Vow (Dear Lord, anything but that!) but they did make me realize that I’m not holding up my end of the bargain on the romantic side of things. 

Know you now.

Both of the gentlemen that I spoke with have been married for many years and both have children. Some of the kids are little and some are older.  Both families have the same type of schedules that most of us do and yet their relationship has a freshness to it that’s hard to maintain. Allow me to paraphrase and tell you what they shared.

Never stop dating your wife.

I had heard this sentiment before but had never really seen it lived out.  Both men never stopped courting their wives. For them the words “I Do” didn’t signal an end to the dating, a finish line of sorts, instead it was just the beginning.

The have regular date nights where they plan the evening based on their wives' interests. They don’t wait till the last minute and ask their wives “Where do you want to go?”  They arrange for a sitter and get that evenings meals ready for the kids. They make sure that their wives have time to get ready before the date (i.e., keeping the kids out of the bathroom). 

Husband B said that he made sure to start the date early so that they could do a couple of things or that if his wife was tired from work she could go out and have a good time without falling asleep on him.

Most of the dates are easy and inexpensive. They are times to reconnect as adults. The conversations must stay away from kids, bills, or anything pertaining to home. They both said it was a little awkward at first but once they got the hang of it, the conversations were easy.

But every now and then they said they would plan something a little extra.  Whether it’s a little weekend get-a-way or a suit & tie reservation, they would do something special just because.

Say it

Both guys talked about saying ”I love you” on a regular basis. I was reminded of how I acted and talked around my wife when we were dating. Now, to be fair, I tell my wife on a regular basis (every day) that I love her.

But they also reminded me to not just say “I love you” but to get back in the habit of talking about how good she looks or how you can’t wait to see her or shoot her a text message to say you’re thinking about her.

Letting your wife know that you’re thinking about her during the day can be used to rekindle those long dormant emotions that we crave.

The White Knight

Remember when you first started dating your wife? Recall how you would jump at the chance to open her door for her, to pull out her chair, to show up in the nick of time just because.

Don’t stop doing those things.

Chivalry shouldn’t die they day you say your vows. If anything, I’ve learned that it should increase! We should be more inclined to do those things and to look for opportunities to be her White Knight.

Get her something

Bring home something just because. 

I fail miserably at this. I was chastised into remembering the little things I would give to my then girlfriend. I was asked why in the world I would have stopped doing that!?!

Go buy some flowers or a card or something you saw that reminds you of your wife, whatever it is just make sure you’re doing it because you love her. NO AGENDAS!

I read a story on a blog post recently that talked about a woman that cried every time her husband bought her flowers because all he wanted was sex.  Don’t be that guy.

Your wife isn’t a prostitute and we shouldn’t act like it or try to “buy” sex with these gifts. The men I talked to both said the gifts are just little expressions of love…nothing more.

Once I got over the pain of the verbal punches I realized that not only do I want to do these things but that I NEED to do these things, nay—I MUST DO THESE THINGS!

I love my wife—endlessly, passionately love my wife! How could I have ever allowed the mundane to take over that spark? How could I take for granted the time I have on this earth with the one person that makes me whole? Well, no more!

Husbands, I challenge you to stand with me and woo our wives!

I challenge you to come with me and go above and beyond the Homer Simpson’s of the world. 

Let’s go back to treating our wives like they were our girlfriends and not our maids or . . . gulp . . . our moms!

Let’s go back to dating our wives.

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