2. Grow a listening ear and a communicative tongue
OK, we men marry because of lust and sex, admit it! But women marry because they wanted a soul mate, someone they can share and talk to (like to their girlfriends *rolleyes* but that's another post). Frankly, we men are lousy in this area because we don't respond well to what we listened. I personally tend to give solutions to every single thing my wife brought up but many a times, she just wanted to talk (ahem, I still make this mistake today but very much lesser lar).
To be her Man, I gave my wife freedom to express her mind (like women these days needed permission to speak their mind....) and I try to tune in to her feelings that are many a times unspoken (I still hate this, men are not natural born mind readers ya hear?). Many relationship authors have mentioned that failure in communication is probably the most common reason for marriages to break-up.
Here's a tip: My ranking for listening shot through the roof when I learnt to shut my mouth, digest what she just said, and then give my carefully worded reply. hahahahar! tough eh? heck, carefully worded replies are better than having a misunderstanding and fire-fighting later, trust me.
3. Make family decisions - take the lead
This is the area I failed the most and contributed significantly to the whole heartache/drama in my first 3 years of marriage. My wife had an impression that I am not making enough family decisions. The truth is I saw her as capable, that's why I married her - I wanted a smart wife, and I sort of like let her make some decisions - thinking that she would be happy that I allowed her to make family decisions! What misconception I had!
As the modern sensitive man that I am (ahem), I thought that smart working career woman like my wife would have liked their husband to give them more freedom that what their moms/aunties had decades ago. When some family matters were brought to the table, and I know that I would be happy with whatever decision she make, I would say something like "Up to you, anything you like dear". Of course I was dumbfounded when she became extremely unhappy – isn't that what she wanted? Didn't I agree with her idea? The unhappier she was, the more I agreed with whatever she wanted. Needless to say, that got me more into trouble waters!
Things were so bad that I finally snapped out of the spiral, by God's grace, when I suddenly realised that this was the missing link (about time, duh?). Therefore to be the Man, be seen to make wise decisions for the family. The bucket stops at your feet. If possible, do not trouble your wife to play the role of a Man for the family. That’s your job! Not only the Man must make the final decision, he also takes the initiative to implement the decision. Of course, some actions would be delegated to the wife or jointly acted upon especially in areas of parenting.
Every wife would like her Man to cherish and love them. This is different from the "decide to love your wife" in the previous post. This calls for actions of love and giving praises. Women are creatures of little things, they like small cutesy stuffs (like diamond rings? yikes!), hugs and holding hands in public and little love notes of sincere appreciation or praises. As the Man of her life, I have to be concerned about her health, looks, career, dressing, hair colour, perfume, condition of the car (haiks!) - all things that concerns her. Once she knows that you do care about her, wahlaueh, go reap the rewards lar! It is frequently said that behind a successful man is his wife. We should equally stand behind our wife - she expects her Man to support (protect) her when it matters.
Conclusion: So where are we now?
I am glad the first 3 years are over. This month is our 6th anniversary (oops, 7th year itch coming soon!) [additional note: the original post was in November 2004]. We are very much comfortable and happy with each other now. She has changed a lot too, from smart independent career woman, to loving wife and mother. These days, she is not as ambitious as before and values time with family more than working late hours. But I guess she changed because I changed first.
The above are just my sincere sharing. I am by no means the best husband around and am still learning everyday, but I think the worst days of my marriage have passed (Praise be to the Lord). The above pointers can be read in many relationship books but I especially recommend:
* Husbands & Fathers: Rediscover the Creators Purpose for Men by Derek Prince (ISBN: 1852402733).
Its 150 pages are easy to read and straight to the point. Wished I found it earlier though ;) Thanks for reading my 6th Anniversary post.
Buaya69 - out.
but now Belacan in. Thanks for reading my "recycled" post, have a good weekend ;)