Since our tenth anniversary was just a few months ago, I'd thought I share ten things I've learned about marriage. Guys, feel free to take notes. Honey, I know I still have more to learn.
1. Take time to notice and say thank you. It may be the same chores, the same meal, and the same kids, but don't overlook all that your wife continues to do for you. Pay attention and let her know you are paying attention.
2. Speaking of paying attention, don't try to fake it. If you are immersed in the game or an email or a book better to tell her so instead of making a vain attempt at multitasking. Say "Dear, let me finish this page/paragraph/play and I'll be able to give you my undivided attention."
3. Get her something for Christmas, Valentine's Day, her birthday, and her anniversary. Consider Ground Hog's Day and Arbor Day just to be safe. She may tell you she doesn't need anything. And with some wives, she may even mean it. But don't find out if she does.
4. Surprise her. Don't be dull. Don't always be predictable. Surprise her with a poem, a gift, a trip, a night out with her friends, a chance to see her mom, a day home from the office. Show her that you think about her even when you aren't expected to.
5. And while we are talking about expectation, understand that sometimes she wants you to "get it" without having to spell it out for you. Yes, it would be easier if your wife just told you exactly what she wanted when she wanted it. But that ain't the way things work with the fairer sex. You have to learn to pick up the coffee without her telling you to. You have to pick the right restaurant on your own. Sometimes what she wants more than anything else is for you to figure out what she wants. That may drive you bonkers, but it's part of loving your wife well enough to know her well.
6. Don't compare. No wife is perfect (except mine probably), but don't try to improve her by comparison. Nothing good is going to happen when you bring up your momma, your buddy's wife, or Susanna Wesley. Unless the comparison is to Jesus, just drop it.
7. Don't use up all your words by 6pm. Your wife wants you to talk, so learn to talk. Talk about your day. Talk about your plans. If you have feelings, talk about those too. Respond to her communication with more than nods and hmms. And don't say "interesting" if you aren't really listening. You'll get yourself in trouble.
8. Don't talk about leading, just lead. A lengthy discussion on the meaning of kephale will fascinate a few wives, but almost all wives appreciate a husband's gentle leadership. Ask her to pray. Say "let's." Take initiative with the kids, especially in discipline. Call the babysitter. Iron out the details. Don't shy away from hard decisions. Be a man.
9. Make her laugh. A marriage without humor is like oatmeal without brown sugar: it might still be good for you, but it's basically congealed mush. If you've stopped laughing, you may have started hardening.
10. Repent and forgive. Say "I'm sorry." Be specific and don't make excuses. Try to see things her way. If you were only half wrong, own up to your half of the wrong. And when she owns up to her half (or her three-quarters or her one-eighth), give her grace, give her a hug, and move on.
Happy birthday Trisha. And no, this blog is not your only present.