Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What is Important to Men?

 First, let’s look at a few excerpts written by men about what THEY expect in a wife:

She must be beautiful, … not necessarily on the outside. She must be able to find the beauty in simple things. She must be able to find humor in the absurd. She must have a desire to care for me, and to let me care for her. She must know what forever means. She would be able to argue with me passionately and still respect my opinion. She must be kind. She must be honest and must be able to trust. She must want to look into my eyes at the end of our days and say 'We have done good things.'

A …“good wife” is someone who respects “all” people whether they are a Senator or a waiter in a restaurant. I also believe a “good wife” is someone who understands the value of a family and therefore family at all costs must come first when decisions are made. A good wife is someone who maintains peace and order within the household, looks after the bills, education of the kids, the nutrition and social entertainment of the family. Also a “good wife” is someone who is willing to speak out when/if there is something wrong (for example if the husband is doing something wrong). A good wife is also someone who accepts aging and so when she is 45 I don’t expect her to need to purchase a new hot red convertible and pretend she is a teenager. A “good wife” is also someone who doesn’t put pressure on herself, husband or the kids if the situation does not call for it (for example tells me to take out $2000 a month mortgage when I know we’d be better off with $1000 monthly mortgage, or tells the kids they must get all straight “A’s” in order to go to Disney World. A “good wife” is someone who loves/likes to work things in-house before telling the Sis, the momma, the “friend” the grandma and whoever else.  That’s my idea of a “good wife.”

When men FIND a good wife, they are devoted. 

Consider the most grand monument of unparalleled beauty built in the history of human civilization:  the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world, and the most memorable symbol of love in the world was built in honor of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal.  The most beautiful building in the universe took Shahjahan 22 years and most of his royal treasury to build. She was married at the age of 14 years old, she bore him 14 children, and she remained an inseparable companion of her husband till her death. She died while accompanying her husband in Behrampur in a campaign to crush a rebellion, after giving birth to their 14th child. Her death so crushed the emperor that all his hair and beard were said to have grown snow white in a few months.  For the love and affection she showed to her husband, Mumtaz Mahal received highest honor of the land - the royal seal.  According to the legends, stories of her virtue spread all over the Mughal Empire. 
 The Taj has a life of its own that leaps out of marble, provided you understand that it is a monument of love:  it actually changes colors to depict the different moods of women. 

Mumtaz was quite a woman to bear FOURTEEN kids, truck around with her husband everywhere – even accompanying him to “crush a rebellion,” and STILL be such an awesome companion and partner her husband created a WONDER OF THE WORLD for her!!!  Doesn’t that INSPIRE YOU that YOU can be wonderful to YOUR husband too – I want my husband to feel that way towards me!!!

Listen to these notes written by men to their wives:

“The Star in the East was a miracle as was the Virgin Birth.  I have no trouble believing in those miracles because a miracle happened to me and it’s still happening.  Into my life came one tiny dear and a light shone round about.  The light still shines and will as long as I have you.  Please be very careful when you cross the street.  Don’t climb on any ladders.  Wear your rubbers when it rains.  I love my light and don’t want to be ever in the dark again.  I love you – Merry Christmas – Your ranch hand.”

“I guess when I was young I thought marriage might be this way for a while:  I never knew it could go on and on, getting better and better year after year.”

“This is really just an ‘in between’ day.  It is a day on which I love you 365 days more than I did a year ago, and 365 less than I will a year from now.  But I wonder how I lived at all for all the 365’s before I met you.  All my love, Your Husband.”

What does a wife do to elicit these responses from her husband?  Let’s look at what EVERY woman who desires the heart of her husband needs to know.

What does he see in YOU?              Goal:  Virtuous Wife

A virtuous woman contributes to something outside herself and her circle of family and friends.  I think it is important for women to be involved in something that contributes to building our society in some way.   Whether it’s volunteering at a hospital, or at a cancer support group or nursing home, whether it’s being in charge of the Brownie troop or some other non-profit organization, it is important that we take the time to give back something to the society of which we are a part.  When you take the time to be involved in helping others less fortunate than yourself, many things come about as a result:

*Your kids see that it is important to take time for others, even while you’re still trying to “get it together” yourself.
*Your family is aware of those less fortunate and less apt to complain about petty things.
*Your family will have an enhanced appreciation of the “gift” of the “present.”

A virtuous woman exhibits VIRTUE. WHAT are some virtues?: prudence, temperance, courage, justice; love, hope, faith, humility, kindness, abstinence, chastity, patience, liberality, diligence, faith, hope, charity, fortitude, justice.  How are these virtues demonstrated in your daily life?   These virtues usually shine the brightest when tested…  Every person has at least one “gift” – one area where they are strong in.  Take your gift and use it to make your home a better place!

A virtuous woman can be trusted.  Can your husband trust you?  Can he trust that you will do him good and not evil all the days of your life?  That is the reference to the “virtuous woman” in Proverbs 31.  It says there that the virtuous woman’s husband safely trusts in her, so that he needs nothing.
He needs NOTHING!  This woman can be COUNTED ON!

A virtuous woman is a hard worker; she is not lazy!  She takes care of herself.  She learns about things she needs to know about:  mending, cooking, baking, and homemaking, but also computers, business deals, nutrition, and other things that are of value to her home.  She gets up early and often stays up late.  The virtuous woman, with her virtues, has really got it together!  And when she doesn’t she’s working towards getting it together!

A virtuous woman is a woman her husband can be proud of.  When your husband talks about you to others, or others talk to him about you, what are they saying about you?  Is your husband proud to tell his friends and associates about the things you are doing and the things you are involved in?  

Lightening the load                                       Goal:  Joyful Wife

A joyful wife takes responsibility for how she looks at things.  My sister has a sign hanging in front of the mirror in her bathroom saying, You are looking at the person responsible for your happiness.  We’re not talking about the kind of “happy” fleeting feeling a child has with a new toy – a “happy” feeling that quickly fades.  We are talking about an overriding sense of JOY from being the person you were created to be:  a good person, doing what you were created to do:  good things, thinking what you were made to think:  good things, and talking good.   Not retaliating and being a responder to others’ problems or actions, but being response-able for your actions:  actions that don’t change because you don’t change.

A joyful wife looks at the world with character.  You will tend to look at your world from the glasses you choose to wear.  I had a pair of pink colored glasses on my counter for quite some time to teach my kids to look at their world “through rose-colored glasses” on purpose.  And what glasses do you look at your world through?  Usually the glasses you are looking at the world through are colored with the STRONGEST character trait you have. 

For example, if you are loyal and trustworthy, you will look at other people that way.  If you have a negative, complaining spirit, when you leave a party, you will be looking at the party negatively.  If you have a grateful spirit, like the women I helped when I volunteered at Gilda’s Club, you will be looking at every day to find things to be grateful for. 

That explains why several people can live in the same household, and later, when talking about it, they will all see it through the “glasses” they have on. 

A joyful wife is looking for the good in life.  To illustrate this fact, I brought a beautiful bunch of irises to my daughter’s classroom.  I called half the class up to find the good things about the irises, and they began to detail them.  I called the other half of the class up to find the things that were wrong with the irises, and that half began to detail all the wrong things (bent stem wilted petal, etc.)  Did the irises change?  No, but each half of the class found what they were looking for.

What are YOU looking for when you get going with your day?  You will see people, circumstances and situations from the glasses you put on each morning.  That is why I find it is of utmost importance for me, and for my teens now, to begin each day by reading the Bible and concentrating on good things.

Did you ever walk along and not notice the little glittery pieces in certain parts of sidewalks?  If you look carefully, and on purpose, you can spot little “diamonds in the dust.”  But if you are rushing along, you will not see the little glittery pieces sprayed amongst the gray.

Stop to call attention to the leaves swirling in circles; to snow covered evergreens, to a flock of geese overhead.  Teach your children to find the best in each day! Make it a point to appreciate the good parts of each day, and of each person in your life.    Again, it needs to be a concentrated effort!   Put those rose-colored glasses on!  Retrain your vision!

Sowing into the harvest                           Goal:  Wise Wife

A wise woman has goals, works towards them, and considers the long-term ramifications of her actions as they relate to those goals.  Don’t get “lost in the minute” without any perspective of how your actions today affect your long-term goals.  I had a goal:  I was determined to “live happily ever after” with my husband.  At times, I was convinced that I would be “living happily ever after” by myself in my own imagination.  What is your goal for your marriage?  “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”  Write it down:  “I am going to celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary with the person I love the most,” – post it and live your life to accomplish it!  THAT’s wisdom!

A wise woman seeks counsel.  I have always taught my kids that if they don’t understand something in school, to seek help before they get so far behind they will never catch up.  Bridges are built before storms make the waters rise.  It is wise to seek counsel from someone who is succeeding at what you want to do (in other words DON’T seek counsel from a miserable 4x divorced person who is thinking of leaving her husband!).  Go to a marriage seminar, read a good book, - give some time and focus to making your marriage awesome before it goes unattended for too long!  If you are having problems, seek out help right away!

A wise woman realizes that every little action and every little word is contributing to the future success or demises of her marriage.  She LIVES out the things she knows to do without excuses.  It’s like each day you are given a packet of seeds to sow, and as you go through your day you are throwing your seeds everywhere in your field.  You can be sure that those seeds will produce something in your future!  The little seeds that seem so inconsequential are capable of producing exponentially an incredible harvest.  Consider a seed for a tomato plant:  not only does it produce the tomato plant, but THEN each tomato produces HUNDREDS of more seeds, so the capacity for each seed you sow should NOT be underestimated!!!  Considering the things in your life that you have control over, usually the life you are living today is as a result of the seeds you have sown in your yesterdays.  

A HomeBUILDER with your words!                        Goal:  Encouraging Wife

An encouraging woman is mature and knows the power of her words.  If I ask you to think of a time when someone said something cruel that hurt your feelings, you could probably recount several instances going back to your elementary school days!  Words are strong weapons:  like a nuclear bomb, once set off there is no turning back!   A wise woman realizes just how powerful her words are and chooses them carefully.  I have used the example of a volcano to describe the power of words to my children.  Once said, words flow forth and can destroy things that took YEARS TO BUILD, and will take YEARS TO REBUILD also!   If you are thinking something that isn’t going to build your home, SHUT UP.  Don’t poison your children or your husband by your cruel thoughtless words.  Get mature!  It is UNBELIEVABLE how quickly foolish women are to speak about the flaws of those they love.  What kind of love demeans an individual – either in front of them or behind their backs?  We need to remember what Thumper’s mother taught him:  If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!  This goes with children and teens too.  Would you want THEM recounting your struggles and weaknesses to their friends?  Learn to only speak well of your husband AND your children:  they WILL LIVE UP TO WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN THEM!!!

Do whatever it takes to grow up in this area.  For me, it was several three word phrases that I practiced saying in my mind when I felt the volcano rising.  With these little sayings running over and over in my mind, I was able to get through many situations without “blowing it.”  Let it go; lay it down; give it up; forget about it!!! 

Stop mid-sentence!!!  If you know you are saying something that doesn’t need to be said:  stop talking!  This is a powerful tool we will look at more later in our lessons.

An encouraging woman knows when to SPEAK UP!   Knowing how to SHUT UP isn’t even enough! Is your husband clinging to the comments of others who compliment him because he doesn’t sense your admiration of him?

My husband travels quite a bit.  In order to help him keep up with what was going on in the house, so he didn’t walk in blind, it was important for me to “speak up” when I often didn’t even feel like talking! Let your husband know the good things about your children, the things they are dealing with, and how you plan to help them through, and he will not jump in and thwart your plans!

An encouraging woman knows how to communicate.  Remember, with guys, “subtle hints don’t work.”  If you feel something needs to be said, SAY IT – don’t expect them to know what’s going through your mind or what you’re dealing with inside!  You need to learn to communicate with a man:  and men don’t read the signs like women do – so a bit of advice I received from a few men I interviewed – “subtle hints don’t work!”  And remember, timing is everything!

An encouraging woman chooses her words carefully.  Remember what the Bible says:  Your words are a SHOWCASE – a CHINA CABINET – a DISPLAY CASE of what is in your heart!!!  Are you BUILDING your home and those in it, or ripping it apart?

Nancy Reagan says:

“I [have] no blueprint for marriage, how to make it happy and long-lasting, but… mainly you have to be willing to GIVE.  … I would add that saying how much you love each other – to each other and also in letters that can be read, and reread over the years – is a wonderful way to stay close.  It is especially important in our busy lives to keep alive what really matters most:  love, caring for each other, finding concrete ways to say it and show it, every day and in every way you can.  It’s what endures, after all, and what we retain and hold onto, especially in our hearts.”

What do you EXPECT?!                             Goal:  Contented Wife

A contented wife can say “it is enough.”  One thing I have always taught my children from the time they were younger is the saying “It is enough.”  Way too many people, women in particular, feel that if they only had one thing or another, THEN they could be content. If they only could lose five more pounds, they could be happy.  If they only had a few hundred more dollars…  A bigger house…   A better husband…  A better job…  Living in the “if only” will only breed discontentment for where you are living in the present.
We have seen more marriages ruined because of foolish women who wanted more and more and more. I heard that there are two ways to have “more money”:  make more $$ or simply spend less!  Learn to live more simply.  Learn to say “it is ENOUGH!”

A contented woman frees her husband from being her “everything.” One exercise I have found to be effective is to make a list of your needs, make sure they are “needs” and not “greeds,” and then ask God to fill those needs.  Once you are looking for those needs to be filled, you may be surprised where the answers can come from. Also, try to take the squeeze off your husband by getting some of your needs met elsewhere.  Need social activities?  Meet a few friends during the day and have your kids play at the park while you socialize.  Need to work out or run errands?  Have a babysitter come during the day so when your husband comes home you can have a wonderful family life.   NO ONE wants to be 100% responsible for another person’s sense of well-being.  Once you realize that, you and your husband will be able to remain in love, and you will be grateful for what he does for you, your house and your family.

The best benefit of this exercise is that you set your husband free from being the “prisoner” of your expectations.  Say, for example, you expect your husband to give you a “break” when he comes home from work.  One day it could be that your husband comes home from work and is able to meet that expectation.  However, since it was what you expected you are not grateful; he only met the expectation.  Then, one day your husband has an extraordinarily rough day at work and needs a break himself.  He comes in the door, exhausted, with the intent of staring blankly at Monday night football.  He does manage to clear the table, but then sits down to watch tv.  Instead of being grateful he cleared the table, you are upset because you expected him to do so much more.  Since he did less than what you expected, you are not only ungrateful for any of his efforts, but you are furious at how little he did when you expected so much.   One of the best bonuses is that your expectations will be put on God, Who is much better equipped to supply your list of needs than one mere husband is.  We need to set our husbands free from being the one totally responsible for filling our needs.  No one person can provide all the needs any one complex woman has! 

A contented woman is grateful for what she has.   I learned many years ago to expect NOTHING in order to become grateful for anything my husband does to contribute.  Instead of being angry and agitated that he came home at 11 p.m. because his plane was delayed, I was happy to see him and grateful he came home at all!  If you learn to expect nothing, you will become a more grateful person.  This is simplistic, and I know there are some situations where there are abuses that may need to be addressed, but all in all this is one of the principles that made my marriage and even my other relationships better.  Gratefulness is a beautiful attitude that you can decide to have.  I was as grateful in my little trailer when we first got married, fixing it up like a little dollhouse, as I am in my big castle home now.  A grateful person is a person everyone wants to be around because she appreciates everything.

A contented woman is “reasonable” and “realistic.”  We counsel many people who want to spend money on “extras” when the family budget can’t support the expenditures.  Make sure your desires, whether for time, money, or expenditures, are in keeping with reality and are reasonable in what is required. Don’t expect a quiet introverted guy to be the life of the party; don’t expect a sports fanatic to miss sports games; don’t expect a guy who has a physically demanding job to come home raring to go.  Not “reasonable” and not “realistic.”

Has he been loved enough?              Goal:  Loving Wife

A loving wife thinks the best of her husband.  She honors and respects her husband for who he IS; and doesn’t have an eye to find out or concentrate on who he ISN’T.  Have you loved your husband enough?   Do you appreciate the things he DOES for you, or are you always harping on the things he doesn’t do?  Nancy Reagan wrote: “In the climate of today, I think it would be good for all of us to focus on the positive, the true, the things that really last, on character, humor, commitment, and love, and on the happy memories of a wonderful man and his life.”

Think of someone in your life who love you the most:  they usually think the best of you.  You WANT to be around them!  Now think of someone who is very critical of you or you know they just don’t like you.  You try to avoid them at all costs!  Without even realizing it, if we are someone who delights in our husband and who thinks the best of them, they will WANT to be around us more!  If we are critical, they will avoid us!  Same works true with your children!

A loving wife is genuinely interested in what her husband is interested in. Nancy Reagan said, “I was, I suppose, a woman of the old school:  If you wanted to make your life with a man, you took on whatever his interests were and they became your interests too.”  Old school or not, the principle rings true.

Dana Reeve, an actress, was a great example.  She married a famous movie star, and was a movie star herself.  She was a constant companion of Christopher Reeves (superman). After her husband became a quadriplegic, Dana told Chris:  “I still love you no matter what.  You are still you,” and she became her chief supporter during his 9-1/2 year ordeal and his work for a cure for spinal cord injuries. After his death, she became the chairwoman of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, which funds research on paralysis.  She never returned to her own acting, having taken on what was important to her husband.
"I miss his companionship," said Reeve's widow, who wore his wedding band around her neck. "I would really like him here. It's very disorienting to be one person instead of the team we always were."
A loving wife makes a place for her husband to “come alive.”  Have you delighted in being a part of your husband’s goals and dreams?  Have you supported his ideas?  I love the song by Stephen Curtis Chapman, and the words have become a mission for me to my husband:

Cause what I really want to say
Is what the sun would say to the sky
For giving it a place to come alive

It's like a tale too great to be told
It's something that my heart can only show
I'm gonna take my whole life
Just to let you know
What I really want to say

Our Aim:                                                              Goal:  The UltiMATE Woman!

So what are you aiming for?  If your greatest dreams and goals are separated from your marriage, re-focus!  Work hard to be awesome:  Virtuous, Joyful, Wise, Encouraging, Contented and Loving.  Get LOST IN THE WORK of making your husband look GOOD and be the BEST he can be!

The end result will be what is said about the woman of virtue:  Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband praises her!  Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates!!!

In the book Fascinating Womanhood, which inspired a lot of this class and which we may be referring to later, Helen Andelin describes the Ideal Woman From a Man’s Point of View as possessing both Angelic and Human Qualities.

The Angelic inspires a feeling of worship.  It brings him peace and happiness.  The angelic qualities are:

Understands men
Inner Happiness
Domestic Goddess

The human fascinates, amuses, captivates and enchants him.  It arouses a desire to protect and shelter.  The human qualities are:

Radiant Happiness
Radiant Health

‘The angelic and the human qualities combine to make a woman he can adore and cherish.”


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