I know that when my husband married me, he took on hefty responsibilities—not just for himself anymore—but for me and our future children, including promises to…
- Please (always),
- Provide (as much as possible),
- Protect (when necessary),
- Problem solve (as called upon), and
- Procreate (as agreed upon)
But it wasn’t enough.
Because my appetite for attention was insatiable and his execution was never up to feminine standards, my subtle calls for transformation (“hints”) began to sound more like commands. Of course, when that approach didn’t work either, I resorted to ultimatums. It nearly broke us. What I didn’t understand at the time of course was how insecurity—common feminine anxiety—was the actual saboteur. Misdirected and misunderstood, my fear-inspired attempts to connect with my husband actually threatened to disconnect us—permanently.
You’ve probably jousted like that with your own wife and know what it feels like to be knocked off your horse. Chances are her heart remains a moving target, and your efforts to play Cupid continually fall short. As frustrating and demoralizing as that may feel, I’m here to ask you not to give up on her, or yourself. There is a way to aim those well-intentioned arrows with pinpoint accuracy.
In this archery lesson, we’ll identify seven relational values women prize most (beyond the above five “P’s”). Honoring these seven feminine needs or desires, practically universal to women, will work wonders in allaying her fears; minimizing behaviors that hurt you both.
Note the first letter in each value: their alphabetical order will help summon up the right one at the right moment. Champion archers, in the heat of a tournament, have to know their stuff by heart. Continue reading
I stare with awe at the Brooklyn Bridge every time I visit New York because I know that it wouldn’t be there if it Emily and Washington Roebling hadn’t faced down every conceivable challenge during its fourteen-year construction.
Whenever I visit Boston, I wonder at the life of John and Abigail Adams, who of necessity, lived apart more than together during the tumultuous birthing of America.
And when I enter the hospital room of a loved one, I thank God for Pierre and Marie Curie, who worked side by side nearly every waking minute of their entire marriage to produce the miracle of radium.
The fact is, if we dug into the back-story of most of the world’s grand accomplishments, we would undoubtedly be impressed with how many of those accomplishments are the product of grand marriages. Continue reading
My need for external reassurance as a woman came home to me many birthdays ago. I decided to test everyone (especially Honey) by making no reference to my personal holiday during the entire month of January. The results were devastating. Not a single soul—parent, child, sister, friend, husband (gasp)—remembered. The red-letter day came and went without a whimper. Now, before you scream “Revolution!” (which I came close to doing at the time) let me add this: Honey was under huge pressure at work, serving tirelessly at church, and acutely worried over finances. He comforted, cuddled, and counseled with tenderness. It’s just that his calendar was off.
When I realized that accusation would never produce a bottle of perfume, the truth hit me like a whiff of cheap cologne: I had been thinking for too long that it was my guy’s primary job in life to make me feel good, to heal all my wounds, to spend every possible minute with me, to be emotionally available and responsive 24/7, to always want what I want. I had set myself up for disillusionment.
Thankfully, I wised up and made a course correction that stuck. My birthday is now advertised far and wide and way in advance. I am responsible to ask for and inspire special attention on January 27. Healthy, balanced doses of giving and receiving from family, friends, God, and myself, keeps my tank full. His three little words (“I love you”) then top me off and overflow into a puddle at our feet.
And that’s the secret. Fill your own tank by taking responsibility for your own happiness.
There is a simple way to get started, or continue, in the habit of filling your own tank so that you can give from abundance while receiving with confidence. I don’t mean to make it sound easy—we are talking about the greatest challenge of a woman’s life, the seesaw between nurturing herself and nurturing others—but I know you can do it.
Here’s how: Continue reading