Category Archives: marriage

Returning His Balls: Emasculation Makes Women Lose the Best of Men (#8)

bored employee

There are a lot of employees who are getting by, enduring the drudgery of their job. They aren’t taking the initiative, they aren’t giving their best. These deflated employees are doing the bare minimum to fulfill the requirements to receive a paycheck. They don’t do anything right because the standards of perfection are impossible to meet on a regular basis. They are undervalued and unmotivated. The demanding boss has lead to a passive employee.

energizer bunny_2There are a lot of deflated men who were once excited about his job as a husband. Now he does the bare minimum and tries to avoid being criticized. There are plenty of women who are questioning if the man she chose was really a good fit for the job of husband. What happened to the energized partner who signed up for a lifetime and now isn’t working at his optimum? He was supposed to keep going and going…

The “Returning His Balls” blog series is based on the teachings of Alison Armstrong’s seminar, “Celebrating Men, Satisfying Women.” This week we will be exploring how everyone loses when emasculation depletes a man’s energy. Armstrong says, “By emasculating men, we are interfering with their natural, instinctive way of relating to us—which is to provide for us. When men have been castrated, weakened and handicapped, WE also lose. We lose their strength and their power. We lose their trust, respect, and devotion.”

It may be hard for some women to understand that a man has a natural instinct to provide. Men have the energy to keep going and going. To keep providing, to keep protecting, to keep being his best. What women do may be draining his battery of energy, this is called emasculation. A wife may say uninspiring things like, “Why don’t you get off your lazy butt and help me around the house?” Criticism doesn’t inspire men to want to give more. It costs him energy to endure it and recover from it. This is how wives end up with the bare minimum.

In the article, “Emasculated Men”, Dr. Laura Berman describes, “[how a husband’s role] is that of a passive employee, certainly not someone who would feel comfortable initiating sex or planning a romantic night.” The good news is that if what women are doing is the problem, they are empowered to be their own solution. Berman suggests, “you can be respectful and open to your partner’s input and opinions and let go of some of the requirements of perfection. You can give him room to “man up” and show him appreciation for what he does rather than point out what he doesn’t.”

energizer bunny_deflate Criticism drains a man’s energy. Appreciation recharges it. energizer bunny_inflateTelling a husband all the ways he has failed drains his energy. Telling a husband all the things you appreciate about what he does and what that provides for you recharges his energy.

When I am getting the bare minimum from my husband, I have to question what I am doing that is causing this result. Sometimes it was an off-handed remark that deflated his motivation to provide his best. Sometimes I interfered with his natural instinct to produce a result by criticizing his “process” because it looks different than mine. I don’t want a passive partner who is enduring his job as my husband. This means that instead of demanding, I can make requests. Instead of pointing out flaws, I can be excited that there is progress. When I stop emasculating, my husband wins his energy back. When I stop emasculating, I win the best of my husband. “Returning His Balls” lets everyone win.

Reflect & Share:  How can I stop draining his battery? What can I start doing to recharge him?

Resources: “Returning His Balls” series starts here

“Emasculated Men” article from In the Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman

Workshops: Celebrating Men (website), Free Local Workshops: (website), Start Small with Free Content (website)

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Returning His Balls: Hero Husbands Need to Save Your Day (#7)

divorce cake

I want to know how couples who start their wedding day saying, “I do” end up in divorce court saying, “I don’t.” I wonder if women make bad selections in men or if something happens throughout the process of being married that makes husbands want to cut his losses.

The “Returning His Balls” blog series is based on the teachings of Alison Armstrong’s seminar, “Celebrating Men, Satisfying Women.” Armstrong says, “[Men are] competing with us instead of cherishing us. Regarding us with fear instead of trust. Treating us with disdain instead of respect. Keeping their distance instead of allowing intimacy (which is something they want as much as we do). Protecting themselves from us instead of protecting us.”  This week we will be exploring why husbands may want to leave the partnership.

Husbands vow to protect and provide. He shares his resources. He stands in front of danger to shield us from pain. He would sacrifice himself in order to save us. He is the hero. At some point, this may change. The wife may become the one who is the dangerous villain. He loses in the competition for her time and attention. He cowers at her wrath of criticism for not meeting her unwritten expectations. He avoids being home for very long. The husband starts making a secret new life…without his wife.

wedding cake her saving himMarriage = Castration: Relationship consultant, Jon Pease, writes in an article about how his male clients basically believe that “marriage equals castration.  Instead of actually using the term  ’emasculation’, they say things like “Who am I?” or “Why does she need me?” The modern marriage is going through an identity crisis of figuring out who is playing what role in the partnership. 

Being a damsel in perpetual distress is drama. Men want to be needed. He likes that you give him the pickle jar to open with his big strong muscles. He likes that you ask him to reach the top shelf to pull something down for you. He likes that his hands get dirty instead of yours on the icky-jobs around the house. He likes being the one who fixes the leaky sink that is driving you nuts. Men need to know they are wanted by valuing who he is and what he provides.

hero husband cake topYou pick the problem. Allow your Hero Husband to solve it. Let him save your day.

Appreciate him properly!

Reflect & Share: What can a man do to save YOUR day?

Resources:

“Does Your Husband Feel Emasculated?” blog by YOURTANGO EXPERTS

Workshops: Celebrating Men (website)

Free Local Workshops: (website)

Start Small with Free Content (website)

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Returning His Balls: Like His Design (#5)

pink bedroomWomen complain men aren’t in touch with their feminine side. No. Men don’t want to sleep in a pink palace bedroom-design that screams girly-girl. Expecting men to want what women want can upset stomachs and turn a dreamy pink palace into a Pepto-Bismal nightmare.

I recently had a conversation with my stepdad about the state of marriage and a husband’s role. I have been on an endless pursuit to find out how to make marriages last a lifetime, instead of having a lifetime of a string of marriages. My stepdad is in his 70s and has seen marriages change over the decades. He basically said that the problem is: women don’t value how men are designed.

The “Returning His Balls” blog series is based on the teachings of Alison Armstrong’s seminar, “Celebrating Men, Satisfying Women.” This week we will be exploring why we aren’t getting the best out of our men. Armstrong says, “As a result of being emasculated ALL the time—in relationships and in our culture—men are responding the opposite of what we really want.

I’ve listened to a lot of complaints wives have about their husbands. Some of them include: “He doesn’t talk about what is really bothering him”, “He is so insensitive!”, “He doesn’t take initiative doing all the chores around the house that need to get done.” The list of complaints is long. Armstrong would call this the man’s plight of the “Misbehaving Hairy Woman.”  Modern men are expected to behave the way WOMEN are designed. His frequent failure is pointed out and analyzed at length. A decision is made to nag more or revoke sexual access as a punishment. This strategy gets us the opposite of what we really want. Men are emasculated when they are expected to deny how they are designed.

The Opposite of What I Really Want:  There was a time when I was the complaining woman who was appalled that a man didn’t want to sacrifice sleep to stay up late taking about our inner most feelings. I came to the unfortunate conclusion that I need to find someone who I can reprogram to be just like me so we can REALLY understand each other better. I have said things to men like, “I don’t need you. I could do it better myself. Step aside.” I became surprised that guys didn’t stick around for me to show them how strong I was by not needing him. My dating years were painfully barren.

After my Man-Lessons, I understood how I was shutting down the best of what men contribute and repelling them away. I became aware that my Alpha Female assertion did not get the results I wanted. My underlying message was, “You have no value in the game I’ve created around how I’m designed. You will never be able to win…why aren’t you trying hard enough? I guess I’m too strong of a woman for you to handle. Commitment-phobe!”

Men need clearly defined roles. They need to know how to maximize their strengths for the greatest contribution. Men need to know how to successfully win our hearts everyday.

A woman’s femininity can inspire a man to be his best. He just doesn’t want to sleep in a pink palace bedroom. Appreciating who a man really is helps him respond in the ways we really want.

What I learned is that when I “Like His Design”, my marriage gets the best of my husband. Identifying ways that I inadvertently emasculate the love of my life is another lesson in “Returning His Balls.”

Start reading Returning His Balls series from the beginning (here).

Reflect & Share: How do women expect men to be “Hairy Women”?

Resources:

Workshops: Celebrating Men (website), Free Local Workshops: (website), Start Small with Free Content (website)

“Emasculated Men”article from From In the Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman

“Does Your Husband Feel Emasculated?” blog by YOURTANGO EXPERTS

“32 Facts That Show How Men Are Being Systematically Emasculated In America Today” article

“Do Breadwinning Women Have To Worry About Emasculated Men?” blog by Jessica Bennett at cosmopolitan.com

“Why Men Feel Emasculated – The 3 Big Reasons” blog by lovepanky.com

“The Incompetent Idiot Who Is The Modern Emasculated Man” blog by Aggie Catholics (video commercial examples)

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Returning His Balls: Put Down the Sword (#1)

sword woman

Cavewoman is REAL. She is a woman’s primal persona that takes over when we feel threatened. This week I had an experience interacting with a frustrated young man. He was filled with testosterone and frustrated at the lack of results he had achieved. As his instructor, I have role power over him. My cavewoman was monitoring his level of agitation and subconsciously looking for an exit strategy if he got out of control.  I was reminded of something Alison Armstrong said, “Women can’t think straight in the presence of an angry man.” An angry man triggers a primal response of fight or flight in order to survive.

This blog series, “Returning His Balls” is based on the teachings of Alison Armstrong’s seminar, “Celebrating Men, Satisfying Women.” I took Armstrong’s Man-Seminars in order to understand the other gender. With men being everywhere; I decided I wanted to learn how they operate.

balls_knife_3

When Cavewoman feels a threat, one option is to “fight” in order to neutralize what could potentially cause harm. The weapon of choice is a metaphorical sword to a man’s source of power, his metaphorical balls. Neutering a man means stripping him of the energy he has to potentially over-power me.  This makes him weak.  Based on men’s reactions, they don’t like being weakened.

“Men experience emasculation as an attack.” In the process of thinking I’m safe because I have weakened a man’s power over me, I simultaneously made him vulnerable. Being vulnerable is a threat to a man’s survival. This triggers his Caveman because now I am the threat to his survival.

My Cavewoman was monitoring the testosterone level of a frustrated young man. She would have wanted me to grab the sword and deflate his power. However, all my Man-training kicked in. I remained calm. I knew that he wasn’t ready to receive help until he chose to listen. Forcing him would trigger an aggressive response. I waited until the frustration drained his energy. His body slumped when he sat down with exhalation. I told him I can help turn around his bad results. I asked, “Are you ready for me to help?” I waited until he made the conscious choice to move forward.

What I learned about men is that they respond to how I treat them. If I take a metaphorical sword of emasculation to his most precious source of power, I am attacking him. Part of the Man-training is to put down our swords. I made a vow, a covenant in front of witnesses, to stop emasculating men. Sometimes I soothe my inner Cavewoman early so she does not perceive a threat. I remind her that men go through a process of experiencing frustration and I need to calmly wait it out. Just because he is experiencing anger right now doesn’t mean he is dangerous to my physical safety. Other times I miscalculate and realize the sword is in my hand too late. My strategy for post-emasculation is to immediately apologize and return his balls. I recommit myself to my vow to Put Down the Sword.

Reflect & Share: What do women do that strips a man of his power because she feels threatened? What do men do that makes your inner Cavewoman fight or flight?

Resources:

Workshops: Celebrating Men (website)

Free Local Workshops: (website)

Start Small with Free Content (website)

 

*Note: “Men” is implied to exempt the outliers of crazy, abusive, or psychotic, etc.

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Happy Wife for Life: Series Review

be_happy_sandI just want to be happy”, is an utterance said by many. Nobody actually teaches us how to be happy. We stumble our way on our life’s path until we bump into someone who can join us in the pursuit of happy.  We then get married and hope for the best.

happy wives club book coverAs a collector of wisdom and a new wife, I really appreciated guidance from people who are further along in the marriage journey. The “Happy Wife for Life” series was based on interviews from happy wives from around the world. Fawn Weaver’s book, Happy Wives Club, is a collection of wisdom that threads amazing marriages together.

I like practical tools that can be applied to daily habits. The following is a review of the secrets from the book, Happy Wives Club, and an overview of what I learned:

ritual_coffee in bedSecret #1: Create a Daily Ritual – I started drinking coffee because my husband wanted me to share in this ritual with him. Having a mindful routine that reconnects on a daily basis brought us closer together.

shave legs bubble bathSecret #2: Date your Spouse – We used to ‘try to impress’ when we were dating, however, once married, we still need to invest the effort to seduce the person who promised us their life. My lifetime courtship begins with the habit of shaving my legs.

Secret #3: Have Outside Interests – Passion is sexy. When I do the hobbies that I love, I get excited about life. My husband isn’t a book reader. He gets to enjoy the passion that radiates from me when I tell him something impactful I learned from a book. When I’m committed to being more of myself through my outside interests, I allow my husband to keep learning about me on a deeper level.

Secret #4: Friendship is Essential – Being best friends doesn’t mean we have to be joined at the hip. Best friends play together, laugh, and share inside jokes. My husband is the only one who seduces my unfiltered goofy side to make an appearance on a frequent basis.

Secret #5: Nurture Marriage – I have seen the repercussions of what happens when marriage isn’t a first priority. Spending my best moments on my highest priority, my husband, helps our connection stay strong.

Secret #6: Choose Friends Wisely – Picking healthy companions to share in our marital journey is vital to feeling supported. I learned that it is important to know where the boundaries are in deciding how much to share and when to protect marital privacy.

motorcycle_3Secret #7: Support your Spouse – My husband needed to go on a motorcycle trip recently. We negotiated an agreement that would work for both of us. I gave my blessing without any complaining afterwards. I got to enjoy my time alone. When I helped my husband grow into more of who he is, I show him I accept the whole package.

In Gay Hendrick’s book, The Big Leap, he writes, “If you can learn to take time off from the relationship consciously…go on solo walks, movie by yourself, open afternoon. Battery-charging alone time gives you the ability to master longer periods of closeness when together [vs. sabotage into arguments or withdraw].”  Taking time to recharge my own batteries allows me to have an abundant supply of energy to give to my husband when we reunite. Supporting my spouse means giving him space to do the things that recharge his battery without it feeling like a threat to me.

Secret #8: Brave to get a Wife Grade – What I think is expected of me as a wife is not the same as what my husband expects. I learned what is on the score card from his perspective when I stopped to ask, “how am I doing as your wife?” His answers have slowly slipped out over time of where I can improve. It is a humbling experience and a necessary process to make sure I’m investing in the right things that are important to my husband. This sometimes means that I need to stop writing my blog at the moment because he has an exciting idea that he wants to share with me before he forgets. I taught him the phrase that will trigger a response in me, “can I have ALL of your attention right now so I can tell you something?” This request pierces my single-focus to get results. It reminds me that I need to give my best moments to my highest priority, my husband.

In Weaver’s Happy Wives Club blog, she writes, “The one thing that will increase happiness in your marriage today is fully grasping this truth: Your marriage is not forever.” This past week I was reminded how fragile life can be. One day someone is alive, then they are not. A recent family death made me want to cling tighter to the person who makes every day a joy because I get to spend it with him. I was reminded to see the bigger picture of what matters. It helped me continue to try to release the small annoyances that create tinges of frustration. The small things that really matter are the daily habits of expressing love and appreciation as we enjoy a lifetime of moments together.

happy listBonus Secret: Commit to Being Happy – Every good man just wants his woman to “be” happy. He wants to provide the things that help her be happy. Knowing what makes me happy, then sharing that information with my husband is like giving him an instruction manual. The key is to then express appreciation when he does “THE thing” I said would make me happy.

I took Alison Armstrong’s life-changing Man-Seminars to enhance my appreciation of men. I got clarity about what I need so my husband can provide it (e.g. alone time for reading). I also got clear what makes me unhappy so he can protect me from it (e.g. messy home). When my husband does “THE thing” that makes me happy, we both understand what it means. I get this surge of appreciation all over my body. My husband gets to see the twinkle in my eyes that tells him he has a Happy Wife for Life.

Thank you for joining me in this series! Sharing what I learn with all of you helps me appreciate My Journey to a Fulfilled Life!

Reflect & Share: What can action can you take that will show your commitment to being happy?

Resources:

Happy Wives Club (book & blog)

The Big Leap by Gay Hedricks (book)

“Happy Wife, Happy Life” Alison Armstrong & Dennis Prager (July 31, 2013, 35 Minutes, podcast).

Alison Armstrong’s Man Seminars (free first step)

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Happy Wife for Life: Brave to get a Wife Grade (Secret #8)

report cardWe tend to give away what we want others to provide for us. It is easy to assume that we know what someone else needs. Getting real feedback about how we are doing as a spouse can be…humbling. As our spouses grow and evolve, so must our roles as their life partners.

The “Happy Wife for Life” series is based on the findings from Fawn Weaver’s book, Happy Wives Club, where she travels around the world to find the threads that weave amazing marriages together. Secret #9 is Brave to get a Wife Grade. This week we will be asking the brave question, “Honey, if you were to grade me as a wife on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, what would I score?”

Once this question is asked, the answer invites a longer conversation about needs. When we set our wife-role on cruise control, we need to periodically check to make sure we are still on course to an amazing marriage.

In preparation for writing this blog, I asked my husband the wife-grade question. I wanted him to identify what it is I do that is working for him, so I can be intentional about continuing those actions. I also wanted to know what needs are being neglected. When I listened to what makes my husband really happy, it made me happy. My list of standards for my wife role included more than 30 things. His list was much smaller.

Top 3 Things That Matter Most:

  1. His needs are on MY radar.
  2. Be consistent with meeting his most important needs.
  3. Provide things he can’t do himself.

It takes bravery to ask, “how am I doing as your wife?” We may not like the answer. We may realize that our standards are absurdly high and our husbands’ standards are pretty basic. We may realize that our husband never asked for a “perfect wife” or even knows what that really means to us.

gold starsIt made me feel secure knowing that I’m doing a great job. It also made me more aware of important areas for him that are not on MY standards list. Knowing my husband’s criteria for being a great wife sets me up for gold stars. It isn’t about being the ideal wife. It is about caring enough to ask what he needs on a regular basis.

When I know how to better serve my husband, I can be a Happy Wife for Life.
Reflect & Share: What would your spouse say are some areas that you could “work on” to be a better spouse?

Resources:

Happy Wives Club (book & blog)

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Happy Wife for Life: Support Your Spouse (Secret #7)

There is an underlying message that women receive when dating, “find a guy who has more resources than you.” If a woman has a financially successful career, then she needs to mate-up with a man who has had MORE financial success. Women who financially support partners can be seen as “dating down.”  The definition of “support” is going to be expanded past the issue of income as we explore this week’s topic.

The “Happy Wife for Life” series is based on the findings from Fawn Weaver’s book, Happy Wives Club, where she travels around the world to find the threads that weave amazing marriages together. This week we are exploring Secret #7: Support Your Spouse. Weaver writes, “[amazing couples] supported one another through school, life changes, career, hobbies, interests, and goals/dreams. They constantly built each other up throughout the years. Sometimes the husband supported the household, and sometimes the wife did. Which spouse brought in more money didn’t matter. The respect and support of one another is what mattered.”

I knew the announcement was coming. The first hint that my husband was motorcycle_3getting antsy was when he started to pay a lot more attention to his motorcycle. He spent the money to make the necessary repairs and “do it right.” I know my hubby doesn’t spend financial resources without a purpose. He finally said, “I need to go on a road trip to San Francisco.”

There is a side to my husband that is not revealed in his everyday life. His motorcycle identity is a part of him and ties to his core value of “freedom.” One of our marriage agreements was that matrimony was not going to prevent us from being ourselves or to stifle our personal growth. When I said yes to marriage, I accepted the WHOLE package, motorcycle boots and all. I understood the deal that I made and I was reminded that the benefits applied to him too.

My dad successfully brainwashed me to believe that motorcycles are dangerous and instructed me to never get on one. The announcement about the impending motorcycle adventure triggered a violation of my “health and safety” core value. I expect us to share a long healthy happy life together. Long periods of time on a motorcycle felt in direct conflict with this expectation.

I needed to know what he was going to do to be safe. I needed to know how he was going to be checking in with me to confirm that he is still safe during his road trip. I did not want my reaction to the announcement to be a mediocre “okay.” I wanted my response to be, “YES! Good for you!”

motorcyle_2How I Support my Husband’s Adventures:

  1. I give my blessing. No complaints. No nagging. No bringing up the topic as a weapon in a future squabble. I release my resistance to keep him at home when he needs to go off and explore alone.
  2. I tell him what I need in order to be fully on board. We made an agreement that would soothe my inflamed security breech alarm going off in my head. This included text messages at his designated check points and the “Find Friends” app.
  3. I’m excited for him. When he shares the interesting aspects of his adventure, I celebrate with him. I share with him the fun things I’m doing in his absence that he would hate (Netflix marathon of documentaries!). This alleviates any possible guilt he may have for leaving me home alone.

This week’s lesson reminded me that “supporting” a spouse is not restricted to a financial component. Supporting my husband means helping him grow into more of who he already is and to accept the whole package. The long motorcycle adventures are a part of the marriage agreement. They don’t happen often, but when they happen I want my response of “YES! Good for you!” to feel natural (and come quicker).

When my husband returns, he has relieved the tension from being antsy. He is appreciative and attentive. By supporting my hubby to do something he loves, I get to enjoy being a Happy Wife for Life.

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Happy Wife for Life: Choose Friends Wisely (Secret #6)

old group of friends

Wanting to grow old together is a proclamation of young couples. In a culture of disposable marriages, I look for examples of how exactly one would stay married over a lifetime in order to be even be to “grow old together.”

The “Happy Wife for Life” series is based on the findings from Fawn Weaver’s book, Happy Wives Club, where she travels around the world to find the threads that weaves amazing marriages together. Secret #6 is Choose Friends Wisely. Weaver writes, “Be selective about the company you keep. Surrounding yourself with others who build up your marriage rather than attempt to tear it down was a must. People who believe in the power of love and the ability of a marriage to last a lifetime, these are the ones who were allowed into the inner circle of these couples.”

The lesson I learned is that an inner circle of friends is necessary in order to make growing older together in marriage “normal.”

I know marriage can be challenging. I want solid friends to hold me to the standards I committed myself to on my wedding day. When times get tough, I want to be comforted and then sent home to work out the conflict with my husband. When we choose friends wisely, we enrich our experience as a Happy Wife for Life.

 

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Happy Wife for Life: Nurture Marriage (Secret #5)

college boundAugust is the season of sending young adults off to college and little kids off to kindergarten. It is also a delicate time when empty-nesters look at each other and wonder, “who the hell are you?” Research has shown that there is a high spike in divorce rates around the 20-25 year mark, which correlates to when the children are done being “actively” raised. Either empty-nesters call it quits because the whole point of marriage was to raise kids OR they relish in the free time to deepen their relationship.

The “Happy Wife for Life” series is based on the findings from Fawn Weaver’s book, Happy Wives Club, where she travels around the world to find the threads that weave amazing marriages together. Secret #5 is “Nurture Marriage.” Sadly, there are many marriages that are on life-support from years of neglect. Some try to hang on until the kids are out of the house so the marriage can get the desperate attention it needs to survive. Other marriages don’t make it that long. Weaver found in her interviews that, “Every couple put their marriage as the number one in their lives. Even those who temporarily made their children and spouse number one at the same time agreed that the elevation was temporary. Once the kids were in high school, they’d want to be left alone anyhow, but the marital relationship would need to continue to grow.”

Spouses manage the heavy responsibility of co-parenting children for years, nurturing their growth and development. The foundation in which families are created is through marriage (typically). Neglect of growth and development in marriage can fracture the stability of the family. Whenever I hear a wife say, “my kids are my number one” it makes me tense up. I wonder, “where is your husband on that priority list?” I’m look in from an outside perspective. I see the fractured results when marriage is not a priority. I was a child of divorce. I know I would have given up gymnastic classes Saturday mornings if that meant my parents could have nurtured their marriage more so they would stay together. Habitual neglect of marriage comes at a high-cost of a child’s family life.  

I’ve been committed to finding couples who have strong families BECAUSE they have strong marriages. I need to have hopeful evidence that it is possible to have a long-lasting thriving marriage while still being good parents. The best answer I have heard is from Alison Armstrong, whose trainings have revolutionized my relationship to men and marriage. The point: Take care of your partner first so the partnership can take care of the kids. This means that when I meet my husband’s needs to make our marriage stronger, he is a better teammate to meet the needs that “we” are responsible for. 

Sending kids off to school (kindergarten to college) can create some breathing room to create deeper connections to our spouses. My hope is that you will relish having more time and energy to deepen your relationship with the person you committed your life to. May nurturing your marriage through all the phases of co-parenting and beyond help you be a “Happy Wife for Life.”

 

Reflect & Share: What can couples do to “nurture” their marriage? What is the biggest challenge in keeping marriage first?

Resources:

Happy Wives Club (book & blog)

Alison Armstrong Training & Free Stuff (website)

“How to celebrate being an empty nester” (website)

“10 Things to Look Forward to as an Empty Nester” (article)

“The 25 year itch: Empty Nesters and the second half of marriage (blog)

“Can empty nesters still have a happy marriage?” (article)

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Happy Wife for Life: Friendship is Essential (Secret #4)

Bff loveI’ve never really had a BFF before. Growing up, I floated in between social groups. I never had one person who I saw ALL the time or depended on for all my friendship needs. I guess I didn’t want to over-invest in just one person. Growing up, my dad kept saying that a strong marriage is based on friendship. I wasn’t sure how I was going to be best friends with a husband if I didn’t want to spend 24/7 with any one person now. The thought of marriage brought a tinge of panic. 

The “Happy Wife for Life” series is based on the findings from Fawn Weaver’s book, Happy Wives Club, where she travels around the world to find the threads that weave amazing marriages together. Secret #4 is “Friendship is Essential.” This week we will be exploring how friendship fits into marriage dynamics. Weaver writes, “Each person’s spouse is his or her number one confidant. They all have friends outside of marriage, but their greatest friendship, the one they’ve spent the most time building over the years is with their spouse.”

I don’t expect my husband to provide the same girly-friendship I get from women. I can’t provide him the same testosterone surge he gets when he is with the guys. Same-sex friendships have an important place in our lives. I’m interested in looking at how we can build our “greatest friendship” with our spouse.

I was recently listening to a new favorite podcast, Married with Luggage. This couple is together ALL the time as they travel and live around the world fulfilling their dreams. They did a podcast about introverts married to extroverts.  I have come to the conclusion that I’m more introverted than I thought. I’m not sure how this happened or if it has secretly been there all along. This made me realize why social invites to big house parties are not appealing. I’m overwhelmed by all the people and dissatisfied with superficial chit-chat. Being around someone constantly can be draining. I figured out that I need alone time…and lots of it. I like to hibernate during the summer and winter months because it gives me distraction-free time to restore my energy, reassess goals for the future, and refresh my outlook. Marriage brought the tension of wanting to spend the rest of my life with my husband with the need to be left “the hell alone” on a regular basis. 

BFF necklaceWhat I learned is that being “best friends” doesn’t have to mean we are inseparable. We are not obligated to be around each other 24/7, even on vacations. I had no experience being a best friend before I met the love of my life. My husband taught me that best-friendship is about laughing together, being silly, and sharing inside jokes to reference in the future. We share an abbreviated language, not like pig-latin, but key words with secret implied meaning. We chat on the phone “just because.” We text each other pictures of something we see throughout our day that made us smile. We play. We share our deepest truths and most vulnerable moments with each other. 

This is the first time in my life that I have a reciprocated best-friendship. I see my hubby frequently, but not 24/7. He respects my introverted need to have alone-time because this is how I recharge my energy. He gets the best of me when he gives me space to meet this need. I remember my dad giving me dating advice years ago. He told me to find a man who I can share a “friendship on fire.” My husband provides me with the joy of marriage and the fun of best-friendship. Thanks for joining me on my exploration of how to be a Happy Wife for Life. 

Reflect & Share: What do you do (or want to do) that will make your marriage a “friendship on fire”?

Resources:

“How to Live as an Introvert in an Extrovert World” –Married with Luggage (Podcast #36 with Beth Buelow)”

“How to Become Your Spouse’s Best Friend” –Michael Hyatt (blog)

“Beyond Loving Your Spouse: 25 Ways to Be a Best Friend” –Adrienne May (blog)

“7 Ways To Be Your Spouse’s Best Friend” –Fancy Little Things (blog)

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