Tune in and Turn (her) On!

Brad says…

Men, we have an enemy in our midst. A simple and yet seductive enemy that is eroding our marriages. That enemy is quite simply, “sameness”. On a whole we do a very poor job noticing. Yes, I talked about that problem a few weeks ago in my post, Just Ask, Because I didn’t See , but that isn’t exactly what I’m meaning this time. I’m talking about the rut that we find ourselves in that keeps us from noticing all of the things that our wives do for us, and to take care of us.

Kate post, Curly or Straight, encouraged wives to think about their husband’s preferences especially when it comes to things like her appearance. On reflecting on her post I recognized that not only do a poor job noticing when my wife does consider my preferences, I sometimes don’t even think about thanking her for that awesome gift.I See Nothing Husband

Eyes Wide Open

The other night I had an opportunity to make dinner for just Kate and me. I love to cook but in this busy season I haven’t had the opportunity in a while. So while Kate was working I took the chance to whip up a nice dinner for the two of us. While we were eating, I found myself asking questions like, “Is this good?”, or “How do you like the salad?” I wasn’t insecure about my cooking, I wanted to make sure that she was enjoying it.

Why did I tell that story? Because, how many times does the exact opposite happens and I don’t go out of my way to tell her how much I enjoy her cooking? Those little things that our wives do for us every day matter! Kate puts her heart into so many tasks to take care of me and our family, and I don’t do a good enough job telling her how much I appreciate them.

Light Switch?

(maybe, maybe not)

Noticing and expressing appreciation might not be an immediate sexual turn on, but it sure doesn’t hurt. Think about it this way: if you wife took Kate’s advice and decided to do her hair the way you like it, and you didn’t even mention it, she is not going to feel encouraged to repeat her behavior. If on the other hand, you take the time to compliment her she will not only know you like it, but that you noticed and appreciated her, two things that feel good no matter who you are.

Your Homework

It’s almost back to school time, so I’m assigning homework this time! Guys, sometime this week. I want you to do two things:

  1. Recognize something that your wife does for you all the time (make dinner, do your laundry, make your lunch, etc.) and make a point to go out of your way to tell her how much you really appreciate it.
  2. Notice one thing that you wife did special (wear an outfit you like, make your favorite dinner, or do something sweet) and make a point to tell her how much you appreciate it!

Once you’ve done your homework come back and let us know what you noticed and what her reaction to your compliment was in the comments!

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10 Responses to Tune in and Turn (her) On!

  1. I wondered if you might elaborate on this a little bit when it’s the husband who is the main caretaker of the kids, and because he works from home does a majority of the laundry, and he was a former chef, so he cooks (he actually hates my cooking, so I don’t attempt it anymore). He’s still the man, but with the breadwinner and home manager roles reversed its tricky to know how to navigate it all. If I want something done differently or have a preference my comments are treated as being ungrateful. I wish I could find more Christian information onmarriages like ours – I don’t recommend reversing roles, it’s confusing.

    • I’m in the reversed roles situation, too. And like you, I don’t recommend it. I always feel so handicapped when it comes to marriage advice, much like what you describe. I do all the cooking, cleaning, laundry. So here I am pursuing a woman just like all the breadwinner husbands. Only the advice usually starts with “do some housework.” Done. No points for that here. About half of the advice people give can be used in reverse. Like a housewife, I’d recognize and appreciate immediately if my wife called me and said “just feed the kids something easy tonight. I want to make one of your favorites for you when I get home.” But I wouldn’t feel any “special flutters” if she came home and started doing housework. As a guy, it’d feel like she was saying “I have to do this myself because you didn’t do your job.” (Maybe that’s where your husband and I are switched up, MiMi, cooking vs. cleaning.) I’m also still a visual male and if my wife took to heart the advice Kate gave in Curly or Straight, I would be completely captivated. But I myself have made the change in the last year or two of making sure I’m not still in slob mode when my wife gets home (apparently a ballcap and old Tshirt is to a SAHD what sweats and a ponytail are to a SAHM). She’s never said or done anything that indicates noticing or appreciating that change.
      As to your wishes and preferences being taken as ungrateful, I think that’s just marriage. My own wishes and preferences are taken as unrealistic and thoughtless (because she’s so worn out from working all the time or I don’t know her well enough to know that she’s not comfortable or ready to make those changes.) So I don’t think that stems from reversed roles, but just people not wanting to hear that they aren’t already perfect.

  2. It really is easy to miss the small things, even when they are not typical and done special. She may wear toe rings or an ankle bracelet knowing you like to see them on her. You may be aware they are there, even very aware, but fail to say anything other than visually appreciate their presence. She doesn’t get any affirmation that she has done something special even though you have noticed and it feels as if you didn’t pay attention to her. She may cook your favorite food or wear your favorite dress and you will be aware but fail to respond as she would like. A key here: If she says something like “How do/did you like_____? Hold your tongue for a second. In John Gottman speak, she has just made a bid and is waiting for your response. You could commit relationship suicide and instantly say, “Yeah, I like(d) it.” But if you get in the habit of hearing the “How” or “What” of the interrogatory bid, you will pause and come up with “Yeah, I noticed it. That always looks great on you/ tastes great/ feels special/ gets me excited/ etc. The point is this: Be quick on your feet but not too quick. Cultivate the habit of answering the bid with a response acknowledging how what she did affected you, what it meant to you. If she has had to bid, you are already one point down. Now, if she has to pull it out of you, you need to step up with something beyond just affirming that you noticed. You need to show appreciation. She most likely will ask when you are involved in some activity occupying your mind. Stop that project, look her square in the face and tell her what she wants to hear. If you keep working and answer on auto-pilot you will be on damage control for hours after that. Just remember to expand into why or how her effort is special to you. You are not patronizing her, you are learning to respond with awareness in the present moment. In time you will be both more aware and present and beat her to the punch. You just have to develop a habit of being observant and responding with an affirmation that exhibits emotional awareness. When you hear “What,” or “how,” hold your tongue and be thinking “why,” or “because.”

      • I was reading in The 6 Husbands Every Wife Should Have by Steven Craig Ph.D. this morning. At end of the book he talks about change and how to affect it. I recalled my comment here and got to thinking about an addendum. If a husband and wife both want to see that kind of change, it may help to work on it as a team. She agrees to kindly “prompt” him and he agrees to receive the prompt as encouragement to help him change.
        She has but to ask “Did you notice…How do you like…What do you think about…etc?”

        If she can “fish” freely and comfortably for what she wants to receive, they will both soon learn what he needs to tune into to turn her on. He will be given the opportunity to develop his awareness in the present moment and become comfortable and adept at complimenting her and others in the process. He just has to keep in mind she is not nagging him but helping as they both agreed and she has to acknowledge his progress and know when to end the process.
        A win/win all the way around for the marriage and other relationships too.

      • Thanks. That’s one. So I’m about 4-1 at this point?

        My problem is I am easily self-deprecating when I need be. It’s not that I have a thick skin because I certainly don’t, but when cold, hard facts are necessary to get to the truth I can be accommodating if they are indeed true. I may not like it, but tell me. I can’t fix what I don’t know is broken. If something isn’t okay now, don’t acquiesce only to come back later saying you only agreed to avoid conflict. Then we have solved nothing while compounding the original problem and adding another. That’s pretty much a guy thing though, I suppose?

        • @Dave2 No I’d say 1 for 3. 2 of the 4 you’re referring to are the same issue. LOL
          Truly I’m not trying to pick on you. Just trying to save you some grief, friend.

  3. Brad,
    I enjoyed reading what you wrote. As a wife I completely agree with what you were saying as it is important to acknowledge the things that we do do for the family. However, reading your post was also a good reminder that it goes the other way too. Thanking our husband for their hard work, keeping us safe, making good choices for our family, etc. Thank you for your thoughts!

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