Men: It’s Not All About Us

What is one thing that keeps men in conflict with their wives? What is it that makes men jealous of their children? There are of course varying reasons but in some cases it is nothing more than selfishness.
Men who only think of themselves, and whose every statement begins in one way or another with I or me, cause needless strife in their home. Also, a man with a temper, can very well be a man who is selfish. Proverbs 23:6 & 7 say, “Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, or desire his delicacies; for as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, ‘Eat and drink!’ But his heart is not with you.” A man can be cordial as the verse suggests, but if he has bitterness in his heart, his compliments are empty. Why? He may be looking for what he can get out of the person. A flattering man has broken many a woman’s heart by offering her the world and leaving her with nothing. He thinks only about what he wants. Here are some reasons men are selfish.
First, they were raised this way. Men who were only children or who were the youngest in their family (such as myself) have typically gotten their way. Some may have been taught to share or learned patience while interacting with cousins or friends, but despite this, they tend to like focus placed on their needs. Humans are the sum total of their experiences and this is no exception. The system in which we were raised is often how we will interact with others even as adults. Our personalities and temperaments are shaped very early in life.
Second, they like things done their way and in their time. This sounds bad of course but this comes from an inherent desire to succeed; the competitive spirit. How can anyone be great at their job if they do not focus on it completely and in such the way that they think will bring success? The problem arises here when this desire to succeed goes too far. He has to win at work but now he also has to win at Uno to the demise of his seven year old’s self-esteem. It just goes too far and the members of the family suffer because the man of the house thinks only of himself.
In this scenario, as in many marital issues, there is a shift that is necessary. The shift in this case involves a move away from “me” and toward “them.” As adults, men must realize that it is no longer about them. It is about doing what is best for their family. This is much more than simple skill building as in learning to communicate. It is something deeper. The heart must soften and the well-being of a man’s family must overshadow his desire to please himself. Can this satisfy and ultimately change a selfish spirit? I believe it can. Once a man sees the positive effects it has on his marriage, and how it will endear him to his children, the riches that humility brings to a man’s soul are immeasurable.
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merelylook out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3, 4)

Treat Your Wife Well

Have you ever criticized or made fun of your wife in front of others? Have you ever said anything knowing that it would hurt her? Do you keep her out of your life when she pleads to be let in?
Every word that comes out of a man’s mouth should work to encourage or understand his wife. By doing anything else, you break the promise you made to love, cherish, honor, and  protect her. Why do you break this promise? Find out here . . . .

Nagging: A Girl’s BFF?

Wives, I bet when you nag your husband he totally loves you more with every cutting remark. When you first see him after work I bet he would rather hear you talk about the smell of the dirty dog than get a hug. Am I right? No, of course not, but some wives totally act like my ridiculous examples.

A lot of voice is given to men and where we mess up. Anger, addictions, poor communication skills, but nagging is the area a woman can fail miserably. Are you pleasant to be with? Do you want to have a happy husband? Nagging won’t get you there.

We often don’t think of our behavior, and this is why I have a job as a counselor. People do things that aren’t good for them. Wives, I challenge you today to look at what you do to your husband when nagging and ask, “What’s it like to be married to me?” If the answer isn’t in your favor in regards to nagging, here are some other things to consider.

Why do women nag? Maybe it’s because that’s what they saw their mother’s do. It was the example they had and now they are, “becoming like their mothers.” As hard as some may fight it, ending up like our parents is inevitable unless we work diligently to maximize their positive traits and minimize their negative. If your mother was a real brow beater to your dad, chances are you may end up that way too.

Nagging is a form of complaining and this is somewhat human. If we see something we don’t like, what do we do? We talk about it, but this does not change it. In nagging to complain are you trying to get your husband to do something? Buy new cabinets? Fix the bathroom window? If you want something to be changed, talk to your husband about it. Don’t nag for two weeks and then get upset when you think he should have followed through with what your incessant nagging was trying to get across to him.

Do you nag at your husband in order to try and change him? Do you constantly bring up his shortcomings in public? In front of family and friends? There’s nothing more emasculating than this. Think he’s not much of a man, nag him, and he will become even less of one. If you are concerned about your husband, don’t tear him down. Talk to him about your worries, set some goals (weight, cholesterol levels, work ethic, etc) and encourage him. Berating him verbally may have been what his mother did to get him to clean his room during his teen years. “You are such a slob!” It wasn’t good parenting then and it’s not good spousal dialogue now.

Nagging builds resentment, not bridges or good communication. Proverbs 27:15 says, “A constant dripping on a day of steady rain and a contentious woman are alike . . . .” Imagine a person in the rain with no available shelter. What do they do? They continue whatever it is they’re doing. No shelter, just getting wet and miserable. Is your nagging like a continuous down pour? Your husband, if he’s committed, will put up with it but he won’t be happy. Eventually however he may leave because, “It is better to live in a desert land than with a contentious and vexing woman.” (Proverbs 21:19) This is why men work late, watch a lot of TV, stay in their shop, and dread going home. It’s not a pleasant place.

Men, if you are concerned about your wife’s nagging, talk to her about it. She’s not happy about something. Help her find peace and happiness through your guidance and love.

Movie Titles for Counseling

I have another movie to add to my list of relationship enrichment titles. To see the list in its entirety, visit here.

Crazy Stupid Love starring Steve Carrel and Ryan Gosling. The Plot: A middle-aged husband’s life changes dramatically when his wife asks him for a divorce. He seeks to rediscover his manhood with the help of a new-found friend Jacob, learning to pick up girls at bars. ( What can you get out of it? If you’re a married man, you can learn that maintaining some level of attractiveness is important to your wife and to the spice in your marriage. There’s another good lesson for single men, but I can’t tell it here. Might ruin the movie. It has a great ending, and don’t let the plot description keep you from watching it. There really are some good lessons.

28 Days to A Better Marriage: Advice on how to have the relationship with your spouse that you’ve always wanted.

In 28 Days to A Better Marriage, Dale handles a variety of topics in a direct way to expedite the healing and empowerment that so many marriages need. The twenty-eight chapters are brief, enabling the reader (husband or wife) to glean useful information in short steps, moving both spouses towards a better understanding of one another and of themselves.
Through Dale’s experience as a marriage counselor, he has learned that most couples in distress make the same mistakes. Twenty-Eight Daysholds within its pages the basic knowledge and tactics that marriages need to thrive. 

Is Your Wife Controlling You?

Men like to be in charge. Very few would want to admit that their wife wears the pants in the home. Women too like to believe they have a large say in what happens. Can’t it be both ways? I believe it can.
The peacock is an example of what young boys do when working to win a girl’s heart. His beautiful feathers serve no other purpose than to attract a mate. How did you win your wife over to thinking that you were THE man? The car you drove, the music you listened to, and the way you walked were all well calculated to show off much like the peacock does to the peahen. A girl noticed you and you began the ritualistic task of courting her. You learned what she liked and you worked to ensure she had those things whether it was flowers or other types of gifts. If you didn’t do it, someone else would.
It is during this time period that the woman effectively tames the man. When he was a “dude,” all he needed was a fishing pole and a truck. Fun was the name of the game. Not too many women swoon over sleeping in a truck so he must get a job and provide a place to live (typically this part involves her working too). This is how the human male species moves from being fun loving guys to responsible men/dads who take care of their families. He will do anything for her and she makes him happy with what she does. This slowly changes when a couple gets married. What happens?
In the dating process the man must choose between his fun-loving lifestyle and what it is going to take to win her affection. It’s an easy choice early in the relationship but it is this dynamic that starts conflict within marriages later. The woman wants the man to be a certain way, but he doesn’t want to be that way anymore. It was fine before, but something has changed and he believes she is controlling him.
One of two things is happening. First, maybe he’s not getting out enough. When a couple marries, the fun doesn’t have to stop. He can still do those things that he loves. By making sure he takes care of himself, he can take care of his family better. He needs to hunt, hike, fish, or play his drums. I tell my wife that I go on my hikes for me, but I come back for her.
The second thing that may be happening is that he has forgotten why he got married. Maybe it was lust at first, but there are more fulfilling things that come from a married relationship. The lust can continue, but that’s for another article. Without a home, a wife, or even kids to go home to, all a man has is going home and watching TV. This is fun for a time, but does not offer the long-lasting life that you got married for. Men have a desire to build and what better place to do this than in your own home? You must learn that it’s no longer about you being a “dude” but about you being a husband and a father.
Worried she’s in control? WELL, SHE IS!!! But it’s a good kind of control that you really want. The control that she has basically says, “If you are going to have a family with me, you must be responsible, caring, and trustworthy.” Don’t you want to give her that? If you do, she’ll be happy with your level of control wherein you win her heart again and again.

A Man, His Wife, and God

A woman’s heart should be so lost in God that a man must seek Him to find her. 

This has been attributed to a woman by the name of Elisabeth Elliot and I believe it sums up a great deal about marriage. If a man and woman are to have the ultimate joy in their life of being with one another, they must have a relationship with Christ.

Much about your relationship together is dictated by what you do apart from one another and with God. Paul says it well in I Corinthians 7:1-6 says, “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.”

Why else should a man and woman seek to be close to God for each other?
  1. Only by experiencing the level of forgiveness God offers will you be able to extend any forgiveness in your own marriage. 
  2. Only by learning about the love that God has for you will you be able to extend that love to another person.
  3. Only if you are humbled as Jesus instructs will you look to meet the needs of your spouse before your own.

The Us Factor™ Program
You CAN have a great marriage.
Learn the secrets to loving well.

Help!! My Marriage Is in Chaos

Chaos theory is a field of study in mathematics, with applications in several disciplines including physics, economics, biology, and philosophy. I believe it also has a place in marriage theory.
Chaos theory studies the behavior of a dynamic system that is highly sensitive to its current condition. Small differences in initial conditions yield any number of widely diverging outcomes, causing chaos to result. This makes predictions nearly impossible even though the behavior of these systems (weather, the human body and marriages) can be determined by past observations and their current state. 
In other words, for marriages, a small factor between a husband and wife can make an immense difference in how they interact whether for the bad or the good. Is your marriage in chaos? It might be a matter of changing a few simple things. Not to be deceiving, the change is quite difficult.
A basic part of chaos theory that one must understand is that the chaotic event that occurs did not happen at the moment of impact but rather hours, days, or weeks prior. For example, a car wreck doesn’t occur just because someone runs a red light. It occurs because the person oversleeps and gets tangled up in all the effects that come from running late in the morning. Had the driver assured the clock was set and their necessary items for the morning were prepared the night before, disaster could have been averted. In marriages, a couple can have an argument hours after they see each other simply because the husband didn’t hug his wife when he got in from work. Studies have shown that not doing things for your spouse (hugging, kissing, etc) can cause a feeling of disdain to grow from literally nothing. Well, it isn’t really nothing. It’s ignoring.
The movie Blue Valentine is a wonderfully tragic example of how marriages can live in chaos. It is extremely real and I would not watch it if I was easily offended. “The film centers on a contemporary married couple, charting their evolution over a span of years by cross-cutting between time periods.” ( 
You watch as the daily stress of life and a lack of positive marital assets makes even the most normal activity a struggle. They constantly fight and it seems that this is the only thing they know how to do. Basically, life has gotten to them, they can’t handle it, so they turn on one another. 
Like many struggling marriages, they are stressed and want to have a good time one weekend. The wife is on call (as a nurse) and the place the husband wants to go is a good distance from their house. Many mistakes occur within this sequence that husbands could learn from. First, he asks her to go away for a weekend where she won’t be able to concentrate and unwind. She’s on call at the hospital and what he will be wanting, she will not be able to fully offer. The chaos begins. Second, once they are at the hotel, you wonder how on earth someone could pick such a tacky place. She was not impressed. Does the husband have any real idea about what the wife wants? It was like that time Homer bought Marge a bowling ball because he liked to bowl. Third, they turn to the alcohol to “loosen up” and all this does is make him angry and her scared, ruining the night.

This type of pattern repeats itself regularly in that they can’t get together on what should happen because he is oblivious and she doesn’t know how to assert what she needs. He wants to make it a great time, she is not mentally or emotionally there but doesn’t want to disappoint him so she goes along with it. This house of cards will not stand. By trying to force a romantic evening among bad circumstances and getting angry when the desired results don’t occur, the husband finds himself in a chaotic sequence of events that he doesn’t understand. Most husbands would just get angry but in this extreme case the husband, played by Ryan Gosling, turns violent. 

Husbands must learn three things about their wives when doing anything, but particularly when trying to set up a romantic evening.

  1. She has to decompress from the stress of life. She can’t have anything on her mind that is stressful if she is going to be the woman she knows you want her to be and that she wants to be for you. If you are a part of this stress, YOU really must work on this if you are going to have the relationship with your wife that you will be proud of.
  2. Men must learn what their wives need and when they need it. Men become frustrated with their wives when they are upset about something. You must respect your wife’s right to feel a certain way because she’s not a garbage man. Just because you put something on the street, it doesn’t mean she’s going to drive by and pick it up. 
  3. One evening away from the kids won’t make things better if you can’t enjoy regular days with your spouse. Not getting along? Seek counseling and work to save your marriage. A quote from the movie really stuck with me and I hope it encourages you to get the help you need.

The wife, played by Michelle Williams, is eating dinner at her parents home and it is obvious that her parents don’t get along. While you watch this uncomfortable scene, Williams’ character says the following in explaining her parents:
“I know they must have loved each other at one time. Did they just get it all out of the way before they had me? How can you trust your feelings when they just disappear like that?” 
The feelings don’t have to disappear. You can make them come back and have the love in your marriage that you dream about.