Give Her What She Needs

In 1982, I was in a theater watching Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece, E.T. If you’ll remember, E.T. and Elliot were joined through some sort of cosmic bond. Both E.T. and Elliot felt what the other did. At one point, Elliot actually says, “we’re fine,” alluding to himself and the alien. Elliot even gets physically ill after E.T. is found sick and in a creek bed. Marriage is the same. A spouse’s happiness, state of mind, and even emotional health is dependent on the other.

Maybe you have heard some of these aphorisms: “Marriage is a reciprocal relationship where one gives and the other takes and the other gives while the first takes. Marriage is 50/50. Marriage is not always 50/50. Sometimes you have to give more than you receive.” There is truth to all of these, but there is a pattern that begins and ends with men. Make your wife happy, she’ll make you happy, and you will lack nothing in your relationship.

Men mess up a lot. We are impulsive and loud. We in particular mess up when we only think about what we want which leaves our wives unhappy. We don’t look to pleasing our wives because we think we’re being pushovers or weak. Plus, we want what we want. 

What’s interesting is that if this loud, impulsive, self-serving energy can be put in the right direction, we’ll be supermen or at least super-husbands. Want a happy marriage? Here’s the secret. You must forget about your needs and focus on your wife’s. Trust me. When you do this, your needs will be met. A real leader doesn’t think of himself, but rather those he is leading. You want to be a leader in your home don’t you? Men also want to be taken care of at home, and they want to be admired. Your wife wants to do both of these things. She really does, but you must give her something to love so she’ll be motivated to take care of you and admire you.
Well, what does she need? All women want to be heard (understood) and they want to be loved.

Do you know why your wife is upset? Do you know what she means when she says certain things? Women can be difficult to understand but that’s because they are so different from men. This does not mean they are impossible to understand. Listen to her and determine what she is trying to tell you. Sometimes it does seem like she’s speaking in code, but listen to what she is saying. Communication is a huge need in women. Even if you did the dumbest thing known to man, she will be much quicker to forgive if you show her you understand why she is mad.

Marriage is a functioning machine where two people work to make it happen. Typically, responsibilities are broken up somewhat evenly between the husband and the wife. The wife depends on the husband to do his share, but here’s where a bit of difference occurs. The woman depends on you to make her feel loved within her home. How do you do this? You pursue her regularly. She desperately wants this and you desperately want to do it, but maybe you’ve forgotten. Love and understand her and she’ll make sure you are happy.

What happens when you have a happy wife? That wife wants to please her husband. BINGO! Forget about your needs, take care of your wife’s, and she will more than take care of yours.

Gerber Is More Dependable

There is a commercial by Gerber that is advertising their latest product; the Gerber Life Grow-Up Plan. This is life insurance that you can purchase for your baby. I don’t think whole life insurance is a good investment, but this commercial is interesting. It has a hidden message that I’m not sure the producers wanted to put in there, but I heard it loud and clear. It’s not terribly obvious so here it is.
The setting is of a young, single mother talking about how she has purchased life insurance for her baby. She also mentions a few people in her life, like her dad, who “gives good financial advice.” You can tell she’s talking directly to young girls like herself who have had a baby. It’s really well done, but a dark cloud comes over me at the last line of the commercial when she says, “I want to give him something he can depend on.” BOOM!!!
For all the single mothers that are out there, take care of your baby. Grab on to all the support you can whether it’s a teacher, counselor, parent, or friend. I’m not sure life insurance is the best investment but that’s my opinion. He or she is depending on you. If you are pregnant, at this point, it doesn’t matter how you got there. What matters is how you are going to take care of yourself and your unborn child. Find help.
To the other unnamed participant in the commercial, this 30 second ad is pointed directly at you. If you’ve not figured it out yet, I’m talking about the boys who tuck their tails between their legs and run when she says, “I’m pregnant.” Something the baby can depend on? She’s exactly right because for her and many others like her, the father of the baby is not dependable. It takes a man to take care of his baby and his wife. Unfortunately, too many of my gender fall under the “boy” category.
The girl in the commercial has been through some difficult times. She’s had to tell her parents, which isn’t easy. She’s had to reevaluate her future by putting things like college on hold. Her friends and worries have changed. Where once it was sleepovers and acne, it is now midnight feedings and mounting bills. Sadly, she has probably long forgotten about child support because the father of this baby is nowhere to be found.
I hope that as we wag our heads at teen mothers, we don’t crucify them. First, we should be thankful that she had the baby, and secondly, we should work to help these types of mothers. Finally, I hope we will teach our teens about responsibility and the importance of abstinence so they don’t learn about them the hard way.

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Pregnant Smokers

I saw a masterful example of parenting the other day. When I got in the car after shopping at Babies ‘R Us in Rivergate, I noticed, across the parking lot, a pregnant woman smoking. Thankfully she took advantage of the “Expectant Mothers” parking space. I’d hate for her to get winded or have her ankles swell too much. While this was on her mind and the mind of her able bodied husband, I wonder if she thought about her baby’s growth problems, heart defects, risk for cerebral palsy, and even death ( Thankfully, we don’t have to smell it in restaurants anymore, but maybe the next step should be to stop in utero child abuse.

My five year old noticed it and mentioned it to my wife. She told him it was bad for her baby and with his nine month old sister beside him he said, “Mama, I’m glad you didn’t smoke.”

BOOK REVIEW: Love and War by John & Stasi Eldredge

I have read a lot of marriage books and this one was quite different. While I thoroughly enjoyed Willard F. Harley’s practical steps to a better marriage in Fall In Love Stay In Love and John Gottman’s critical analysis in The Marriage Clinic, John & Stasi Eldredge took me on a journey through the lessons they learned in their marriage and through the experiences of others. This wisdom is invaluable and the teachings of Titus 2 came to mind.
Eldredge & Eldredge did not say that “marriage is blissful if you just follow these steps,” but rather they laid it out in all its difficult and magnificent glory. It’s torrential and possible of great pain, but if used as God’s tool, it can forge you into the person and couple he wants you to be.
As they tell it, marriage is a love story written within the confines of a war for the souls of mankind. I love this depiction of it because, as a Christian, this view of my relationships on this earth and how they relate to the hereafter give me an intense focus, spiritually. I see the scriptural lessons on the home in a new and deeper fashion. Also, the authors’ style and tone of writing press upon me the gravity of my job as husband and father.
What didn’t I like about the book? First, I had a difficult time relating to their spiritual struggles in the last two chapters. I don’t want to be too critical because we are all different and my feelings on the matter are quite personal. I just disagree with some things as I don’t see spirituality in totally the same way that they do. Second, this book may or may not work for you. The Harley book I mentioned earlier is good because it can help people change their behavior; a necessity in many failing marriages. If your heart isn’t open, this book may do you little to no good. 
Third, you may not like the book if you disagree with their positions on manhood and womanhood. While I think it’s their strongest characteristic, many would disagree. Several reviewers speak of John & Stasi’s stereotypical view of these positions in the home, but stereotypes come from truth. I think they even admit at one point that not everyone sees it the same way they do. Although, I think the struggles they speak of are universal as they speak to the root of marital discord. So, even if it doesn’t look exactly like you, there are gems of thought that can bring healing to your marriage. Finally, I also don’t agree theologically with their prayer to receive Jesus Christ as your savior (page 212). While it is important to speak words like this and give your heart to Jesus, it takes more than this to become a Christian.

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Tiger Woods & Cousin Eddie

The question of why men and women do things that harm their marriages plagues homes everywhere. Why would Tiger Woods, with his wife/model at home, pursue another woman? It seems crazy to some but when one considers that men enjoy the pursuit, it can make this tawdry situation fit some sort of logic. What Tiger and men everywhere should realize is that the pursuit can be just as exciting with your wife at home. You just have to work at it because life happens to you and the desire to do exciting things can be pushed to the side.

Another question to consider is why some women go after men who don’t work or who can’t possibly take care of anyone but himself? The perfect candidate for this award would have to be Cousin Eddie from the National Lampoons Vacation series with Chevy Chase.  How does this make sense? Women want a man they can depend on and when they make a commitment, they want to stick with him. Even when he spends much of his time making excuses about why he can’t work, she believes him. This happens with lazy humans and with abusive ones. The wife tries to change the man but this often doesn’t work. Hopefully, there’s something inside him though that will make him want to change and improve his life for the both of you.
With all the Tiger Woods, Cousin Eddies and the women who love them in the world, where do you stand as the matriarch in your home? Pray that your husband will avoid temptation if you’re worried he’s being unfaithful. Pray that your husband will stop being a slug and actually do something. Or do for your family what you know needs to be done. Hopefully, he will learn from your example.

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"Facing Your Addiction"

A few weeks ago in the Bible class I’m teaching, we discussed, “addiction.” This killer of families, lives, and communities can come in many forms. It can prey upon the grandmother who spends too much money or on the teen boy who sees too much over his internet connection. It can be as simple as not being able to get away from Facebook or as earth shattering as losing ones house because of the accessibility of gambling websites. It’s so scary because addicts don’t even know they’re hurting anyone or themselves. The object, substance, or behavior has taken over.

The most extreme cases can be found in meth addicts. This devastating drug alters the brain’s chemistry so much that the person has lost the capacity to love or feel anything outside their drug of choice. Counselors, social workers, and family members plead with them, “Can’t you see how much you’re hurting your children?” They can’t. The drug has burned their pleasure senses so much it is literally impossible for them to feel anything. All they know is, “I must get my next hit.”

Drug and alcohol addictions are relatively easy to spot. Do you drink often alone? Are you using narcotics? These are pretty straightforward questions for those who use and the answers can get a person started in the right direction. Television shows like Intervention are captivating because they display people at their worst (the addicts) and their families working towards a resolution of the problem struggling right along with them. What’s interesting is the family is often part of the problem. Whether they’ve enabled the person to use or got them started, those closest to the person may have had a great deal to do with the issue at hand. They can also play the greatest role in getting the person clean.
Some addictions, like drugs and alcohol, help people belong to a group. One of the major goals of Alcoholics Anonymous is for the recovering person to find new friends. The addiction of pornography is probably one of the most lethal. The most innocent ten year old can now view something that once could only be seen in the seediest of places. This “drug” alters men’s perception of women so much that the images they can easily access become their only sexual outlet thereby disabling or lessening his ability to enjoy it with his wife. Pornography promises excitement, but there’s no emotional connection; something that is important for men and women in a sexual relationship.
You can’t just quit an addiction and trying harder often does not work. If someone is to truly overcome their addiction, their behaviors must change, their thinking must change, and their relationship with God must change. Even the secular program Alcoholics Anonymous gives credence to the fact that you can’t do it on your own. So, if you’re an addict, admit it and get help. If you know an addict, help them before it is too late.

The Women In Love Stories

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about what men could learn from heroes in the romance novels their wives love so much. Read the article, “Living Your Own Love Story” here. Well, what can women learn from the main female characters in these stories? In her book, Writing the Great American Romance Novel, Catherine Lanigan discusses several characteristics that are imperative for the female heroine to have in any romance story. I believe these are also characteristics that are important to a husband and to a woman’s children as they look to her to be all that she can be for them and for herself.

Just like the male character, the female has an obstacle that she must overcome. This spurs the excitement in the story. In all romance novels, the female star is the “cog of the wheel” and everything else revolves around her. Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? In a well written romance novel, the character works through the chaos of the story using her strengths.

The female character must be intelligent. This is a similar characteristic to her male counterpart. Something that must take place with her however is that she must listen to those wise friends around her as she evolves into a better person. Both the male and female characters grow in the story.

Different from her male counterpart, the female must listen to her intuition. This is a big strength with women in general. Men have an inkling of it too; it’s just that they don’t listen to it very much. We’re too analytical sometimes. Inherent in the story format is that the woman must listen to her heart and be open to love.

She must be compassionate in an active way. She roots for the underdog, stands in picket lines and speaks her mind. She is the kind of nurturing friend that all females hope to be. She is courageous and in romance novels, she finally discovers the courage to love. This is part of the conflict. After being hurt or pursuing a career for far too long, the crisis in the story must push the female towards the ability to love. As the story climaxes, she realizes that she can’t live her life or fight her battles alone. This is the driving force that pushes her towards the hero, which is what the romance is about, and should be what your marriage is about.

Your kids, your career, and your parents are all important but none of them can carry you off into the sunset the way your man can. All men want a beauty by their side and Lanigan discusses the importance of the beauty characteristic. As we know, beauty must be internal and external.

What causes some women to lose their inner beauty? Some women grow bitter for a variety of reasons. They were hurt by their father and therefore are unable to make a deep connection with a man. They don’t like themselves and can’t see why anyone would love them. These are personal matters that if explored and resolved can increase the beauty in a woman tenfold.

Those women you admire in love novels so much, what about them do you appreciate and how can you be like them. Their example can be a chance for incredible growth in your life. Trust me, your husband will love you for it. 

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Weight Loss: "Don’t Lie to Yourself"

I hit the ground running with Weight Watchers and had two great weeks of weight loss. As my clothes fit again and I feel physically better, my intensity and dedication to the program begins to wain. So, I must keep my eyes on my weight goal. Otherwise, I’ll be right back where I was and then some. Let’s not lie to ourselves. Just because our pants aren’t tight, it doesn’t mean that we’re where we need to be. 
What are some other lies we tell ourselves? 
  1. If you eat cookie dough before it’s cooked, you don’t have to count it. Wrong!
  2. A few nibbles here and a few nibbles there don’t count towards our calories. Wrong!
  3. If it’s not in a food guide or if the nutrition facts aren’t listed, it must be OK to eat. Wrong!
  4. My favorite is at church potlucks. I’m sure you’ve heard people spry, “Lord, bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies.” No matter how much you might pray this, the casseroles aren’t going to get any healthier. They’re still loaded with fat and while they have some nutritional value, they aren’t good for a weight loss plan.
Where do you want to be? Go there.

Dale Sadler: Family Counseling Services

Thanks to lots of prayer, hard work, and some great support, I will begin my private practice February 15. This has been a dream of mine ever since I began the program at WKU. I would like to thank all of those who have encouraged me in so many ways; especially my wife, Malita.

For those in the area who are looking for counseling, particularly in the areas of marriage and men’s issues, give me a call at 615-285-0095 or send me an email
I’d like to also reach out to ministers. This job carries with it many responsibilities and those who work with churches in a leadership role don’t usually have a place to go to for counsel. I was a minister for several years and believe I can help this very important part of our community. 
Be sure to visit my website for more information and directions to my office. I will be available for sessions in the afternoons and evenings. Finally, I will be in the company of three very capable counselors and I am so glad that they have given me this opportunity.

Food As A Sedative

I have historically used food as a way to manage emotion. There, I said it. I’m sure there are others who could say the same. Food is a friend and people use it to cope with any number of things. We eat to feel better, pure and simple. This isn’t healthy. Like alcohol, you can’t eat your problems away. They’ll still be there the next morning and so will your expanding waist line. After joining Weight Watchers I have had to face this in my own life. It’s tough but self-reliance, not self-medicating  is the best way to go.
You can’t help but enjoy food just for the sake of enjoying it sometimes so here’s one of my guilty pleasures.
Bowl O’ Cookies 
2 cups of sugar
1 stick of melted margarine
3 heaping T of cocoa
1/2 cup of milk
2 3/4 cup of QUICK oats
3/4 cup of Jif Extra Crunchy peanut butter. Creamy peanut butter should be outlawed.
1 t of vanilla
Like a science experiment, this recipe calls for exact measurements and precise timing, especially. This will take some practice. Don’t cook them too long or they’ll dry out. If you don’t cook them enough, they’ll be gritty.
1. Mix the sugar, melted margarine, cocoa, and milk in a large pot (the single handled kind, not the big kind with two handles.) One with tall sides is best.
2. Set your stove to medium and bring mixture to an even boil. Certain sections will start boiling before others, this isn’t when you start number 3. You may want to stir it once to evenly distribute the heat. Also, you don’t want it to boil too hard so leave it at medium and be patient. 
3. Once the entire mixture is at a full boil, use a timer to count down 90 seconds.
4. At the 30 second mark, put in the vanilla.
5. Have your cocoa and peanut butter ready to go before the boiling starts.
6. Once the 90 seconds are up, take the pot off the heat. Quickly put in the oats and then the peanut butter. Stir, completely melting the peanut butter.
7. Pour the mixture into a cereal bowl, grab a spoon and a glass of milk and enjoy. Spoon the rest of the mixture onto wax paper and allow to cool.