Expect fairness

Marriage is about compromise. It’s about sharing. It’s about giving up what you want to please your spouse. Most importantly, it’s about fairness. Any relationship where one person routinely gives up everything for the other or expects the other to do all the work is doomed to fail. Only by balancing the load amongst both partners can a marriage last. This applies to every aspect of a marriage. Whether it’s household chores, managing money, picking what movie to go see, everything needs to be fair and balance out. I’m not saying you need to keep a tally and keep track of every time one person gets to do what they want at the expense of the other person, but the goal should be to achieve roughly equal equanimity in the relationship. Few things will sour a relationship more than saying, “Why should I do the dishes when I did them last night?” A good marriage is where one person goes out of their way to do more than is expected of them, not because they want to tip the scales in their favor but because they want to make life easier for the other person. A great marriage is where one person goes out of their way to do more than is expected of them and the other person responds in kind at a later date without any prompting! The trick to expecting fairness is, ironically enough, to not expect it. If your spouse thinks you are doing something because you are counting on the action being repaid, then they’ll lose any motivation to respond in kind. If your spouse thinks you are doing something simply out of the goodness of your heart and a desire to make their life easier, then they will want to respond with a similar gesture some point in the future. Marriage is about expecting fairness without demanding it. By doing good things simply for the sake of doing them you will find that fairness naturally flows forth.

Published in: on December 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Learn to wrap Christmas gifts

One of the surest ways to brighten your wife’s Christmas is to wrap her presents. Fortunately, the level of expectation for guys wrapping gifts is so incredibly low (think aluminum foil) that all you need to do is put forth a moderate amount of effort and she’ll think you’re friggin’ Santa Claus. Now, I am in no way even remotely competent when it comes to wrapping gifts, but I have picked up a few tricks throughout the years to at least be able to fake it. Here’s my standard method of wrapping, which definitely qualifies it for the ‘good enough’ category:

1. Roll out the wrapping paper and lay the gift face down on the paper. This way when you cut the paper to size the rough edges will be on the back of the gift, which she won’t see. If you’re really dedicated you can fold one side and then place that on top of the unfolded rough side to create the illusion of a smooth edge. Apply one piece of tape to hold the two cut ends together.
2. Cut off the excess paper on one end and push in the edges so you have two trapezoids sticking out of the top and bottom of the gift. Fold the top trapezoidal part in half (or however many times you need to make it fit), then fold half of the bottom edge onto itself and then fold that part on top of the first part. Again, the point is to create the illusion of a smooth seam. Apply tape and repeat on the other side.

OK, if you did everything right you should now have something that looks like a halfway decently wrapped gift using only three pieces of tape and with no visible rough edges showing.  Now it’s time for you to really prove your love.

3. Do something clever to decorate the wrapped gift. Either tie some ribbon around the gift, slap a bow on it, wrap some ribbon, just do something that shows you put some thought into it.  Don’t get too creative, just do something to show she is important enough to you that you’re willing to go the extra wrapping mile.
4. Put a label on it and write something cute. Don’t just put, “From Husband to Wife.” Put something like, “To a wonderful wife from a loving husband.” I guarantee she’ll start tearing up before she even opens the gift. (note: make sure the ‘to’ and ‘from’ line are appropriate to the gift. Don’t write something sappy if the gift doesn’t warrant it, otherwise she’ll end up expecting a piece of jewelry when you really got her a bowling ball.)

Finally, there is one cardinal rule that you must follow when wrapping gifts for if you violate this rule all your efforts will be wasted: Don’t mess up her gift wrapping kit. This rule will vary depending on how crafty your wife is, but odds are she has some sort of collection of wrapping paper, bows, ribbons, labels, etc. and since no married man has any of these things you’ll inevitably end up using hers. Make sure that when you’re done you put everything  back where you found it!  If your wife is organized enough to have a gift wrapping kit she won’t appreciate you messing everything up.  Many a Christmas’ have been ruined at the sight of ribbon being haphazardly placed in the bow tray. 

Well, there it is!  Everything I know about wrapping gifts.  Seriously.  That’s it.  Good luck to you and remember, unlike gifts, here it really is the thought that counts!

Published in: on December 14, 2009 at 11:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Sex on demand

Let’s face it – the whole point of the single life is to get laid. At the bar, at the office, at whatever you do in your spare time, you are constantly looking for the next person with whom you can hook up. When you’re married, there’s no question! You know exactly where to go for sex and, if you play your cards right, that person will always be willing. No sexting, no flirtexting, no reading between the lines, just sex. Now, for some, that can be a turn off. Lot’s of people enjoy the ‘thrill of the hunt’ and if that’s what you look forward to then have fun, but remember this: Sex is rarely about physical gratification (if it was, we’d all make do with happy socks and vibrators). While that insatiable lust may drive your initial actions, that is simply a physical reaction to a much deeper emotional need, namely, the need to connect with another person. Case in point, most married men who admit to cheating on their wives state that they did it because they felt they no longer had a strong emotional connection to their spouse. This is why one of the top warning signs that you may be going down the road to adultery is when you start confiding in a female friend things you don’t feel comfortable telling your wife. Once you understand that sex is a physical release for an emotional need, you can truly begin appreciating the fact that for the rest of your life you now have sex on demand.

Published in: on December 12, 2009 at 1:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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You learn to love the little things

Single life ain’t cheap. All those bars and dinners and assorted nights out add up quick. Remember that morning you woke up after a night of bar hopping, checked your wallet and realized the $200 you had in there the night before is now gone? Well, imagine if you could have the same amount of fun and all for a fraction of the cost? Sound like a good deal? That’s because it is! When you’re married you quickly realize that while going out is all well and good, staying in is just as satisfying. Whether it’s sharing a drink and talking about your day, watching a movie together or just hanging out with friends, you’ll find that it’s not the location, but the people you are with that matters. This is not to say you should become complete shut-ins, in fact, staying in all the time is a dangerous trap that married couples can easily fall into, but what you’ll find is that once you are married you no longer need to go out all the time since the thing you were searching for at the bars is now waiting for you at home.

Published in: on December 12, 2009 at 12:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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Being single requires a lot of work!

Let’s face it: Being single isn’t easy! You have to cook your own food, clean your own laundry, do your own chores, and basically learn to rely solely on yourself. When you get married you suddenly have a willing partner with whom you can divide up all of life’s little chores, thereby making more time for you to do the stuff you enjoy. Even better, you can now divide up your chores based on your respective strengths – if you like to cook and hate the laundry you can now negotiate to ensure that less of your time is devoted to what you hate and more of your time is devoted to what you love. If you’re married you have options, if you’re single you have none, aside from chinese or pizza.

Published in: on December 12, 2009 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  
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Buy her flowers when she’s not expecting them

Any putz can buy a woman flowers on valentine’s day or her birthday or your anniversary. It takes a real romantic to buy her flowers when she’s not expecting it! Did she have to go out-of-town for a last-minute business trip? Did she call you at work to tell you how bad a day she’s having? Where you coming home and saw a guy selling flowers by the metro and you just decided to pick up a bouquet? This is the stuff that women eat up! Remember, women appreciate the thought you put into something more than the actual product – it’s how we get away with doing a crappy job when doing the laundry! The key is to be spontaneous and unpredictable. If she starts expecting flowers every time she goes away on a trip you’ll find yourself trapped having to always buy flowers, and the one time you don’t she’ll wonder why, which leads down a road you don’t want anything to do with! Just make it a point to every now and then buy her flowers for no reason other than you want to show her how much you care about her. I guarantee you’ll find that her appreciation will be far greater than when you get her flowers because that’s what’s expected of you that particular day of the year. The flowers don’t have to be anything special – roses are nice and all that but they lose their value if that’s all you buy. Mix it up with seasonal bouquets (easier than you think – just pick up a pre-made bouquet at the grocery store on your way to the protein tub aisle) and you’ll keep the excitement factor where it needs to be, and then, once you’ve got her thinking she’ll never get roses again…Bam! Go ahead and hit her with two dozen long-stemmed red roses! (Note: don’t actually hit here with the roses, especially if they have thorns) She’ll go friggin’ nuts.

Published in: on December 8, 2009 at 2:36 pm  Comments (1)  
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Be chivalrous without being chauvinist

Don’t believe what you hear about this being an age of equality where women don’t want to be treated any differently than men. No matter how successful a woman may become at work, no matter how professional she may be, all woman want to be treated like a lady, at least in their personal lives. Doing this is not all that terribly difficult, in fact, because the bar has been set so low by all the jerks out there who don’t know how to treat a lady properly, it is remarkably easy to stand out as a true gentleman. We’ll start with the basics:

1. Hold the door for her. This is as easy as it gets. Don’t make a big deal out of it and don’t shove her out of the way as you race to get to the door, but as you get within, say, 50 feet or so of the door, just start slowly positioning yourself so that when you do get to the door you’ll already be in a position to hold it open. When you do open the door, don’t say anything stupid like, “After you my dear.” Just hold the door open, place your hand on her back as she walks by you, and then follow her inside. If there are people behind her, feel free to hold the door for them too, it’ll just make you feel classier. Note: If there’s a long line of people that you are now stuck holding the door for, look for either the sucker in the group or the gentleman and pawn the door off on them.

2. Always give her the best seat and wait until she’s seated before sitting down. This is another easy one. When the waiter takes you to the table make sure she’s walking ahead of you that way she can pick whichever seat she wants. Perhaps she likes having her back to the rest of the room or maybe she wants to sit so she can see the entire restaurant, either way, save yourself the trouble of figuring it out by letting her go first. Finally, don’t sit down until she’s comfortable. Don’t awkwardly linger by your chair while she gets situated, just give it a few seconds before plopping your ass down. I know your feet are tired but guess what, she’s wearing high heels so show your appreciation for the pain she’s putting herself through by letting her sit down first.

3. Stand up when she leaves the table. This is a little tricky. Old fashion style will tell you that every time a woman stands up at a table all the men need to stand up as well, both when she leaves and returns to the table. Personally, I think this is a bit overkill because I guarantee that unless you’re at a formal fraternity ball you’ll be the only person in the room doing this, which could have the reverse effect of making your wife feel uncomfortable. I recommend that you preserve the spirit of this action by putting down your fork, stop eating or drinking, slightly push back your chair as she gets up and make a slight standing motion. This will get you points by showing that you are acknowledging her getting up without the undue embarrassment of garnering the entire room’s attention. Same goes for when she comes back. On the other hand, if your wife has a taste for old fashion style and enjoys being the center of attention, feel free to stand, just make sure you commit yourself, otherwise you’ll look like a kid wearing his father’s tuxedo at a fraternity formal.

4. Opening and closing the car door. This is another bit of a throw back to an age where men did the driving and woman yelled at them for not stopping to ask directions. (It actually originates from the age of horses and carriages where the woman needed a hand climbing up on the horse or getting into the carriage) This obviously is no longer the case as women now drive just as much as men and men now have GPS to ignore instead of their wives. (And car doors are much lower to the ground) I recommend you only open and close the car door if you are going out to a nice dinner and are dressed up. Old fashion customs go great with elegant dresses; they are less appropriate for jeans and a low cut top. If you do decide to open the door for her, be cool about it. Take your time walking around the front of the car, hold out your hand to help her out of the car (more symbolic than necessary) and then gently close the door behind her. Same goes with opening the car door. Open it while standing to the side, offer your hand to help her in, and gently close the door, making sure to check that her dress is FULLY IN the car. Nothing ruins an evening faster than catching her brand new dress in the car door. As with the standing up custom at restaurants, if you’re going to commit to this one, commit to it! Act like you do this all the time and you’ll come off looking suave and debonair. Act like you do this once a year and you’ll look like you’re playing dress up.

These are just a few of the different types of chivalrous customs that used to be standard practice but that are now relatively rare. There are plenty of other customs out there but the trick to all of them is to be subtle! A little goes a long way and if you put too much effort into any of these you’ll end up looking out of place and awkward, which is far worse than doing nothing at all. Just think ahead, be smooth, and you’ll end up looking like a gallant gentleman who knows how to treat his wife like a lady.

Published in: on December 4, 2009 at 2:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Don’t take her for granted

When a married man starts to take his wife for granted he makes her feel unappreciated and unloved.  This can be a real problem as the moment a partner starts to feel that they are no longer loved they lose their motivation to put any effort into the marriage, which in turn angers the other partner, causing the other partner to grow more distant, and so on and so on.  The simple way to avoid this problem is, like most solutions, simply to not let it become a problem in the first place.  By continually reminding your wife that you appreciate all she does for you (and I guarantee she does more than you think) she will continue to feel validated, thereby ensuring she continues to do all those things that help your marriage run smoothly.  Showing your appreciation doesn’t need to take the form of any dramatic gesture (although it doesn’t hurt), it can be as simple as thanking her each time she makes dinner or does the dishes, publicly complementing her in front of your friends (“You should try [insert name of spouse and favorite dish here]!  It’s fantastic!)  Taking the time, even if it’s just a few seconds, to show her that you are appreciative of the time she puts into making your relationship work will go a long way to ensuring that she feels appreciated and loved.  No one wants to do the dishes, clean the house, or any of the other countless chores that need to be done, but those chores become a lot less of a burden if the person knows that their efforts are being noticed and valued.