“I don’t think I can parent today.” Guilty as charged.

Father_and_son_surf_lesson_in_Morro_Bay,_CA.jpgI was sending silly Snapchat videos back and forth with one of my best friends yesterday, like we usually do; and he, in jest, said that he was so tired after his day of work that he didn’t know if he could parent anymore today. He was on his way to pick up his daughter up from preschool and he was hoping that she wasn’t going to be too hyper when she got home because he was just plain tired. SO should we as parents feel guilty about…well…about being tired?

IMG_0284Daniel decided that he didn’t want to play baseball this year. He has usually been a three athlete kid but he decided that he wanted to concentrate on two sports instead of three. We respected his decision and have been patiently waiting for Football season to start. As the baseball season has been in full swing, I have noticed all of my Facebook friends talking about how tired they are from working all day and then flying down the road to get kids and drag them to this practice or that next game. So why do I feel guilty about being happy of his decision not to play baseball? We as parents are conditioned to believe that we have to do everything for our children and be happy about it…or we are bad parents. You feel as if there is something wrong with you if you really just don’t want to watch another episode of Spongebob Squarepants.
Yesterday, Daniel was following me around reading his new video game magazine and
all he wanted to do was tell me about a contest that they were advertising in the magazine. We had just walked in the door and between changing clothes to head to the gym and talking to my wife, I had yet to even take a breathe to relax. I lost my cool and told him to ‘please stop talking about video games for 5 seconds’. To a 12 year old, who was excited to talk to his dad about something that he is passionate about, it crushed him. I immediately felt the guilt and my face flushed red and I could feel myself welling up with tears. His unhappiness is the last thing in the world that I would want…and I know that I am not the only parent who just wants 5 seconds to chill. I want to tell you that you are not alone. Well moms and dads, here are some things to NOT feel guilty for but it may be a topic that you need to address.

Guilty as Charged:

  1. Yelling – I’ve done it. You’ve done it. According to Devra Renner, co-author of the book Mommy Guilt, says that yelling is the one thing that that was the #1 thing that all of the 1,300 women that she interviewed for her book revealed to be the thing that caused them to feel the most guilty. Some parents have elevated levels of communication. That’s just how they roll. Some kids know that when Momma starts talking with her teeth together and her voice is low….its time to leave Momma alone. The decibel of your communication is something that accidently comes out. We lose our temper. Sometimes, we as parents, get frustrated and loose our cool. We yell out of frustration. But when that is all our child knows…then there is our problem. If you always yell at your kids, then you need to take a step back and evaluate your manner of communication.
  2. Work – Someone in the family has to work. Money doesn’t grow on trees. I’ve had conversations with many of my friends and they always express to me that they feel like they are losing out on pivotal moments of their child’s life because they are working so much. What can you do when your trying to balance being a spouse, parent and a demanding 40+ hour-a-week job? First off…don’t let it get you down. Realize that your kids love you and after they are grown, they will realize how hard you worked for them. Take advantage of the precious time that you have with them. Know that work is important but your family needs to be a priority as well. Take time to support your son at his Karate tournament, your kid at their dance recital, or to watch your little girl at her first softball game. Take time to play with them. You don’t have to dedicate hours to playing with them or buying expensive toys or going to expensive water parks every day. Memories are made right in your living room playing pretend or by kissing your child on the forehead after reading them a bedtime story. Basically, just create a work schedule that is flexible enough for your family to realize that they are just as important to you.
  3. Taking a Break – Sometimes you just need a break. I don’t mean a Kit-Kat Bar (even though I need one of those right now), but what I mean is that sometimes you just want to walk away from the crying babies and the chaos of our lives. You of course feel guilty about it because you love your family BUT it is important to take some time to recharge. Whether it is something as simple as a bubble bath while your husband takes the kids to the park, a couple of afternoons a week at the gym, or a night at Hooters with your buddies to get some chicken wings and a beer. Some people need that recharge and you shouldn’t feel like you’re not making the right decisions. Just because you’re a parent, doesn’t mean that you give up being a person. You need to care about your own mental well being as well. Your spouse should respect that and not think the worst of you when you want to have some ‘you’ time (and no I’m not talking to my friend’s ex-wife…or am I).
  4. Play – I touched on spending time and playing with your kids earlier and I just wanted to touch on it once more. I know that in today’s crazy life, actually taking the time and slowing down long enough to play Legos with your son or to have another tea party with your daughter. Before you feel guilty about seeing your son or daughter playing by themselves or them complaining about being bored; I want you to remember that YOUR CHILD DOES NOT HAVE TO BE ENTERTAINED EVERY SECOND OF EVERY DAY! BUT you should dedicate some time to your child, even if its for only an hour. Some parents are the ones that will get down in the floor and give horse back rides or will pretend to be Princesses with their daughters for hours…but some are not. You should not feel guilty about that. Find something that you and your child both enjoy, so you can build a long lasting memory with your child.
  5. Acceptance – I’m not in your house but I’m assuming that you are a good parent. So you need to accept that fact. You are a good parent! Being a perfect wife, husband or parent is impossible. What we can do is realize that the photo-shopped, Susie home-maker, super-mother is a fallacy. Realize that we will fall short of scaling the mountain of tasks that it takes to reach perfection. Besides being tired from our normal lives, the last thing that we need to be is riddled with anxiety and guilt-ridden by some cookie cutter expectation. If your child goes to school wearing two different colored socks…its not the end of the world. Remember to try and be a positive role model for your children by handling the things that life pushes our way with a happy, good-humored demeanor.

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I’m not a registered family therapist. I’m not even a perfect parent. What I do is I know a couple of things. I know that you don’t need to feed into the guilt mongers. Don’t worrymcdonalds happy meal about the judgement of the pretentious parenting police who judge you when you get to baseball practice five minutes too late with a kid whose shirt is untucked and hair is unbrushed, all while he’s taking his last bite of his McDonald’s Happy Meal cheeseburger that you picked up on your way to take kid number 3 to dance practice. We’re busy. It’s life. Just remember that it’s not about the quantity of the items that your child has or how many times that they have been to Carowinds. What matters most is the quality of the hours that you spend with your child. That is what makes the difference when they grow up and look back on their lives.


Images 

Feature Image: Father and son Surf lesson image by and accredited to “Mike” Michael L. Baird, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9176643

Reading a Bedtime story to my Daughter image by and attributed to Ludwig Bemelmans, Ldorfman – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18437032

Boy with McDonalds Happy Meal image attributed to uploader. Own work. Fair use.

“I’m so tired, I haven’t slept a wink”

via Daily Prompt: Knackered

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The Beatles 1968 self titled album houses a song that has resounded in my mind all day long. “I’m so tired, I haven’t slept a wink/I’m so tired, my mind is on the blink”. I slept very poorly last night….and I know who/what to blame.

Anthony Burgess, author of one of my favorite books “A Clockwork Orange” said to “Laugh and the world laughs with you; snore and you sleep alone.” As I feel a light punch at my arm, I have heard my wife through gritted teeth IMG_0331say “Chris, roll over! You’re snoring was so loud it woke me up again. You’ve gotta do something about this!” So…why do we snore? My English Bulldog even snores because she has a short nasal passage. Even though I find it quite adorable, it gets annoying right in the middle of my 80th viewing of Roadhouse. So why does something that happens to almost all of us, end up being something that could not only be potentially dangerous to your health but could quite literally kill you added to the fact that it is completely annoying to the 59% of questioned adults who say that their spouses snore. With most of the tested subjects snoring at an estimated 38 decibels, why wouldn’t we as the listeners complain about hearing something that is as loud as your kitchen’s refrigerator? Well the answer to how we stop snoring is convoluted. The answer of ‘why’ can be easily answered.

Snoring is essentially the sound that is produced when your upper airway structure vibrates during inhalation and exhalation. Any membrane that is in the pathOsa_cycle
of this airway (including your tongue, soft palate, uvula, tonsils and throat wall can vibrate during this act. While we are asleep, the muscles throughout our body relax. Your throat and tongue are muscles, therefore your airway also relaxes and causes the space that the air has to travel to become tighter and this tightened air space combined with the vibrations cause the lion’s roar that our pets, family members, spouses or room mates hear every night during our time of slumber.

Snoring is not a sickness.  Its not a disease. Its a symptom. Just as a cough is a symptom of the common cold, snoring is a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is however a disorder. The restful slumber of a person with sleep apnea is riddled 8TzKqRrXcwith the loud roar of snoring as well as the labored breathing that usually is also riddled with pauses or gasps during the person’s slumber. This obstructed pause results from a COMPLETE obstruction of the airway and sometimes even causes a decrease in our body’s oxygen level. Just like our reaction to someone pinching our noses in the middle of the night, we sleep apnea sufferers terminate this obstruction by waking up. This constant waking and restless slumber leads to fragmented, less restful sleep. Sleep apnea can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, loss of attention span and poor concentration levels.

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And if you didn’t catch it earlier, I inferred that I have sleep apnea. I have snored since I don’t know when and I have tortured friends, parents, family, a roommate, my wife, and my child with thunderous snores for as long as I can remember. As I mentioned earlier, obstructive sleep apnea can cause a loss of oxygen in the body but it can also cause increased hypertension and over time can cause extreme damage to your heart and vascular system. I, for one, want to live as long as possible so that I can see my son grow and live out my ‘happily ever after’. The other consequence of the fragmented sleep that I spoke of earlier is daytime sleepiness and poor concentration levels. These symptoms 8cAEdBxMican sometimes take effect while driving. Now I don’t know if you realize this or not but sleeping and driving is not advised to be done at the same time. Ever. Ever. Ever. By anyone. Falling asleep while driving is a risk factor that I met in an all too familiar way. Sleep apnea almost caused God to claim my forgiven soul a little earlier than I figured that he would. While driving home one night, a symptom of sleep apnea crept up on me like a pouncing tiger. I fell asleep while driving. I flipped my truck multiple times and ended up with a totaled truck and multiple points on my insurance.

Now before you go judging me and refusing to ever get in a car while I am driving, let me freak you out by saying that there is no real cure for sleep apnea. There is no cure-all pill for the 22 million of us that suffer from sleep apnea. And the possibility of someone snoring and/or developing sleep apnea only increases when we as a populous add in our weight gain, consumption of large quantities of alcohol, allergies, drug use, use of muscle relaxants or sedatives, and most importantly smoking; but there is supposed to be hope. Now by hope I am referencing the gamut of simple, noninvasive items that open the nasal passages to that truly invasive surgical procedure. I have tried Breathe Right Strips and I still snored like a freight train. These strips work by gently lifting the nasal passage from the outside. But alas these strips did not help me. I’ve even heard home remedies of sewing tennis balls to the back of your night shirt to keep you from laying on your back because unless you know this from personal experience you snore A LOT worse on your back. This is caused by your neck being at a different position; thusly causing your throat to have an even worse obstruction.

Now of course, there are easy solutions: lose excess weight, don’t smoke, don’t drink lots of alcohol, take allergy medicine to prevent having complications from allergies; but as before, these are merely bandaids to help fix a gushing wound. They do not repair the problem. There is always the other solution…me going under a surgeons knife and having some of the vibrating tissue removed from the back of my throat but that seems a bit too drastic for me, especially since the success rate is usually only a 50% reduction in snoring.

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For me, help with my snoring problem came in the hands of a Sleep Apnea Breathing

sleep-study

My sleep study gear…

Machine. I had spent many years, waking my wife up from her beauty sleep to know that something had to happen. I also was having complications with being sleepy during the day and I did not want to have another one of those falling asleep behind the wheel episodes. I had the appropriate breathing test done at a sleep clinic and found out that I stopped breathing an extremely dangerous amount of times during the night and my oxygen level at night was dangerously low.

After trudging through years of not being able to breath and torturing those around me, (sorry about that everyone) I finally can breath easily and others around me can sleep soundly through the night.

If you can call wearing a constricting and uncomfortable Darth Vader-esque mask that forces air down your throat ‘breathing easily’.

JOYCEone_Nasal


Images: 

Featured Image – “Sleeping Man” Felix Trutat painting uploaded by Yelkrokoyade – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35035960

Apnea Cycle image by and attributed to Timt775 – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5094422

Japanese Snoring Man drawing by Teisai Hokuba (Japan, 1771-1884) – Image: http://collections.lacma.org/sites/default/files/remote_image/piction/ma-31795085-O3.jpg

Sleep Apnea Display image by and attributed to John Ramspott from Oxford, GA, USA – Uploaded by High Contrast, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27650452

JOYCEone Nasal CPAP mask image by and attributed to Pfrieda – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32855398

 

“…and remove all doubt”

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool

than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

-Abraham Lincoln

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My uncle (my dad’s brother) held a lot of influence during the formative years of my life. His daughter (my only cousin on that side of the family) were only 11 months apart and grew up more like siblings than cousins due to the fact that we were both only children.

Due to us being that close; a close friend group formed and would always meet up at my aunt and uncle’s house. I remember when in high school, we were all trying to sew our wild oats; my uncle sat me and one of our friends down and plowed some words of wisdom into our rebellious minds.

He wanted to urge us to remember that ‘our name’ is important. Not meaning that our 381px-advice_to_a_young_artist_by_honore_daumier_c1865-68name is significant based on who we were named after but the weight that our name carries. He continued on to tell us that he is not saying that we should care what people think to the extent that we don’t live our own lives, but that we should live our lives knowing that our actions affect those who are attached to our name. The fact that if I, as his nephew, and mine and my cousin’s friend went out and did something terrible that it would not only negatively affect our name but look bad on everyone around us. It sounded so selfish when he first said it but the more that I thought about it, tears welled up in my eyes. The realization that my ignorance and ‘tomfoolery’ had a blowback effect on everyone around me.

miedo-ajenoI wouldn’t know if my old friend remembers it, because we don’t talk anymore. Heck, I don’t even know if he remembers sitting us down on the couch that afternoon but I remember the emotions that I felt and the tears that fell on that throw pillow in their den. That knowledge has resonated in my psyche; and it has already been passed on to many of my students, friends, acquaintances, and most importantly my son.

 


Images:

Featured image – Good advice image by Frank Kovalchek from Anchorage, Alaska, USA – “This reminds me of my Vulcan side giving me good advice”, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24473423

Advice image by and accredited to Honoré Daumier – National Gallery of Art, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11497763

Crying image by and accredited to RayNata – Mis documentos, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5270246

Springing to Life

640px-father_with_tow_babyAs my son gets older, I miss the little things. I miss him crawling into my lap to watch cartoons. I miss his little hand reaching up to hold mine when we were walking somewhere. I miss hearing him giggle when we would tickle him. But it doesn’t have to be the truly beautiful things in life that you miss. I miss quickening in the middle of the night. You know, that springing into action. The sprinting down the hall to his bedroom to see why he was yelling out ‘Dad!’ I think that that’s because you know that at that moment, that he knows that he is safe because you are there to protect him. Whether it was an upset stomach or a bad dream, it was important for him to know that you were there for him. You can’t always be there with them though. Even though the controlling part of you as a parent wants to be. They have to grow up. They have to develop and most of all, they will know pain. Their first love will break up with them. Someone will call them a name. We can’t protect them from the ever changing world.

The one thing that I have always wanted to ensure in Daniel was the knowledge that he was loved. True parental love is a multifaceted tool at which some parents, regretfully fail. Parental love consists of a warm smile or friendly look at which the child can feel empathy 640px-Happy_child_finds_joy.jpgand good nature. The physical affection felt through a hug or kiss. A parent must be attuned and responsiveness to the child’s needs. Now I know that not all parents are huggers or show their emotions in that way; just ensure that your kid knows that you love them. Now you condescending parents who are scoffing at those parents who don’t show love like ‘we’ do, I’m sure that every one of ‘us’ did things perfectly. Right? Wrong! I have witnessed well-meaning parents insensitively scolding their child for missing a ball during a game or ignoring a playful moment that left the child scarred and hurt. Now before you get on the defense, I’ll tell you that most of us, as parents, are telling the truth when we say that we’re doing the best we can. Sometimes that dad at the ball field has the best intentions when he yells at his son for not swinging the right way or the mother who scolds her daughter for not pivoting her foot right during a pirouette.

159px-happy_childWe will make mistakes as parents, just like our parents made mistakes with us. But it is important for our children’s future to not view our children as our replicas; and we must properly externalize the components that will positively affect our children. Remember that your good intentions are not a substitute for love. Being able to throw a football is not more important than the love that you see in your child’s eyes. As the Beatles said, “All you need is love.” Because when you truly love your child…everything else will fall into place.

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Featured Image: H. Ambrose Kiehl and his daughter, Laura Kiehl, on a bicycle photo by and accredited to UW Digital Collections – https://www.flickr.com/photos/uw_digital_images/4951162891/, No restrictions, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53410386
Father with son and Daughter by and accredited to Niriho khoka – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49572330
Happy Child Finds Joy image by and accredited to Hillebrand, Steve, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – http://www.public-domain-image.com/public-domain-images-pictures-free-stock-photos/people-public-domain-images-pictures/children-kids-public-domain-images-pictures/happy-child-finds-joy.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24874186
Happy Child image by and accredited to امید رستمی نیا – Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3623295

Manic Monday and Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: Top 10 Most Common Annoyances/Pet Peeves

So the other day I was reading the incredibly popular and inspiring information website Huffington Post and found an article that they had published on a topic that hits close to home for me: Pet Peeves. We all know that I have an affinity for writing about them: Here, here, and here are some examples. The article from Huffington Post showcases a chosen 76 Incredibly Accurate Pet Peeves That Will Drive. You. Nuts. After reading this article, I realized that not only do I feel good about the particular Pet Peeves that I have; but I’m pretty sure that 75% of the population is walking around with a vein popping out of their forehead due to the stress that is being inflicted by our pet peeves. So to make the people afflicted by these pet peeves feel less alone (and the fact that I guess I’m addicted to making Top Ten lists), I’m reviewing this article and integrating two of my blog types. So here are my Top Ten Pet Peeves that are Guaranteed to Drive You Nuts! 

10. When you let a car cut in front of you and they DON’T WAVE TO THANK YOU!!!! Same goes to you ‘Ms. I stopped at the cross walk even though I didn’t have to so you could walk across the road at the mall/Walmart’.

9. People who talk over you when you’re clearly still in the middle of a sentence.

8. Slow drivers who stay in the ‘fast lane’ and don’t allow you to go past them. This also goes for groups of people or people in general who walk slowly or stop suddenly in the middle of a sidewalk or aisle. MOVE!

7. People who constantly say ‘no offense’ as if it takes away from the extremely mean thing that you just said!

6. Strangers who listen to their music through the phone’s speaker, instead of headphones.

5. People who purposely use bad grammar and do not correct their spelling.

4. People who don’t cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough.

3. People who smoke cigarettes or use electronic cigarettes around non-smoking. And your e-cigarette or ‘vape’ is still smoking. Smoking is smoking.

2. People who scuff their feet as they walk down the street, especially if they’re wearing flip flops, boots or UGGs. AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST…

  1. Loud chewing, or people chewing with their mouths open. This also covers people who chew gum loudly and attempt to blow bubbles in confined quarters.

*Maybe this list will make you and your quirks feel a little bit ‘less weird’. Don’t feel ostracized by your pet peeves. You can’t help that you want to smack your friend in the face when she’s chewing her gum with her mouth open. 😉

The Obligatory Thanksgiving Blog

Thanksgiving is a time of mixed bag of emotions for most Americans. There are those of us who are privy to the ugly truth of the original Thanksgiving dinner wasn’t that pretty for the Native Americans. Then you have the sadness of loved ones that aren’t with you this year. Ultimately Thanksgiving time should be a time of giving Thanks. A time to realize the blessings that have been bestowed upon us and spend time with those that we love.

This year, I make a choice to say some of the things that I am truly grateful for…since we know that I love to make a list of things. 🙂

I am thankful for my salvation and for God. Whether you are a Christian and believe in the Judeo-Christian God as I do, a Pastafarianism who worships the Flying Spaghetti monster, or if you are an atheist; I respect your belief in something (or nothing at all) and I hope that you respect mine. God has blessed me beyond belief and I would be remiss to not include God in this list.

I am very blessed to have a lovely family (both immediate and by marriage). I am very thankful for them and the beauty that they bring to my life. I am thankful for a beautiful and supportive wife who has blessed me with a son that no one could have ever told me would bring so much pride and happiness. I am thankful to have parents who are not only wonderful, supporting people but they are my biggest fans. They are proud of everything that we do and support the decisions that we make.

I am thankful to have a small yet amazing group of friends and acquaintances that bring a joy to my life that is inexplicable. Their presence in my life brings balance to anything else that might lack. Over the years, we may not always see one another like we want to but know that I love you all and do thank God for you.

I am thankful to be an American. I am thankful to be an American despite any embarrassment that I am might feel due to the negative political climate in this country. I feel that I am blessed to be able to enjoy these particular set of freedoms that I think that we sometimes take for granted.

I am thankful for relatively good health and sanity. I may not have the perfect body but I am so blessed and so glad to have my health and sanity. I never look down on anyone with a disability but it makes you realize just how lucky we are…..just being able to wake up and walk around. These little things are taken for granted and it is a blessing and a privilege.

Along with being thankful for sanity, I am thankful and oh so blessed to have had an education. My parents worked extra hard to send me to college and I am so thankful for that. I am thankful for the education that I received which fueled a lifetime love for reading and writing. For the education which led to a degree that allowed me to work in a job that stresses me to no end….but I do love it.

I am thankful for entertainment. As corny as that may sound; I am thankful for the things that I have in my that make me happy. Without He-Man,  Washington Redskins football, music, comic books, Doctor Who, Wrestling (aka Sports entertainment), and any other random fandom or part of pop culture that entertains me; just imagine how boring life would be. These forms of entertainment help keep me sane and gives a welcome break from the mundanity of our every day lives.

I am thankful for you. The select few that chose to read these blogs. No matter how few of you that there are….I am thankful you. I am thankful that you search for knowledge and entertainment in other places. I am thankful that you believe in me. Thank you for allowing my voice to be heard!

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Top Cat’s Top Ten: 10 Ways Men can Help Make their Wife/Girlfriend Happier

equalsSo I recently watched the movie Equals starring Kristen Stewart (Twilight) and Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: Apocalypse, Warm Bodies). The movie takes place in a dystopian, Orwellian like future in which all emotions are not only outlawed but are medically sought to be bred out. Emotions are viewed as a disease in this futuristic society. The illegal love (which was WAY too reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984) made me think about the way that some people are emotionally and sometimes quite literally out of it in a relationship. Since I do love making Top Ten lists, I figured that today’s list would be the Top Ten ways in which Men can Help to make their wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, lover, or whatever you have happier in your relationship.

Just listen: It’s not always easy to listen to someone else’s problems but it is viable to us all to have someone that we think cares about the things that we have going on in our lives. If we don’t make our significant others feel as if they can communicate with us then they will be something important that is lacking that in your relationship. And chances are they will seek that attachment from someone else.

Know and respect that Women are Different: It’s good to acknowledge and appreciate the fact that a woman is not only physically but emotionally different than their male counterparts. Most women are more emotional and more ‘touchy-feely’ than you are. And just like our section on listening, women usually tell stories that will be longer than your stories. Women explain things differently than men. That’s a fact. If she is out shoe shopping, she’s thinking about 8,000 different scenarios…so don’t give her a hard time. You should relish in the fact that she actually wants to spend time with you. Know her differences and the nuances that make up YOUR partner. Just by remembering the specific things that she looks for in your relationship will keep her happy. And by God isn’t a good thing?

Pay Attention to Your Partner: A good relationship is built on getting along. You have to get along with one another. So it helps to also be your partner’s best friend. I often see meme’s around the time that football, basketball, or hunting season is going to start that say “We interrupt this marriage to bring you Hunting Season.” or “I’m so happy its hunting season!” Said no wife with young children, ever.” These are said in jest but I can imagine that no woman wants to feel like they are a second choice: TO ANYTHING. With that being said, a partner should allow their partner to do things that make them happy with moderation. If you’re happiness comes at making everyone else around you miserable, then your happiness comes with too large of a cost. This time of paying attention is not just in regards to the sexual realm. While the physical aspects of a relationship are important, the emotional aspects of a relationship also lie deeply important to your partner. When they talk to you, they might not be looking for you to solve the problems that they bring to you. They just want to know that you care. Sometimes just spending that moment with them is worth a lot.

Sexual Healing: Country singer Brad Paisley knows that sometimes a back rub means only a back rub. And men especially need to remember that affection does not always mean sex. Foreplay doesn’t always take place in the bed. Foreplay is sometime that starts in the morning and lasts throughout the day. How do you talk and or treat your wife? Do you treat her as if she’s the most beautiful woman in the world even when her hair is up in curlers and she hasn’t brushed her teeth yet? Do you come home in the afternoon and speak rudely to your wife just because you’re still fuming over what your boss said to you at work? Sometimes you never know what your actions can do to someone’s feelings. We all get complacent in our relationship. We get comfortable and this comfort can come between us. Don’t take that person for granted. Treat them like a princess or King. The Bible says that “Love is patient, love is kind.” If you’ve been to a Christian’s wedding, you’ve more than likely heard the section from 1 Corinthians chapter 13 verses 4-8. Even non-Christians can find truth in this section of text. And just a side note: your happiness for the week may be a foot massage away. It is the little things.

Spend some time with them: To go along with what I said about paying attention to your partner, it is equally important to spend time with them. Depending on what your partner is interested in, take them somewhere that you know will matter to them. If you really hate the ballet but she loves ballet…TAKE HER! Suck it up and take her to the ballet without complaining. Be involved in your partner’s life. Even the boring, mundane parts that you think are so inconsequential. Taking time to be involved and care about the things that your partner loves makes the difference in a happy relationship. Now this goes both ways. Your wife may hate football, but it wouldn’t hurt her to sit down and watch a game with you every now and then. With that being said, if she’s in her craft room don’t crack that third beer. Go sit with her for a while and do something with her. FYI: Being in the same room, even sitting on the same couch, IS NOT SPENDING TIME WITH THEM. Do something. Go out if she’s social. Do something at home if she’s a home body.

Just KNOW Her!: As my dad’s favorite musician Percy Sledge says in one of his most famous songs, “Take time to know her. Its not an over night thing.” There is a reason that people had such a long courting ritual long ago….its because it allowed the two to respectively get to know one another. Now I know that some of them used that time to settle dowries and arrangements but it was mostly intended for the potential bride and groom to get to know one another. In a world of Facebook and instant potatoes, we are used to getting things as soon as we can and I think that we rush relationships. We need to take time to realize the nuances and things that make your potential love….them. Some women want balloons, flowers, chocolates, and jewelry for Valentines but my wife doesn’t see the point in spending all that money for something like that. My wife would rather me take that money and make an extra car payment. The key to this scenario is to know her. Take the time to know what makes her happy.

A Woman’s Work is Never Done: Ever sat back and realized how hard that a working mother or woman actually does work? Most of the time we expect food to be on the table, the kids to be washed, and for our wife to be smiling at the door awaiting a kiss. But that’s not realistic. The working mother ((as the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated in their yearly survey) over 60% of married mother’s work outside of the home) usually is the ‘soccer mom’ that hauls kids to soccer practice, karate, or t-ball. To expect the house to be spotless and food prepared on time after the woman of the house has also worked an 8 hour work day is preposterous. So not only should you appreciate what your woman (or partner) does, but you should be willing to help. Like my wife says, there is nothing sexier than a man washing dishes.

Make her Laugh: Andrew Carnegie said, “There is little success where there is little laughter.” This is especially true in relationships. Ever heard that a woman loves a guy with a good sense of humor? If you make your wife or partner laugh then they will enjoy spending time with you and wanting to spend time with you is pretty important. Being light-hearted and allowing yourself to get closer to one another is such a vital part of any relationship.

Tell Her that she’s Beautiful: Everyone wants to be wanted. Every man and woman wants to feel not only appreciated but they want to feel as if they are attractive. They want to not only feel it but to hear that you find them that way. So….tell her that she’s beautiful. Notice her new haircut and compliment her on it. Be observant! Take her to get a manicure and pedicure and tell her how beautiful she looks. Walk by her as she’s sitting in her chair, kiss her forehead and tell her that she’s beautiful. Do these things….but mean them when you say them or do them. There are a lot of people that are not affectionate and your spouse understands that but you can find a way to do it…in your own special way.

Take Care of Her: Respecting your wife or partner is key. If you she has a headache and you know that she’s trying to relax on the couch, go to the fridge and get a cold rag to place on her forehead. Know that she has a long trip to take the next day? Make sure that she has gas in her car. Know that she has had a tough day at work? Take her out to eat or prepare something for her at home. Just taking the weight off someone’s shoulders is such an important thing to keep them happy. Keeping someone from being too stressed will allow them to keep a sane mind. Taking care of her is not just financially.

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Note that I am not a perfect husband. I’m not a perfect man. I’m not a trained sociologist that has training with relationships. What I do have are these suggestions. Take them with a grain of salt but more than anything show love, have respect and now true affection.

God Bless.