When she walked out to the parking lot after a long, hard day of work, Jennifer was surprised and delighted to see her filthy car all clean and shiny, scrubbed inside and out, front to back, top to bottom, tires and wheels included. The inside was neatly vacuumed; the old raggedy windshield wipers had been replaced by new ones; and the gas gauge was showing a full tank.
A smile-producing, spirit-lifting end to another challenging day for the high school mathematics teacher.
Unbeknownst to the mother of four and grandmother of one, her husband – a close friend of mine – had visited her school earlier that day, and used an extra set of keys to borrow the car for a good, sound cleaning. Then he brought it back, carefully parked it in the same spot, and took off.
Jennifer later posted about it on Facebook, and I naturally teased my church pastor friend, replying that he must have done something really dumb to warrant such a thoughtful deed. You know, like the guy in the grocery store checkout line with a big, bouquet of fresh flowers in his hand.
“Wonder what he did wrong?” I often think, cynically, of course. Sometimes, I even ask the guy what kind of trouble he is in, if I get the feeling he has a sense of humor. It’s usually good for a smile or even a laugh.
Truth be told, though, gestures like taking the wife’s car in for a good cleaning, an oil change, filling up the gas tank, checking the tires, getting it registered or inspected, are ways we men demonstrate our love. A lot of men have trouble communicating their feelings the way women so freely do, but taking out the trash, loading the dishwasher – better yet, the dreaded emptying of the dishwasher – or vacuuming the living room are shows of affection that make sense to a man.
And, fellas, here’s a little secret. She may want rainbows and romance, but coming home to find her man doing housework will send a woman to cloud nine just as fast as murmuring sweet nothings in her ear, or even taking her dancing.
In the Bible, it says in Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her …”
I am one of the world’s worst at neglecting the things a woman really wants and needs, and it is exasperating at times for my wife. I know what to do, but I can be lazy, thoughtless and selfish, even as she is constantly scurrying around, doing the things that make me feel cared for and loved. When you open up your sock drawer, fellas, and it is overflowing with clean bundles of socks – that is not a magic visit from the sock fairy. That is a woman loving and taking care of you.
One thing most women want is very simple: your time and undivided attention. They want to talk, and they want you to listen. Granted, it may take 15 minutes for them to get to the point, and your eyes may have glazed over 13 minutes ago as they ramble on about their day at the office, but this is not only normal and natural; it is part of being a good man.
When I was 19 years old, getting married for the first time, I was griping about the endless photo-taking sessions; and my dad looked at me and said, “It’s all part of it, son.” Same thing with being a good listener. It is all part of it.
Studies have shown that the average woman talks nearly three times as much as an average man. It is in their genes, guys, and nothing is going to change it.
The average woman speaks around 20,000 words a day, while the guy sitting on the couch across from her clocks in at around 7,000 words a day. It‘s just nature, fellas. She must talk, and if you love her, one of the best ways to make her feel loved is to listen. Don’t do what I often do, which is to interrupt and try to speed her along to whatever point she is obviously trying to make.
Oh, yeah, one more thing to keep the missus smiling and happy – put that toilet seat back down, dude.
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