Becoming a Better Husband

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I have read a ton of books on parenting, marriage, relationships, communication, listening, etc.  You’d think by now I would know it all…or at least have seen it all as well.   This past month I read an astounding book that I am using to help to improve my relationship with my wife and my kids too.  I cannot believe something so simple could have had this much impact in my family.  So if you really want to be a better Dad, you may want to consider becoming a better husband first.  Now about this book……

5LoveLanguagesThe book is called “The Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman.  Right off the bat I am telling you to go buy this book.  No mincing words or subtle references or hidden links in the article.  Go to Amazon and just buy the book – you will be glad you did - no doubt in my mind.  Yes, Chapman is a PhD (Doctor) with over 30 years of counseling experience. He has a website; holds seminars; writes more books; the whole promotional enchilada.  Forget all the credentials and PR hypes, the guy has done the research and has summarized a very simple approach to improving your spousal relationship.  Any all of this can be applied to anyone else, even your kids.

Here’s the bottom line synopsis of the book.  There are five (5) basic love languages that we each have varying degrees of aptitude and affinity for as well.  These are: Quality Time; Gifts; Words of Affirmation; Physical touch; and Acts of Service.  The book helps you to understand what each of these mean, and then identify for yourself and your spouse, which ones are the key drivers for each of you to feel loved, respected, or valued.  The book is an easy reader, and not cluttered with a bunch of psychological mumbo jumbo or clinical statistics to prove a point.  It’s a straight forward book with examples and real-life stories you can relate to and connect with.  Plus it’s not expensive either.   

The magic of this approach is to understand that what makes you feel loved may not be what makes your wife feel loved.  For example, after reading the book and taking the assessment tests, I found that Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch are my key love languages.  If my wife gives me positive encouragement; tells me she’s proud of me; respects me…then I am feeling loved.  Or maybe she holds my hand in public, or rubs my shoulders or neck… all these are signals and messages to me that she loves me – and my emotional “love tank” gets filled.  But if I simply assume that what floats my boat is the same for my wife, we could literally be speaking the wrong love languages and failing to communicate effectively.  I need to better understand what she values and appreciates, and give it to her regularly….daily.  Otherwise I will be spending a ton of time and money on roses and candy when in fact she could care less about things and more value time for example.  It’s not to say she would not appreciate them occasionally, but these “gifts” may not help her to feel loved and valued as much as if I had just set aside specific time dedicated just to her and did things that she enjoys doing (Quality Time). 

Ask yourself – what does my wife always nag me about the most?  It may not be that she  is actually upset about you not helping with the laundry or taking out the garbage.  Odds are you will find its one of these love languages that she is pushing you towards….the one that is most important for her.  By the way, you don’t have to lasso the moon for her.  There are many simple things that can help you better connect.  For example, over the past month I have decided to focus on Words of Affirmation with my wife – because this is what she responds to and values.  So every day I send her a short text message giving her a positive message, telling her what I like about her; why I married her; remembering a special event or trip we took; complimenting her on an achievement; thanking her for being a good mother and wife; etc.  Just a daily WOA note to let her know that I was thinking about her and reinforcing that she is respected and valued in my life…making sure she knows she is loved.  Obviously your mileage may vary.

CouplesGiftSo buy the book.  Evaluate yourself and your spouse’s love languages, and change your marriage for the better.  Best of all you will be setting a great example for your children and showing them what a loving and giving marriage/relationship is all about.  Good Luck!


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Children's Books Recommendations for Story Time

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