An Uncommen Blog

Turn Your Spouse’s Criticisms into Clues

Be on Time

What does “around six pm” mean to you?

It’s crystal clear to me. After my dad and I chucked papers at o dark thirty every morning we would eat breakfast, get ready for work and school respectively, then he’d head out the door and tell my mom, “I’ll be home around six.”

At my house, “around six” meant, “sometime between 6 and 6:45 pm.” My dad had this sweet built in 45 minute buffer. Punctuality was in the eye of the beholder.

So when I got married and started my routine I would tell my lovely bride the same thing. And I applied the buffer principle.

I started noticing when I came home my wife didn’t always greet me as congenially as my mom greeted my dad. I just figured she had a bad day. I didn’t really need to ask her what was going on. If you’re like me, you know us husbands have a spidey sense about such matters.

So one day as I was coming home “around six” (translation, about 6:30 pm) and my spidey sense started tingling in the nape of my neck. I thought Jen probably had one of those days so before I got home, I stopped at the grocery story and picked up a few flowers for her.

When I walked in the door and saw my wife’s face I thought, “Yep, thank you spidey sense! She must have had a terrible day.” I flourished the hidden flowers and waited for that frown to turn upside down!

She grabbed the flowers, threw them on the kitchen table, and blurted out, “You don’t get it do you?”

Incredibly offended that Jen treated my pre-packaged $5.00 grocery store flowers with such contempt, I retorted, “I guess I don’t. Enlighten me.”

“Why would I want flowers that are going to die in 15 hours when you could have been home 15 minutes earlier. You said you’d be here at six.”

“Correction. I said, ‘around six.’”

In the next few minutes we had a lively discussion about the interpretation of “around six.” Turns out her dad always said the same thing. Unfortunately for me he had about a 2 minute buffer. He would roll in every day between 5:58 and 6:00 pm.

A few years later I was reading a book by UNCOMMEN coach, Dr. Gary Chapman about The Five Love Languages. In there he gave some uncommon advice that would have saved me months of heartache.

“Turn your spouse’s criticisms into clues about their love language.”

Unfortunately we men have thin skin. When criticisms start flying, we run start hiding from the shrapnel or hurling insults back. We rarely stop and actually listen. The old adage is true, “God gave you two ears and one mouth so we should hear twice as much as we speak.” Next time your spouse hurls criticisms or starts nagging, instead of being quick to anger or shouting back, be quick to listen:
“We never go out anymore!” translates as the love language of time

“Why is it you only buy me gifts on my birthday?” translates as the love language of gifts
“Don’t you see all this work I have to do to keep this house up?” – love language of acts of service

“Why is it you only hold my hand when you want sex?” – love language of physical touch

“Kristin’s husband is always telling her how beautiful she is and how much he loves her.” – love language of words of affirmation.

You probably guessed my wife’s love language: quality time. Now I’m still not the most punctual guy in the world, but I love my wife enough to give her plenty of time to know when “around six” is going to be 6:45.

It took me a while, but I’m starting to speak her language.

Bible Reference: Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

By UNCOMMEN Coach and Sr. Creative Director at FamilyLife, Brian Goins.

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How to Win Your Wife

Do you remember any books you read from the 5th grade? Maybe it was a Choose Your Own Adventure tale, 101 Ways to Eat Fried Worms, or the one about a Lion, a Witch, and a Wardrobe. The one that immediately comes to my mind?
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. My dad knew my intimate knowledge of Star Wars would only get me so far in life, so he made me read this book with no pictures.

Carnegie, the sensei of sales, said If you want to have friends, and success in life, simply get people talking about their favorite subject – themselves. It’s not bad advice for husbands.

Peter, one of the first followers of Jesus, an accomplished fisherman, writer of Scripture, and married, wrote, “Live with your wives in an understanding way…” We may never completely understand the woman we live with, but this month at UNCOMMEN we are making at attempt to live in an understanding way.
After you’ve been married for a few years it’s easy to move from investigative journalist to anchorman. Anchormen simply report what’s happening during the day, journalists seek to understand the person their interviewing.
When marriage is made up of two anchors, it can weigh your relationship down. You get home, report on your day, and then binge watch Netflix. I’m sure that’s not what you had in mind when you said, “I do.”
Let’s be honest, most of us have about two questions in us after work, “How was your day?” and “What should we eat for dinner?”
So I channeled my inner Carnegie and asked a bunch of women on Facebook how we husbands can be more investigative.
One woman wrote, “I think women crave sincerity and want to go beyond the surface of ‘How was your day?’ Get specific and wait around for the answer.”
You don’t have to be smarter than a 5th grader to win and influence your wife – you just need a few well placed questions.
Bible Reference: Ephesians 4:2-3: “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
By UNCOMMEN Coach and Sr. Creative Director at FamilyLife, Brian Goins.
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Brew Your Bride


She likes it hot. Her coffee that is. Every morning at 6:30 am, her alarm clock goes off and she hits the snooze button. At 6:33 I attempt to gently shake her out of her stupor with the burring sound of grinding coffee. In just four short minutes, her enthusiasm to get out of bed will grow. It’s how she wakes up, and I love seeing it happen.

Smelling the aroma of the freshly ground beans, monitoring the temperature of the water, getting the press ready, it’s part of my routine now. We like our coffee different than many. We use raw honey for sweetener, no milk or cream, just a really good medium local roast of something complex, nutty and chocolatey. Just writing those words tempts me to go get a third cup for the morning, but I’ll restrain until these words are completely on paper. I often make coffee my reward for completing another task for the day. Yes, I bribe myself with coffee. It works.

Let me tell you what doesn’t work though- bribing my wife with coffee, or any other form of service for that matter. Making her coffee in the mornings is a form of self-service, hardly a form of self-sacrifice, and definitely not a form of selfishness.  Did you catch that? I firmly believe there is a difference between serving selflessly versus serving selfishly. Selfish serving looks for reciprocation for one’s actions. Selfless serving looks for the reward of pleasing another. In other words, a person who gives out of selfish motivation keeps score- I have given, now it’s your turn. Selfless giving looks to bring joy to others, and in doing so, your own joy is increased.

Like a good cup of coffee, this concept is complex. If you just want the benefit of caffeine, any old stank coffee will do. My grandfather was my hero growing up. But he was no aficionado of coffee or romance. He was a Sanka-guy, both literally and figuratively. True marital investment takes time, care, and intentionality. The result is a much better tasting cup of coffee.  But your palette must be trained for it. Let me make this analogy clear, you may not treat your relationship with your spouse like you treat your morning brew, but next time you make a cup, ask yourself how much of the analogy sticks?

Do you treat your spouse like a cup of instant coffee? Hot, ready, lacking depth, just need the benefits fast?

Are you an “a little bit of coffee with your sugar” kind of guy? You don’t really like the full flavor of a deep engaging conversation with your spouse, you like it sugar-coated and masked with artificial flavoring.

Do you treat your coffee better than you treat your spouse? You only use water filtered by reverse-osmosis, you measure your beans to the exact gram and your water to the perfect temperature? You only slightly agitate, you’re patient with the process, because whether you’re into pour over, french-press, cold-brew, or pulling espresso shots, you know there’s something good on the other side. Whatever your brew-type, you have grown to enjoy the process  almost as much as the outcome. Do you put that much care into an 8oz cup that will be consumed in a short period of time, but despise the process of measuring your thoughts and words towards your spouse? If so, you should start drinking lukewarm instant coffee just to know what she feels like.

Maybe coffee isn’t your thing at all. I imagine that if that’s the case, but you’ve read this far, the analogy continues to resonate. Ask yourself, what do you invest much care in that you could and should invest in your spouse in a like-wise manner? 

Bible Reference: Ephesians 4:2: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”

Written by Dee Lanier.

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Mother’s Day

An UNCOMMEN Mother’s Day Gift

There’s an old joke that goes something like this…

A man finds an old oil lamp on the beach. He rubs off the sand and a genie appears.

The genie pops out and says, “I’ll grant you one wish – anything you want in the world.”

The man ponders for a few seconds and says, “I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii but I’m afraid to fly – can you build me a bridge from California to Hawaii so I can drive there.”

Incredulous the genie retorts, “You can have anything you want in the world, and you ask for a bridge? Are you serious?”

“You’re right,” said the man, “Very short sighted of me. Ok, what I really want is to understand my wife. Can you give me all-powerful insight on how to read the mind of a woman?”

The genie paused and responded, “Do you want that bridge two or four lanes?”

There’s a reason one of the most popular books on marriage described us as living on different planets. 

We are approaching the one day on the calendar where every man “shows honor” to the mom’s in life or else incurs well-deserved public shaming. If you’re like me, Mother’s Day can feel like a conspiracy perpetrated on the American public by every restaurant, flower, and teddy bear shop in the country. That being said, without Mother’s Day I wonder how many of us would spontaneously “honor” mom. 

We guys tend to equate “honor” with flowers, chocolates, and a family brunch date. I’m not here to criticize dark chocolate, tulips, and bacon wrapped french toast, but let’s be honest- they are easy. All it requires is a few phone calls or a savvy assistant. Peter calls men to understand their wife as a way of “showing honor.” 

Men, when motivated, will pay big bucks to honor the women in their life – but there’s a difference between honoring and understanding. I can honor my wife with a new pair of shoes, but what she really desires is for me to take a few steps in her shoes. 

This Mother’s Day, show honor by seeking to understand her thoughts, her needs, her desires, and her dreams. When you gather around the table for Eggs Benedict, highlight some wins for the year and then have some uncommon questions at the ready:

You don’t need a genie to help you understand your wife – just a few UNCOMMEN questions.

Bible Reference: Proverbs 31: 10-30

Written by Brian Goins.

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Body Maintenance


Maintenance Vs. Repair

Physical Training is Bodily discipline, something that should be a part of our daily life. It builds over time. It looks different in different seasons of life but it’s something that is always a part of our normal routine. How you steward your body in your 20’s, 30’s and 40’s will greatly impact the quality of life you will experience in your 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and beyond. It’s maintenance, maintaining a healthy body. Don’t wait until something “broken”, until you’re in a sick state to start pursuing health, pursuing “well-th” (wellness). Think preventative measures vs. having to repair a situation.

Ok, so what happens when you train?

You add stress to your body that causes a disruption to homeostasis which is the “normal state of the body and mind.” This is what happens when you “exercise”.

With proper recovery, the body adapts to handle the next exposure to the stress and, when conditions are right, actually overcompensates – leading to an increase in performance and health.  Which, according to Scripture, is used to flourish on earth, subdue it and have dominion over it. And to work in His Kingdom. (Ephesians 2:10) This is Uncommen man’s “why” for his discipline in training the body.

Recovery is just as important as exercise for getting positive results because your body’s adaptation mechanisms need to help the body “overcompensate” from the breakdown that just occurred while training. This happens in about 72 hours for average men.  Men that are highly conditioned can recover faster, like 1 or 2 days depending on the individual. With this in mind, we should train, at the very least, 3x a week!  Are you doing this?

What happens if you don’t train?

When we ARE NOT training, the body is at a high risk for sickness, stress, injury, disease.  AND, atrophy sets in. Atrophy is when the bodies tissues “wastes away’ or decline in effectiveness due to underuse or neglect. “If you don’t use it, you loose it” has some validity here.

This same phenomenon can happen in our spiritual life, if we become too complacent.  God says through Paul to the church of Thessalonica and to us now, “to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” So, prayer can “atrophy”. It works like a “muscle” in some ways.  As we pray, we grow.  Growing in our prayer life is likened to growing stronger, faster and healthier when we exercise.

This week’s UNCOMMEN blog post written by Kelsey Elmore & Ben.

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Real Wellness

We all know well that wellness is a term that’s thrown around a lot right now. We hear about corporate wellness, personal wellness, and on and on. But at the end of what the heck is wellness? The easy answer is whatever the numbers tell you. Your cholesterol numbers, BMI, body fat, etc. But I would suggest there is something more, something that the data can’t really give us. I’ll explain more below.

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