An Uncommen Blog

UNCOMMEN Husbands are Thermostats

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UNCOMMEN Husbands are Thermostats not Thermometers.

I have a gift.

I can take my wife’s emotional temperature from across the room. When she is hot (and I don’t mean ready to slip between the sheets with me), I seek a cooler climate, perhaps on the deck with an iced tea. When she’s cold, I look for a warmer personality – like a TV – to keep me company.

To be UNCOMMEN, you should cherish your wife. In other words, you should consider and care for your bride like you warm your own body. Unless you are in Seal training, you instinctively warm your body when cold. If it’s too hot outside, you put on your sandals and crank up the AC. If it’s too cold, you don the merino wool socks and build a fire. So to bring warmth to your wife as we bring warmth to our own bodies is encouragement to consider and care for her emotional needs in the same way we consider and care for our own physical needs.

If she’s chilly, it’s our job to warm her up. If she’s steaming, then we help lower the mercury. Therefore, the call to cherish means we have to engage when we’d rather shrink back.

Whenever I sense a slight irritation with my wife, my tendency is to pull away. But if I get a tiny sliver in my finger, my whole body springs into action. My nerves shoot pain warnings to my brain; like missile lock, my eyes fix on the problem; my legs halt any movement; my other digits dig out the intruder. Proportionally the sliver affects a small surface area, but my whole body responds. I wish that was true in my marriage. When a sliver of bitterness or frustration gets between us, rather than initiate, I let it fester.

In my recent readings I came across this advice- “Do not go to bed angry, because when we let stuff build up, it tends to destroy our relationships in the long run.” This doesn’t mean stay up and fight – but rather to resolve issues quickly.

It’s common to avoid conflict, but UNCOMMEN pursue peace at all costs. Is the temp off a bit in your relationship with your wife? Time to adjust the thermostat.

Be UNCOMMEN.

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Why Do You Love Your Wife

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Don’t think too hard; just answer in one or two phrases. I’m going to wager you picked from a couple of general themes. Maybe you love her because of something she does for you: She’s beautiful. She’s funny. She makes you feel strong. She lifts you up. She’s virtuous. She’s, well, fun in bed.

Or you love her because it’s expected: You know it’s the right thing to do.

Perhaps it’s a mixture of both. The first motivation capitalizes on her performance. The second focuses on your obligation. Both reasons are COMMON. And both reasons eventually run out of steam.

As men, we tend to love shiny gadgets. We crave the latest and greatest. So when the shine wears off a man’s bride, it’s no wonder we are tempted to pine for an upgrade. You may not pursue another woman, but if your primary motivation for loving your wife is her performance, at times, you secretly hope your wife will change. You may even drop some not so subtle hints:

“You working out today?”

“Remember when you wore a bikini?”

“I love the way So and So’s wife talks about him to others.”

When we love someone based on their performance: what they say, how they act, how they look, eventually they will let you down. None of us are perfect, and if you’re honest you long to be respected and loved by your wife because of you who are, not what you do or how you look. Trust me, as you get older, the mirror will become far more revealing than appealing. Performance driven relationships are exhausting.

When we love based on obligation, eventually marriage transforms into a cold union. Duty without a sense of glory always leads to drudgery. And drudgery always leads to death. It may not be the death of a marriage, but many marriages experience the death of intimacy. They married a soulmate, but ended up with a roommate.

Be UNCOMMEN this week.

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Manly Love

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“Back in the day, when I was young, I’m not a kid anymore, but some days I wish I were a kid again.” – from the song Back In The Day, 1994.

One of my favorite quotes goes a little something like this, “When I was a child, I acted like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”

You’d think that the dude that wrote this phrase had just been following up an impassioned plea for men to  “act like men”. But he wasn’t. Instead he wrote it after something you’d expect to find ensconced in crochet or festooned on flowery greeting cards:

Love is patient and kind…  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

“Love” in our culture is like WD-40. We spray it on everything: I love burgers; I love my football team; I love my wife. Hopefully our love for our wives means more than our love for cooked cow or grown men tackling each other. This uncommon guy indicates there came a time in his life when he grew out of an immature, boyish love and embraced a more mature, and dare we say, manly love.

If we’re going to love our wives like we ought, we gotta let the boy die. Check out the comparisons below:

  • Boys retaliate quickly when hurt; manly love is patient and kind.
  • Boys require constant affirmation; manly love is not arrogant or rude.
  • Boys stew, stammer, and hold grudges when they don’t get their way; manly love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.
  • Boys try to win every argument; manly love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
  • Boys have a short fuse; manly love bears all things.
  • Boys write people off when wronged; manly love believes God’s best for the relationship.
  • Boys lose hope after they’re hurt; manly love always hopes for reconciliation regardless of the pain.
  • Boys expect to be served; manly love endures all things.

What’s one way to let the boy die in you this week? Endure a minor offense? Reflect on a criticism rather than retaliate? Serve in a tangible way (i.e. put the toilet seat down, offer to take the kids when you are tired, make the bed with all the throw pillows placed perfectly, etc…)?

Show off some manly love this week. Be UNCOMMEN!

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Family Business. Serious Business

 

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Husbands, we don’t have time to waste!

Over the course of the next few weeks in October you will be reading posts by my good buddy, Brian Goins, on What Does it Really Mean to be an UNCOMMEN Husband? All of these posts are excerpts from his book, Playing Hurt, which you should really check out.

Unfortunately, I sometimes treat my wife like many unread books in my library. I take it for granted that she’s there, and that I can always engage her on a deep level whenever I get around to it. It was just the other day she said to me, “we need to start having our weekly meetings again to plan our goals as a family.” She wasn’t nagging, she was reminding me of the very thing I said that I wanted do. Kinda like reading Brian’s book. I intended to do so, but I let other things take priority. It’s time to set some goals.

Here is how I plan on accomplishing the goal of setting a regular family business meeting with my wife:

  1. Plan Ahead, Then Set the Plan. My wife and I have set Monday evenings as the best time for us to have our meetings. I have also blocked out 15 min of planning before the meeting. Yes, that’s two calendar events, one to plan the meeting, and one for the meeting itself.
  2. Set Goals of Time and Topics. At the end of a work day, my comfort zone is 20-30 min tops.  As for topics, Lanier Inc has taken on what we call our Big 5 as our priorities for weekly discussions: Marriage, Parenting, House, Community, and Finances. 
  3. Shut Up and Listen. I may come into the meeting with an agenda, but once my wife gets involved, it’s all subject to change! That’s the way it should be. First questions after sharing my thoughts are, “What do you think?” and “What am I missing?” 

This is how we run the family business meeting.

As for reading the book, Playing Hurt, I have put it at the top of my list for discussion with my wife about our marriage. My plan is to share an excerpt from good stuff I’m reading as part of our Marriage discussions.  Next week, Wash, rinse, repeat. 

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Beyond the Benjamins: 3 Qualities of a Provider

 

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Now… What y’all wanna do?

Wanna be ballers? Shot-callers?

Brawlers

 –Puffy Combs, aka Puff Daddy, aka P. Diddy, aka…

I am a Judge’s son.

Growing up, I was the cute little blond haired kid campaigning on your doorstep and stuttering in a high voice, “Hi. P-P-Please vote for my Dad.”

 

I was so proud to be my father’s son. To this day I take full credit for my Dad getting elected all those years.

Regardless of your “Dad” experience growing up, someone along the way worked hard to provide for you. Growing up, I took my Dad for granted. The older I get, the more thankful I am for his diligence and sacrifice.

He was a provider.

As a man of faith, I take the charge to provide for my household pretty seriously. You may be at a different place spiritually, but I think we could all agree that working hard and coming up short is one thing, but being lazy while our family “starves” ain’t cool.

Was P. Diddy right when he so eloquently stated, “all about the Benjamins, baby”?  It should be the duty and joy of every man to  put food on the table, clothes in the closet, and money in the accounts. However, being a provider is so much more than bringing home the bacon. It’s so much more than paying for nice houses, vacations, and private schools. It’s so much more than just being a cog in the wheel of life. The call to provide is much broader than just the monetary.

What if we cared more about filling the hearts of our family than filling the accounts of our bank?

Maybe it’s more about what we leave in our family, than what we leave for our family. After all, one is a larger investment with perpetual returns while the other is a smaller investment with temporary returns.

I don’t know about you, but this broader meaning of a “provider” takes the pressure off to try to “keep up with the Jones’.” I believe the true call of provision is modelled for us in the following: With presence. With perseverance. With prudence.

#1. Presence. The greatest example of a Dad is one that isn’t a distant or a disengaged father who hides behind a busy schedule. While he may be busy, he is never too hurried to be with his family. He realizes the greatest gift he can give his kids is simply His presence. He is the kind of Dad who is fully present and in the moment. He’s not distracted by emails, texts, or the latest news feed.  This dad is slow to speak, quick to listen, and is content to just be with his kids. A “present” provider’s identity isn’t wrapped up in their job, but rather in their family.

#2. He provides perseverance. The greatest example of a Dad isn’t a passive father who remains silent when he needs to speak up or gives up when he needs to step up. When storms come, His humble yet confident perseverance rubs off on his kids, inspiring them to have the same  grit, resolve, and endurance he has for them.

#3. He provides prudence. The greatest example of a Dad isn’t the kind of dad driven by instant gratification and whatever feels good in the moment. While he is fully present, he also leads with prudence and is wise about planning our future. Faced with a decision, a “prudent” provider keeps the end in mind and asks, “Will this grow or slow my relationship with my kids? Will this help or hinder their relationships?”

So may we provide for our family the way we are truly called, with presence, perseverance, and prudence.

And may we stutter our way through life, inspiring others to vote for our “Dad”.

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This week’s blog post is written by Heath Krueger. Heath grew up in Ohio but calls Charlotte home.  He is a proud father of 3 kids, a Pastor for 15 years, officiates nearly 25 weddings a year, and is a speaker and aspiring author. Read more from Heath Krueger at (www.heathkrueger.com).[i]

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You are at Risk: The Ashley Madison Con Game

Untitled design-6This week’s post was written by UNCOMMEN Coach, Brian Goins, author of Playing Hurt: A Guy’s Strategy for a Winning Marriage

 

“If we believe crazy things about sex, we do crazy things in our sex life.”

– Dr. Les Parrott

In a book with one of my favorite titles, Crazy Good Sex, Dr. Parrott unmasks some of the most common myths we men are quick to buy.

Myth #1: Sex with the Same Person Gets Boring

In the movie Old School, a guy named Beanie mocks one of his recently married buddies for deciding to have sex with only one person for the rest of his life. And listen, ask any married man, hot sex can go on ice.

Comedian Ray Romano said in Newsweek, ”After kids, everything changes. We’re having sex about every three months. If I have sex, I know my quarterly estimated taxes must be due.”

Maybe that’s why over 80% of the names published in the Ashley Madison list were men. Cue Mr. Obvious: we men are far more susceptible than women to buy the lie that affairs will be satisfying. The FAQ page on Ashley Madison’s site feeds the myth: “… If you still feel that you will seek a person other than your partner to fill your unmet needs, then we truly believe that our service is the best place to start.”

Good con men offer something for nothing and then give nothing for something. In this case, over 32 million people believed they could get away with (or just dabble with the idea of) an affair only to find out it cost their marriage, their families, their reputation, and in the case of a few, their lives (a few men listed the site in suicide notes).

The problem isn’t Ashley Madison or sites promising “no-risk trysts.” It’s our propensity to believe that once you’ve lost that loving feeling, it’s just too hard to get it back.

In his book, Dr. Parrot highlighted the plight of many couples like Chris and Tara. Early in their marriage, they played in the sack almost every night. Then after Tara had a baby…they just hit the sack. They went from DINK’s (dual income, no kids) to DINS (dual income, no sex). Dr. Parrott points out that the fantasy that swinging singles have better sex is that, a fantasy. The stats don’t lie. Married guys get it more often, more regularly, and more enjoyably than the single guy. 48% of husbands say sex with their partners is extremely satisfying, compared to just 37% of cohabiting men. Almost 2/3 of women said the best sex they’ve ever had is within marriage. (Crazy Good Sex, p. 77)

Dr. Parrott gives 10 UNCOMMEN tips in his book  for how to rekindle what’s been lost.

Want to see em?

#10: Change your position…I’ll let you use the imagination

#9: Change your schedule…there’s a reason it’s called “Afternoon Delight”

#8: Think outside the bed…kitchen table, tent, go parking again.

#7: Don’t keep track of stats…it’s not how often, but how good.

#6: Get help…there’s a reason doctors wear the white coat. Trust their advice.

#5: Season your senses…you’ve got five of them, why only use 1?

#4: Spontaneity is overrated…everything else goes on the calendar, why not your sex life?

#3: Lock the bedroom door…no really, the average couple has sex 2.4 times a week, we think your kids have something to do with the .4.

#2: Woo your wife…if you don’t date your wife, someone else will.

#1: Have “the Talk”…with your wife. It’s common to have unspoken expectations about sex. That always leads to frustration. Uncommen have conversations about what you like and what she likes.

You can either choose to love the one you’re with or daydream about the ones you’re not. Some guys think, “Man if I could just score like legendary basketball player, Wilt Chamberlain: not so much on the court (over 31,000 points), but off…(reportedly over 20,000 women).

Later in his life, Wilt admitted he would have traded all 20,000 for the 1 woman he could have loved his whole life. I guess it’s far easier to love the woman you have than long for the women you don’t. The perfect spouse is the present spouse.

Don’t buy the con. Be UNCOMMEN!

Check out Dr. Parrott’s book and other great resources at www.lesandleslie.com.

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