All posts by highfiveyourlife

Strategies for Avoiding a Fight with Your Wife (A series…)

Strategy Three

Never Honk Your Horn at Your Wife

 “Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.”

Joyce Meyer

The horn on your vehicle is mean to be used as a communications tool for safety purposes. It can say, hey look over here…or hey get out of my way…or hey after you.  It was never meant to be used as an expression of anger or intolerance though often it is used precisely that way.

Some men have mistakenly used their horn as a ventriloquist would…as if what they are trying to communicate is less hurtful coming from the car instead of from them. Picture the man in the car in the driveway waiting for his wife to come out so they can leave for their very important whatever. He has been sitting patiently for 23 seconds and wants to send a message to her that his time is more valuable than hers and that if she could plan better and get dressed more quickly, they would not always be late for their whatever. He does not want to get back out of the car to help her…nor does he want to shout so the neighbors hear.

He knows he can’t say what he really feels. He thinks in his small brain that a simple toot on the horn will magically communicate with the taste, discretion and respect that a Papal ambassador might use, that she may have forgotten that they are in a hurry to get to their whatever and that with that gentle coaxing she will suddenly solve whatever is keeping her and she will do cartwheels to the car, thank him for the reminder and give him a kiss on the cheek…somehow, he is sure that the small toot will mask his true impatient thoughts and feelings.

Of course, the toot of the horn instead communicates exactly what he is thinking with all of the polish of an angry wild boar and what she hears is…hey woman…drop whatever unimportant thing that you are doing and get yourself in my car.

Wouldn’t it be funny if she had a horn that she could toot back at him? Well…it wouldn’t be a toot…it would be more like a fog horn and it would say something like…do you have any idea what I am doing around here all day?…do you know that we can’t leave without giving instructions to our babysitter?…do you know that the dress I had on was wrinkled and now nothing matches?…do you think that I can walk out leaving clothes on the floor and wet towels hanging on the backs of chairs?… if you were not such a lazy selfish man you would give me a little help and consideration around here and we would get to our whatever in plenty of time. That is what the fog horn would say loudly and clearly.

There is nothing in the vocabulary of your horn that is polite to your wife…not even a little toot. Next time you get that feeling to send a love note via the horn, you would be much better off to just get out of the car, go back in the house and put your wet town back on the towel rack. Oh yeah…maybe even walk your wife to the car and open the door for her…that also speaks volumes.

HighFive Your Life Principle

Use the language of love to communicate your feelings not the language of your car horn.

 If you enjoyed this blog, please share with your friends. If you would like to be notified of future blogs by Gary, please hit the “follow” button at the top of this blog. If you are using a smart phone the “follow” icon is sometimes at the bottom of the blog. You can also follow Gary as “lakeolaguy” on Instagram and Facebook.

Bad Habits Stick to You Like Leeches

“A change in bad habits leads to a change in life.”

Jenny Craig

My wife recently worked for several hours in the weedy and muddy part of our lake. When she finally came back to the house to clean up, she found a leech attached to her hand. She had not noticed it at first because it blended in with the other dirt and debris. Only when she washed her hands did she realize that a leech had dug in. She had no idea how long it was there but it left a mark when she pulled it off.

When we are out in the wild and woolly world living life, we come into contact with many people and many unique situations. We see how people handle stress and problems, how they treat other people, how they handle success. Gradually over time and without even realizing it, we sometimes begin to adopt a few of the things we have seen others do into the way we live our lives.

Often times these experiences provide us with a more balanced approach to living life. They help us navigate through issues previously unencountered. Sometimes however, we pick up a few bad habits along the way that also cling to us. They can contort themselves and seem to be absorbed right in to our very fabric. We do not notice them at first. They just quietly fit right into our lifestyles. Then one day we stand in the presence of someone we really respect, and we observe the manner in which they handle a situation, and all of a sudden this bad habit that has been silently making itself a new home in our person, stands out like a sore thumb. We are embarrassed. We are in disbelief. We are shocked. We know we need to change.

I think it is wise counsel to figuratively, wash our hands ever now and then…to be in the presence of someone we hold in high esteem and be aware of their character traits in an effort to do a self inventory or evaluation. We may find that there is a crafty little leech in the form of a bad habit that has attached itself to us. Getting rid of it may leave a small mark but leaving it uncontrolled may leave something much worse.

HighFive Your Life Principle

Check for bad habits like you would for leeches

If you enjoyed this blog, please share with your friends. If you would like to be notified of future blogs by Gary, please hit the “follow” button at the top of this blog. If you are using a smart phone the “follow” icon is sometimes at the bottom of the blog. You can also follow Gary as “lakeolaguy” on Instagram and Facebook.

Strategies for Avoiding a Fight with Your Wife (A series…)

Strategy Two

Don’t Try and Win the Toilet Seat Debate

 “Men who consistently leave the toilet seat up secretly want women to get up to go the bathroom in the middle of the night and fall in.”

Rita Rudner

Okay…this is a disgusting topic but it must be covered. For some reason, society, which in this country normally pushes the individual to make decisions and solve problems for themselves, has determined that the default position for any toilet seat is down. I am not sure if it was determined by vote…by committee…or whether I have just been brainwashed into thinking it is an unspoken law but for whatever reason, civil society dictates that the correct position for the toilet seat when there are women in the house is down.

If there are just men in the house, a position of up seems to be okay as that is the position of most use. Also, most men are able to make the proper adjustment in the middle of the night and put the seat in the down position if that is the service that is required. It is miraculous, but somehow when guys find the toilet seat up, they recognize it, put it down and do not shout to the other guys, “who left the toilet seat up?”

Many years ago, before it was taboo to speak of such things, one of my friends changed the signs on our corporate bathrooms to “Pointers” and ‘Setters”, referring to types of bird dogs used for hunting. It was humorous for the guys, but in retrospect, I can’t remember many of the ladies enjoying the potty humor.

When I visited China over a decade ago, in many places there was just a hole in the floor. We thought of it as behind the times to say the least but maybe their society is so old that they once had a hinged seat and this very same up or down debate drove them to just a hole in the floor.

One strong manly friend of ours confessed while hunting with a group of us that he stopped fighting it. He lived with his wife and several daughters and he just gave in and became a “setter”. It was almost a religious moment hearing him tell the story in the hunting lodge surrounded by empathetic whiskered men. We all wondered if that was what our future held.

Many people attribute Isaac Newton’s famous quote, “what goes up must come down”, to him watching an apple fall nearby. For us men however, it just confirms that he was probably married and maybe lived in a house full of daughters. He knew the law of the toilet seat long before gravitational formulas entered his mind.

Regardless, it is a losing battle for men to debate…if there are women in the house, return the seat to its rightful place. Yes, it requires .0000013 calories and as many seconds to put it back down but you will spend exponentially more energy and time trying to win this fight to no avail.

HighFive YourLife Principle

What goes up must come down. Don’t fight it…put the seat back down!

If you enjoyed this blog, please share with your friends. If you would like to be notified of future blogs by Gary, please hit the “follow” button at the top of this blog. If you are using a smart phone the “follow” icon is sometimes at the bottom of the blog. You can also follow Gary as “lakeolaguy” on Instagram and Facebook.

Strategies for Avoiding a Fight with Your Wife (A series…)

Strategy One

Never  Pack a Car Together

 “If I’d known how much packing I’d have to do, I’d have run again.”

Harry S Truman

It is a fool’s errand to try to pack your car for an extended trip with your wife. I am not talking about throwing in a bag with some fruit and water for a picnic. I am talking about suitcases, gifts, pillows, tools, various odd shaped objects such as skies, TVs, computers, campfire accessories, small children and pets. There are simply too many “right” ways to do it. If you envision the “right” way to do it and halfway through, your wife begins to pack following her “right” way to pack, you invariably end up in an argument and a frustrated packing experience. Two rights definitely make a wrong.

Possible solutions:

Decide first what is going in the car and then divide up the duties such that only one of you is doing the thinking part of the packing. Sure, the other can help provide labor but should be restricted to mindless loading without thought for the genius that goes in to where the item should be placed.

You could also have an agreement to take turns packing so that one packs on the way out and the other packs on return trip.

It is also possible to pack in the middle of the night while your wife is sleeping. This strategy has inherent risks as you are sure to get additional items in the morning that need to be packed but may not fit into the puzzle that you have so carefully and diligently assembled.

You can purchase or rent an RV with so much storage space underneath that there is no genius required for packing. Both of you can simply stuff everything that you can possibly think you will need for your travel survival and you will still have room. You won’t remember where it is but at least you will have it with you on the trip.

Fly in a plane with luggage restrictions. Arguing about whether to place your socks or underwear inside your shoes before packing them is a much more reasonable debate to get through.

If all of this fails and you find that you are already in the middle of packing together with none of the precautionary strategies in place, you have two choices… fight or give in. Unless you are in the middle of a good book and don’t mind not talking to your wife until you have crossed several state lines, I recommend the give in choice

Just acquiesce and allow her the role of packing dominator. Kick the tires, lift the hood and move your head from side to side as if you understand what you are looking at…make a few suggestions on travel time and directions that allow you to barely keep your masculinity intact but let go of “your seat of the pants figure it out as you go” packing plan that as men, we consider genius. Just start thinking about how much enjoyment you are going get eating those french fries at all of the fast foods you will be stopping at on your trip…ooops…she doesn’t let you eat fries…okay that will be the subject of strategy number two in this series.

HighFive Your Life Principle

With proper planning and anticipation, you can turn a war… into a disagreement… into an understanding.

To Tarry or Marry…

“If you live to be a hundred, I want
To live to be a hundred minus one day,
So I never have to live without you.”

Winnie the Pooh

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From time to time, I have young men come to me to discuss the dilemma of their relationships with the girls they are dating.  The specific question after dating someone for an extended time is, “how do I know that she is the one?”

I am not a professional marriage counselor but having been married over 28 years, I have learned a thing or two.  Still, it is a question that does not come with an easy answer. I write this blog to mostly an LDS audience and others who generally accept the premise that the option of living together to “try things out” is not really a viable consideration.

Without taking a potential spouse out for a “test drive” then, how can you make such an important decision and be sure that you will be happy with the consequences of that decision. It can be easy to become paralyzed with the whole situation and be afraid to take another step. It is especially frustrated by the new found social media platforms that promise the possibility that something better is waiting just around the corner.

This is a question that needs to be resolved in your mind and heart but don’t think that because it is hard, it is okay to be indecisive. An investment of time is required to know what is right for you but eventually, you do need to take a step…either closer or further away. Staying on the fence for an extended amount of time is not good for you or your potential spouse. Picture the fence as a series of barbed wires or having glass shards sticking out instead of a nice cushy La-z-boy fence where hanging out is sometimes easier and more comfortable than making a move. Make a decision to move forward or get out of the way so everyone can find that special person that is waiting for them to come into their lives.

Allow me to make a few spiritual and practical suggestions with the hope that one of them or maybe parts of several of them may help you take the next step.

Spiritual

There is a spiritual element that needs to play a part in this decision. There are many stories out there that seem to rely on this as the main reason for making a decision. Who am I to argue with that? May I suggest however, that just as there are many different ways people gain their testimony of Christ and develop their faith, there are also many different ways for someone to be spiritually influenced in their decision on whom to marry.

It is not necessary to speak to the burning bush or to get a burning in your bosom in order to light a fire under your rear to get moving forward with your relationship. God speaks to your mind as well as your heart. As you ponder and pray with real intent, there are a variety of ways to get your answer and many of them will come in the simple forms of which you are most likely already familiar. Among other things, you may feel peace, you may just feel right about it, it may just make a lot of sense to your mind, you may just love being in his/her presence, or you may be touched by how your friend treats other people.

You have the right to individual inspiration and revelation and do not need to depend on the other person’s spiritual promptings to help you determine what is right for you.

Practical

There are also practical elements that should play a part in this decision. I understand why people over the ages have said that you can make any marriage work. There is some truth in that because if both parties practice Christ like attributes of forgiveness, love unfeigned, love your enemy and long suffering, you could get along with anyone. However, wouldn’t it be nice if the bedrock of your relationship was actually based on something that made you happy without testing your skills of loving your enemy every day?

Here are four of my favorite practical elements that can help a marriage not only last but be dynamic and awesome:

Respect: Perhaps the biggest one for me is respect. At the end of the day, do you respect your future companion? Do you look at him/her and have an element of dang, this is one special person. They are amazing to you in some regard because of just the way they are. It has nothing to do with looks…it has all to do with character. This will be one of the most sustaining elements in a marriage that survives. How much do you respect them?

Individuality: Are they comfortable with who they are and is that person unique and admirable? It has nothing to do if they are like you at all. It has been said that opposites attract and though sometimes it is like mixing oil and water, people who do not think alike in all things, often create a dynamic that spurs growth for both individuals. It is great to get a few big issues out of the way…to agree on the things that are most important to both of you, but that list can be very short. The other things in life upon which you will differ will provide the fuel in your engine, the butter on your toast, the icing on your cake, the glue in your marriage, the spice in your life and the umph in your triumph.

Hard Worker: The ability to work hard is an attribute that you want your partner to have. Life is hard and someone who can roll up their sleeves without complaining and complete the task at hand will serve your marriage well. How can you tell if they are a hard worker? Pay attention. Do enough things together that require effort so that you begin to get a sense of how they will respond when the real loads of life are placed on their shoulders.

Chemistry: Sure people can love anyone but there is nothing to be ashamed of if you are so attracted to the other person that you can’t think straight. In fact, I would suggest that if it is not there then you may need to move on. Physical attraction is part of the package. I am not sure how much society has impacted what is attractive to each of us…surely it has played a part…but when all is said and done, wanting to be with each other is important. There may be medical reasons that create unhealthy expectations or disinterest but for the most part, proximity, the desire to be close to your spouse, is important.

These spiritual and practical items do not make a very long list. How long is your checklist? Does it include things like: height, weight, teeth, hair color, athleticism, finances, ankle size, education, family situation, pedigree, past history, political persuasion, musical talents, skin tone, religious persuasion, and other things that are yet even more demanding than these?

Marriage is a great adventure and will require all that you are to make it work. It will also require all that you are yet to become and that is brought about by what you will learn from your spouse. Most of the things that you have on your checklist before you get married, will have little to do with the forces that will make you grow together as individuals and as a couple.

For some things that do not line up with what your dreams told you would constitute marriage, you may just have to be the one that carries the weight of that for your spouse just as he/she will have to carry the weight of your short comings. You will be each other’s guardian angel, carrying the weight of the other’s imperfections as you build a marriage that will last forever.

So, is she the one? Well…she is for somebody…whether for you or not, I can’t tell.  Your next step however, is to not tarry. Stop trying to fit somebody into the perfect template that you designed several years ago. If you desire to get married, get serious and make some grown up evaluations and decisions regarding the person you are dating. Keep moving towards or away but keep moving.

Before you know it, you will have been married for 28 years and will represent the next generation of wise married folks whose scars and stripes have earned them the right to offer wisdom and council to those making the greatest decision of their lives. I won’t be there…I gotta keep moving too. Life and marriage are too awesome to tarry for too long…the journey is real…keep moving.

If you enjoyed this blog, please share with your friends. If you would like to be notified of future blogs by Gary, please hit the “follow” button at the top of this blog. If you are using a smart phone the “follow” icon is sometimes at the bottom of the blog. You can also follow Gary as “lakeolaguy” on Instagram and Facebook.