Category Archives: Love one another

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.

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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.

I Think We Can All Eat and Drink at the Same Table

“All great change in America begins at the dinner table.”

Ronald Reagan

A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don’t have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed. Nelson Mandela

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Recently, I noticed a raccoon wading in the water at our home on Lake Ola in Tangerine, Florida. I grabbed my camera and as I focused in on him, I noticed there was a green heron right next to him. Each of them went about their business in close proximity and seemed to not be bothered by the other’s presence.

Everybody knows that one of the first rules of keeping peace in the family is to not discuss politics and religion at the dinner table. If only two people at the table enjoy a good debate, then everyone else becomes uncomfortable. If only one person is a good debater, then the other will not enjoy the joust. Once a normal person is outflanked by someone who has prepared better or simply understands the topic more thoroughly, the other person has nowhere to go but to dip into his/her emotions. Once you begin to defend your point of view with your emotions, it becomes personal and the wonderful meal that was prepared for you loses it savor.

The best debates, the ones that benefit everyone in the room, are done by people who respect each other and genuinely desire the best for the other side even though they may be as different as a raccoon and a bird. That respect can be built around a dinner table where interests are shared and people begin to know each other better. Each of us has his own story of struggle…of failure and success…of quitting and persevering…of pain and joy…and we see everyone’s life through the lens of our own lives. Once we understand the life of everyone around the table more, we build respect and a desire for their well being. We also begin to feel that those around the table feel the same way about us.

In this environment, you can allow yourself to be vulnerable because you know that the other side wants the best for you. Once those at the table become vulnerable, your discussion about God or politics or any other controversial issue, can be done without any endgame in mind other than the desire to be unified, not in your opinions of the affairs of the world but in your respect for and understanding of each other…and that is the basis for peaceful progress.

So, add an extra chair and welcome those you love and don’t yet love to dinner. If you do it right, you may actually enjoy the meal!

HighFive your Life Principle

The more that we eat and drink at the same dinner table, the better off our families and our world will be…if we follow the golden rule to genuinely attempt to love and respect our neighbors as ourselves.

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Valentine’s Day…Flowers or Sod?

“He was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher… or, as his wife would have it, an idiot.”

 Douglas Adams

 

“My wife is always trying to get rid of me. The other day she told me to put the garbage out. I said to her I already did. She told me to go and keep an eye on it.”

 Rodney Dangerfield

 

“After 45 years of marriage, when I have an argument with my wife, if we don’t agree, we do what she wants. But, when we agree, we do what I want!”

 Jacques Pepin

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and my wife of 27 28 years is out of town and we will miss Valentine’s Day together. I can do the easy thing and send her some flowers and card or I can do the hard thing and put some sod down in the front yard so that when she returns she is surprised. I asked a few of you and the most common response was that I should do both!

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In order to get this right, one has to know my wife of 27 28 years and how she thinks. She doesn’t really care for a gift of flowers but neither does she want to spend money on things like a front lawn. With limited resources, there are a lot of other things she would rather spend the money on, such as the kids, travel and an annual subscription to Men’s Health for me.

Looking deeper, I would have to admit that it is really me that wants the front lawn and that I am simply doing it while she is gone so that it gets done. The assumption of course is that it would be way too hard for her to ask me to pull it back up, stack it on a pallet and go ask for a refund when she gets home. I hope I am not assuming too much.

And what of the flowers? She loves flowers but not as a gift that somehow pretends to show love and care with no effort on my part other than stopping by the grocery store with every other wannabe good husband picking up flowers on the way home from work. No…for me to get credit, I would have to hand pick them individually from a far-off mountainside (I live in Florida) and hand blow the glass vase myself.

But I know in my heart that flowers are not what she really wants for Valentine’s Day. What she really wants is for me to be healthy.  She wants me to eat correctly and work out and have zest for life and energy to enjoy the day. That sounds like a lot of work and effort on my part…that sounds like…wait a minute…Eureka! I’ve got it! Problem solved. I am so pumped.

img_7015I will forget about the grocery store flowers…I won’t fall for that lazy zestless selfish weak minded substitute for pure love. No…I will get up in the morning, gnaw on a few gluten free acorns and go out and get a wonderful day of exercise… laying sod…all for her. I will work up a sweat just for her. I will put that lawn in which we I have wanted for 20 years. Dang I love my wife. Thank you, sweetheart, for being such an inspiration!

img_7043                                           Yeah…I love Valentine’s Day

HighFive Your Life Principle

None

Okay…for those that think I am a total bum, I am sending a card…

Okay…okay… I may be a bum but she loves me and that makes me the luckiest bum in the whole world!

Okay…Okay…Okay…I’ll plant some flowers too…

My wife does not do social media so let’s keep the sod on the down low and maybe she won’t notice it!…but Joey…if you do catch wind of this, just know that I love you and I am trying to be healthy and miss you very much…and yes, I will mow the new lawn.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

garyjoey

Husbands…Consider These Four Crucial Items that Should be on Your Honey “Don’t” List

“I learned a great many years ago that in a fight between husband and wife, a third party should never get between the woman’s skillet and the man’s ax-helve.”  Abraham Lincoln

“Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave.”  Martin Luther


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 There are many reminders, provided weekly by my wife, that require some action on my part…take out the garbage, put a battery in the smoke detector, tell the neighbor to hush the barking dogs or we will call the police…you know the standard sort of stuff. I hear them and I do my manly best to take care of my wife’s “honey do” list. My list is long but in no way compares to her list of things that she requires herself to do daily.

Perhaps the most important list to any married man, however, is the “honey don’t list. It is the wise and savvy man that learns this early on in his marriage. It is much shorter than his honey do list but oh so much more volatile…sort of…marriage meets nitroglycerin. When you enter into this honey don’t venue, sweat beads form on your forehead like old dynamite. You realize too late that you are in a marital minefield and you strive to navigate your way through the situation without any permanent loss of wife, life or limbs.

It is great to enjoy in depth and personal conversations with your wife but try to avoid venturing into the land of don’t and especially into the land of don’t  ever. A good honey do man does not necessarily make a good honey don’t man. Husbands…listen to reason and consider why you should stay clear of the following four crucial items that should be on your honey don’t list. (Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive.)

Don’t Tell Her How She Should Feel

 After listening to your wife carry on about something for what seems like forever, don’t make the mistake of dismissing all of her emotions by  casually saying something like, “Don’t be so uptight about it, just ignore it and it will go away…can you pass the potatoes? Hey kids what do you want to do after dinner?”

Her emotions matter. Her problem solving technique is different than yours and what may seem matter of fact to you, may require more detailed analysis for her. That analysis takes into account things that generally don’t even cross a man’s shallow mind. Telling her how she should think or feel shows a gross misunderstanding and lack of appreciation for her own thought process and will in most cases, be seen as an insult.

Don’t Ignore the Listening Time

 Whether you know it or not, there is a time allotted in your day when the most important thing you can do is listen to your wife. Many men make the mistake of thinking that a casual chat while continuing to do their work, play or TV watching counts as that time…it doesn’t. You are required by the laws of nature to listen and it is so much easier to listen to her quiet concerned voice than her ranting about your insensitivity voice. So… divest yourself of all of your surrounding distractions and listen.

The net side effect is that you actually learn things. You learn names of family friends and your children. You learn things that are happening with your kids and neighbors and extended family. Granted, because you are trying to get the TV on to watch the football game, your manly brain tries to condense all that she is telling you into the few words that you hope she is really trying to communicate such as, “I had a good day I hope you did too. I’m going to go clean up the kitchen”. But that is when you have to allow your manly survival instincts to kick in and remove your quivering thumb from the remote and sit back and just listen. You might even consider getting off your comfortable rear and  listening while you wash the dishes.

Don’t Ask Her that Question About Her Past

 Some couples may choose to share things of their past in the spirit of full disclosure. However, this may not always be the best option, especially the second time around or if it inserts itself into the conversation year after year. After you get by the basic, “have you ever killed or maimed somebody” and “are you a child molester or porn addict”, you need to proceed cautiously.

Don’t ask unless you are big enough, mature enough, and forgiving enough to handle the answer. It is not your prerogative to demand answers because of your curiosity.

Many mistakes are private and many experiences are personal. It is not requisite that some things are ever brought up again. A pushy partner that needs to know everything and dwells in that knowledge, misses the whole point of your present life together and seriously impedes the potential for true joy in their marriage.

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Don’t Ever…Compare Her to Your Mom

Even though you may love both of these women, your wife is not your mother. On some occasion you might be tempted to say, “Hun my mom said that one day I could be President of the United States…tell me again why you disagree.” If you somehow think there should be a correlation between your mom’s assessment of your skill set and your wife’s assessment, you are mistaken.

They both love you but in a different way. The mother that you remember had a life that was devoted entirely to making you feel better, safe and loved. Your wife will do the same for your children but this same drive is not innate in your relationship with her. Her love for you will grow as she sees you sacrifice for your common goal (which is generally your children). Her task is not to raise you again though she will help you remember things that your mom taught you (Like don’t leave your clothes on the floor).

This is so clear to see when you go to a family dinner with your parents. Even though your mother may be in her eighties, she is still up and down at the dinner table serving you like you were a king. You hardly even notice because that’s just the way your mom has been to you since you were born. Your wife, however, observes and thinks, you lazy bum, get up and serve yourself and your mother.

Your wife will see the good things your mother does and pick and choose the qualities if any, that she would like to emulate. Remember that though your mother and your wife are different, they are both women and both recognize the limitations of the man species. This creates a very tight natural bond that you would want to exist between them. Any comparison you make will only hurt that bond.

Your mother changed your diaper out of love and one day your wife may too but it is not the same…the difference will be that one is done with hope and the other is done with pity.

and so Life Goes on.

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We’re just men. We came with a set of selfish genes. One day this journey through life will be complete. Part of the purpose of this journey is to overcome our selfish tendencies. You will be a better man as you work hard to keep up with your honey do list. But the reward for navigating your life away from the honey don’t list will be far greater. You will find peace and respect and a desire to serve your wife in a way that every Queen deserves.

We’re just men but we can learn. To the woman in each of our lives we say, thank you for giving us a second chance…again and again. That’s a trait that my mom was always really good at…whoops.

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Should My Wife Pick Up the Dead Roach?

“And what, Socrates, is the food of the soul? Surely, I said, knowledge is the food of the soul.”
Plato

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The other day I saw a huge dead roach on the floor and the thought of picking it up to discard it was disgusting. Then in a flash of male brilliance, it occurred to me that it would be best for me to leave it right where it was so that when my wife discovered it later on in the day, she would know that the pest service was working. I left it right where it was with only a tinge of lingering guilt.

A few days later, I saw another big dead roach on the floor and went through a similar thought process. After all thought I, knowledge is the food of the soul…or was that Plato that said that? Regardless, I left it for my wife to see and do with as she wanted but was comforted that she would have increased knowledge regarding the success of our pest control.

Later, when I came upon the third dead roach, I decided to actually take a picture of it and write down a few thoughts. Of course, I could not take just one picture. I had to get down real low and get different angles to get the best shot possible. It took several minutes to get a real good shot. I could no longer justify leaving it there so I picked it up and tossed it in the trash can. My wife will just have to suffer through not having the added information and knowledge.

As I reflected on the poor dead fellow in the picture below, he started looking pretty familiar. Then a light went off and I realized that it was just a picture of me…wow…what I cad I had been.

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Alas, the male brain can justify about anything. It is a highly capable self serving mass that seems dormant most of the day but occasionally turns on to take care of needs and wants (mostly wants) only to soon return to its dormant state.

But there is hope…because when you have been married long enough, your wife does not even have to be present to prod you towards improvement. There is an emotional encouragement (nagging) chip that each wife implants in her husband’s brain right after the wedding ceremony.  Throughout your marriage, she encodes signals that somehow know when to surface with their messages of encouragement (nagging). The male brain tries to suppress it but when presented with enough constant and solid evidence, the chip will take charge of the male brain. It comes to life when you have been lazy or incompetent and demands a better performance. My wife may be sleeping or even out of the country but that chip she planted in my head is always just one bag of  BBQ chips away.

So, I guess it is nice to know that our pest control works and that I have been able to serve my family well by getting that information to my wife. In an effort to improve the information flow and increase of knowledge between my wife and me, I will look for other ways to help.  For example, I also want her to know when I eat all of my vegetables at dinner so I am going to start leaving my empty dishes on the table as proof. Surely she will be happy to know each time that I am a member of the clean plate club…surely she…..bzzt….ow! Turn it off…please!

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Dark Matter Instead of Grey Matter Found In Guy’s Heads

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We recently visited our home in Utah in which our two college age sons  currently reside. Having been away for six months, their mom was hoping to walk into a house that was clean and well kept. She hoped against hope that at least an effort had been made by my boys. At first glance, everything looked great. After spending a bit of time in the house however, the ruse began to unravel.

Closets and drawers and even dryers had been used to the max to hide the disarray. Their mother took it in stride and got to work. I just took it in stride and went about my business because, well, I am a guy and they were just employing the survival tactics that I had passed along in their DNA.

We all know that weez guys think differently than youz ladies…that is, if weez guys think at all. It has been postulated that about 85% of the matter in the universe can’t be seen and it has received the mysterious name of dark matter. I think we can safely conclude that most of it can be found between the ears of guys on earth. Since we know that there are not enough guys on earth to make up all of the missing matter, we could therefore conclude that there must be other guys somewhere in the universe which resolves the whole question of is there life out there somewhere…but I digress.

When we were first married, my wife made quite an effort to refine me. Since then, she has seen her own sweet little darling boys grow up to be men and it has tempered her expectations a little. After all, she is partially responsible for raising those testosterone driven, fast food eating, TV watching, clothes shedding, sports nuts and she is realizing that it is hard to fight nature. If not a reprieve, it at least has helped my wife understand my guyness.

When a guy sees an empty washing machine he thinks…well, actually nothing comes to his mind at first and he just keeps on walking. However, if he is compelled to do laundry, he thinks to himself…might as well fill er up and just add more soap…why do two loads when you can get them all done in just one load? The same goes for a dryer…let’s see how many clothes we can squeeze in there and still get the door closed.

When a guy eats a steak he is cutting the biggest chunks that his throat will allow him to swallow. In his bedroom, he thinks…why hang the clothes back up when you can get a few more days out of them and they are easy to find right there on the floor or on the back of a chair? He ponders…why make a bed if you are just going to crawl right back in it in a few hours…and why lift the toilet seat if you are accurate enough which, by gosh we know every guy is…and if by chance he finds a toilet seat that is already up, why on earth would you ever put it back down?

There is just a basic fundamental genetic difference between us. Weez guys don’t think like youz girls. Clearly weez guys don’t think at all. Somewhere between selfish and lazy is a place where all guys visit…well…reside. In that realm, brain waves that beget non-selfish action just do not occur. It is all just dark matter…which is apparently some pretty important stuff in the universe but it doesn’t help much in the thinking category.

That’s okay though because if weez guys were to think, we might stop acting like guys. Then youz girls would not know what to do as we would no longer need you to make things stabilized and right in our worlds. The world would suffer and things would come to a screeching halt. At least right now only youz girls suffer.

So ladies, just bear with us. We die sooner than you do and then you can find peace and relaxation. Until then, could you bring me a glass of milk while you are up?

What do you mean I have to go live with the boys?

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