This week’s Wednesday guest post is by none other than my husband, Jeffery W. Ingram. Yes, this is how he refers to himself. Even when he signs a birthday card, he signs “Jeffery W. Ingram.” It’s just one of the many things I love about him. When he approached me a few weeks ago about writing a guest post, I was a little afraid at first. Previous guest posts have been creative takes on shopping with coupons and recipes for guys. This post is a bit more serious (just a bit). I’ve written a few pieces on communication over the years but this is the first time I’ve gotten his perspective. It was very interesting when I read his perspective and led to a good discussion. It helped to open my eyes and made me thing about how I communicate with him. I hope it helps you as well.
I have a great marriage. My wife is my lover, my think-tank partner, my muse, and my best friend. However, after reading Nick’s article here and his article at the Good Men Project, it got me thinking (a dangerous past time its true). I was forced to start asking myself some important questions.
Do I really listen?
By listen I mean hear the words and understand what she mean by them. I know I think I do or else I would ask questions and try to fix her problems. I love fixing her problems.
I know I am not alone when I say that I might hear my wife. However, I do not always listen.
Here is recent example of what I heard.
Kristin: “Jeffery so glad you are home. I know you had a hard long day at work. While you were doing that, I did the laundry, saved us a billion dollars, cleaned the kitchen, got us some dinner, and saved many children from a burning house. So I had a hard day as well.”
Jeffery: “Wow, you also did a lot. We both had a long stressful day darling. How about we take a break and have some fun, just you and me. You are the light of my life, you give me hope.”
This would have been the conversion if I listened.
Kristin: “Jeffery, I know you are doing a lot of work. We both are. I am sorry to tell you there is a lot of stuff that needs to happen around the house. I need your help getting it done.”
Jeffery: “I love you. Let me start helping more.”
What my imagination tells me she heard
What I really said, “Wow you did a lot today”
Now, I do try to listen. However, she is a woman and I am a man. We are always going to place effort into our communications. However, the main burden is on me. My instincts lead me through life with a confidence; it helps me make quick and usually good decisions. However, I need to remember to temper it with reviewing my decisions and seeing how to make better decisions going forward.
I can love my wife without breaking the bank
Since you are on my wife’s blog you know that she is frugal. Well, I am cheap unless it involves my wife. I would buy her the Crown Jewels to show her my love. I would take her for dinner and an opera in Rome every night. It would be easy to spend lots of money on her, unless I listen. She might be okay with me splurging on her at times. However, if I go over the top (and I love going over the top), I could go bankrupt pampering her.
Since I started listening to Kristin, I know that my over-the-top pampering would drive her into a stress coma. I needed a more cost effective way to show my love to her. My first act was simple. I threw in a load of laundry before I went into work. It wasn’t much. However, she told me how happy it made her.
The cost to me was 1 minute in my morning routine; the benefit to her was that the first thing she would not see after waking up was a load of laundry. If she did, her day would start off thinking about the entire task that needed to happen today and she would have to do it since I was already at work. It helped free up her mind so she could dream a little more that day, a much better outcome then if I brought her the Crown Jewels. She would have just passed out, losing her mind to the fear of the massive debt I created to buy them.
Let’s add in a little old school
In the past, I wrote numerous love notes to my wife: To K from J, to my angel, or to my perfection were the three models I used. I had forgotten about them. I did them when we first met and slowly over the years the frequency declined until I had basically forgotten about it.
I loved doing it. They were as much for me as they were for her. I have a hopeless romantic trapped in me. I still tried to be romantic. However, my approach changed. However thanks to a story from my hustle friend, Tricia, I was reminded about the notes. So, I now randomly place my wife notes in the morning. Little love notes, to let her know I am thinking about her and to let her know how much she helps me.
These things might seem little and they are little. You might be thinking, “Jeepers Jeffery, you spend a freaking two whole minutes a morning starting laundry and write a little note . . . whoopdeefreekingdingdong.” You would be right; it only takes two whole minutes, maybe three. However, I feel better and work better. She feels better and works better and only for the cost of two minutes. Once it a blue moon you might be able to pull a big wow factor. Ultimately, the little things are what makes or breaks a marriage.
I hoped you enjoyed. Want to help me get to three minutes a day being nice to my wife, please comment below and let me know what is the little thing you wish someone would do for you? And what are the little things you do for your better half. Heck, if we are lucky I might get up to 5 minutes today. After you comment, go do a little something for the person you love!