Posted by: littlebitofparadise | May 2, 2014

Do What He Likes…Because You Like Him

PSW

Romancing my husband is at the tippy top of my list of priorities…at least, I want it to be. Life is long and marriage is hard, and there’s nothing I want more than to make him feel loved and happy and respected in our relationship. That’s what in turn makes ME feel loved and happy and cherished.

For the past several months I’ve been keeping a “Romance My Husband” running list, jotting down ideas as they come to me. I think I might start sharing some of those ideas here, in hopes you’ll share your feedback and your ideas with me, too.

Do What He Likes…Because You Like Him

A year or so ago I was at a summer backyard gathering of friends, and one of the women remarked on her choice of purple nail polish for her new pedicure. “I checked with my husband first and he said he didn’t mind my toes purple, so I went ahead with it” remarked my girlfriend.

I must admit that some deep seated feminist monster reared it’s ugly head inside me when she made that comment. I don’t know where or when I became thus indoctrinated, but my initial reaction was “SO WHAT if he doesn’t like purple nail polish? They’re YOUR toe nails and you should be able to paint them any color you want!!!”

There’s clearly at least two ways of looking at my friend’s purple toe nails comment, isn’t there? As time went on, I actually thought about those purple toe nails many times. Because on the one hand, I was right: those toe nails belonged to her and she could paint them any way she saw fit.

…But on the other hand, my girlfriend in her wisdom and experience had perhaps learned an important truth that I, in my immaturity, inexperience, and feminism-drunk mindset, had missed.

I missed the SHEER JOY of doing things that your spouse likes and admires…for the pleasure it brings your man, and in turn brings to you.

When I was dating my husband, there was nothing I wanted more than to dress in a way that would please him. I truly, deeply wanted him to admire me – yes for things that really matter like my heart and soul and personality – but for the more frivolous stuff too, like what I wore and how I looked.

I don’t know why the years of marriage bring a laziness or distracted-ness in this department, but now that we’re covenantal partners for FOREVER, there’s never a more important time than RIGHT NOW to put time, thought, and effort into visually pleasing my spouse.

So I started paying more attention.

I started listening more closely to his compliments, to the admiring winks and glances. And you know what? I learned a lot!

He likes my hair blonde. At least blonde-ish. When we were dating and newlyweds, my hair was blonde. Thanks to three pregnancies in three years and the luck of the hereditary draw, my hair went WAY dark brown postpartum(s). I also prefer my hair blonde, but had let it stay dark brown because it was just easier, and cheaper. I was shocked to discover that he’s happy to let me spend the money for highlights at the salon. This spring I went blonde again, and I absolutely love it. And so does he.

He likes it when I wear big earrings. He calls them “Nefertari earrings” (reference to the ancient Egyptian princess) but the louder and crazier the better, in his book. If I hadn’t started paying attention, I would never ever have guessed that my crazy big earrings are his fav.

He loves it when I wear this one tshirt. It’s a team shirt from his graduate school, and it’s the softest, comfiest, most casual tshirt ever. And every.single.time. he comes home and I’m wearing that shirt, he compliments me on how nice I look. Finally one day I asked him “is it just that you really like this shirt?” and he told me “it just looks really good on you!”

Well score one for the mama team, because it’s comfier than almost everything else in my closet!

I could go on and on, but the point is that the more I listen, the more I’m learning what he likes, and truly, it’s such a joy to dress in a way that gets a few extra winks or appreciative looks from my man. I don’t think this is vanity, I think it’s romance. What I do and what I wear (or don’t wear) romances his heart, so it should be high on the list of important things I can focus on.

Girlfriends, start listening more attentively. And you’ll see – you’ll learn pretty quickly – there are certain things that he likes and especially likes. There are probably things he dislikes as well.

Doing those things or wearing those things he likes doesn’t make you any less your own person, or a slave to his whims. Quite the contrary! It’ll make your love and romance grow, and that makes you MORE your own person, especially considering you’ve become half of a very significant whole since the moment you took your wedding vows.

And Guys: the same goes for you! There are certain things in your closet and dresser she loves extra much. Listen, and you’ll figure it out. And you’ll make her smile.

Trust me, there’s a reason he still gets military hair cuts. His large cologne collection? Not an accident. And that black shirt I gave him long ago with the sleeves that are just a tad bit too tight around his biceps…

Yeah. It’s a happy marriage thing. ;o)

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Responses

  1. “I want more than to make him feel loved and happy and respected in our relationship. That’s what in turn makes ME feel loved and happy and cherished.”

    May I ask a sincere question? As a single woman who does not consider feminist instincts to be monstrous, I was deeply puzzled by the nearly identical but significantly different word choice in these two sentences. Why is it that your husband gets to be “loved and happy and *respected*” while you are “loved and happy and *cherished*”? Do you not want to be respected by your husband? For that matter, does he not want to be cherished by you?

    IMHO, there is a notable difference between being respected and being cherished, and has strong similarity to the relationship between a parent and child. A parent is to be respected by the child; the child is to be cherished by the parent. The only difference is, as the child grows up, the parent may develop deep respect for the person her child has matured into. But is that an appropriate model for a husband–wife relationship?

    Again, a sincere question, and not intended to be antagonistic. Please consider helping me to understand your point of view. Thanks.

    • Michelle thanks for commenting and great question! I’m in airports today with just phone and no laptop so as soon as I get home I’ll type out a proper reply! 🙂

  2. Michelle, I just wanted to share my thoughts with you. I look forward to hearing Steph’s reply!

    Both men and women have a need to feel respected and cherished. However, God made men and women differently. The primary need of a man is to feel respected by his wife. The primary need of a woman is to feel loved and cherished by her husband.

    Simply put, if we want a truly happy and joyful marriage, then we need to do what we can to make our spouse happy and to fulfill their primary need. True love means the willingness to sacrifice and to serve. It extends far beyond the physical and emotional attraction that many (if not all) couples experience at the beginning of a relationship. As a Catholic, I know that my vocation to marriage (my husband and I will celebrate 14 years of marriage next month) is my path to heaven.

    Have to run; many children need my attention! I look forward to hearing from Steph!

    Jenny

    • Wow Jenny what a beautiful response!
      Michelle – honestly, “Ditto what Jenny said!” 🙂

      Men and women are equal in marriage but we play different roles and have different needs. A man’s primary need in marriage is respect. It’s how he primarily receives love. A woman’s primary need is to feel cherished…it’s how she primarily feels love. This does NOT mean that the other spouse doesn’t also need respect and to be cherished…but the sexes are different and marriages are usually happiest when each spouse is receiving love in these primary ways. The best book I can recommend on the subject is “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emmerson Eggerichs. Also “His Needs Her Needs” by Willard Harley is also very good. And to throw a third in the mix ‘ “For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldhahn. I probably just butchered all those author names but hopefully they’ll come right up on Amazon and Google. 🙂

      It’s such an ironic thing that putting the other’s needs, desires, preferences above your own brings YOUR so much happiness…but it’s one of those life/marriage lessons that once you learn it – WOW – it’s dynamite for your happiness in marriage.

      Thanks for a GREAT question Michelle!

      And final note – I agree that not all feminist tendencies are “monstrous.” My reaction to those purple toe nails, however, was a bit dragon lady-ish, promise. 🙂

  3. These comments are as awesome as the post itself! LOVE when a blogger gets a great, thoughtful dialogue going! 🙂 Its the best part of blogs, in my opinion!

    Awesome post, Steph. This is why I have yet to buy a blogger hat (you know – the Panama hats everyone and their sister has been wearing the last few years)… Jason hates hats on women!! He thinks they always look awkward. I still drool over them in J.Crew – but the truth of the matter is, if he hated it, I wouldn’t enjoy wearing it in reality like I think I would in theory.


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