John Huntley's comments below are well worth reading. And it made me start thinking about what advice I'd give men about women, and what advice I'd give women about men.
First, there is the advice I'd give BOTH: Come to terms with the fact that in many ways, you and your significant other are RADICALLY different. And IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE THAT WAY. Each of you has gifts that the other can use. You're going to spend the next 50 years being amazed at what the other thinks, feels, and says. And that's a good thing! I've been sad, I've been mad, I've been thrilled, I've been happy, but I ain't ever been bored with PapaC in 25 years.
What I'd tell men?
1. It doesn't take a big thing to "take care of Sugar." Too many men pass up the small tokens of affection and go for the ONE BIG FREAKIN' DEAL. They'll pass up the $3.99 boquest of daisies from the grocery store, putting off flowers until they can get the $50 bouquet of roses. Just DO IT NOW! They'll pass up the trip to Braum's for the ice cream cone and think, "I should plan a weekend away." Hey! Buy us the ice cream!!!!!
2. Regularity is key. That's tied in to doing smaller things--unless you're richer than PapaC and I are! Don't make it clockwork--who wants to think, "Oh, here it is Friday, time for the funny card." But if it's been 2 weeks, and you can't think of a single sweet thing you've done--IT'S TIME, BUBBA!
3. MAKE her take care of herself. MAKE her go out for "girls' time" with her friends. Keep the kids away from the bathroom door and let her do that "girly maintenance stuff" in peace. It's common for mommies to put themselves way, way last--behind the kids, behind you, behind the house, behind her parents, behind her church, blah, blah, blah, blah..... Part of your job is to put her first.
4. Call her briefly during the day. If the McKid is screaming, sometimes all I need to hear is PapaC's voice on the phone. It's calming. It's reassuring. It means someone is thinking of ME.
5. Pray for her. Every day. Every time you think of it.
6. Forgive her.
What I'd tell women?
1. Earnin' the salt, is a BIG, BIG, BIG deal. For those of us who are SAHMs, it's perhaps the biggest way that our men tell us they love us. NEVER FORGET THAT. PapaC has gotten up and gone to work for clients from hell and in places that I'd rather be shot than go to. To be ungrateful for that would be the most unloving thing I can do.
2. Yeah, your day was hard. SO WAS HIS. I don't care if the dog tracked in mud, the baby threw up, and your dishwasher broke. That doesn't mean that you are Joan of Arc, fixin' to be burned at the stake. Drop the martyr act, and go on about your business. And I promise you this: If you'll make a resolution to meet him at the door with a hug and a smooch every time he comes home, you'll be a happier woman for it.
3. Let him have his hobbies! If he hunts, let him hunt. If he fishes, let him fish. (The only MamaT rule here? You catch it, you clean it!) If he watches football, let him watch! If he listens to opera, let him listen. If he reads, let him read. Give him some SPACE!!!! Don't think you have to do every single thing together.
4. Give up those mean and ugly jokes about men. It's not nice. Speak only well of him to other people. And if you can't do THAT, then be quiet.
5. Pray for him. Every day. Every time you think of it.
6. Forgive him.
And that's MamaT's Dr. Phil moment for today. Ta Da!