So I have finished "For Men Only" by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn. Out of all the helpful insights in the book I found 2 particularly helpful in my own marriage. (This is a longer post than usual but I wanted to share these things!)
The first was around 'windows'. The fact that women work with many different windows open, a bit like a computer, was in many ways revelatory to me. I knew that my wife multi tasked but hadn't thought about why. I know for me, that I have one thought processing at the fore of my mind at a time and will get to a place where I will close that window before having another one opened. It helped me to understand why B always has so many things to talk to me about at the end of the day - she is simply going through her windows. Also, when I haven't yet done something which she asked me to do, she will find it necessary to remind me because the window is still not closed for her.
The other useful thing on this was pop-ups. Another computer analogy (probably because as men we understand this terminology!!!) Just as computers have pop-ups (both helpful and unhelpful) so do women. Things can just pop up and that can affect how my wife feels at that particular moment. Since reading this, I have been able understand why my wife wants to talk to me about many things in the first 10 minutes that I get in and I have been able to ready myself for that in order to be a husband who is endeavouring to display my love for her. I have also been able to say 'was that a pop-up?' and have been able to help her close some windows just by doing the things she had expected me to actually do rather than procrastinate about!
The second thing was in the last chapter. The reminder to me that my wife needs to be affirmed of my love for her often. I know that I tell my wife I love her lots. There are even times when I will say it too many times and she will say that she knows that I don't have to keep saying it!!! After reading this chapter I will keep saying it, but I also realise that affirming my love for my wife is done in different ways and not just in words. I must keep helping around the house and with our baby daughter. n I must keep taking a lead spiritually and I must keep on tracking our budget, because I know these are all ways that she feels loved. I must also keep having conversation with her. I know she doesn't want that to be the same as when she meets up with her girl friends, but good time when she feels that she has my attention and that she feels heard and listened to. This helps her to know that she is the the only girl for me.
This is important to her. Just like when she was a little girl wanting her daddy's undivided attention, she now wants to know that she has my undivided love and attention. The second part of the chapter talks about the hammer that men hold that can shatter our wives; that being roving eyes. The whole thing around men and watching where their eyes go on a summers day walking through Reading, can destroy any of the words or even the gestures that have helped your wife feel she is number 1. This is sobering and has lead me to double my efforts in this area. I want to be like the basketball player who Jeff cites on page 174!
"In the mid-90's, Sports Illustrated did a cover feature, entitled, "St. David," on David Robinson, the MVP centre for the San Antonio Spurs. One segment described how Robinson, as a professing Christian, husband and father, in the midst of the NBA's intense temptations. For example, during television breaks, he would sit on the bench and stare studiously at the floor in order to avoid looking at the gyrating cheerleaders out on the court.
The article also mentioned that like all NBA players, Robinson was constantly approached by attractive women who wanted to talk to him...and were probably offering more than just witty conversation. Apparently, he would rather brusquely brush them off. When asked to comment on that seemingly "rude" practice, he said something like this: 'If any woman is going to get her feelings hurt, it's not going to be my wife.' A protector and hero in action!"
I want to see Robinson as an inspiration in my own marriage and make sure my eyes are only for my darling wife and I'm going to let her know often that that is the case!!! Now, with my marriage invested in, I turn my attention to Spurgeon's 'The Soul Winner," in an effort to not just be a man endeavouring to win his wife's heart day after day, but also to be a man that sees lost people won for Jesus.