Little girls are funny creatures. Believe me, I know. I coach my daughter's soccer team. While it is really fun to watch these nine-year-olds learn the fundamentals of soccer, I have noticed that some methods work better than others.
Sometimes it is easier to tell them what they shouldn't do rather than lecture them about the finer points of technique. (Plus, the girls seem to really enjoy watching me act out the mistakes.)
Married couples, in some ways, are like 9-year-old girls learning to play soccer. They need to learn the fundamentals and use them in a way that will make their team, or marriage, win. They need to work together, and just as importantly, they need to have a good time while doing it.
Today, I am not going walk through the steps of how to create a winning marriage. (I will leave that to the experts.) Instead, I am going to discuss the things you should do if you want to mess it all up. I speak from experience, because I have done some, if not all, of these things on occasion.
Do it your way
They say that there's more than one way to skin a cat, but your way is the best. You've made it through life fairly well. You have great kids, an amazing wife, and a good career. Obviously, you know what you're doing.
When your spouse suggests that you take a marriage workshop together, she obviously isn't taking into account who she is talking to. Being the fairly intelligent person you are, you can figure things out on your own.
You don't need some schmuck with a soft voice and expressive eyes to tell you how to treat your wife. You didn't get the big account at work by listening to 15 other people; you just did what you had to do.
Don't listen to what anyone has to say
Listening to others takes time. Sometimes when you look at your spouse, you can see their lips moving, but you're not entirely sure they are even speaking English.
What did she say about helping put the kids to bed? Did she say something about the 4-year-old punching the 6-year-old? Why is she still in her pajamas? And why are they covered with spaghetti sauce stains? She really needs to do something else with her hair other than pulling it back.
You've had a really bad day at work, and you're physically and emotionally tired. Hey, at least you didn't tell her to make you a sandwich. You yell at the kids from the couch to get ready for bed and to listen to their mom. There, mischief managed. Score one for Super Dad.
Save the together time for big events
Sometimes you need to do something extravagant to show how you feel. But let's face it, it takes a lot of energy, time and money to carry it out. You took her to Greece for your 20th anniversary, and she loved it. That week will go down as one of the most romantic and memorable in the history of your marriage.
But you can't go out with her every Friday, especially this month; the World Series is going on! You spent time together when you went on that picnic with the whole family. That was a great day!
Okay, so maybe you didn't really talk to your wife much that day, but you smiled at each other a lot. Of course you love your wife, you married her right? She knows how you feel about her. You tell her on Valentine's day!
Showing your emotions is a sign of weakness. You're beat: They announced another round of lay-offs at your company. You're oldest son is in danger of not graduating high school, because he hasn't taken enough P.E. classes. You're wife looks tired and defeated. Should you talk to her about it? No! Go make some popcorn, and you two can watch reruns together. It's best not to burden each other with worries. Keep it light and easy.
If you do all of these things and more, you will be sure to mess up your marriage big time. Remember, if you make it all about how you are feeling, and how everything relates to you, you will be sure to make an empty wasteland out of the thing you call your marriage.