William Butler Yeats once wrote, "I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams." That's good advice for life, not just poetry. In our book, Every Marriage is a Fixer Upper, we explain that every couple experiences typical transitions—and it is how you handle those transitions that determine your marriage satisfaction and success.

One of the biggest changes is parenthood. And it isn’t a one time transition, first there is one baby, then often two—or more. There are the needs of a stressed home of preschoolers, the oasis and adventure of school age children and their busy lives, then into the sometime turbulent—but often terrific teen years—then the empty nest. One gift a husband can give his spouse in most any stage of parenthood is the gift of a day of nourishment. And one gift a wife can give her mate is to remember: "I’m a wife first, a mom second." 

A great place to get that kind of refreshment is a conference. And guys, if you are wondering if you can handle a day of being Mr. Mom --- consider the pay-off. Here’s our story:

When Bill married me, his dreams and goals were the primary focus of our life. I set aside my schooling to help put Bill through undergraduate then graduate school. We then started a family and eventually God lead us to San Diego to pastor a church. That's when my heart changed. Suddenly, my dream to write and speak blossomed. At first Bill resisted my dream. The timing was too inconvenient. We had just begun to build the church and I had two school-age children plus a tiny baby at home. An opportunity came along for me to attend a writer’s conference and learn some professional skills—and get a much needed day off for refreshment.

We didn’t have much money in the checkbook but Bill stepped out in faith and paid for the seminar. In addition, he drove our boys down to the conference so that I could nurse the baby at lunch and again in the afternoon. That was a huge inconvenience to his schedule, but he wanted to give tangible applause to my dream. The apostle Paul explains this concept in Eph. 5: 28-29 "So husbands ought to love their own wives . . .for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it. . ." (NASB). The word nourish means to bring up in maturity, and cherish is the picture of tender love, much like the love a nurse or a mother bird would extend. NIV renders nourish and cherish as: to feed and care for.

A husband does himself a favor when he loves his wife by building into her personal growth. A wife will want to give back and encourage her husband when she is validated as a growing child of God. The day was a hardship on Bill’s schedule. He didn’t golf, or work on the house or watch a ball game—he parented the kids and brought the baby back and forth to that conference so I could get refilled and refueled.

What did he gain? Well for starters, that event cost Bill our last $60 in the check book, but now 26 books later, we actually have a savings account! And when I wrote about what he did that day, publishers wanted to have us write articles, books and speak on radio and TV about what makes a marriage work. Plus, immediately he gained a happy, content and grateful wife who was anxious to give back to him emotionally, physically and sexually. Because Bill took my need to grow as a woman seriously, I stay highly motivated to love him. As he builds into my life as a woman, as a writer and as a mom, he gains a wife who wants to give him love, respect -- and as the title of our new book puts it, some "Red Hot Monogamy!" A husband will be happy in the bedroom if he makes sure his wife gets her turn out of the kitchen, out of the toy room and out of the laundry room. A conference registration seems a small price to pay for a lifetime of lasting love.

Why not sign your wife up for a much needed day off? You might want to go the extra distance and arrange for her to have a night off in a local hotel. Get a sitter toward the end of the conference for the kids. Then you can go there early, put out some roses, chocolate on her pillow, run her bubble bath, and light a few candles -- there might be a payoff for you waiting too.

Check out some websites: Hearts at HomeWomen of Faith, (ours: www.farrelcommunications.com) and local conference centers all sponsor enrichment for women.


Pam and Bill Farrel are international speakers and the authors of over 20 books including best-selling Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti and their newest, Red Hot Monogamy. For more information on their books and ministry: 800-810-4449 or  http://farrelcommunications.com.