Most men seek

  • Facts
  • Solutions
  • Objective thinking
  • More distance

Most women seek:

  • Feelings, intuition
  • Sympathy, relationship
  • Personal involvement
  • Closeness

Remember: in 15-20% of homes these "differences" may be switched.

3. Tap into your wife's "built-in marriage manual" by asking three questions that can save or improve your relationship. These questions are so powerful because they can switch the focus of the relationship from problems to solutions. Here are the three questions:

A) What kind of marriage/friendship would you like, from 0 (terrible) to 10 (perfect)?
B) How would you rate, from 0 to 10, the present condition of our relationship?
C) What would it take to move the relationship from where it is at now (B's answer) to a "10" (A's answer) during the next month?

4. Tell your family members how valuable they are to you. That's so simple. So obvious. You assume they already know it. But don't assume! Like a bulb that doesn't light due to a break in the electric circuit, a family member who is not told she's valuable may never shine bright. Until you complete the circuit with your words, the light of honor may never glow in her life.

5. Make an unconditional commitment to them for life. That's the kind of commitment that says, "You're important to me today and tomorrow, no matter what happens—no matter what the cost."

6. Schedule special times with the family. Communicating warm, loving approval to our family doesn't "just happen" naturally. We believe this time should be scheduled regularly—preferably several times each week—because they need us.

7. Communicate that you are available to your family during both scheduled and unscheduled times. Although we lead very busy lives, there will be times when we need to drop what we're doing and be available to our family. This communicates that they are extremely valuable. Being available also allows us to take advantage of teachable moments.

8. To follow through in this crucial matter of treasuring, continue to make yourself accountable to a friend or a small group. No one said that honoring our family would be easy! But, if you want your determination to treasure your family to be more than a nice, passing thought, register your decision with some folks who will walk the first few miles of that long road with you—and firmly remind you (in love) to stay on course if you try to turn back!

"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor" (Romans 12:10).

Originally posted on Crosswalk November 17, 2007.

(c) 2005 The Smalley Relationship Center.