just sharing an article i got from n@w forums… it’s a very long read but worth it… para sa mga mag-asawa :o)

By entering into marriage, we take a great risk. We place our very selves — our own intimacy—into the hands of another, who, like we, is beset with defects.

Marriage, however, is a vocation from God, our specific pathway to Heaven. It’s the preeminent way we are meant to love and serve Him on this earth. Its purpose goes beyond our capabilities: to nurture and protect human love, and to unleash it on the world. God always makes up the difference.

But this noble purpose has to be fulfilled in the chaos and contradictions of everyday life — many obstacles are in our way.

Therefore, love for one’s spouse has to be shown in tangible, practical ways.

Putting Your Wife in First Place

We often hear of women’s “needs”. One of your wife’s greatest needs is for you to be her partner and teammate, as opposed to the roles you may be more inclined to fill: coach, referee, babysitter or “temp”.

Compliment your wife in person and behind her back. Let her know with very specific and sincere examples how much you admire her and her work in the home. Let others know it, too, whether in her presence (such as at social gatherings) or outside it (such as at work). You want to make it apparent to her that you notice and appreciate her efforts, and apparent to others that “This man really loves his wife!”

Don’t teach your wife to nag or sulk. Yes, it’s true. You do this when you don’t pay undivided attention to her words and ideas. A woman detests having to force her way into her husband’s mind and heart, and when faced with it, she will likely keep things bottled up until she has to explode. Unthinking males refer to this as “nagging”. Therefore, recognize that TV, newspapers, magazines, mail, hobbies, etc. are your mortal enemies when you get home from work. Avoid them, go straight to your wife, and with eye-to-eye contact, listen to her tell you how her day has gone. Better yet, take the initiative and ask her how she’s doing at least once a week — and give her all the time and attention she needs to tell you.

Give your wife a chance to listen to YOU. It’s equally important that you overcome your tiredness and emotional reticence to give your wife a regular peek into your mind and heart—joys, sorrows, fears, professional triumphs and failures, hobbies that captivate you, etc.

Safeguard your marriage from the scourge of “workaholism” or “professionalitis” through detachment from your work. Men are less naturally inclined than women to live “unity of life”, that is, to see all aspects of their lives as fitting together in an integrated whole. Instead, they are much more likely to “compartmentalize” their lives, even to the point of seeing a kind of opposition of work and family life. When this is the case, work usually wins!

You have to struggle, therefore, to detach yourself from your work and abandon the consequences into God’s hands. This struggle should include leaving work at a fixed and reasonable time (absent unusual circumstances), so as not to steal evening time from your wife; limiting work on weekends to a minimum; keeping a picture of your wife in your line of sight at work to remind you of her frequently during the day; and even taking the plunge and changing jobs if, after all your efforts, the one you have seriously interferes with family life. Remember: your wife and any one of your children are far more important than your job.

Don’t try to explain your wife’s hurts—what she really needs are your understanding and empathy. Men are hardwired to analyze things and look for solutions. If you approach a distraught woman’s problems as if they were a construction project, however, your hardwiring will short circuit. You will not be engaging with your wife personally, and that’s what she really is after, not solutions. You also will run the great risk of appearing to trivialize her concerns, which is extremely demoralizing to her.

Help with menial tasks around the house. It can be a form of pride to think that these jobs are beneath you. One helpful and challenging suggestion is to struggle hard to perform the task that either you or your wife detests the most. Doing either one will please her greatly.

Prefer to be with her when you’re out at social events. This can be a little challenging, given the natural tendency of men and women to hang out with members of their own genders at parties, etc. However, being separated from your bride for an extended period of time should be the exception rather than the rule. Let her (and the others) see that she is the one you want at your side.

Remember: “One hour spent making your wife happy is worth 100 hours of lecturing the kids.”

Putting Your Husband in First Place

Don’t expect him to be perfect. It’s to be hoped that the above points will have reminded him that he’s not perfect, and that he needs to work hard to fulfill his commitment of love in marriage. Make sure you let him know, in concrete ways, that you deeply appreciate his struggle — it’s very important to a man that his best and honest efforts are treasured.

Don’t expect him to be like a woman. He thinks, acts and reacts differently than you do, and believe it or not, this is a good thing! Don’t fall for the contemporary caricature of men as testosterone-poisoned little boys in adult bodies who are incapable of commitment, personal relationships or any other useful societal purpose. His maleness is there for you as a complement to your femininity — in other words, as a strength for you.

For example, as author James Stenson points out, a wife is more likely to view a spat between siblings as a lack of charity, focused as she is on family love and harmony: “It’s unkind to take your brother’s toy without his permission!” A father, however, with the male focus on justice rather than charity, will say, “You have no right to take that toy without permission — it’s unfair!” The great effect of this is that husband and wife will have educated their children in both justice and charity; they will also learn these virtues from each other as time goes on!

Lavish tenderness and care on your husband. There is little that matters more to a married man than the certainty of his wife’s deep affection and care for him. It’s his fixed point amid the chaotic demands of his professional life. You will express this best not by doing occasional, extraordinary things, but by unrelenting acts of simple tenderness on a regular basis. Examples: take his arm when you’re out walking, fix his favorite meal (even if you personally dislike it), dress and wear your hair in the ways that are most attractive to him, and smile, even when you least feel
like it!

Encourage him to foster friendships outside the home, and give him the time and space to do so. Although you are your husband’s best friend, you must realize that true friendship is sorely lacking among working men in this culture. Spending quality time with good friends will give your husband an opportunity to be of service to them, will enrich him personally, and will set a great example to his sons of the importance and attractiveness of friendship.

Have faith in his devotion to you, even when he is consumed with legitimate professional concerns and seems oblivious to your needs. This is one of the most challenging tests for an overwhelmed wife who doesn’t think she is getting enough help or attention from her husband. Should you be that “nag”, or should you hunker down and suffer in silence? There’s no easy answer to this, but one suggestion is that, during such times, you limit your requests for help to the “bare necessities” that will keep you going, and tell your husband with a weak smile that he will have to resuscitate you fully as soon as he can.

Conclusion: if each of you takes these matters to heart, you will be loving your spouse with his or her defects, and struggling against your own defects. Strangely enough, these are the most romantic things you can do for your spouse, because you will be living love where it really counts: in the ordinary things, day by day by day.