Do you have thoughtful, creative plans in place for Valentine’s Day?
I know some guys go all out for it: “This is one more opportunity to demonstrate how much I love her, and I’m making the most of it.”
Others practically boycott the holiday: “It’s just a trumped-up excuse to get people buying cards and chocolate; besides, we should be demonstrating our love in creative ways all year long.”
And surely many guys are somewhere in between. There are valid reasons for the different approaches. And instead of dwelling too much on what happens February 14th, today I’m turning my attention to your relationship moving forward, and how you can make it better.
There has been some interesting research through the years on men and women, and how they handle job-related stresses. It’s no surprise that men and women handle stresses differently: men will often bring work home, but they can leave work-related emotional issues at the office or worksite; women are typically more likely to worry longer about interpersonal issues and interactions from work.
And here’s what’s especially relevant to dads who are married or in romantic relationships:
In a UCLA study, the women who said they had a good marriage did much better at relieving the stress of the day than women who said they weren’t in that kind of relationship. There are three common factors that make a difference, and I’m going to give you these as Action Points for dads and husbands.
And please note that these can also apply to at-home moms, who definitely work hard and deal with stressful encounters every day. Keep these in mind to help your wife relieve day-to-day pressures:
Be ready to listen. Women need us to allow them to vent in some detail about the ups and downs of their day—and unless they ask for it directly, they probably don’t want our advice. Women typically need to talk more than we do, guys. They need us to be patient listeners.
Get busy. Help with household duties and childcare tasks. Shouldering a share of the work should come naturally for any man who wants to be a sensitive husband and committed father.
Change the mood. Demonstrate love and affirmation in a variety of ways. Give her a hug and a kiss, and tell her how special she is to you. If she arrives home—or you arrive home—and she’s carrying a lot of emotional baggage from the day, you can give her a clear indication that your relationship is a safe haven, a refuge from the other worries and stresses of the day.
Another great benefit of all these actions is that they set a great example for your sons and daughters. Your children are watching you, and when they see your acts of devotion and service, they’ll gain a lot of security and will take those positive pictures of your marriage into their own relationships someday.
Okay, I’d like to get your feedback. What do you do to relieve stress for your kids’ mom—and what results have you seen? Leave a comment either below or on our Facebook page.
2 More Action Points for Dads on the Journey
- Whether or not you celebrate Valentine’s Day, make sure you schedule meaningful, regular times together as a couple, away from the kids. Let the kids know why you’re doing it, and that you’ll be having a great time together.
- Either today or in the coming weeks, enlist your kids’ help in doing something special for your wife, whether it’s making a gift, or shopping for one, or cleaning the house (including the bathroom).
Carey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers to make the Championship Fathering Commitment. NCF believes that every child needs a dad they can count on, and uses its resources to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need. Subscribe to his weekly email tip by clicking here: I want tips on how to be a great dad who lives out loving, coaching and modeling for my children.