I am not the world’s greatest husband.
That probably surprises you, but it’s true. I have my faults. So many, in fact. I won’t bother to list them all here and will just say my wife is a saint for tolerating me. Just ask our friends. They’ll tell you, she is the better half.
But there is one area my wife is starting to crack, to show a bit of exasperation, to the point she shakes her head in annoyance. And that is – wait for it — my lack of interest in pictures of children of our relatives and friends.
“Oh, look at this cute picture!” she’ll exclaim. “Here, look at it,” she’ll add again, while raising her phone before my face so I have no other choice but to look at it.
“That’s nice,” I’ll say. “Whose kid is that?”
My wife is dismayed that I don’t know, on sight, every nephew and niece and every toddler and infant belonging to people we know or are related to. But I have a tough time pretending this is of interest to me, unless it’s Hadley or Holden, our precious grandchildren.
“Did you the see outfit he is wearing?” my wife asks. “Isn’t that precious?”
“No. I didn’t notice it.”
To make my wife happy, I’ll now feign interest. “Oh, that is cute. Yeah, I see it now.”
But I don’t think this is Earth-shaking news to anyone that men, in general, sometimes are not on board with everything their wife thinks is important.
Men, I think, believe a romantic evening means pizza and a movie or grabbing a six-pack and heading to the beach to watch the sunset with the family dog, while for women, such an evening falls more along the lines of dressing up and going to dinner and drinks at Tidepools at the Grand Hyatt.
For a time, I thought, perhaps it’s just me. Maybe every other guy is enthusiastic about what his wife deems as important and gives it his 100 percent and listens attentively.
I was pleased to learn, recently, I am not entirely alone.
How do I know this?
Thanks to a little something called “The Love Dare.”
This, if you don’t know, is a book that invites couples to do something extra nice for each other every day for 40 days. You are to read about each day’s dare, carry it out, and write a short essay of sorts outlining your feelings. Yep. They want a guy to write out his thoughts and responses to daily questions about his marriage, his faith, his love. Insanity, I tell you.
The dare can be something like give your wife a foot massage, remove anything hindering your relationship and burning a list of negative attributes. It’s actually pretty good stuff to show your wife how much you love her.
My wife and I started The Love Dare. I got through 16 days before missing one. Once I missed one, I missed more. Pretty soon, I wasn’t reading the book and I wasn’t doing the dares. My wife, God bless her soul, let it go without giving me a lecture.
I felt bad about my failure to finish The Love Dare (I still have it. And I will finish it and complete all those dares), but a discovery at the thrift store made me feel a little better and brought my wife and I closer together.
I found a copy of The Love Dare at the thrift store. Inside, was a touching note from the wife who presented it to her husband for an anniversary gift. “I look forward to sharing this journey with you, today and always. All my love.”
I felt guilty reading this intimate message that ended up in a free box at the thrift store.
I wondered, how far did this guy get with this book? Complete all 40 days? Maybe halfway? Did he pour his heart onto its pages? Maybe I could learn something from him.
I turned to the day one essay page: blank. Page two: blank. Page three: blank.
Well, I’ll be. I had some company among men who didn’t complete The Love Dare. This guy, in fact, never started and gave it away. I did a little better.
I took the book home and showed it to my wife. We both smiled and laughed. It was a light, fun exchange, one of those moments you realize how much you love someone. The Love Dare was working its magic in an unexpected way.
Now, if I could just remember the name of that little kid in the picture my wife showed me.
Bill Buley is editor of The Garden Island. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org