The joke that our photo and humour editor, Ron Hellyer, posted in the laughter section the other week sure put a smile on my face. I am equally sure that the vast majority of men who read our newsletter each week would also be able to smile and say, “I know that man”. No names will ever be mentioned of course, least of all yours or mine.
To refresh your memory, here it is:
A husband went to the police station to file a missing persons report.
Husband: “I lost my wife, she went shopping hasn’t come back yet.”
Officer: “What is her height?”
Husband: “Average, I guess.”
Officer: “Slim or healthy?”
Husband: “Not slim, but probably healthy.”
Officer: “Colour of hair?”
Husband: “Changes according to season.”
Officer: “What was she wearing?”
Husband: “Not sure, either a dress or a suit.”
Officer: “Was she driving?”
Officer: “Colour of the car?”
Husband: “Black Audi A8 with supercharged 3.0 litre V6 engine generating 333 horse power teamed with an eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission with manual mode. And it has full LED headlights, which use light emitting diodes for all light functions and has a very thin scratch on the front left door…”
There is something strangely familiar with this joke, brought home to me this week as we celebrated my wife’s birthday.
It was a pretty momentous occasion so I wanted to buy some new clothes for her so I headed off to my, and hopefully her, favourite dress shop.
“Hey Warwick”, you say, “Aren’t you embarking on a suicide mission? No man knows the mind of a woman. How can you possibly pick the right clothes for your wife? You must be mad!”
For starters, you are probably right. As Frederick Nietzsche said, “There is always some madness in love.”
I have actually been working at the art of loving the same woman for almost 40 years, at the coalface so to speak. I have also actually learnt that it is better to be 50% right than 50% wrong. To buy the right clothes for a woman is extremely difficult, but it is better to try than not to try.
I have been buying clothes for my wife now for most of my marriage. Sometimes I get it 100% right first time with the three rules of success in learning to love actually:
Other times I get it 100% wrong but my batting average with buying clothes for my wife is 50%. Better to try and fail than not to try at all. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena… if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
All women have a deep need to be loved just as all men have a deep need to be respected. Along with the need to be loved is a deep need to get an answer to the question, “Am I beautiful?”
For many women, clothes are important. Clothes often, rightly or wrongly, help answer the question, “Am I beautiful?” To most men, clothes are not important, especially woman’s clothes because he just doesn’t understand the emotion or logic involved with the process, nor does he want to understand. Herein lies the mistake. Getting back to our mate Theodore Roosevelt, “It’s a sin not to try!”
Most men are enamoured with the technical performance of their favourite toy or project. They can wax lyrical about their “black Audi A8 with supercharged 3.0 litre V6 engine generating 333 horse power teamed with an eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission with manual mode” ad nauseum but most men do not know their wife’s dress size or colour preference (spring, summer, autumn or winter) or preferred fashion style, but let me tell you, it pays to learn.
Being a bit of an artist does help me a little, but it is a skill that can be learned by any man. Let me assure you, this skill will pay handsome dividends in your marriage and family. As I have said a million times, the greatest thing a man can do for his children is to love his wife.
So how did my clothes-buying mission go this week? As I said before, I was 50% right. I bought a red striped shirt, size 12, which she liked and a knitted long cardigan jumper thing that was nice but turned out to be the wrong colour. Even if you do know the colours of the different seasons, they don’t seem to be foolproof, not for me anyway.
The good news is that my wife was happy that I tried. I got to do some retail love therapy with my wife while she chose what she really wanted.
Trust me, the love tank was a lot higher for her when we walked out of the shop than when we walked in. It pays to pay attention and learn the language of love.
Michael Kiely says, “The term ‘making love’ means having sex today. But there was a time when a man could be making love to a woman, just by paying attention. Women love attention.”
So men, forget the black V6 Audi for the moment, and start memorising dress size, colour preference, style preference and the like. Don’t become the man in the joke. Become the man of your woman’s dreams and love actually.
Yours for learning to love
PS. Go to our blog post called Talking and Learning to follow how we are going with the Marriage Kit Course, Module 3. The good news is that you can sign up to do the first module of The Marriage Kit for free.
If you want to continue, it will cost $200 but that is far better than spending $50,000 on divorce lawyers. Marriage education is a great investment in more ways than one.