blueprint for happiness

I think something might be in the water, because women who haven’t been very sweet to their husbands lately are coming out of the woodwork. Kidding. I know we’ve all always been here. Sometimes we just hide our reality better than other times.

So, we were at Life Group Sunday night, sitting around a pool, taking turns updating the group on our lives. Besides my pal Jen who’s single and Dave (whose wife was at work and is so angelic I’m sure she’s never been mean to him), the general consensus was that marital bliss had been a little hard to come by in the month of June.

This, of course, was the day after the Mini-Van Fiasco of the World. And without dragging anyone’s name in the mud without her permission, I got the most comforting e-mail from the wife-half of the couple we hung out with on Saturday. While I was trying my hardest to cover up all the evidence of my cry-fest with a baby wipe, she and her husband were also coming off of a doozy of a fight (in which she was the primary offender).

Too bad we didn’t just put it all out on the table, but maybe it was better that we just fed giraffes and watched World Cup Soccer instead of conducting a day-long marital counseling session.

Well, then I went to Bible Study/Book Club Monday night, and our book happens to be about being a good wife and mother, so there was some more discussion. And more than one friend had read my blog and thanked me for making them feel normal. And I kind of wished we could all just be nice and wonderful, so that mean isn’t the new normal.

As part of our study, we had to give a list of 7 Wifely Virtues to our husbands and ask them which one they thought we could stand to work on the most. Ha! As we all recovered from their answers, my friend MK found this fun survey written by a Dr. George W. Crane (author, lecturer, educator, doctor of medicine, psychologist) in 1936 that we could fill out about our HUSBANDS.

Dr. Crane self-titled his survey, “The Blueprint to Happiness” and basically, it’s a big chart with 100 items in 2 columns. Your husband gets “merits” for each thing he does in the positive column and “demerits” for those he does in the negative one. Some are worth 1 point, some 5, some 10, and one very special one (Ardent lover–and goes on to give a quite, ahem, vivid description of what this entails) is worth 20 smackeroos.

Here are some thingsΒ  your husband might be doing to earn himself some demerits (remember, this is from 1936): Stares at or flirts with other women while out with his wife. Publicly praises bachelor days. Fails to change socks often enough. Picks teeth, nose, or sucks on teeth in public. Objects to wife’s driving auto (Gabe!). Blames wife for everything that goes wrong. Talks of efficiency of his stenographer or other women. Smokes in bed. Writes on tablecloth with pencil. Argues or curses other motorists. Will not help wife’s relatives as much as his own. Opens his wife’s mail. Boasts about his former conquests. Kisses wife just after her make-up has been applied.

Snicker, snort. Your hubby is looking pretty good, isn’t he?

How about some positives? Points for your hubby if he:

Gives wife ample allowance or turns paycheck over to her. Leaves car for wife on days she may need it. Usually comes home with a smile. Good humored in the morning. Writes often and lovingly when away from home. Willing to go shopping with wife. Attends church or urges children to attend Sunday School. A fast and efficient worker, not the puttering sort. Well liked by men, courageous, not a sissy. Eats whatever is served without grumbling or criticism. Ardent lover (ahem). Gives wife real movie kisses, not dutiful peck on the cheek. Neatly hangs up his clothes on hooks or hangers.

Gabe and I have a Date Night tonight (it’s been for-ever). I’m prayerfully thinking of ways to honor and love him while we’re out, to make him feel special (and glad he married me). I know one thing–we won’t be discussing money or what will happen to our children if we die on the way to Cambodia.

I think we could go a looooooong way in our marriages, girls, if we focused on the good in our husbands and not the negative. Goodness knows my life would stink if Gabe just dwelled on my crap.

So, tell me: What’s one thing you love about your husband?

42 thoughts on “blueprint for happiness

  1. jeannine: waddlee-ah-chaa

    This is easy! When we talked about my trip to Cambodia, My Man of Steel said, “If you think you should go, you should go.” He didn’t ask how he was suppose to run a business and take care of two little children. He didn’t ask who would feed the family and do the laundry. He was supportive and let me make my own decision. Then I jumped on an airplane for Cambodia and he cooked, cleaned and took care of two little kiddos.

    We are on the same wave length. For Father’s Day I wrote a little tribute to My Man of Steel. He is the rock in our family and takes such good care of us!!!

  2. Jen Overtly Single

    So, I didn’t say it at group, but it was SUCH A BLESSING TO ME to see everyone just being really really real and annoyed and frustrated and beautiful. I’ve had a hard time finding those examples of people who can be tense and loving at the same time. And thanks to all the women who posted and encouraged their husbands — thanks for being such awesome examples of 3D marriages in an all-too-commonly 2D world. ALSO: Sandi?! Holy Wow.

  3. Pingback: Marla Taviano | Christian author and speaker » rate your wife!

  4. Laura

    Oh I love this post. And according to the 1930s test, I am an utter failure. -3. NEGATIVE THREE! I bet it was the red nailpolish that put me over the edge. πŸ™‚

  5. mary kate

    marla – i adore you. and the blog i got the 1936 test from – just put up the one for wives. shoot me.

    i love that my husband is not too mature to be silly with me. he’ll dance around the house, sing along to veggie-tunes, and humor my constant enjoyment of hobbies a 6 year old might find fun.

    he’s a keeper.

    love you!

  6. Stephanie your sister

    I’m thankful that my husband does not blow things out of proportion like I do, is patient in ways that I am NOT, and is always willing to help out around the house.

    And that he loves taking care of our baby so I can go out with the girls (or just go to Target by myself after a long day).

    But my VERY favorite thing about him? He neatly hangs up his clothes on hangers. That’s a deal breaker. πŸ™‚

  7. Gail

    My guy is encouraging, helps around the house, the best father ever (I contend that he’s the better parent of the two of us). He works hard at work and home. He plays hard. He makes sure I know that I matter to him. He tells me often that marrying me was the best decision of his life. I could gush on and on, but I feel the urge to go make him an awesome breakfast today!

  8. Kelly B

    The way he’s always concerned about spending enough time with us. And with the military, and working on a masters degree (1st year down, 3 1/2 more to go!), and working with our church’s youth group, time is hard to come by. But Ben always manages to play with Emma and suggest a date night for the two of us every once in a while. Couldn’t ask for a better man.

    And the way he seeks out and truly values my opinion on anything and everything. Yes, that’s two things, but with this category I think we’re allowed to cheat. πŸ™‚

  9. Sandi

    **Just about every morning of our 36 year marriage, I’ve awakened to a hot cup of coffee on my nightstand. Free refills.** That was free, not my “one thing”. Still good.

    When my dad was dying with advanced colon & liver cancer , Jim sat down with him to comb the Scriptures and let Daddy help plan his memorial service. He asked Dad what he should tell my Mom, my sister and I, and his grandsons; never knowing about this conversation, Jim gave us instructions from Daddy at his memorial service.

    Then Jim asked Daddy, “What do you want me to do for you?’, to which Dad replied, “Take care of Katharine (my mom)”. And Jim has. In the last six months, since Mom’s auto accident and subsequent diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, Jim has taken care of Mom. He took her to breakfast to start to prepare her to have to leave her house. He takes her to the beauty salon and back to her apartment twice a week (Tuesdays are 6:30 a.m.). He mowed her yard, cleaned out her gutters, and helped me comb through drawers and closets unbelievably stuffed and cluttered, to get the house ready for market. He found a painter to paint the house and oversaw the project. He took her heavy things out of her house, that she decided she wanted in her apartment. He picks her up for church and keeps up with her when she goes. He calms her down when she’s upset . He picks her up on Friday (and sometimes Saturday) evenings to go out to dinner with us, then sits and helps her order from a menu that overwhelms her, without robbing her dignity. He’s pushed her in a wheelchair when the walking is too much, and held a wastebasket for her when she was too sick to make it to the bathroom. And he still does it, and loves her in a way that she knows it.

    Earlier in the year, Jim had the opportunity to put in for a job that, if he’d gotten it, would have given us the chance to move anywhere in a three-state area – in other words, near our granddaughters. I wanted to do this so badly, and when I pushed him, he simply told me, for the first time, about his promise to Daddy to take care of Mom.

    Yeah, I love this guy, and he can get a lot of demerits…

  10. Amy

    He is forgiving, tender hearted and takes such good care of me and Gregory. He gets so excited about life’s simple pleasures. He makes me laugh. He loves me. I am thankful that he cleans, fills up my car with gas and brings me coffee every morning. I love and am thankful for the way he loves Jesus, Gregory and Abigail.

  11. Marla Taviano

    Girls, I wish I could comment on all of your comments. You’re blessing me so much. Many of your husbands I know (and affirm what you’ve said about them!), many I don’t. Thank you for your thoughtful words, and I hope you’ll pass the sweet sentiments on to the men who need to hear them most (your husbands, if you’re wondering).

  12. Kara

    I love Jared for his honesty and genuine love for people. He works so hard to provide for his family, and I know that I can tell him anything…no matter how crazy or dumb it might be. I’ve never been so comfortable with another human being. I know this is cliche, but he is my best friend and we get to laugh together all the time.

    He follows his dreams with no fear because he knows what convictions God has placed in his heart. His faith inspires me everyday.

  13. Holly V.

    Its his loyalty for those in his life that makes me love him. He grew up in a home with very little love or affirmation and his heart for others is just so abundant.

    I am truly blessed.

  14. Gretchen

    He allows me to pray over him if he’s traveling, or allows me to simply pray over his work situation(s). He also bows his head when the kids & I pray at mealtimes, & makes sure they get to church/are picked up on time if I have a conflict or a need to stay later at church. That’s some support for a man who isn’t so convinced about the Trinity. God loves us thru him all the time.

    Oh, he also doesn’t smoke in bed (or at all). And I happen to lurve his Hollywood movie star kisses.

  15. Krista

    He is a gift, truly. He is a provider, an encourager, a lover, a fighter, a peacekeeper (with a toddler, this is huge), a sweet gentle spirit, a joker, a calmer, a wiper of MANY tears, and a missionary…since he will be in Cambodia with you guys. I love my husband more than anything on this earth, and am SO thankful God took two crazy souls and decided they should be one.

  16. Emily Kay

    I know I already commented, but I realized the #1 most important, amazing thing I love about my husband…HIS PATIENCE. Seriously, the guy could win a gold medal in patience. We have been married for 3 years and he has NEVER lost his temper with me. I know 3 years isn’t that long, but I have never EVER heard him yell! How amazing is that? Coming from a home where fights and yelling were heard constantly, this is INCREDIBLE to me. And trust me, I am NOT easy to live with…I push so many of his buttons sometimes it’s downright embarassing. And yet he still manages to keep his cool. The man is SUPERMAN I tell you. πŸ™‚

  17. jess

    i just came back to read these lovey doveys and they almost made me cry. “why i love my husband parties” are FUN! πŸ™‚

  18. Krysten

    The comment from Mallory should say from Krysten. Mallory is my sister and used my computer to comment without me realizing it.

  19. Mallory

    I love how hard he works to provide for us. Some weeks he works 60 hours for his company and then does extra work on the side. Even when he’s tired he still makes sure my “love tank” is full.

  20. Sonshine

    My fantastic husband of 39 years loves me, still and always, in spite of myself.

    Just one more thing … He has always been an excellent role model for our children in the work-ethic area. Unless he is down with a fever, he’s at work! One particularly icy winter (years ago), he even, very carefully, traversed our skating rink hill to get to the car which he’d parked on the street at the top of the hill, twice in one week (particularly bad weather week). He was not on time, but he got to work. Whatta guy! πŸ™‚

  21. Kelly, Zoo Girl

    I love that Jon magically knows days when I’m feeling not-so-pretty and compliments me at the exact moment I need it. He also calls me our pet name “bubby” in front of his friends. He’s definitely been made fun of, but it makes me feel soooo good!

    P.S. Thanks for being discrete with my name, but it’s totally cool to share. I’ll own up! I was horrible with a capital H.

    The zoo was a nice break from the tension, although it would have been nice to talk some stuff out. Next time I see you, I’ll just start with “Hi, Marla! Are you and Gabe in a fight?”

  22. Joyce

    He makes me laugh when I’m annoyed with him. It may not sound like it but truly, this is a gift. Because I can hold on to things and pout and he just doesn’t allow me to get away with it. I’m a happier person because of that.

  23. Jennifer

    Paul Tripp is so insightful, Angela. I love his books and get so much out of them.

    What do I love about my hubby? He puts up with my crap! In my dating years, I found precious few men out there man enough to put up with a spunky woman, and he does it so well. He doesn’t let me walk (or run over him), calls me out when I disrespect or hurt him and writes me love notes (especially when he knows I need them most) to encourage me. He has my back (including with his own family) and he eats everything I put in front of him, usually without complaint. I’m a good cook, but I have my lazy days. He works hard to provide for our family and he’s so good natured. God surely loves me more than I deserve! And my husband too.

  24. Cheryl Pickett

    I love that he doesn’t mind “new recipe night” even on the occasions when I don’t make a winner, that he is passionate about his faith, that he’s an awesome Dad to his wonderful boys.

  25. Allison M

    One thing I love about J…he’s rational and even-tempered when I am decidedly NOT. I have had more than a few moments where, if you had been a fly on the wall, you would have buzzed away, too horrified to sit on the poo that was me in the moment. But Jason? He is patient and kind to me, rarely getting his dander up no matter what I say or do. He gives me a Safe Place.

    In a similar vein as the 1936 husband quiz, have you seen this one? It’s a hoot!

  26. Rebecca

    He came home from work one day and said, “Good job, today, honey. The house didn’t burn down.” The house was a mess, the kids were all over the place and I was having one of those “why do I even bother” days and that was exactly the praise I needed to hear.

  27. Angela

    Marla, what book are you reading in your book club? I’ve been reading “What Did You Expect: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage” by Paul David Tripp, and it’s a good one!

  28. Deirdre

    on the spiritual side I love how much my hubby loves God (which is a miracle if you knew our background) but on the purely mundane every-day side – I love his ability to maintain a sense of humor and loving kindness through all kinds of trials and tribulations. He is currently taking care of both me (post surgery) and our toddler (21 month girl) and not only does he not complain, he is making this feel like a family vacation for us all. I’m going to be almost sad to go back to work.

  29. meghan @ spicy magnolia

    This post is timely because I blew up at Matt this morning about our cars! CARS! Ugh.

    I don’t know why he loves me sometimes, but he does. He helps me SO much around the house and with Brennan, even after a long day at work. He has a good listening ear and is a good encourager. So flexible and easy going (unlike me!). Isn’t picky about the state of the house or what we eat. Shows me servant love like Jesus.

  30. Laura

    Gosh, it drives me CRAZY when my husband writes on the tablecloth with a pencil. LOL!!!! I love how my husband is genuine, caring, helpful, GIVING, and expects nothing in return. Never. Sincerity with no strings attached. He is also not into gossip and drama (what a quality, could I please have some too?!!) Oh, I love that man!

  31. Mrs. M.

    Michael is so even-tempered. Even when I fly off the handle in a German invading France sort of way, he always calmly tries to find a compromise and reasonable solution. Now, if he could work on his Clark Gable, you’re my woman, I’ll carry you up the stairs 20-pointer…Then again, I’d probably need to lose about 50 pounds before he could do that without serious injury to both of us!

  32. deanna

    There are many things I love about my husband:
    1- He helps out around the house when he sees I need it.
    2- He keeps our son without fussing if I need to go somewhere or do something by myself (or with my girl friends).
    3- He pays attention to details, even when I think he’s not.
    4- He remembers my birthday AND our anniversary.
    5- He tells me he loves me at least once a day!

  33. Jen your cousin

    “not a sissy”
    “real movie kisses”

    Hahaha – these are great! Thanks for the post – made me smile. πŸ™‚ (not just digitally)

    Here’s what I love about Devin (I will only list one as I don’t want to make you gag with my newly-wed googly goo). Devin is very good about verbally appreciating me – things I do for him, the way I look – and tells me very often how glad he is that he married me.

  34. jess

    it just so happens that hubby’s birthday is tomorrow…so i was actually just pondering this question. one thing i love about matt is that he never, never, never writes any of his engineer-y thoughts on my tablecloths with a pencil. i mean, i think it’s never ever crossed his mind. and he doesn’t kiss me after i just put my make up on either. so, that’s good.

    I love that yesterday when i was hanging out with the kids outside and matt was in the garage and i sand=g “the itsy bitsy spider” to miss C…after i sang the first line and stopped, he sang the second line really loud and goofy-like–and i swear to you that he had no idea he was doing it. he was that engrossed in his garage work…but it cracked me up.

  35. Lisa

    I called my husband the “j-e-r-k” word a few nights ago. Then I wanted to throw myself in front of a very large truck. He is so not one of those things that I called him, yet it came out. I just had to get that out. Now I’m off to read your post, which I should have done first.
    By the way, the thing I love most about my husband is that he’s just imperfect enough to remind me that I need Jesus more than I need anything else, my husband included. But he sure is a beautiful daily reminder how how much Jesus loves me! I am too, too blessed.

  36. @nicolewick

    I love everything about my husband, even the gross, boy-type crusty things about him.

    P. S. Here’s to hoping that Gabe earns the 20 pointer on your date night. *Ahem* πŸ˜‰

  37. Ali

    He has never once, NEVER, EVER, EVER complained about what I cooked or didn’t cook or how I cleaned the house or didn’t clean the house. When it comes to the “cooking and cleaning” he has never made me feel inadequate even when I’ve been terribly, terribly neglectful of our home (and feeding our family).

  38. Emily Kay

    There are a million things, but lately it’s been how much the kids ADORE him and how much he enjoys just sitting down and letting them crawl all over him. πŸ™‚

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