Thought {full}

Tis the season to be thankful (and/or eat yourself into a food coma). At the FeshlyMinted household, we’ve been talking a lot about turkey, ‘taters, another important “T” word: Thoughtfulness.

In order to be the type of person that someone is thankful for, you’ve got to be thoughtful first. A spouse, a parent, a grandparent, a great boss… It’s those pleasant little moments of grace, or fun, or extravagance, or simplicity that make us so, so glad that they are in our lives.

The Husband has some great insight into how thoughtfulness works in a husband-wife relationship, and (without prompting / nagging / standing in front of the TV and begging / asking in a variety of accents to make him laugh) he jotted down a few ideas to share. Enjoy:

Thought {full}

I’ve realized that, unless I am intentional about going against my nature, every day I go through life zoned-in on me. What can I accomplish, what fires can I put out, and what anxieties and to-do lists will occupy my mind as I let little problems grow into big ones. Naturally, I drift into a life that is me-centered. I put my career first, my hobbies first, my t.v. shows first… Basically, I submit to my own desires and “needs”, and expect others to as well.

I bet you’ve guessed that this lifestyle doesn’t work so well with my wife… or in any relationship, really.

So, I thought I’d put some advice together that has helped me improve in the area of thoughtfulness – Not exactly an attribute that comes naturally, but one that means a lot in our home. Like, get you out of the doghouse, get you a nice dinner, get you a delighted, happy spouse to come home to, type of ‘a lot’…

For the gents out there:

Let me start this out by stating the obvious: Ladies are kind of confusing and unpredictable.

Yet, we like them (love them, adore them, share our lives with them) and they give us the support we need to allow us to be who we are, and who we are supposed to become. So, in their honor, here is some advice:

  •  Thoughtfulness isn’t about doing what’s easy. It’s about doing something out of the ordinary (aka – a surprise). If finances are tight, surprise the lady by spending the money on a dinner and a movie. If finances aren’t tight, don’t just buy a gift because it’s easy and quick, but instead, make something…write a letter…draw a funny picture and put it by the coffee pot. It’s all about extra effort. They’ll notice. Trust me. They notice ev-er-y-thing.
  • Girls want to be planned for and thought about without having to make it obvious. Girls joke about dropping hints, but in reality it’s how men discover ways to “surprise” our wives. It can be a tricky balance (and you might have to be pretty quick on the draw to beat her to that second or third “hint”), but there is no greater joy to my wife than something that is truly unexpected – no matter how small – and there is nothing better than seeing her light up with joy and the pride of being a wife of a thoughtful husband when I really, really hit the nail on the head with a simple note, or a fun date she wasn’t expecting.

{Send her to to Boston to see her best friend, buy matching coffees, mow the lawn, get her that goofy mustache corkscrew she was eying, give her a Snuggie and Food Network magazine for Valentines Day…}

  • It’s a little hard to admit, but really listening and finding out what your wife wants is pretty of important. I’m still working on this piece – all of us guys are. Hints and all, it’s not naturally easy. But it’s our job as a husband to “figure out” our wives and discover what puts a spring in her step. When you continuously pursue and serve your wife, in turn, she will gladly love, respect and serve you also. Think of it as a life-long treasure hunt… it’s fun!

Now, the ladies:

So, lots of women out there might be saying to themselves, “My man doesn’t have a thoughtful bone in his body. I should just quit reading now, and copy and paste the “man” section into an email and send it to him at work.”  Well, just hold the phone, because it might not entirely be your husband’s fault… and sometimes (cough- dear wife – cough) getting an email at work isn’t the best way to communicate.

Hang with me here!

  • Create an environment that makes it easy for us to be thoughtful. You probably know what I mean: Jabs with nasty absolutes like, “You never take me to the movies” . Or, when you’re with friends, you toss out:“The last time you bought me flowers was when my car broke down and you made me walk home in the rain. Haha!” (but no one’s laughing and it’s awkward). News flash: These types of comments make a man never want to never take you to the movies! It makes a man want to buy flowers for you, stomp on them outside the grocery store and walk away! Okay, that’s a bit extreme, but truthfully, the negative assumptions and attitude removes the fun of being thoughtful, and puts a bunch of prideful hurdles in the way of loving acts.  Side note for men: We’ve all been there when our minds says, “She ‘wins’ if I buy her flowers after a comment like that.” As men, we need to overcome the jabs as our wives learn not to throw them.

{Make your home a place he wants to be, don’t ask for a room with a hot tub when he just surprised you with a stay at a resort instead of a Days Inn, let him have his game time – and have fun with unexpected tickets even if you’re just there for the hot dogs, wait until a relaxed and focused moment to talk about your dreams and desires…}

  • Lose your preconceived notions. Right now, you might be a little depressed. I can hear some of your thoughts now: “But my husband probably wouldn’t ever do the dishwasher or take me on a nice date or do anything that requires thought unless I remind him.” Don’t fret ladies; there is a right way to prompt thoughtfulness. It all starts with removing expectations. It’s a step that you just can’t skip, because when a man does put forth the effort to be thoughtful and you expect something else or something better it will kill their motivation to do it again. Just let go, and I promise that you’ll be pleasantly surprised. The next step is…
  • Bring it up at the right time. Finally, it is very important that you don’t mention the things that are special to you right when your man is doing something they are really passionate about or absorbed in. For example: It is not a good time to ask a man to go on a picnic during a football game that he has been looking forward to all weekend. It is a good idea to chat about your dream vacation, future plans or favorite piece of jewelry over dinner. I admit it. We aren’t good multi-taskers. Take this into account… and leave the door open for your husband to get it right.

If you don’t learn to be thoughtful, you will miss opportunities to love.

Thoughtfulness isn’t just for marriage, it’s for everyone. So, call a grandparent, bake brownies for a neighbor, give someone in pain a hug, facebook message someone who affected your life, and just plain seek out opportunities to love. Try to live an entire day by being thoughtful – It’s tough, but it’s worth it. Let us know how it goes!
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A Good Sport…

In 1997, I could list the starting lineup of the Cleveland Indians, and my most prized possession was a Sandy Alomar, Jr. autograph. Maybe I was a little obsessed…

{Note the shirt, shorts, earrings, necklace, hat, glove and facepaint. Too bad my coordinating red and blue socks were cut out of the photos…}

Times have changed. Thank the good Lord.

Though baseball is still the only sport that I can actually follow, I can’t really tell you much about the game any more (except stories from my childhood about camping our in the living room when the Tribe was in the Series, and how I would throw myself in a corner and pray under and blanket every time one of our guys got up to bat. It was sweaty…and disappointing.) But, this weekend I got to see my good ‘ol Indians, go to a fabulous wedding AND see the Brownies take home a win (in temperatures above freezing!).

We were in Cleveland for Aaron & Carly’s wedding – The Husband was good friends with Aaron in college, and Aaron was in our wedding two years ago. The Bride and Groom are both big Tribe fans (Carly especially) and had the awesome idea of having their rehearsal dinner at the Indian’s game!

We were also very lucky, because they were honoring Jim Thome (one of those old players I actually know!) for hitting 600 homers, and many of his old teammates came to the game (I waved to Sandy…. I totally think he remembered me from that autograph signing in the 90’s. Let’s face it…I haven’t changed much.)

After watching the Tribe pull out a win, we woke up bright and early the next day to get ready for Aaron and Carly’s big day. The Husband had the honor of being the Best Man, so he helped Aaron run some last-minute errands while I got to run, eat oatmeal and write.

The wedding (and the bride) was absolutely lovely, and the music selection was superb. Aaron’s little sister sang many of the songs, and they played a bunch of my favorites. The Husband did a great job doing a special reading: It was one of his favorite passages in Jeremiah that he and Aaron had studied together in a bible study college. So special, so fitting.

We danced and ate and had fun with the photo booth (gotta love those things!). The Husband’s speech was great, and we owned the Macarena. After the reception, we plopped exhaustedly into bed at the hotel. But, more fun was in store for the next day:

A Browns game!

{Tribe game, Aaron’s grandpa serenades us on the church steps with his harmonica, Browns win!}

Carly happened to have a few connections that allowed the four of us to get amazing last-minute seats. We did have a slight run-in with some pushy scalpers, but the boys took care of us : ) The sun was shining, and it was actually hot – totally unheard of for a Cleveland football game – and we WON (equally unheard of).

The Husband and I sported brand new Browns gear (purchased right before the game) and were so, so happy to get to spend some extra time with the newlyweds : )

Congrats again to Aaron and Carly, and here’s to many more Cleveland wins!

…maybe I should start praying under the covers again.

;)