Give Her What She Really Wants

Standard

When was the last time you gave your girlfriend or wife what she wanted? As men, when we think of a gift to give our wives or girlfriends, we usually think of something shinny and very expensive as a way to her heart. We think that if we come in the house with a tennis bracelet or a necklace shining bright like a diamond, it’s all good. If you are like me, you probably have your chest puffed out and feel like you are the man. Did you ever consider giving her what she REALLY wants?

Granted, I know women love diamonds and all those material things, but did you ever consider she wants something that is worth more than diamonds and pearls, or even a day at the spa? Imagine that there is something more precious than material things.

Wait for it………….

That thing that she would forgo all of that for is your time and attention. I know what you are thinking brother. I have been there. You’re saying to yourself, “I do give her my time”. If that is the case, let’s take a quick test.

You are in your man cave and your favorite team is on tv playing. There are three minutes left in the game. Your team has the ball at the 1st and 10, on the 50-yard line. They are down by 4. All of a sudden, your wife comes to you and says she needs to talk about something very important.

Do you tell her to wait until the game is over? Do you turn off the game to give her your undivided attention? You already know what my response has been in the past. I will admit that I failed that test miserably, time and again. I would ask my wife to wait which hurt her feelings. I didn’t see what the big deal was.

I finally learned in my 17 years of marriage that women are wired differently. They need non-material things, such as our time and attention. We men need to throw in a lot of communication just to round it out. Most women need these things for a sense of validation. Women need to feel valued by the men in their lives. When women don’t get this at home from us, it creates the potential to opening the door to emotional affairs.

img_0269

Please do not be naïve about this…. I was clueless about this need. There may be times when your wife or girlfriend is at work, out with her girlfriends, at the gym or running into the grocery shopping for a quick second, where there is some brother complimenting her on how she looks or dresses etc. She may brush it off initially. However, the problem evolves when she realizes she is not getting this attention from you. Instead of saying something clever like ‘my man thinks so too’ or ‘thank you’ and then going about her day, she may begin to entertain those words. Once that happens, oftentimes, she will unknowingly return to the source of her emotional “high” – the other man. This could potentially lead to a short or long emotional affair or even possibly, one of those “it just happened” kind of events.

I have first-hand experience with this, so I’ve been there, done that. My wife and I lived through this very thing and I am thankful we came out on top. My wife wrote a chapter in a book about this, where she chronicles her very own emotional affair in her debut book, Being a Wife Just Got Real: Things I Wish I Knew, Before I said, “I Do”.

So, I challenge you today, good brother, to get out of you comfort zone.  Turn the game off and listen to her. Trust me she will love you for giving her what she really wants.

bawjht_bookcover_3d

Being a Wife Just Got Real, Author – Tanya Barnett

 

 

She Wants to Be Free: Part III

Standard

It’s been 2 weeks since she and her husband spoke about her cutting her hair. What was supposed to be her coming out day, turned into the revelation that her husband was not ready to let go of her hair. HER! STUPID! HAIR!!

She slouched further down into the tub thinking to herself, “This just cannot be my life right now. What happened to us? Why is this happening to me?”

She softly sobbed, “Tomorrow is my freaking 40th birthday. Why can’t I be free?”

“I cannot believe how selfish he is being. I don’t care what he says. Do you hear me? I’m cutting my hair and you will just have to deal with it!”, she shouted at the bathroom door as she threw bubbles everywhere.

The morning finally arrived. She should be excited about her milestone birthday, the BIG 4-0. She didn’t have any plans to celebrate it, though. All last week, her girlfriends repeatedly called and texted her to let her know they were treating her to a day of shopping, then grabbing dinner and finally, going out to a concert. She told them she wasn’t feeling well – in theory, she wasn’t really lying. None of them knew what she was dealing with. All they knew was that she has the best weaves and wigs money could buy, but they didn’t know why she paid so much for them.

2f4fd226-0a45-4e00-8725-38b0c1fd1c41

My wife a few months before she cut her hair completely bald.

She is so disconnected from this day, that she haphazardly gets dressed in her favorite sweatpants and a baggie t-shirt, grabs a bowl of chocolate cookie-dough ice cream and lies on the couch to catch up on Netflix. She is seemingly numb to her surroundings and wonders if she should have just stayed in bed today.

She sees her husband excitedly walk into the family room with his keys in his hand. She rolls over on her side to give the appearance that she dozed off. “Hey babe”, he says, as he walks closer to her to plop down next to her. “Let’s go get breakfast at your favorite spot to start off your birthday”.

She lets out a defeated sigh, rolls her eyes and reluctantly agrees. She is just not in the mood to explain why she really doesn’t want to go. She is not even remotely in the mood to celebrate her birthday. Despite her husband’s attempts to pump her up and get her thoughts on the idea of going out the house today, she could care less. The only thing she wants; he would never approve of.

After much begging from her husband, she acquiesces and goes upstairs to get dressed. She stands in the mirror and runs her fingers through what is left of her hair. Out of her drawer, she grabs a beautiful head-wrap she received from her best friend for her birthday. While standing in her closet and looking in the mirror, she feels the flood of tears fall as she ties it to cover her bald spots. She whispers to herself, “Next week, I won’t have to do this. I’m going to the barbershop on Monday.”

As they drive to the restaurant her husband tries to make small talk. She pretends to be interested and says the occasional, ‘uh huh and really?’. Feeling depressed, she presses her cheek to the cold passenger window and stares out. She finds herself engrossed in watching birds fly effortlessly up in the clouds. Her mind slowly drifts to thoughts of freedom from the world’s perception of beauty.

She didn’t notice the car slowing down and coming to a complete stop. She quickly snaps out of her trance of solitude to notice they are at his barber shop. She immediately freaks out and starts yelling at him. “Really? Are you really going to get a haircut right before my birthday breakfast? This is the most insensitive thing you could have ever done to me. You know this could have waited until another day. Thank you for officially ruining my 40th birthday! I will never forgive you!” She slams the door and starts walking away. She didn’t care where she went, she just knew she had to get away from him.

Her husband gets out of the car and runs to her. When he finally catches up to her, he is out of breath. She’s puzzled because sees that he has tears in his eyes. Then she sees he has a big smile on his face. He grabs her, holds her tight, kisses her on her forehead and says, ” No, baby. We are here for you. Happy Birthday!” In the middle of the parking lot, she finds herself standing there in shock. Her brain tries to process what he just said. Her tears begin to flow. He softly kisses her on her lips and gently grabs her hand. As they walk toward the barber shop door, he says, “I love more than anything and I want you to be free”.

The why behind She Wants to Be Free

My wife was diagnosed with Alopecia in 2010. She had locs that were in the center of her back but each day another one fell out. She went to the doctor to see if it was due to stress. She told me that the doctor said she she had alopecia and that she would be receiving shots, taking pills and undergoing numerous tests. She said did not want to do any of that and I immediately told her I had her back no matter what. When she decided to cut the remaining hair off, she said,“let’s go to the barbershop”. My reply was, “If this will make you happy, let’s go.” I knew it was a painful decision, so I was right there with her every step of way. She needed my support. To be honest, I did not have any insecurities because I knew in my heart that it was just hair.  img_0066

Unfortunately, many men don’t see the women in their lives from the lens of compassion. Because of this, so many women suffer with hair-loss in silence. I’ve heard their stories, I’ve seen them cry.

I wrote She Wants to Be Free to help men embrace their wives’ or girlfriends’ decision to cut their hair and be free of drugs and wigs. I wrote this piece because I want to encourage women to have the courage to have a real conversation with the men in their lives. I wrote this piece because I want YOU to BE FREE.

 

 

She Wants to Be Free: Part II

Standard

“Will he let me go?” she thinks to herself. The last obstacle to beginning her transformation is her husband. She rehearsed all day what she would say to him when he got home. She knew her husband loved her. All she could think about was how he used to compliment her on how lovely her long hair used to be and how he liked the way she styled it. She remembered how he would never want the stylist to take too much off when she would get it trimmed. The thought of telling him she is getting way more than a trim at the barber shop, has her imagining him going into cardiac arrest.

Feeling some anxiety, she begins to have second thoughts and starts to think, “Well, maybe a wig is not that bad after all”. Then she comes to herself, free means totally free. Operation Haircut is back in motion. It’s five o’clock. She hears his keys rattling in the door. It’s her husband coming in from work.

She takes a deep breath and walks to greet him at the door. After the usual peck on the lips followed by, “how was your day?” her husband prepares to unwind for the weekend. She says to him, “Honey, we need to talk”. She proceeds to talk about her alopecia.

The WIGS!

The SHOTS!

The MEDICATIONS for hair growth!

The WHAT IFs?

The WHAT NOTs?

LIVER TESTS!

KIDNEY SCREENINGS!

It was all overwhelming for him to hear it. Imagine how overwhelming it is for her to experience it.

Her moment of truth finally arrives. She strategizes how to share her escape plan with her husband, all the way down to making the appointment with the barber. She says one last silent prayer. Like a sports car that goes from zero to sixty in a matter of seconds, she blurts out, “Honey, I want to cut my remaining hair off and wear it bald.”

Feeling a sense of relief that she was able to get it all out, all that she is waiting for is her husband’s blessing. He immediately falls into the supportive husband role. However, it is not in the direction she had hoped for. He tells her, “Babe, its okay. I love how you look in the wigs. With the shots and medications, you just have to give it time. I’m sure they will work at some point. The doctors have you take the test just as precaution. I don’t really think there is any risk. If there was, why would they give you the shots?”

Just as he was about to continue with his, “Girl, I got your back” speech, she cuts him off. “I appreciate you encouraging me through all of that but the truth is, I don’t want to put on another wig or take another series of shots or get my blood drawn again for anything related to hair. I am comfortable and confident with my decision to cut my hair off. I’M READY.”

Silence falls over them like a blanket. He slowly lifts his head and looks her in the eyes. With a pained look on his face, he gently replies, “I’m not”.

 

Visit my blog, next week, for part III.

Counseling…Who Needs That?

Standard

When I thought about individual counseling, my initial thought was that it was a complete waste of time and that there is nothing wrong with me –  I’M GOOD. After all, no one I knew has gone to counseling to work out their “so called” individual problems or issues. I wasn’t falling apart socially or mentally, in my opinion. At that time in my life, I had some marital issues or problems with my wife, but like Biggie said, “don’t discuss ‘em”.  Most people I knew just seemed to work their way through their issues or they were doing a great job of faking it – like I was doing. I really didn’t see how individual counseling could help me in any way, let alone, help my marriage. I remember having a casual conversation with my wife about going to counseling and of course, I wasn’t trying to hear it. After a very long discussion and laying out my list of stipulations, I agreed to go to counseling.

Okay, the day finally arrived for my first official session of ‘couch time’. I pulled up in the parking lot and I must have sat in the car for what seemed to be an eternity. I realized it was game-time.  I went into the office, filled out some paperwork, answered some questions. Then, it was time to get in the game or in this case, hit the couch. The counselor was cool and from his approach, I could tell he could see my reluctance to open up and talk. He slowly worked his way into why I was there and into my personal life.  Forty-five minutes into the hour-long session, I started to open up about my life. I was all over the map from my childhood to the present, back to my childhood and then, back to my marriage. Much to my dismay, the session was suddenly over. I felt like yelling, “NO!!! I am just getting started.”

zimg_0068

Photo credit: E.Y.E. Imagery Photography

I finally realized how receiving individual counseling could improve my marriage and other relationships. The counseling helped me, first and foremost, identify areas in my life and in my thought processes that were just, for a lack of better word, ‘OFF’. You see, it is different when someone you don’t know tells you that what you are saying or thinking is just another way or excuse to stay guarded or to shift blame to someone else.

Your friends are not going to tell you the real truth like a counselor would because, real talk, some of your friends or associates deal with similar issues. I’m sure you can admit that they will even co-sign on some of the crazy stuff you say out of your mouth.

If you are on the fence about going to counseling, let me push you of that fence and onto a therapist’s couch. I found counseling to be very rewarding and liberating. There is no shame in taking positive steps to improve yourself. Stop hiding behind what you think: you’re good and that counseling is only for people with issues.  So brother, I pose the question to you once again, “Counseling, who needs that?”