Today is “Water a Flower” Day! In honor of such a festive occasion, I think we all should plant some flowers, water them, and watch them grow (or, in our case, hire someone to do it and have the rain water them ~smile~). Neither Eric nor I have a green thumb, but I do enjoy the flowers that bloom in my neighbors’ yard each year. Their house is close enough to us that it is almost like having beautiful blooms in our own yard.
Since everything goes back to relationships with me, the act of watering flowers makes me think of couples watering and nourishing each other. Many couples “plant flowers,” that is, they begin a relationship; but, many forget the essential step of caring for the flowers after they are in the ground. Sure, the commitment is there. The relationship is planted, but unless the plant is given the proper attention, it will eventually wilt.
Male and Female “Flowers”
Most of you have probably figured this out by now, but men and women are different (shocker, I know!) . Because we are built so differently, what would encourage and nourish me might not touch Eric’s soul at all. I could gaze at him and rattle on and on about his good looks and though he might appreciate the compliment, it would not touch him at his core.
Unless we realize the subtle differences between the sexes, we are likely to pour on “love” or “respect” the way we would most like to receive it. It takes some effort and determination to change our thinking, but it can be done! So, here are a few ways you can water your lady or gentleman this week – and hopefully forever. ~smile~
Watering Your Woman
- Build her up. This is universal. Men and women both need to be encouraged and treated with respect. Just because women need love primarily does not mean we don’t want to be respected. We like to be spoken to with gentleness and we appreciate having our views taken into consideration – especially when there are decisions to be made. On a daily basis, give your lady encouragement. Share Scripture with her that she can chew on throughout the day. Speak highly of her to others – when she’s with you and when she is not. Make it one of your life goals to see her flourish.
- Compliment her on her beauty. Women want to feel beautiful. It is how we are wired. Though some women make an idol out of their looks, females in general are created with an inner-desire to be attractive. We are drawn to items that enhance our faces. We take much longer in the bathroom than most men because we want to get our hair fixed just right. We worry about blemishes far more than the average guy. When our fella recognizes and positively comments on how we look, our hearts smile. And guess what guys… even if we don’t accept your compliment, or downplay it, we still love hearing you say we are beautiful. We just need to work on graciously accepting your compliments. ~smile~
- Comment on how much she does for you. Eric can attest to the fact that I am not a fan of cleaning the kitchen. Honestly, I’d rather not cook so I don’t mess up dishes. ~smile~ However, when I do clean the kitchen and Eric tells me how good it looks, it inspires me. It feels so incredibly good to be appreciated and it is nice to know that Eric needs me. It is great to be wanted, but knowing you are wanted and needed is more fulfilling than being wanted but not needed. We (men and women) need to know that our lives count for something. Let your woman know that you need her and give her specifics. I don’t know how I could work the hours I do without knowing you had matters at home under control. This last semester of school has been so demanding and I don’t know how I would have gotten through it without your prayers, encouragement, and beautiful smile.
- Avoid rote expressions. When you tell your woman she is beautiful, that you love her, or that she is so good to you, do so consciously. A monotone “love ya, mean it,” does not relay a message of heartfelt affection. ~smile~ When you communicate with your lady, look her in the eyes and say it with your face as well as with your words. This is not as natural for men as it is for women, so it may take some practice. Ladies, here’s where we can extend some grace. ~grin~
Watering Your Man
- Build him up. Pray for your man. Speak to him with grace and not as a child, but as a partner. Be loving towards him by taking care of small tasks he does not enjoy and not complaining when he needs something done. Speak highly of him to others and don’t get caught up in “man bashing” conversations – even if he is not around. People will take their cues from you. If you respect your man, others are more likely to do the same. Let him know you are praying for him. Ask him about his work. Reassure him when he’s tired and frustrated. Respect him and be the wind beneath his wings in such a way that he feels like he can conquer the world.
- Compliment him on his strength. Just as women naturally want to be appreciated for their beauty, men want to be appreciated for their strength. Thank him for taking on those tasks that we ladies don’t enjoy (e.g., heavy lifting, changing tires, checking for strange noises in the basement, etc.). Let him know he is your hero and tell him why. What guy does not want to be his sweetie’s Superman? When Eric “rescues” me by fixing a broken appliance, restoring my computer to working order, or walking me through a problem step-by-step, I feel so blessed to have him. Let your man know often how much you appreciate and admire his strength – and let him know when you see strength in him, especially in areas where he is not as confident. Once you are married, thank him for his provision – even if you are both working. Men are hard-wired to be providers for their families and your man will need to know that you see him as a good provider.
- Comment on his competence. This goes along with complimenting him on his strength. Women are relational. Men are problem solvers. Women like to talk issues out, while men like to get to the root of the problem and solve it. These differences can cause tension between the sexes, but when a problem needs solving I find it reassuring that Eric has the ability to systematically find a workable solution. Letting him know how much I appreciate his knowledge and understanding is like me complimenting him on his strength. It is a mental strength, but strength just the same. ~smile~ On the flip side, questioning a man’s competence is like a man asking his woman, “Are you going out in public looking like that?” It may cast doubt on his abilities, which is like having a man make us feel insecure about our looks.
- Avoid patronizing. Some women love on their husbands like they do on their kids. “You are just so great. Love you so much. You are such a good hubby. Look at the way you fixed that leaky pipe. You are such a good boy!” (pat, pat, pat on the back, followed by a bear hug, and finished off with a kiss on top of the head) Sometimes I make comments like that to Eric, but I am clearly playing. Then he puts on his best little boy face and “eats it up.” However, when it comes down to business, Eric cannot stand to be patronized. He wants honest to goodness assessments of his abilities. He does not want me to blow smoke. To hear a patronizing comment is worse than hearing no comments at all. Would you agree, gentlemen? Men need to feel like men. Talking to them like little boys is degrading and emasculating.
There are many ways to water our sweethearts, but from my experience, these are some of the most effective ways to nourish each other. In all cases, practice communicating with a gentle tone, show respect for each other as children of God, and remember the ultimate goal is to build a God-honoring relationship.
How have you watered your sweetie lately?