By Paula Friedrichsen

Cut roses are kept in cold storage at floral shops to keep them from blooming. This way, once they are exposed to warmth and a little natural sunlight, they will open with glory. The lovely fragrance fills your home, and the spectacular color of the flowers impresses all who enter.

Acceptance, appreciation, and validation are the warmth that will cause your husband’s personality and true self to bloom. Disapproval and disparaging remarks will only shut him down, not change him; worse, they will cause him to retreat from you emotionally.

Men crave respect and must feel valued and important for who they are. Valuing the differences between you will foster an attitude of gratitude, and help you to refocus on your husband’s good points, instead of lingering on your grievances.

Around our house we refer to my husband Jeff as “Felix Unger” (the neat one in The Odd Couple). Sometimes as I do the dishes I can feel his eyes on my back…watching me. He watches me load the dishwasher and wants to give me a little instruction. He watches me wipe off the counters and would like to give me efficiency tips. He watches me put food scraps down the garbage disposal and can hardly refrain from offering suggestions.

Sometimes if I catch his eyes wandering over to the sink while I’m doing dishes, I’ll say, “Stop watching me!”—and he quickly averts his eyes. A girl’s gotta have boundaries, after all.

But all kidding aside, Jeff’s perfectionist personality is who he is. I have learned to deeply appreciate the fact that he likes to vacuum, take out the trash, and generally make things neat. If I don’t take myself too seriously, then I can laugh at our differences and value my “Felix” for the stand-up guy he is.

Guest blogger Paula Friedrichsen is a conference speaker and the author of “The Man You Always Wanted is The One You Already Have” (Multnomah 2007). She lives in Northern California with her husband and teenaged daughter.

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