Every once in a while, a movie line lands in such a way that sticks with a generation. In the classic movie Jerry Maguire, Tom Cruise’s character proclaims to Renée Zellweger’s character, “You complete me.” I understand why this phrase resonates. It gives a language to what many of us have been taught about marriage—our soul-mate should be able to fix our gaps, cracks, and broken parts.
We can get so comfortable with our family that we let down our guards to be who we want to be. It’s easier that way. But it’s not always better that way. There is a way that is better, every single time. The number one person you need to protect your spouse from is you.
Not that long ago, men didn’t have to think about what to do for Valentine’s Day. We knew what we were supposed to do. We bought a card, candy, and flowers. Those gifts were as certain as putting up a tree at Christmas—it’s just what you do for that holiday. For many of us, being a Valentine’s generalist is no longer enough.
Not to be the Grinch, but here are a couple of things to consider as you buy more stuff this Christmas.
Often, I don’t want things for my wife and kids as much as I want things from my wife and kids. And there is a huge difference. If we do chores around the house because we want something for our spouse, that’s different. We’re not doing it because we want to feel validated; we’re doing it because we want something FOR them.