Monthly Archives: March 2012

DOVE NOTE #2: It’s In The Details

(from the forthcoming book “Dove Notes”)

Men like to do things big…

Big trucks,

Big home theater systems,

Big plates of food,

even Big pets…

But in talking with my female friends, one of their chief complaints is that in doing things BIG in the relationship, men often overlook the details. And let me tell you, the details matter.

You can score points by remembering details. But, the opposite is also true. MAJOR points will be deducted for missing important DETAILS.

She will definitely appreciate you planning a romantic dinner for the two of you and making reservations at the most swanky restaurant in town. But what will impress her more?  Have the car washed and detailed before you pick her up… even if the evening is a surprise, inform her of the specific dress code for the night’s events so she won’t be too hot, too cold, over or under dressed for the occasion … remember (and then order) her favorite wine…


Steal her for a unexpected weekend getaway.  But have all the arrangements made for kids/pets/plant care, pre-pack the suitcase and let her know that if we’ve forgotten anything, you’ve brought extra cash for contingencies.


Offer to cook dinner. Have dinner ready at a reasonable hour and be mindful of her current health focus/diet plan/eating guide. Make dessert something indicative of your relationship. Pudding cups are UNacceptable.


I guarantee that the response to your attention to detail will be exponentially more than the effort invested.

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DOVE NOTE#17: Hearing Aids

(from the forthcoming book “Dove Notes”)

It is very important to realize that when she is sharing her problems with you, she is not as interested in you fixing her problems as she is in you listening and understanding her problems. Most of the time, she already believes that you will provide any assistance she may require LATER, if you are really listening NOW. She needs to know that you truly care about what she’s feeling, which is being conveyed by what she’s saying.

Under no circumstance should you ever… EVER… interrupt her. She has a pre-approved time requirement that must be met before you can speak. Keep in mind that this time varies and she typically will not disclose this time requirement prior to your conversation. Meeting this time requirement is an indication that your mind isn’t preoccupied with finding solutions, but is fully engaged in processing every word she is saying.

You can never go wrong being a great listener. Trust me.

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DOVE NOTE #46: Debate Abatement

(from the forthcoming book “Dove Notes”)

You can often avoid unnecessary debate with your significant other by simply answering a question clearly and completely the first time it is asked.  Ambiguous responses are typically unacceptable, and answering a question with a question is borderline abomination.

Some conversations become unnecessarily convoluted because of miscommunication, assumption and hurt feelings.  Many times this byproduct is completely unintentional, but left unchecked, conflict becomes equally unavoidable.

The key to avoiding this pitfall is to make sure you fully understand the question being asked before you answer.  Try to connect with the underlying motive for the question being asked.  Realize that the person is trying to gather very specific information from you.  It’s your job to identify what info they are requesting and then answer that question directly.

Here are a few examples:

Do you want to go dancing?

CORRECT: “Yes” or “No”                  INCORRECT: “I don’t mind”, or, “I’m not a good dancer”

Are you hungry?

CORRECT: “Yes” or “No”                  INCORRECT: “I could eat”, or, “Are you cooking?”

Did you call my father back yet?

CORRECT: “Yes” or “No”                  INCORRECT: “Why, did he call you?”, or, “You know I’ve had a busy day”

If you fail to answer the question directly, your purely innocent conversation that otherwise would have lasted maybe 15 seconds, will now consume the better part of a day… or more, depending on how utterly clueless and insensitive your response was considered to be.

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DOVE NOTE #35: Connections

(from the forthcoming book “Dove Notes”)

In a very real sense, most of us have a tendency to let life’s circumstances keep us from doing the things we Want To Do (WTD), because we’re so busy doing the things we Need To Do (NTD). The most obvious NTD’s include acquiring life necessities like food, clothing and shelter. But NTD’s can also include hefty responsibilities at work, obligations with family, school or church, or even ongoing extra-curricular activities like coaching or playing on a sports team. At times, the NTD’s can become so demanding that we feel prisoner to them. We find ourselves trapped, suffering through an exhausting schedule that will inevitably cause our relationships to suffer.

WTD’s are those things we place on our list of priorities that are primarily add-ons… things that we won’t even number without feeling guilty. These include going out with friends, sleeping in on a workday, or working on a hobby. Unfortunately, some NTD’s can have such a vigorous appetite for time that other NTD’s are demoted to WTD’s. You have to be very mindful of this subtle transition because some NTD’s are vitally important. One of the most critical NTD’s is connecting…

“You should NEVER underestimate the value of connecting with the person you love on a consistent basis.” I will say this over and over again until it registers to the very core of your being, because this is one of the basic principles that successful relationships are based upon.

What is “connecting”?

Connecting means to set aside time to spend with the person you love that is uninterrupted and without distraction. It usually takes the form of a date. But with intrusive NTD’s, dates can become a stressful exercise in multi-tasking (dinner, movie, etc) where you try to fit a hundred things into an hour or two, and wind up detracting from the quality of the experience. Genuine connecting can be as simple as sitting and talking for hours. It has to be time that doesn’t feel rushed, fueled by a desire to be with this person that isn’t contrived.

I’ve found that one of the worst case scenarios of an all-consuming NTD’s is when two people have become so overtaken by their schedules that they grow apart. In this situation, NTD’s have been allowed to create a distance between them that not only separates them physically but has now separated their hearts. Unchecked, this can lead to resentment, frustration, depression, guilt and anger. All of which can sound the death knell for an otherwise vibrant relationship.

After realizing the possible consequences, taking (yes, taking) the time to connect with my wife has become my priority NTD.

Categories: Dove Note, marriage, relationships, Series | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

DOVE NOTE #6: Learning To Take A Hint

For the women… here’s an FYI:

A good number of men, myself included, tend to be very straightforward thinkers by nature.  When we’re hungry, we say, “I am hungry”  and we go get food.  So when it comes to relationships, we prefer to have your expectations clearly defined.  We are more than willing to do things that make you happy, but we prefer if you take the guesswork out of it.  This method is far more likely to get us into a habit of consistently doing something you like.  We don’t like to guess because, well…  we honestly don’t like the way you look or act when we (inevitably) guess wrong.  If you want something, tell us exactly what you want.  We are not inclined to “read between the lines” or follow up on a hint, no matter how cute you said it or how obvious you may consider the hint to be.

Many of us are not accustomed to understanding things based solely on an implication.  So if you want a foot rub, do not say, “You know what would really be nice? A foot rub.”  We will simply agree with you.  “Yeah, a foot rub would be nice.” and go back to watching TV.  But if you say to us, “Honey, will you rub my feet?” that will give us an opportunity to be the doting husbands that we are.  We want you to know that your wants and needs are important to us.  But if you say something like, “I think you should rub my feet” it simply comes across as a command and sucks all the joy out of doing it.


This does not mean that we can’t learn to take your hints. But you have to understand two very important things:

1. This will not be learned overnight.  We will make a concerted effort to recognize and act upon these seemingly arbitrary and inconsistent hints. But you have to give us at least a good year for it to sufficiently take hold. Anything less than that and you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment.

2. You will have to actively participate in our hint education. This means that the first few times you want something, you need to make it plain.  Not cute or sweet or giggly or in a joking manner. PLAIN. Like, “Babe, I would love for you to install the ceiling fan before Saturday.” This way, you have given us a goal and a specific date by which to have it completed. SCORE!  If by contrast you say, “When are you going to install that fan??” On the inside we’re thinking the 15th of NEVERuary.

For the record, we do NOT differentiate between hints for mundane activities and hints for special occasions. This means that just because your obvious hint has to do with your birthday, anniversary, losing XX pounds or “that one time the baby laughed and it sounded like Elmo”, it does not translate into sudden realization and acceptance on our part. You must take extra precaution when prepping us for special occasions. Do not expect us to somehow remember “next time” just because we bombed the year before. Men are not born with the automatic emotional follow-up gene. This is a learned behavior. So remember, pleasing you is something we actually enjoy. So why not give us every opportunity to get it right?

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