Dear Everybody,

The following comes from an article entitled the Top Ten Gifts Every Wife Wants by Sara Debbie Gutfreund. “This year give your wife the gift she really wants. Here are the top 10 gifts just about every wife wants.” She plans to follow up with lists for husbands and children.

Now I don’t disagree with much that she says but I am also uncomfortable with a good deal of it. On my web site, www.berniesiegelmd.com, is my article What Does Every Woman Want? My answer is what I learned when, in order to save a friend’s life; I married an ugly, odoriferous witch. That evening, after the wedding, we went up to our hotel room and I went into the bathroom to get my act together. After an hour I came out to face reality and there was a gorgeous woman sitting on the bed.

“Where’s my wife?” “It’s me. I am a beautiful woman for twelve hours and a witch for twelve hours. Since you are now my husband what schedule do you want me on?” I had learned the answer from my parents and said, “It’s your life. Do whatever makes you happy.” “Thank you. You have freed me from the spell cast upon me and I can now be beautiful all the time.” So the answer to what does every woman want is: A life of her own. No one deserves to live a role. We need to live an authentic life we choose and not one imposed upon us. Love is blind because it does not see our faults and benefits the giver and receiver. Remember this should come from your heart and not be work but a genuine desire to help those in a relationship with you. Relationships are work because they are not about the people involved but about creating another entity, the relationship. One key point mentioned in Empathy: listen to her. Yes! Listen and you will get all the credit for solving her problems when she hears her words and knows what needs to be done.

Appreciation. Recognize what she does. Thank her for her hard work. Express gratitude for the little tasks she takes care of that you may usually take for granted. Write a note. Send a text. Or say thank you as soon as you walk in the door. (My wife always tucked notes into my luggage and lunch and I still have them. On a very stressful day her note in my lunch box said, “Hold On.” It got me through the day and I thanked her for it that evening. She responded, “It was a big sandwich with a lot of vegetables. I just wanted you to hold on.” Yes, humor helps too and after that she wrote: “This is a two hand sandwich.”)

Compliments. Tell her she is beautiful. Compliment the dress that she is wearing or the color of her shirt. Give her positive feedback about her work. Tell her that she is an amazing mother. Tell her that she’s smart. Tell her that she’s talented. She needs to hear it especially from you. Empathy. Commiserate with her when she’s had a hard day. Listen to her. Say things like: It sounds like you had a really rough meeting. I can’t believe you stood on line for that long; you must have been so frustrated. You must be so tired from being up all night with the baby; it must have been really challenging managing everything at work today. Kindness. Be available to help. Fill up her car with gas. Fix her computer or offer to help her with a problem at work. Hold the baby. Do homework with the kids. Ask your wife if she needs anything. Give her a break. Apologize when you hurt her feelings. Be kind. Friendship. Be her friend. Go on dates together or spend focused time with each other. Do fun things together. Plan adventurous trips even if they will be short. Share your struggles. Encourage each other. Be happy for each other’s accomplishments.

Affection. Tell her that you love her. Buy her flowers. Express how happy you are to be married to her. Tell her that she completes you. Kiss her often. My wife drives me nuts kissing.

Respect. Research shows that the first thing to go in a marriage is politeness. We get too comfortable around those closest to us, and we forget to show them basic respect. Call her or message her when you’re running late. Even if it’s just five or ten minutes later than the time that she was expecting you. Hold open doors for her. Greet her. Smile at her. Look at her when you are speaking.

Acceptance. Accept her weaknesses. Understand that she often sees things differently from you, remembers things differently from you, and handles things differently from you. Praise her strengths. Reassure her that you are always there for her. Authenticity. Be real with her. Share with her important experiences in your life. Tell her about what is happening at work. Express when you are worried, angry or sad. Don’t try to hide or deny your feelings.

Laughter. Maintain your sense of humor especially in times of stress. Share inside jokes. See the lighter side of life. Eliminate mockery and sarcasm. Laugh with each other but not at each other.

I would emphasize listening, apologizing, humor, acceptance, love and honesty. You can fake it till you make it but be sure it comes from your heart and not your head. And tell her to coach you until you become the husband she deserves. One difficult day I said, “Honey I am trying to provide you with the husband you deserve.” Her response, “Oh, are you looking for another man for me?” I love her.

Peace, Love & Healing,

Bernie Siegel, MD

“The place to be happy is here. The time to be happy is now” — Robert Ingersoll.

We currently have a cancer support group the second and fourth Tuesday evenings of the month at Coachman’s Square at 21 Bradley Road, Woodbridge. If interested contact Lucille Ranciato at lranciato2@yahoo.com or 203-288-2839; or myself at bugsyssiegel@sbcglobal.net.