How to Be Mr. Perfect
Good news, fellas - you don't actually have to be perfect to be Mr. Perfect. As any fairy tale or romance novel will tell you, you're allowed to have a few faults, so long as all your great qualities make up for the man-funk and still leave you looking like the hero in your gal's life.
Here, then, is a quick guide to being a better man, a better husband, and a prince among a veritable army of fumbling frogs.
Kill The Inner Grump
I know it's tempting to scowl at the world, pitch a fit, or pass out the silent treatment every time something doesn't go exactly your way, but if you can learn to get that temper under control, you'll be miles ahead of the competition.
One of the biggest complaints women have about their dear husbands is that they are just too impatient: Grocery shopping takes too long. Dinner was supposed to be ready by five. The tool you're looking for was just on the table, but someone obviously moved it and now you (poor thing) have to find it, which will throw off your entire day. And if everyone would just follow your rules and ideas about how things should be done, everything would work like a charm.
But not so fast, tough guy - treating your sweetheart like an employee or an errant child rather than an equal will get you nowhere. You don't really want a woman who will do whatever she's told without question, do you? Isn't part of the reason you fell in love with her that she always speaks her mind and even outright challenges you sometimes?
If the answer is yes (and you know it is, because, hey, you're not a caveman) remember this next time you're about to ruin a perfectly wonderful day by letting your inner grump off the leash. Nothing turns a woman off faster than being made to feel like a nuisance.
Piggy, Clean Thy Self
Men notoriously choose comfort over cleanliness, but while women are usually tolerant of minor offenses, such as torn t-shirts and ancient boxers, there's an upper limit to even the sweetest woman's benevolence. If your shorts have more stains than stitches, your favorite shirts have more holes than Swiss cheese, your jeans can walk on their own, or your socks send the dog running for cover, it's probably time to ditch them - or at least allow your wife to wash them without growling at her from within the crumb-infested confines of the armchair.
Similarly, your college buddies may have been impressed with your ability to cover three weeks worth of stench with a dollar store cologne sitz-bath, but the woman in your life is not. The same applies to that half chicken stuck between your teeth - hilarious when you're twenty and your idea of romance is a plastic flower from the corner gas mart, not so hilarious when you're about to kiss your wife.
So get thee in the shower, men! Fifteen minutes of grooming a day is all it takes to take you from walking petri dish to Prince Charming. And let's be honest - us gals do a lot more than that to keep ourselves pretty, silky smooth, and smelling good for our husbands. It's time to return the favor.
The Thought Counts
Despite what television ads and billboards along the highway claim, most women would much rather have a hand-written card or letter, along with a flower picked on the way home from work, than yet another bracelet or bouquet of red roses. Every dweeb with a paycheck can get in the assembly line at the jewelry store or the florist and buy whatever the sales clerk insists will make a wonderful present, but only a great man will go out of his way to defy the norm and come up with something truly unique.
You know what makes your wife's heart beat faster, so show that you've been listening to her all these years and bring her a gift that really speaks to her heart. Maybe she loves the sea - bring her some sea shells wrapped in a delicate handkerchief. Maybe she loves to read - write her a poem or a short story a'la "The Notebook" and give it to her on your anniversary. Even if she's a handy type, there's always the Home Depot and a huge selection of power tools that'll appeal to her far more than a ring she can't wear anyway while she's up to her elbows in deck varnish. Be creative - she'll love you all the more for it.
Okay, so in-laws aren't always the most wonderful people in the world, but you should make an effort to get along with your wife's family for more reasons than just peace and tranquility at family gatherings. The woman you call The Dragon Lady raised the woman you decided to share your life with, and if she comes across as judgmental or disapproving, chances are she's just looking out for her daughter's best interest. You'll understand when you have grown children of your own. And until then, cut her some slack, and remember that mothers-in-law are much like Rottweilers - most of them only bite if you try to hurt their young.
More importantly, greeting your in-laws with respect, courtesy, humor, and a willingness to become part of their family shows your bride that you're capable of dealing with conflict, handling tense situations, and using charm to stamp out the lit fuse dangling from the collective neck of her naturally distrustful family. (Why is there a lit fuse at all, you may ask? Check out the current divorce, infidelity, and domestic abuse rates and you'll have a better idea.)
Finally, accepting and loving your in-laws shows that you approve of who your wife is as a human being. She grew up around those people, so if you deem them beneath your notice, chances are she'll interpret that attitude to include her. Those, my friend, are the makings of war.
(Disclaimer: If your in-laws are truly evil, disregard everything I just said. Not every woman has wonderful people to call family, and you're by no means obligated to love monsters.)
Give And You Shall Receive
You knew it was coming - the bedroom. I could write for days on the intricacies of lovemaking like a hero, but for the sake of brevity and sparing you undue embarrassment, I'll keep this chapter as brief as possible:
- Falling asleep after lovemaking isn't cute, and your wife won't watch you drool on yourself with stars in her eyes unless you managed to exhaust her into sleep. If you're not 100% sure that she's ready to drool off to dreamland with you, pull her into your arms and talk (you know, that thing you do with your mouth when you're not eating but your lips are moving anyway) about your relationship. Every woman, no matter how certain she is of her husband's love, wants to know that he considers the intimacy between them more than just physical bonding, and that he thinks about the future and growing old together just as much as she does.
- Dry friction helps if you're stuck in the woods with no shelter and need a fire to keep the wolves from tearing you into man-jerky. But unless said wolves are in your bedroom and you're scared enough to mistake your wife's thighs for an excellent place to make camp, I strongly advocate moisture. Act accordingly.
- If you married a contortionist or work in a hospital, I expect you already know the limits of the human body's ability to bend and stretch. If you don't, I regret to inform you that spines, femurs, and rib cages aren't meant to collapse in on themselves, nor were they ever intended to be pushed, shoved, and twisted this way and that like one of those weird balloons at a birthday party. Take that into account next time you're consummating your love and your wife is gasping for breath in that "ER" sort of way. It'll help.
- You can be selfish with cookies, pasta, and the last bite of that pulled pork sandwich your mother brought over, but don't be selfish in the bedroom. Without giving away too much, you'd be surprised what your wife has up her sleeve if she gets the impression that you're in it for her as much as for yourself. Give more - love, hugs, passion, kisses, kindness, patience, and understanding - and you'll discover that the woman of your dreams has been living with you all along.
This should be obvious, but never, ever, EVER lie to or betray your spouse. You have much more to consider here than just the future of your relationship. Your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will inevitably hear stories of you one day. Do you want to be the hero of those stories - or the villain, and therefore the reason for their deepest, darkest fears about love and marriage?
Just ask yourself how you'd want another man to treat your daughters, mother, or sisters. Then, for the love of God, do what is right and save yourself from an old age spent alone and miserable because no one wants to spend time with, much less take care of, a man who threw away everything he had for something as stupid and temporary as base lust.
The woman you married (or are going to) deserves your honesty, respect, and compassion. She should also be able to trust you no matter what. By being faithful alone, you'll be a hero among men, and one of the precious few out there who uphold their vows and show that they understand the meaning of true love.
Trust me on this - all true heroes in every story ever written have one thing in common - unwavering loyalty.
A Few Final Notes
- Picking your toes went out of style in 10,000 BC.
- Harvesting nose crops is best done in private.
- Your chewing shouldn't break the sound barrier.
- Acting your age is elegant. Panicking at gray hair isn't.
- Drive like a Buddhist, not like Stalin on a sugar high.
- Your wife deserves more loving than your Mustang. Really.
- Football is the same every week. Memories with your family are special.
- A case of beer, chips, and hot wings do not a romantic evening make.
- Belching and farting haven't been the way to express satisfaction since 1342.
And The Secret You Don't Know
Now that you've learned how to be more of a knight and less of a tyrannosaurus, here's the big, fat secret most women simply won't tell you unless you already happen to BE perfect: Your wife's tolerance for things like dirty socks on the floor, torn shorts, belching, leaving the toilet lid up, and eating like a starving, crazed wolf is DIRECTLY related to how good of a man and husband you are to her in general. If you're unquestionably faithful, don't abuse her, do something romantic now and then, don't balk at hard work, and treat her with kindness, patience and, above all, love and respect, you can walk through the house in your favorite ratty shirt and burp songs to your heart's content - because all she'll see is your utter perfection.