It’s Saturday afternoon or maybe Sunday after church. You have your honey-do-list, and then there’s your list; the list of sports games to catch up on, funny video clips to watch, a new movie, and your cue of Netflix shows. All of your activities and chores do not matter because your wife wants to spend some quality time together…shopping. I know that some time of another we’ve all been in this situation. As a man what do you do? More importantly, as a Gentleman, what is the appropriate reaction?
First, we’re going to dissect this question through the lens of the 5 Pillars of the GentlemanProejct. The pillar that comes to mind is selflessness (Small Ways to Show Love). To be a committed, loving and caring husband we must have a selfless attitude towards our wives. Specifically, we must have a selfless attitude towards how we spend our time together. In the famous words of one of the most renowned love philosophers of our time, “It’s not always rainbows and butterflies but compromise that moves us along” Adam LeVine, Time is one of very few non-renewable resources. Therefore, one of best was to show someone you love them is to spend time doing things they enjoy.
“It’s not always rainbows and butterflies but compromise that moves us along” Adam Levine
This brings us back to our original topic, how to shop like a Gentleman, with your wife. Before discussing tips, let’s look at the different stereotypes of men shopping with their wives or girlfriends. I believe there are 5 distinct groups; the coat hangers, Mr. ESPN, the chauffeurs, and the best friends. I would bet that most of us could primarily identify with one of these classifications. At some point in our lives we’ve found ourselves in each of these classifications. Now let’s look at each group! I’m going to highlight the pro’s and the con’s of each classification, challenges that are associated with each group, how to overcome those challenges, and which, if any, of the pillars of the GentlemenProject they represent.
The Coat Hangers
Pro’s: The perception is that you’re somewhat engaged because you’re holding all of the clothes that she’s going to try on. You are actually helping her by freeing up her hands and arms to throw more clothes onto the human coat hanger (you). This allows her to focus on the task at hand, shopping.
Con’s: Although the initial perception is you’re engaged in the activity, you can easily become white noise. To other’s you can appear to have “lost your man card”. Ask yourself, does the perception of others really matter?
Overcome: Don’t just stand there, interject your opinions, with many compliments.
GP Pillars: Selflessness
Pro’s: First, let’s face it, you’re not in the big show or in the pro’s of any sport. The only pro in this one is that you’re keeping up with your beloved sports teams and will not be lost in the office water cooler conversation.
Con’s: You ARE actively disengaged in this opportunity to show her that you care about her. The perception, and probably reality, is that you’re more interested in a play by play than her happiness.
Overcome: If you have to leave your phone in the car. The first step to overcoming an issue is admitting you have one. The second step is to remove yourself from the environment.
GP Pillars: Honesty
Pro’s: You’re allowing your wife or girlfriend to operate on her own time because you’re always ready to take her to the next stop. This allows her to make the experience all about her wants and needs.
Cons: You can easily fall into Mr. ESPN and get sucked into your world of sports. This can make it difficult to have conversations about what she bought, why she likes it, and what she’s looking for at the next stop.
Overcome: Be intentional. While you’re driving her from one stop to the next be sure to be present, engaging, and make the time about her. Have fun with this one. Bring along a chauffuer hat, have snacks and/or drinks available for her.
GP Pillars: Active Listening, Selflessness
The Best Friends
Pro’s: The perception is that you’re completely engaged in the experience. You want to make this time not only about her, but also about creating a mutual bonding experience. This will make the experience enjoyable, which will ultimately lead to more of these shopping trips. She will gush about you to her friends and colleagues.
Cons: Although you’re married or in a serious relationship it can be easy to have this experience fall into the “friend zone”. The best relationships are built off a foundation of trust and friendship. However, as a Gentleman you should be able to finely walk the line of making her feel sexy while still being a best friend.
Overcome: During your experience give her many compliments about how great she’ll look in her clothes, you cannot wait to see a particular item on her, sneak into the dressing room with her to sneak a peek, and let her know that you are in awe of her beauty.
GP Pillars: Honesty, Selflessness, Active Listening
As a Gentleman it is imperative that we’re able to understand when it’s appropriate for us to play each of these roles. There are pro’s and con’s for each classification, specific times where we should find ourselves in each group. I challenge you to be able to understand the needs of your wife, how you can flex your role to fit her needs, and, most importantly, make her feel loved. As husbands, and Gentleman, we must always operate under two assumptions; what we’re doing is in her best interests, and our actions and behaviors are going to improve our relationship.