I had an experience a few months back that I can't stop thinking about. My son went to prom with a really sweet girl. They have been friends for a few years now. This girl, we'll call her Melissa, asked him to go and he said yes.
On prom night, we went over to the house to take pictures and chat with the other parents and to send them off (that's the tradition in this part of the South).
When we pulled up, Melissa came running out to meet us in the driveway. It was raining, but that didn't stop her. She was just beaming and seemed genuinely excited to see and be with my son. Her dress was beautiful and it was obvious that she had spent a lot of time and money getting ready.
The theme of the prom was as masquerade, and Melissa had made four masks for each of the people in their group. My son is a self-described band geek, so for his mask, she took a fingernail polish brush and painted tiny musical symbols all over the mask. It had to have taken her hours.
I realized just how much time and effort this girl had spent on the prom, how much thought and energy she had poured into preparing for the evening. She wanted it to be fun and special and wonderful. I said a silent prayer that my son would be gracious and return her enthusiasm in kind. Then, I pulled him aside and had a quick father-son chat.
It's not that he would be rude or mean, but I wanted him to understand that this dance was something special to Melissa, and that she wanted to share it with him. Not necessarily in a romantic way, just in a fun, companionable special-friend kind of way. I wanted him to be sensitive to that and return it in terms of his excitement and an investment in connecting to her and offering friendly affection.
I wanted him to understand that the love and/or friendship of a good woman is a great gift--one of the most wonderful things that can happen to him in this life. It's not to be taken lightly. It's like a fire that can warm and illuminate his life in so many ways. But, like any fire, it needs to be fed and tended carefully.
It occurred to me while I was talking to my son that our Heavenly Father might want to have a similar chat with His sons--just a reminder that this is what a lot of our wives want (if you are an exception, sorry. I realize I'm making a generalization). They want their husbands to be engaged and attentive, to be active and friendly participants in their lives. Most women, I believe, want to make life special for their families, but they want to be recognized for their efforts. They want to have fun together and be noticed and appreciated and have their loving attentions returned in kind.
It's not that men don't want to do this. It's just that most of us are more task-oriented than relationship oriented. We are generally programmed to do things, not feel things. So, these kinds of reminders are helpful, at least they are to me. And I hope my son learned something.
Braden is blessed to be married to a good woman. He tries to be a good husband. He blogs about his books, students, and life at bradenbell.com