The Minnesota Fishing Opener is this Sunday, and Mother’s Day was last Sunday, which is a nice change from some recent years when these events have fallen on the same weekend. It has allowed me, however, to see some similarities between being a good fisherman and being a good husband – and I think I may have some pointers to share from my own experience with “the one that didn’t get away” on how to have a trophy wife.
First, let me say that the things I don’t know about fishing would fill a hundred books, judging by what I see in my library and at the outfitting stores. You can add several years worth of In-Fisherman magazines to that total as well, and do I have to mention all those television shows? I’m amazed at what you have to know if you expect to hook anything besides the meaty part of your thumb! Likewise maintaining a happy marriage can appear overwhelming at times. I know I’ve been skunked in both areas at times, but one thing I’ve realized is that experts gain their knowledge by fervently pursuing the sport they love. With that approach, becoming an expert is fun.
That applies to fishing and marriage. I love my wife and I love being married. Therefore in the 17 and a half years we’ve been married I’ve avidly sought out and collected many important bits of information about her in particular and marriage in general that have helped us become each other’s favorite pastime. Here are a few tips that have worked for me:
CATCH AND RELEASE? First off, I’m not a big proponent of catch and release when it comes to marriage. I have found, however, that there is a lot of challenge and a lot of thrills in catching the same fish over and over again! I’ve found that the secret to this is not just to be married, but to be engaged!
THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT: The expert fishermen are always sharing information on what type of bait and what type of tackle to use for different conditions. They can tell you what to use on cloudy days, windy days, sunny days and days when the fish aren’t hungry. They know what’s best for trolling, jigging and casting and the preferred food of every species. I’ve wondered, though, how many of those guys know their wife’s shoe size, or if she’s an autumn, summer, spring or winter in her coloring? Early on I memorized my wife’s sizes, favorite colors and preferred styles of clothing. Today, much of what she wears are things I’ve bought her either shopping on my own or when we’re together. Now, I don’t think a fish was ever caught because it was honored or flattered that someone had spent so much time and effort to learn about it, but it’s sure made an impression on my wife!
LURES: When you think of lures you might think small, shiny objects or furry things work best but the real “power bait” is our words. Men are attracted by what they see (I know I’ve bought certain fishing lures because they looked good to me, never mind the fish) but women are moved by what they hear. Our words build our wives up and make them feel special and make our relationships special. I try to make sure my wife hears how much she means to me, how much I value her opinion – and how much I like the way she looks in those jeans. Certainly relying on my good looks to win my wife would be like me fishing for muskies with 4-pound test line. I’ve got to work those lures, paying attention to the conditions and water temperature. Oh, and I try to stay away from the crankbaits.
STRUCTURE: The experts I read are always talking about “structure” or “knowing the bottom” (but I’m not going there).
DEPTHFINDER: I’m not referring to the depthfinder in your boat, but to the one in your wife’s spirit. A wife needs to know that there’s more on her man’s mind than “what’s for dinner?” Let her know that you’re deeper than a dog dish. Our passion has to be obvious to our wives, and not just in the bedroom or in front of the Vikings game or when arguing with the radio. A wife needs to see it in how we express our vision (yes, we have to have one) for our families, for our lives together, for our church, or for a cause.
TRUST YOUR GUIDE: As I’ve said, even the best fisherman get skunked every now and then, and it’s no different for me in my marriage. Through omission or by commission on my part, or due to something completely unrelated to me I can tell when something is missing. In these times I need to trust our guide, Jesus, who inhabits our marriage. Men tend to want to fix things when we see a problem, but like the story of Peter and his crew we may feel as if we’ve worked as hard as we can and done all that we know to do and it’s not paying off. Sometimes it’s just a matter of praying for myself and for my wife and being sensitive to Jesus’ voice – to let down my nets and being open to how He may direct me, even if what I hear doesn’t seem to make sense.
CLEAN ‘EM: Finally, I try to remember my sacred duty to my wife as described in Ephesians 5:25:
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word…”
I think my wife is quite accomplished in every area of her life and – if we didn’t have each other – she would fare better on her own than I would. Yet from that scripture and from experience, I know that because she knows I am totally committed to her and put her first she is able to go to another level spiritually, physically and emotionally. In turn this benefits me by the way she is then able to manage our household and bring a peace that I never enjoyed when I was single.
Anyway, those are some things that have worked for me. You all probably have a few secrets in your tackle boxes that I don’t know about as well. I hope you catch your limit and don’t rock the boat! Be blessed!