By Dr. Harold Sala

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.  Ephesians 5:25-26

Some call it “Le Chateau Bow-wow!” which is French for the dog house. And when you are in the dog house a fancy title doesn’t make it less annoying.  There’s something strange about it, too: it is almost always men who are in the dog house. The following are seven things which men are prone to do which will put them in “Le Chateau Bow-wow” for sure.

Mistake #1: Forget special events such as birthdays, anniversaries and, yes, Valentine’s day. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Men and women are different—from their brains to their feet. Special days mean far more to women than to men, so if you love someone special, men, you had better remember those special days.

Mistake #2: Admit that another woman is prettier than your wife or girlfriend.  The same thing applies to commenting how pretty another woman is. This means when you are walking down the street and a pretty girl comes toward you, naturally you will notice she’s pretty. It’s best not to say so, and better not to look lingeringly. You see, your wife will be watching to see if you are watching. Better to pretend she is invisible. Uh-huh. Like David of old, a second look is bound to get you into the dog house, and fast.

Mistake #3:  Buy your wife or girl friend a dress that is two sizes too big.  Better to err on the side of small than for her to think that you think she wears a size 14 when she says she wears a size 10. Take it from me, men, your wives or girlfriends don’t think the same way you do. When you go to the store and buy a board a foot too long, it’s no big deal. You take a saw and whack off a foot or so. But when you get your wife a dress that’s way too big, it is patently offensive.  It’s the dog house for you, for sure.

Mistake #4: Hesitate just the slightest in answering her question, “Do you think that I’m fat?” That will do it every time. You don’t have to actually say so. Just hesitate and you’re in the dog house.  In some places in the world—especially where food is in short supply—it’s a measure of success to be… well, not to be skinny, anyway.  I remember one time seeing an old friend in Asia, and she said, “Oh, Dr. Sala, you look so nice and plump!”  At first, I thought, “Thanks a lot!” and then I remembered, the comments were intended as a compliment.

For most women, however, there is a fixation with being overweight. Love her as she is. Life has a way of rearranging the corpuscles, and to expect her at age 40 to look as she did at age 25 is unrealistic. Besides, you don’t measure up to that standard either.

Mistake #5: Give your wife or girlfriend a small appliance such as a clock radio, an iron or a curling iron. Gifts like that just don’t cut it. I learned that lesson the time I gave my wife a clock radio for Mother’s Day. Actually, I thought I’d enjoy it at the same time. It went over like a ham sandwich in a synagogue. Take it from me, never again.

Mistake #6: After dinner, compliment her, saying, “That was a nice little dinner!” You’ll end up in the dog house for sure. What you meant to be a compliment, she will take as a back-handed insult.

Mistake #7:  Asking, “How much did that thing cost?” The implication, no matter what you paid for it, is that it wasn’t worth it. Men, undoubtedly, there are many other ways to get into the doghouse as you well know. Next in this series is how to get out of the dog house.

Resource reading: Ephesians 5:25-33.