1. Don't call tasks around the house "chores."
When you are a kid and take out the garbage for your mom, that is what is called a "chore." When you are an adult and take out the garbage for your wife, that is what is called "doing what you are supposed to do, I mean good grief, it's your house too, are you seriously trying to take credit for taking out the garbage?" I admit, it's a bit long, but I think it's a lovely name.
2. Don't piggyback activities.
When my wife says "Can you go downstairs and get my Bible please?" I sometimes interpret this as her saying "Will you get my Bible and check your email as well as ESPN for a few minutes please?" Apparently that is not what she is saying and is not a huge fan of me stealing "me minutes" all the time.
3. All exercise is real.
Once, when my wife was telling me about how far she was walking on some trails near our house outside of Boston I asked her, "Do you think you might do some real exercise soon?" (I know what you are thinking ladies, a unibrow and all this? I am a real catch.) What I meant was "Walking is great and you are very good looking and hot and smart Jenny. By the way, gym memberships are nice too." It came out a little differently when I said it out loud though.
4. Don't say you are "babysitting" your own kids.
When you take care of your own kids while your wife goes out, this activity is not known as "babysitting." This is known as "watching your children" or "being a father." There's a subtle difference, but it's important. (emphasis mine)
5. Back rubs should not be timed.
The other day during an interview with a ministry called FamilyLife, the host asked me how I am able to balance a full time job and stuff Christians like. The answer is that I am a maniac at time management, which is awesome when applied to my business life but slightly less than awesome at home. If you ever offer your wife a back rub, take off your watch and turn all the clocks around in your room. It should be like Vegas in there, you should not be able to tell what time of day it is. From what I can gather, ladies do not like it when you give them back rubs for 14 minutes on the dot. That's all I am saying.
I am not an expert on marriage. I am a novice, but I have blundered through a few lessons in the last seven years. Hopefully these help. I would write more, but I need to go take out the trash and watch my kids.
I look forward to reading people's comments on these. I'm sure we're all in agreement John needs #4--no, he needs the whole of Parenting 101--pounded into his head. ;)