I recently wrote an article stating that men should come with some kind of instruction manual so women could understand our fragile male persona. Since I am an equal opportunity writer, many of my male friends have asked me if I could provide similar instructions about the females in their lives. Note: I am not an expert on this subject, and anything I write represents only one man’s observations. Apply at your own risk.

Men, when you get married, realize that every word in the English dictionary now has an alternate meaning. For example, when two men meet and inquire how the other person is doing, we summarize six months of history with one word: “Fine.” I am fine, you are fine, and that means we are both fine. That’s all we need to know. We are . . . fine.

Women, however, use the word “fine” much differently-primarily to end an argument. “If that is the way you feel . . . fine.” Generally, they follow this by walking away in a huff. Believe me: when you hear the word “fine” from a woman, never say anything else. You might be fine, your friend might be fine, but your wife is never fine.

Also, when your wife comes up to you and says, “How do I look?” don’t even think about answering, “Fine.” If you use the forbidden word, you will immediately hear, in the most sorrowful of tones, “Just . . . fine?” No woman ever wants to look fine; she wants to look fabulous. The simplest answer? When talking with the opposite sex, remove the word “fine” from your vocabulary.

The word “nothing” is another one of those confusing words. Most of the time, the word “nothing” means “something.” When you see your wife or another female crying and you ask her what is wrong, she will reply . . . “Nothing.” As men, we naturally think “nothing” means nothing, so we are confused why a woman would be crying over . . . nothing. Trust me on this one: “nothing” is always . . . “something.”

If your wife ever uses the following phrase, you, as a wise husband, should immediately do just the opposite: “Go ahead.” When she says this, whatever you do, do not “go ahead.” It is a trap. Most of the time, it comes at the end of a heated discussion: “If that is the way you feel . . . go ahead.” Sometimes, your wife will combine these dangerous words with another: “Fine, go ahead.”

You may as well understand that if you “go ahead,” you will spend the rest of your natural life regretting it. In my marriage, I did “go ahead” . . . once. I came home to find my wife crying. Trying to be the sensitive, caring type, I asked, “Hon, what’s wrong?” Through her tears, she responded, “Nothing.”

Men, remember that the Bible tells us, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25). It does not command us to understand everything they say. Instead, we are to love them-and not only to love them, but to love them as Christ loves the church.

I figure that the only way I can do this is to ask Christ to love my wife in and through me. When I exhibit that kind of love, she thinks that is “something” . . . and I tell her it is “nothing” . . . and that is “fine” with both of us.