Being a better wife is something I have to remind myself of often. In a way being a mother is something that comes naturally for me. Not meaning that I consider myself an above-average mom that knows exactly what I’m doing (because most of the time I have no clue what I’m doing), but natural mother instinct just happens. I naturally want to do all that I can to make sure he is always taken care of and has what he needs. I naturally hurt when he hurts and I naturally try to do little things throughout the day to bring that smile that I love so much. The connection I have experienced in being a mother has been an incredible experience.
Confession time: Being a wife does not come as naturally for me. It takes more of an intentional effort to make sure that I am also loving and caring for my husband. It’s not natural for me to wait at the door with my apron on and a Pinterest-worthy dish in hand waiting to greet him with a hug and kiss. Heck…it’s a good day when I actually prepare a lunch for him to take to work. Sadly, I exhaust all of my energy on work and caring for Ridge that by the time he gets home all he is greeted by is “hey!” It’s sad but true. There have been too many nights that I have gone to bed with the thought, “Dang it. I need to be a better wife.” I need to stop being so focused on doing what I am doing around the house and make sure he is acknowledged and loved. Since our one year marriage anniversary is coming up, I have come up with some tips to help be a better spouse. Over the last year, I have learned a lot about marriage and relationships. If you are someone trying to be a better spouse or want to put someone before yourself, keep reading.
1. BE INTERESTED IN WHAT HE LOVES TO DO
Watch his favorite shows for a change. My husband is obsessed with cars. It doesn’t interest me as much, but I have shown more interest and have even attended some car shows with him. Surprisingly, I have started to actually pay attention to cars more and when I see one of his favs driving down the road, I actually know what it is. He also LOVES Mexican food and being the health cautious runner, its not always my first pick. Dont get me wrong, I do love me some tacos and margaritas but I also have bad genes so I can’t eat it all the time. I have recently discovered the taco salad at one of his favorites restaurants and sometimes offer to go there first 🙂
2. ASK HIM ABOUT HIS DAY
When I get home from work, I am in the zone. Get dinner ready, take care of Ridge, do some dishes, feed the dogs etc. When my husband gets home, I will admit, I sometimes do not even notice. I have made an effort to stop what I am doing and ask about his day. I take interest in what is going on. Now, I’ve heard that men need 20-30 minutes when they first get home to just relax and transition from work to home so I do not throw 20 questions at him right away. I give him time to unwind. Feeling acknowledged and comforted from a long day helps to know there is a support system.
3. ACCEPT THAT HAVING CHILDREN CHANGES A RELATIONSHIP
This was a big one for us in the beginning of our relationship. We had Ridge a year in a half into our relationship and let me tell you… We fought EVERYDAY! But I did learn that you and your husband’s relationship will undoubtedly change and evolve once you bring kids into the equation. This doesn’t mean it’ll change for the worse, but it will mean that you will be spending a lot of your free time focusing on your kids instead of each other. Accept that this will change your relationship and work to make it thrive in new ways. I have really tried spending time with our son together instead of isolating ourselves by taking turns. Find new fun activities that everyone can do together to help you and your husband stay strong as you raise your kids. You should agree on how to raise and discipline your kids so that you don’t get into “good cop” and “bad cop” mode and position yourselves against each other when it’s time to control your children.
4. LET THINGS GO
Marriage life can be complicated at times, and you cannot expect you or your husband to be in a happy lovey dovey mood 24/7. It takes maturity and level-headedness to accept certain circumstances you can’t change in your life as a married couple. In spite of this, you can help your husband to love you better if you learn to appreciate what you have rather than nagging about what you don’t. Don’t be jealous and envy what other women have. You will be happier and will be able to keep your husband happy if you don’t nag him constantly. I used to get so angry at my husband when he left the dishes in the sink. He knew I would end up doing them every night so it was like it was expected. Then it became an everyday thing and I would become resentful. No one likes doing something for another person when they are expected to do it. Then I would think about all of the things he does without me having to ask and I realized its not worth fighting and just let it go. Do the dishes, pour a glass of wine and be happy.
5. RESPECT HIM
Sounds simple but not always an easy one to keep up with. Respect him at all times. Try your best not to use offensive languages to insult him or swear at him when you’re angry. I don’t want to sound biased here. Yes, sometimes we all get out of control when our emotions take over and end up saying or doing things that we won’t even think about at other times. Be quick to say sorry and make up without thinking twice. No matter what you do, always try your best not to disrespect him in any way in front of other people as that can seriously damage his self-esteem. One thing I learned early on was to ask for his advice. Men like to know that they are valued and they love to fix things, so let him know you value what he has to offer. Marriages that survive and thrive have a ratio of 5 to 1 when it comes to positive experiences. Make sure that you are praising and adoring at least 5 times as much as you are complaining or bringing up concerns. You cannot and should not expect him to give you his undivided attention at all times. There are moments for you and there are times he needs to spend with his family and friends, too. So respect his needs and give him all the freedom he needs to spend time with his other loved ones.
6. PAY ATTENTION TO HIS INTIMATE NEEDS
Let’s be a bit realistic about it. Physical intimacy DOES play a huge role in every 9/10 happy marriage lives. Satisfying his hormones will indeed keep him happy both physically and emotionally. It also reduces chances of him seeking attention elsewhere. WAIT. I’m NOT saying you have to be ready to please him 24/7 and whenever the hell he wants it. If at times you can’t compromise with his intimate needs for whatever reason, he is supposed to understand you and still shower you with love because, after all, he is also supposed to be your soul mate. However, you have to try not to be the one who pulls the plug all the time just because you’re bored of it or just plain tired. Trust me, after a long day it is sometimes the last thing you want to do but I always tend to ask myself at the end “why don’t we do this more often again?”. Unless you have a valid reason, do always try your best to keep your physical intimacy alive with your spouse.
7. LOOK GOOD FOR HIM
8. DON’T TRY TO CHANGE HIM
Accept him as he is and let him know that you would never want him to change any way for you. He has so much to offer you if only you give him the space to be himself. Love him for who he is, and he’ll love you unconditionally in return. Accept that you and your husband are not the same person. He won’t always see the world the same way that you do, and that’s a good thing. Being with someone who isn’t exactly like you will make your relationship richer. There will be changes that both of you will make and that stems from making each other better. I am a much better listener and have learned to be more responsible because of my husband. These are the good changes. There’s a difference between asking your husband to clean up more around the house and making him become a runner when he would rather lift weights. You can ask him to improve in different areas, but you can’t force him to like all of the same things you do.
9. BE THEIR BEST FRIEND
Develop true intimacy and unconditional acceptance. Demonstrate a willingness to be vulnerable, and be confident that your relationship can withstand conflict. Enjoy your shared history and your inside jokes. Forward him articles you know that he’ll find interesting or just sit with him in companionable silence. Even your silence will say volumes when your marriage is strengthened by true friendship. Though you should maintain other meaningful friendships so your life is full of love and laughter, at the end of the day, your husband should be the person that you turn to. Aim to be the person that your husband has the most fun with instead of his best friend or his favorite uncle. You should be his #1 go-to person, whether he needs a good laugh or a good cry.
10. BE HAPPY
It’s hard not to be happy yourself when you are around someone who radiates a happy and cheerful heart. Be positive and focus on the things you are blessed with. If you are particularly annoyed with your husband, focus on the things you love about him. This doesn’t mean you ignore issues that come up, but if you address them with respect, you will have a successful marraige. Finally, even as you strive to become a good wife to your husband, you should still maintain your own identity. Do not neglect your own growth as an individual just because you want to pour out all your energy into your husband and kids. Don’t allow marriage life to make you neglect your own happiness. Do the things you enjoyed before getting married if at all possible. Make time for things like going out with your friends for a day out, shopping, pampering, to the gym and so on. Feeding your body, mind and soul with the things that makes YOU happy will also help to keep your husband happy.
There really is no such thing as a ‘Perfect wife’ okay. Even some of the greatest women in history have had their flaws when it came to their marriage lives.
The first important thing that makes you a good wife is the fact you’re continuously searching for ways to be one. As I lay here listening to the “soothing” sound of my husband snoring, I find myself smiling. It’s little moments like this that I truly am grateful to be married to my best friend.
What are some things you do for your spouse? Do you have any other tips for a good marriage?