Not long after the church bells and the initial honeymoon bliss, reality sets in. You are married. And if you lived together prior to marriage, like many these days, you may quickly realize not much has changed other than your sparkly wedding bands. Here are some tips from my marriage that have helped my husband and I stay connected.
Happy Wife, Happy Life
1. Make time for conversation after work. I know the feeling, you get home from 8 hours of work, an hour commute, and all you want to do is plop down on the couch and zone out. Whether your wife is a stay-at-home mom or a 9-to-5 like you, she wants to talk to you! I'm not saying you have to break down in detail your entire day, but at least tell her a few things. She is your partner for life and she wants to feel included. My guess is you talked pretty thoroughly about something in your life with your co-worker today, so the least you can do is share a little with your other half.
2. Listen. Really, listen. On the same note as sharing, you need to listen equally. I'm not talking about nodding your head while looking at the paper and a few uh-huhs. Truly listen to what your wife has to say. Although, the details of her day may not actually be all that interesting to you at that moment, listen for the love of your wife.
3. Compliment her. Some men have a more natural tendency to do this. If you are not one of them, I ask for you to step back and actually take a nice long look at your wife. What about her attracts you? It doesn't necessarily have to be physical. It could be the amazing chicken she made the other night. Or, the way she rocks your new baby girl to sleep every night. Find things that you admire and TELL her! Even a quick slap on the butt in private can make your wife smile. Let her know you are thinking about her and how great she really is.
4. Help out around the house. This is a big one. I'm not saying you have to take over all the duties and work from dusk to dawn, but at the least pick up after yourself. After dinner, bring your dish to the kitchen, rinse it off, and pop it in the dishwasher. The dishwasher is full of clean dishes, you say? Unload it! Your favorite pair of pants has been dirty for a few days and you notice the laundry is piling up? Put a load in! If things around the house are not perfect, it is probably for a reason. Your wife may have a lot on her plate at the time, or maybe she is simply feeling unappreciated. Take some time to look around you and ask your wife if she wants any help.
5. Put the toilet seat down. You may laugh, but this one is true. Even if your wife has never mentioned anything to you about it, and you always leave it up, and "she doesn't mind!" Wake up call, she does. Just put it down, it's not that hard.
6. Don't yell at her for no reason. I get it, everyone has a bad day. Also, it's proven that people tend to take things out on the ones they love the most. But whatever you do, don't, without reason, yell at your wife. Women think very complexly and if you yell and we don't know why it could damage us for a long time. If you have something upsetting you, outside of your relationship, talk to us, go to the gym, take a walk, or call a friend to vent.
7. Do something unexpected. Buy her a card and write a few sweet things on it. Deliver flowers to her work. Text her just to say you're thinking over her. Plan a surprise weekend getaway. Do anything unexpected every once in a while. You don't have to do this once a week, or even once a month. But, it is important to do something to show your wife your think about her when she is not around. Doing these things on totally non-traditional times is the best, not just her birthday or Valentine's Day.
8. When you fight, fight fair. All couples fight. In fact, it is perfectly healthy--if the fighting is productive. Don't say hurtful things that you will regret. I know, easier said than done. But remember, this is someone you married and love. Never, ever mentioned the D-word in the heat of the fight. Take 20 minutes, or however long it takes to cool off and make things right.
9. Don't be so serious. If you are like most, you love a sense of humor. Sometimes, the initial attraction and laughter of a relationship can get drowned in bills, children, and work. Shake off the stressors of life and flirt with your wife like you used to. Reminisce about funny stores, tell jokes, play a silly board game. Loosen up and remember when you first fell in love.
10. Give her a hug. Nothing much else to say about it. Give your wife a hug. Whether she is happy, sad, mad, or content a hug is always amazing gift from her husband. Show her, without sexual gestures involved, that you love her and want to be close.
11. Be punctual. Be home from work on time. And, if you aren't going to be on time, let her know right away.
12. Be a gentleman. Even if you never opened doors for her or pulled out her chair for her at dinner when you were dating, now is the time to start. She may think it's silly at first, but every women loves this. If the old school style just isn't you, then at least show your gentleman side around her friends and family. Treat her, and the ones she loves, with mega respect. Tell wonderful stories about your wife to her mother and make her friends jealous that she has such a respectful husband.
13. Take care of yourself. This doesn't mean if you have to be a gym rat or have a perfectly shaved face at all times. Just take care of your appearance. Brush your teeth in the morning and before bed. Take a shower. When you go out for a nice dinner wear something nice. This may sound silly, but oftentimes men (and women) get in ruts and think it is no longer necessary to look nice for their spouse.
14. Make her your number one priority. There is nothing wrong with going out with the guys. But, if you have plans with your wife, don't back out on her for your friends. If you're a workaholic, make sure it is obvious that you are still her number one.
15. Protect her. I know things have changed and women should be treated equally as men. But, there is still something about a husband standing up for her woman. Make her feel safe. Let her know that you are here for her if she ever has a conflict. If she is really nervous about something, be there for her and let her know it will all be okay.
16. Let her sleep in. Whether your wife is a stay at home mom or a corporate women, let her sleep. I personally, know it is very frustrating waking up to kids screaming and demanding breakfast. But, just remember, this is very likely what your wife wakes up to every single morning. One Saturday out of the month, let her sleep, let her sleep as long as she wants. Then, when she wakes up and is feeling rested don't make her feel guilty for sleeping. Give her a kiss and let her know you're glad you could help.
17. Don't be secretive. Don't keep anything for her. Don't go out of the room to take calls. Don't text people in secret. Don't close your browser when she enters the room. Don't hide that there is a new woman in the office that you work closely with. Often times secrets are because of guilt. If you are guilty of nothing, don't hide anything.
18. Admit when you are wrong. It is human nature to want to be right. But, if you are wrong, please admit it. Admit it. Apologize for it. Not in a 10-year-old way. In an adult and calm conversation. If you admit when you're wrong, she will be all the more willing to do the same when she is.
19. Don't forget special events. You don't have to remember the date of the first time you ate pasta together or when you adopted your second dog. But, remember the important dates. Your anniversary, your children's birthdays, your wife's birthday, Valentine's Day, or anything that you have celebrated in the past. With technology these days, and easy ways to remind yourself, there is no excuse for forgetting.
20. If you need help, get it. If you have come to a point in your marriage where it is obvious things are not going well, do something about it. Don't sit back and expect your wife to call a counselor to try to fix things. If you truly love your wife make the first steps to show that you are all in and want to make things better.
Marriage is a joyous and often time frustrating union. Taking these steps and most importantly putting everything you can into your marriage will result in happiness.
What things do you do for your wife that makes her happy?
What things do you wish your husband did for you?