Want to have a happier wife? One of the keys to having a resilient, long-lasting marriage is to do what you can to make sure your wife feels good about your the relationship.
As a man, I had no idea how ignorant I was when I first got married! Mom and dad were great examples, but about three weeks after Angie and I were married I felt like a complete idiot. While we have experienced all the seasons of life together, some with grace and others as a “hot mess” we have never quit. We have been in and out of counseling, read scores of books and attended more than a few seminars and retreats. And while both sets of our parents faced both great and tragic times, they hung in there.
I believe that as you read this article, you will be able to discover some nuggets of truth that will help you develop a more resilient marriage.
Here is a secret about most wedding days.
When the day arrives, there you are standing in front of a crowd of family, friends, and a minister. Then that magic moment occurs, your bride, the lover of your life appears at the back of the church or venue. At that moment you are filled with a sense of awe and wonder as your bride approaches the altar, and before you know it, the ceremony is in full swing. You exchange vows, you kiss, you greet your guests at the reception and off on a new journey we go.
Well, that is true for the most part. While he will have a blast at the reception, he is looking forward to the festivities ending and getting naked.
I know, right now some of you are going “Eew!” But alas, it is true.
Women, on the other hand, see things in a completely different way. When she faces you on your wedding day, she sees the man of her dreams, her hero, the man she has given her heart to. Now, here is the difference. When she sees him standing there looking so sharp and handsome, somewhere deep in the recesses of her mind she is thinking, he is my man, my mate, but I’ve got my work cut out for me as I shape him into my image of what I think he should be.
Well not that I probably have offended you, let’s jump into how to have a happy wife.
6 Basic Needs of a Wife
Once again, I’d like to start with a section from Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn’s book For Men Only.
Our Surface Understanding What it really means.
Women need love.
Even if your relationship is great, she likely has fundamental insecurity about your love, and when that insecurity is triggered, she may respond in ways that confuse or dismay you until she feels reassured.
Women are emotional.
Women deal with multiple thoughts and emotions from their past and present all the time, at the same time – and these can’t be easily dismissed.
Women want security-in other words, financial security.
Your woman needs emotional security and closeness with you so much that she will endure financial insecurity to receive it.
She doesn’t want you to fix it; she just wants you to listen.
When she is sharing an emotional problem, her feelings and her desire to be heard are much more important than the issue itself.
She doesn’t want much sex; she must not want me.
Physically, women tend to crave sex less often than men do – and it is usually not related to your desirability.
She wants to look attractive.
Inside your smart, secure wife lives a little girl who profoundly needs to know that you find her beautiful and that you only have eyes for her.
I am so thankful for the work that the Feldhahn’s and others have done in helping men and women better understand each other.
I am also thankful for the loving patience that my wife Angie has extended to me in our journey. By the way, it is a journey that you do not complete until the end of your life.
So, with that in mind, what are ten ways that you can have a happy wife.
10 Things You Can Do to Enhance Your Wife’s Happiness
1 . Be as Attentive, Fun loving, and Adoring as You Were During Courtship or Close to It.
I know you can have rough days. I spend my days with people who are in various states of crisis. I know it can be tough to be upbeat some days but do what you can. Studies of optimistic people show that they are less affected by adverse events and bring about brighter responses in other people.
2. Be More Affectionate
Before we talk about how to express affection to your wife, I want to review the job description of being a good husband.
- Love, honor, and respect her.
- Be sexually and emotionally faithful to her.
- Listen without being judegemental
To your wife, affection means more than cuddling or holding her hands or having sex. She desires a sense of closeness from you because knowing you are close to her is paramount for her being able to stay in a relationship with you.
For those of you that might need this simplified; if your wife does not feel connected to you, she will leave you at some level.
3. Support and Nurture Her Ambitions in and Outside the Home.
Roles are changing, and that is not a bad thing. More men than women work outside the home, but due to the economy, more and more women are either entering or re-entering the workplace or are starting home-based businesses. As your children grow and opportunities open up for your wife to pursue her pen dreams, will you be there to support her?
4. To Make an Effort to Understand How She is Different Emotionally.
Guys, our job is not to change her to be more like a man, but to acknowledge and respect your differences.
5. To Be Honest at All Times and Always Do What You Say You, Will, Do.
To be clear. When I talk about honesty, I mean there is no room for lies about infidelity, addiction problems, or other vital matters that reflect on who you are (such as belief systems or underlying medical issues). You need to be accountable for what’s important the core issues, the crucial stuff, your promises.
6. To Share in Child Care and Domestic Work.
If you want to mess this up just come home from the office and tell her, you have already worked enough. Instead, catch your breath and help out a little, without any drama. Trust me, this will get you some points.
No matter where you have been in your marriage, you can show up for work today. You can begin, right now to protect your career as a husband by treating this day as if it were your first day on a new job called marriage.
7. Help her feel special.
Show your wife the same traits that make you valuable as an employee: focus, discipline, reliability, devotion, loyalty, stability, intelligence, and flexibility.
Be determined to get better at this job of being a husband.
8. Maintain your appearance! This may sound a bit juvenile, but guys, watch your hygiene, shower regularly, remember your favorite “hang around the house” clothes do need washing. Every now and then Angie reminds me that my closet space is beginning to smell like a locker. Just remember, this does not take much effort.
9. Plan some “us time” getaways. This does not mean inviting her to your elk hunt or boy’s weekend. It could be a weekend at a Bed and Breakfast, or maybe a day trip to a nice place. You could see where the cheapest “Southwest Airline Getaway” airfares are and go there. Being able to just get away from the day to day grind, and even the kids can go a long way in refusing both you and your wife.
10. Learn ways to maintain romance and specialness in your relationship. Spontaneous flowers and quality chocolates never hurt, post-it notes, and cards have never hurt. Do what you can to make her feel special.
To use a baseball metaphor; No Major League hitter bats 1000, but if they are hitting 325, they are being well compensated. to be clear, we are not talking perfection, but intentional progess.
Forget Hollywood and Hallmark Channel stereotypes and don’t try to be a hero in some romance novel. Instead, apply some of your natural strengths to your job as a married man and see immediate improvement.
- Focus on the benefits of marriage, not the day to day frustrations
- Show your wife the same traits that make you valuable as an employee: focus, discipline, reliability, devotion, loyalty, stability, intelligence, and flexibility.
- Be determined to get better at this job of being a husband.
- Learn from your mistakes and don’t get your eyes stuck in the rearview mirror of regrets.
- Commit yourself to the mission and responsibilities of your marital job description and reassess your progress as you go along.
- For those of you who are Christ followers, “Love your wife as Christ loves the Church.”
Thanks to Scott Haltzman, M.D., and his excellent ideas from The Secrets of Happily Married Men. This article is adapted from that resource. Another couple of resources I like is For Men Only and For Women Only by Shaunti & Jeff Feldhahn