Great Husbands are Hard to Find!
Gentlemen, simple things count.
A great husband thinks about the best thing he can do to please his wife…and he does it.
A great husband is always dreaming up ways of helping his wife.
A great husband goes the extra mile, often without letting his wife (or anyone else) know that he went the extra mile.
This article is for those men who are struggling to be a good husband. We come from different walks in life, from different starting points. Maybe you never had a good husband role model growing up. Maybe your father was gone. Out of the picture. Maybe your mother was gone. Perhaps they split up when you were ten.
To paraphrase a current Presidential hopeful, “There is hope!”
You can do it. You CAN do it!
How We Got This Way
You may have been married for 20 years or more, or 10 or even just a year. But something is wrong.
Perhaps the fire and energy is gone from your marriage. Only a flicker remains.
The girl you married 20 or 30 years ago (or even last month) is different from the woman you wake up beside every morning.
Perhaps she’s a bit cooler. Or more like an ice cube.
There are issues that you don’t dare bring up for fear of yet another fight. You’re still recovering from the last “knock down drag out.” You’re tired. Very tired.
But you want to change. You do.
Yes, you’d love for her to change because, after all, she’s the one with the problems, right? No, only she can change herself.
But you CAN change you: how you treat her, how you love her, how you express that love, how you talk about her when she isn’t around.
Yes, you can change.
- 1 Why Did You Marry Her? Think Carefully
- 2 The Marriage Relationship
- 2.1 #1: Love Your Wife
- 2.2 #2: Ask Your Wife How You Can Love Her Better
- 2.3 #3: The Element of Surprise
- 2.4 #4: Treat Her The Way She Would Want to Be Treated
- 2.5 #5: Feelings. Whoa whoa whoa, Feelings
- 2.6 #6: Time….keeps flowing like a river….
- 2.7 #7: Encourage Your Wife
- 2.8 #8: Smile, you’re on Candid Camera
- 2.9 #9: Praise her when she isn’t around!
- 2.10 #10: Praise her to others when she IS around
- 2.11 #11: Enjoy being in her presence
- 2.12 #12 Pray for Her
- 2.13 #13: Don’t Give Her a Reason to be Jealous
- 2.14 #14: Keep Her in the Front of Your Mind
- 2.15 #15: Admit You Were Wrong
Why Did You Marry Her? Think Carefully
What was it about her so many years ago that attracted you? Was it her looks, her smarts, her caring demeanor, her smile, her talents, her spirituality, her wit? Probably a combination of all of those. And more.
So, what’s changed?
She looks older. She sags a bit more (yes and so do you). You have children, money stresses, job stresses, “keeping up with the Jones” stresses. And more.
But after all these years, you still love her. She may not accept that love (and may not hear you tell her that) but when you walked down that aisle, you know that you married her “for keeps.”
I’m not an expert on the subject but I do know what works and often times what doesn’t.
What you read below may be old stuff to you. You’ve heard it all before. It never hurts to hear it again.
She will love you for it. Trust me.
The Marriage Relationship
#1: Love Your Wife
That’s well and good, Mr. Obvious. I do that but still…
When was the last time she’s heard you say ‘I love you?’ If it hasn’t been within two days, then it’s way too long.
And Gentlemen, I’m not just talking about saying it when you’re in bed making love.
She needs to hear it:
– When she’s making you breakfast
– When she’s bathing your kids
– When she gets in the car to run an errand
– When she gets up in the morning
– During a commercial break when watching a movie
– When she’s washing your clothes
– When she’s feeling self-conscious about herself
– When she doesn’t look so lovely
– When you’re around others
– When you hang up the phone
– When you say goodbye while leaving for work
– Throughout the day
– In letters mailed specifically to her
– In a memo on the fridge
– In an email
– In a text message
There is no better time than the present to tell her that you love her. I don’t think you can say it often enough. She will tell you if you’re saying it too much! It’s a nice problem to solve.
Are those magic words going to revolutionize your marriage? It’s certainly a good place to start.
#1A: Do Not Be Harsh with Your Wife
Ouch! This complements the first. You cannot tell her you love her and scold her all in one breath!
I’ve seen it.
No, I’ve done it! And it’s not a pretty sight.
Men, we are harsh with our wives. Why? Any number of reasons. Perhaps it’s a carry over from when we deal harshly and abruptly with other men. But one thing I do know, a woman wants to be treated with gentleness and kindness.
Words mean things. Boy, do they ever.
We tend to take our wives for granted and expect things to get done when we’re out “bringing home the bacon.” If they’re not done, we take it out on the negligent party, namely, our wives.
Our tone becomes harsh and cold. We are sarcastic and bitter.
If you don’t believe me, ask your wife. See what she says about your tone.
Then ask her to help you to curb that harshness. It will work wonders in you becoming a Great Husband.
#2: Ask Your Wife How You Can Love Her Better
When you help revive her after she passes out, repeat the request. She knows you. She thinks it’s a ploy to get her into bed. Better yet, ask her three things you can do to help love her better. Chances are, the top three will be the most important.
CAUTION: You need to be able to work on these issues if you want to be a Great Husband. Don’t ask for them and then ignore what she tells you. That’s WORSE than asking for them. It tells her you’re not serious about changing.
But be prepared for what she says. I really don’t know what she’ll say. She may even say you’re doing fine in that department.
That’s the beauty about this step. You put the ball in her court to come up with three things you can do to love her better.
More than likely, she’ll begin with, “When you do X, I FEEL…” Whatever it was before the “I feel” part, do it!!
#3: The Element of Surprise
When’s the last time you surprised her?
Do the unexpected. Regularly. Purposefully.
- Buy flowers for her, even when they’re not on sale.
- Buy her a pretty blouse.
- Call her in the middle of the day JUST to tell her you miss her. No agenda. No other news.
- Write her a mushy note and stick it where you know only she will see it.
- Make her breakfast in bed on your days off.
- Hire a babysitter and take her out for lunch.
- Tell her she’s a great wife and mother. Often.
- Smile around her…just because.
- Take a day off so you can be with only her.
- Write her a love letter or a poem.
- Plan a Surprise Getaway Weekend…without the kids. Pick her up and away you go. She will remember this for years and years, and tell her friends just how wonderful and thoughtful you were.
Essentially, be creative.
Even the simplest of things will help you become the Great Husband you know you can be.
#4: Treat Her The Way She Would Want to Be Treated
Golden Rule Revisited
How do you know how she would want to be treated? Simple.
Ask. Then let her talk.
Again, you may not like what she has to say but you will know how she thinks about it. I could go on but your wife will tell you how she would like to be treated. Trust me, once again.
#5: Feelings. Whoa whoa whoa, Feelings
We may not like it but we men get into a whole lot of trouble by not saying a word. We don’t compliment. We don’t thank. We don’t ask forgiveness. We don’t apologize.
And most importantly we don’t often express our feelings with our wives.
Feelings. Whoa whoa whoa, feelings.
Our sensitive side. Our feminine side, if you will. The side that men normally don’t share with one another.
When we open up – just a little – it really ignites something inside a woman. I don’t understand it. I don’t necessarily get it, but it happens. The more we open up (without being grotesque or bizarre), the more bonded and connected we become.
On the other hand, it’s probably not wise to discuss your feelings about other women who may be passing by in a restaurant or on a beach. You’re just asking for trouble when you do that. Part of the equation is knowing your wife.
#6: Time….keeps flowing like a river….
Spend time with your wife. It’s pretty simple. You say, “I spend quality time with her not necessarily quantity.” Don’t fall into the trap. You make time for what you want.
Let me say that again:
You Make Time for What You Want.
Your wife should be one of your top two or three priorities…definitely ahead of your job. If not, why not? Why would something so fleeting as a job be more important than your wife? It’s the old maxim: When you’re on your death bed, you’re not going to wish you made more money at your job but that you spent more time with your family.
Of course there are times when you can use the quality vs. quantity phrase and not feel guilty. It should be the exception and not the norm.
Make Time For Your Wife.
#7: Encourage Your Wife
It has been said that encouragement is a key element in life. We live with it and will wither and die without it.
Encouragement means different things to different people. Perhaps it’s just encouraging her in her “outside the family” pursuits. Maybe she’s a budding pianist and would enjoy a lesson or two occasionally. Encourage that! Encourage her in her role as a wife and mother. Tell her what you appreciate about her. There are a hundred thousand things you can encourage her about.
Make her feel special and appreciated.
You can’t encourage her too much!
#8: Smile, you’re on Candid Camera
I know it seems like a silly thing but you need to smile. Get in the habit of doing it. Nobody but nobody likes to see a frumpy dumpy face. It’ll take a little getting used to but, believe me, she (and others) will notice. Obviously she’ll wonder what you’re up to or what you want from her. Before long, she’ll expect it from you.
By the way, that’s a good thing.
#9: Praise her when she isn’t around!
This is an indirect technique that I’ve found effective. Talk glowingly to others about your mate. Obviously it has to be in a natural, uncanned way. I can tell you from experience that those praises will come back to you through that person. I hadn’t realized when I did it that it come back that way but it did.
The other effect that praising your wife in front of others has is that it helps you and your spouse maintain a united front. I’m not saying that the two of you are always bickering or arguing, but any time that you and she speak positively and lovingly about each other (especially when she cannot hear you), you win the respect of others AND your wife.
I’ve been in too many situations where this was not the case and quite frankly it’s shocking to hear one spouse “diss” the other. It’s just not right.
Praise her in front of others!
#10: Praise her to others when she IS around
You’re in a room full of people. You see your wife across the room. You start talking about her in glowing terms and the others within earshot turn and face her, and smile.
Of course, she may think you’re poking fun at her but sooner or later she’ll find out the truth. Praise from a third party is as good as or perhaps even better than praise from the source itself.
Think of ways to praise her around others when she is in earshot.
#11: Enjoy being in her presence
It sounds silly, doesn’t it? Of course you enjoy being in her presence, don’t you? Tell her that you do. Don’t overdo it but occasionally let her know that being around her is important and inspires you to be better.
Let her know. Encourage her that way.
#12 Pray for Her
What a strengthening comfort for her to know that you are at least attempting to be Godly. Lift her up before God Almighty every day. Tell her that you’re doing so. Or not. That’s your call. But, at the very least, do it. You will bless her and she will know it.
You’ll be strengthened.
Your wife will be strengthened.
God will be Glorified because of your acknowledgment that you can’t do this thing called life on your own.
In the crazy and confused world we live in today, praying to an All Powerful, All Knowing God is essential to your mental and spiritual well-being. However, it is still perhaps one of the hardest disciplines (spiritual or otherwise) to maintain in life.
#13: Don’t Give Her a Reason to be Jealous
Or in the positive, “be smart about who you associate with.” Perhaps the co-worker in the office is cute and fun to tease. A wise husband would steer clear of any hint of impropriety. Period. End of sentence. End of paragraph. That way, you have a clear conscience when you come home and you don’t have to make excuses. Am I saying that you can’t have fun in the office and make new acquaintances? Surely not. Just don’t be seen alone with a woman other than your wife. It’s that simple. That could be in a restaurant, in an office, after hours, in a car. People talk and sometimes the rumors they spread are nasty.
Oh, and it also goes for that mistress you might call work. You work long hours and your wife is missing you! You workaholics know what I mean. Jobs come and go but your wife will be with you when you change. Don’t give her a reason to become jealous…of another woman or of another mistress called a job.
Always think about what your wife would say if she heard a rumor about you. Don’t give her reason to think anything other than the purest of motives.
When was the last time the two of you had fun? I’m sure I’ve touched upon this already elsewhere but I mean, truly have fun? You don’t discuss the kids. You don’t discuss your parents’ health. You don’t discuss business or anything else but the two of you having fun.
– Amusement park
– Ice Cream Shoppe (away from your normal shoppe)
– A Fantasy Suite in a hotel
– Breakfast in the Swankiest place in town
– Go Water Skiing
– Jump in a car and decide to go somewhere 2-3 hours away for a picnic
What will this nonsense accomplish? To begin with, it’s not nonsense but I think it’ll gain perspective. You work hard, both of you do. You need time to recharge the batteries. So do it. Spend a few bucks and do it.
Your marriage deserves it!
Previous article: Dealing With a Break Up and Moving On
#14: Keep Her in the Front of Your Mind
Perhaps I’ve already touched upon this in other steps.
- Phone calls.
- ‘Thinking of You’ Cards.
- Unexpected gift certificates.
- A rose.
- New socks.
- Washing her car.
- Doing chores without her asking or telling you.
The ideas are endless. But worth it.
#15: Admit You Were Wrong
Nobody likes to be wrong. If you do, you probably have bigger issues than any of us know. But when we are wrong, it pays to admit it. Don’t go yammering about how it was her fault, she should…and on and on. If you were wrong, admit it. It’s not that bad.
And no “I was wrong, but…” Kinda negates the admission, doesn’t it? Just admit it, get over it, and eat your crow.
Men, is this helping you? Ladies, am I on the right track?