Seven Things I Do To Keep My Wife Happy

My wife and son (December 2013)
I have not deemed myself special or superior in any way when it comes to being a husband. Over the last six years I have made many mistakes--some small and some whoppers. If you make mistakes, you realize you're human. If you hold on to your mistakes out of stubbornness and pride, you should realize you're an idiot. The greatest gift a man can have (in my opinion) is the love and respect of a good wife. Children are a blessing, and a good income is important; but none of it matters if your marriage is dismal. 

I realize that marriage takes two, and if either the husband or the wife becomes bitter, withdrawn, or unreasonable, bad things can happen. However, I believe that either person can take the initiative to make things better, regardless of how difficult things have become. This post is not intended to counsel you in your marriage or solve all your problems. My intention is to share what I've learned after making years worth of mistakes.


Because I am the husband, I am writing from my perspective. Most of these things can be applied symmetrically, meaning the wife should also be doing these things for her husband to keep him happy.


#1 Encourage her

Everyone needs encouragement. People like to be recognized and appreciated. It's a basic human need. It seems the more comfortable and familiar we become with a person, the more apt we are to mistreat them and take them for granted. Some might blame human nature, and others may point to how that person was trained as a child. Regardless, it seems to be the tendency. Don't let it happen in your marriage! I can almost involuntarily become negative toward my wife without realizing that my words and actions are hurting her instead of helping her.

When she is discouraged about things within her control, remind her why you married her. You saw how smart, witty, energetic, and amazing she was; so just recite the list to her. It will do wonders. Don't wait until Mother's Day or Valentine's Day or your anniversary. She needs it now.


When she is discouraged about things outside of her control, do your best to be positive. One major discouragement in our lives was struggling to conceive (see 'Baby Waiting'). This is out of our control, but I needed to encourage her along the way. As a Christian, my encouragement was focused on Biblical ideals.


Even when she is not obviously discouraged or frustrated, still lather on some encouraging words throughout the week. It's free, and it will act like oil in the engine of your marriage.


I Thessalonians 5:11 Encourage one another and build one another up.


If you or your spouse struggle with encouraging each other, you might be interested in reading 'Coping with Critical People'.


#2 Compliment her

This is very similar to encouragement, but is focused more on your wife's features. She wants you to notice her and say something. And it's not all about physical features either (although that is a BIG deal). Compliment her for how well she organized something, or how good the house looks, or how amazing dinner was. But be careful not to lie or be facetious. She'll smell that a mile away and it will backfire right in your face. If you don't mean it, don't say it. If you don't think your wife is beautiful and amazing, then your issues go deeper than this post.



#3 Give her space

This one I had to learn the hard way--over and over again. Men want to jump on a problem and get it fixed ASAP. "Oh, your feelings are hurt? Why? Okay, well, here's the solution. Now stop being sad or mad." Works like a charm. No, it doesn't work at all. Sometimes you need to confront your wife and get things taken care of, and sometimes you just need to be quiet and go in the other room. Knowing when to do which is a skill that can only be mastered by studying your wife. You'll never get it right all the time, but if you're trying, your wife might help you out eventually.

Why give her space? Make sure you're not giving her space because you just want to get away from her all together. That's bad mojo. You need to be doing it for the right reason. Here's what I've concluded. My wife needs that time away to calm her nerves, sort out her thoughts, and think about what's going on. Anger, frustration, and fatigue make people confused and irrational. Sometimes she needs to be alone for 10-15 minutes to figure out exactly what is bothering her and whether it is justifiable or not. I try to use these times "apart" to pray for her and myself that we would come to the right conclusions and say the right things. Sometimes the problem is not even related to me, but I still want to say the right things and help her. And yes, sometimes the problem is directly related to me.


See also "Five Things I Don't Say To My Wife".


#4 Listen to her

Every man will struggle with this every day of his married life. I am no exception. I am at a loss to understand how my wife can say things to me and I (according to her) respond and then retain no memory of the event. Male brains are amazingly well-programmed to focus on one thing, and only one thing. If for some reason my mind is focused on my car or my next blog post, nothing else gets in. So what can we do?



Men, it's difficult, but when your wife needs your attention, you need to drop your train of thought and refocus on her. I am not good at this--not at all. My reason is that if I drop a train of thought, I might never find it again. My mind is a whirlwind of floating thoughts that are here one moment and gone the next. It's a sacrifice, but your wife is worth it. Now ladies, if you're being a nag and pestering your husband all the time when he's trying to focus on important stuff, then you are to blame. If he is giving you space (see #3), you should give him some space too!

#5 Ask forgiveness

With the fair assumption that you will mess up #s 1-4 almost daily, it's important to get in the habit of asking your wife to forgive you. Even if the issue seems small, small things pile up over the days, months, and years to become giant, impenetrable conglomerates that suck the life out of your relationship. Asking forgiveness and having it granted to you is the Drano that unclogs your marriage. It's the magic eraser that wipes the scum off your surfaces. You can let it stay there if you want, but eventually it will form a putrefying layer of filth that wreaks of malice and disdain. You've probably seen marriages that look like that. Don't let it be yours. 

Matthew 5:23-24 Iyou are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.


God would rather have you get things right between you than to go to church and bring your offerings! If you're not right with your spouse, you're not right with God.


#6 Thank her



Again, not just on holidays and anniversaries. Thank her for cleaning the bathroom. Thank her for folding your laundry and putting it in your dresser. Thank her for dinner. Thank her for raising your children when you're not there. Thank her for looking amazing and remaining married to you. The list is almost endless, but don't assume she knows you're thankful. Say it. And if you're not thankful, your problems are beyond this post.

#7 Help her

One of the most tangible ways to express love is by service. She shows her love to you every day by doing things for you, whether you see it or not. And you should do the same. I know, you mow the lawn and take care of the car. You clean the garage and fix broken stuff, but help her when she needs it. Something missing from many men today is the desire and willingness to be all things to your wife. You should be willing and able to swoop in and save the day in almost any situation. You can do dishes, laundry, cleaning, and cooking if necessary. You're not less of a man for doing so! You're more of a man. When she doesn't feel good, take on her tasks. When she's exhausted or discouraged, pick up the slack. I believe men ought to initiate this type of love if they want it to be reciprocated. If you lead by example, serve, and sacrifice, she will love you more, respect you, and stand behind you like you want her to. So many men want respect from their wives when they are not worthy of it. Get off your couch and do something to show her you deserve respect. Earn it.



This advice applies to many areas of life, but don't wait until she asks for help to help. See a need and do something about it. If you can tell she's overwhelmed or frustrated, step in and ask what you can do to help. I've also learned that I can make the situation worse if I start helping "my way" instead of her way. For example, I do NOT load the dishwasher--ever.


Conclusion:

Nothing worth having comes easily. If you want your marriage to be awesome, it will take an incredible amount of work. Don't shy away. Don't make excuses; and don't get mad at me--I'm just the messenger.

Image credits:
Encouragement/helping image from http://www.useminary.com/
'How to give a good compliment' image from http://one-lesson-at-a-time.blogspot.com/2013/05/end-of-year-class-compliments-free.html
Listening image from http://macalicomm.com/2013/11/9-simple-and-effective-listening-techniques/
Asking forgiveness image from http://www.iainsmithcoaching.co.uk/forgiveness-vs-permission/
Thank you card image from http://www.pongoresume.com/blogPosts/240/the-value-of-thanks-giving-in-your-job-search.cfm
Dirty dishes image from http://www.keepingitkleen.com/residential_blog/how-to-efficiently-clean-your-kitchen-in-a-hurry/

15 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Your wife is very blessed to have such an insightful and caring husband. Most men stop pursuing and learning about their wives as soon as they have "caught" them. (Despite what the Bible says about dwelling with them according to knowledge.) Kudos!

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  3. Should not a man also get respect because provides for his wife?

    I understand helping when sick , tired, burdened etc

    but never knew that a man gained respect by becoming a Titus 2:5 woman...

    this gender confusion all over is kinda crazy

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    1. also how is cleaning the house/garage outside, building etc not helping a wife? or something a wife does not need?

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    2. Yes, I think providing for the family deserves some respect. But a man also gains respect from his wife by putting her needs above his own. Romans 12:10 says, "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another." I love when my wife does things for me, but God has called me to place her needs above mine (in my opinion). And I don't think that constitutes "gender confusion."

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    3. yes you are right
      but the relationship between brothers is not similar to this
      men are not men to treat women like men and vice versa
      men show love to their wife by doing what the bible says a good husband does and the same for women, A man is not loving his wife by taking up the woman's role or the woman by taking over the man's role ( sure our culture calls it loving but the bible's commands for men and women in terms of husband wife are never the same) If a man is only showing love or real love when he takes over the household responsibilities (which is her priority) then the same argument can be made to say, a woman who usurps her husband as the leader is actually loving him!! sure men can ease the load of their wives ( laundry , cooking whatever) but it ain't their priority, same way a woman can ease the man's task ( help/support in provision) but that is not her priority. A man cannot tell his wife, true love is me becoming the biblical woman so you go work while I become a homemaker. its all this gender blending that our culture desires that makes culture lean towards same sex relationship etc ( After all if men are allowed to do what women do and vice versa, so why not 2 men getting together since everything is swappable) so yeah the man who takes up the extra job , to provide and serve his family, or works at night as well so his wife does not have to stress about being cared for and protected is showing biblical self sacrificing husbandly love for his wife, not one that takes over her role Jesus showed sacrificial love but he was still Jesus, he does not say , okay I'll be sacrificial so i'll submit to the church!- no that is what Adam did. Its kinda sad the providing, protecting, enabling her spiritual growth did not end up on keeping a wife happy...

      I guess I am basically saying that , men and women are not mean't to sacrifice in entirely the same way, if they were then gender is pointless and the question of why the bible has different commands for men and women then has NO answer.

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  4. No complementarian pastor tells the wives, of a man who is tired from work and does not lead his family to bear his burden and take his task- No they rightly say the man must sacrifice his selfish desires ( rest and ignoring family) and work harder to be a better godly man.
    The same applies for women, whether its submission or homemaking discipline children or younger women etc , men are not supposed to TAKE over their role...

    Also the idea you have that stay at home mum's work harder than a man who provides it made me just sad, A man's work his hard, if not harder- protecting his wife so she does not have to deal with the sinful world or bear his curse. Both work hard, its just different , if we keep trying to compare them equally, then you surely must believe that gender is irrelevant. If a man that breaks himself to provide and serve his family everyday believes his wife is working harder than him, and the wife believes her job is harder, it does not sound like a very healthy relationship and and almost like the man is a slave...

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    1. Perhaps I haven't been clear. And perhaps you have misrepresented what I've said and then argued against that. Nowhere in my posts have I suggested husbands and wives swapping roles or responsibilities. However, in response to the overly macho, borderline chauvinistic ideals of the American 1950s, I have pointed out that husbands are not given an "off duty" card when they arrive home from work. They do not have a pass to lay on the couch and demand that the wife clean, cook, and tend to the children. When I come home, I see my wife (sometimes) wearied and stressed. So I do everything I can to ease the stress. If you believe that's contributing to the acceptance of same-sex marriage and loss of gender identity, I think you are sorely mistaken. You said that "Jesus did not submit to the church." But in fact he did come to serve the church! He came to earth and washed the feet of his disciples! Maybe you think Jesus was being a little too humble in that story.

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    2. How is expecting your wife to look after the home misogynistic?
      Then is Titus 2:5 misogynistic? Is proverbs 31 misogynistic?

      What about men who work so hard to serve their families by providing for them- they are not allowed to rest when they come home?

      how sad.. even Jesus rested

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    3. It seems to me you are putting words in my mouth yet again. I believe the Bible teaches equal value of genders with differing roles. No part of the Bible is "misogynistic." But a man who believes himself to be superior to his wife could twist parts of the Bible to fit his agenda--and that has happened far too often. Being a "keeper at home" never describes certain tasks that are "for women" and others that are "for men." These task assignments are mostly the product of culture; and that's fine, as long as it doesn't degenerate into a relationship in which the husband expects the wife to do everything at home simply because he generates more (or all) of the household income. So yes, men should work hard at work; and then they should come home and serve their families. Parenthood and marriage is about sacrificing for the good of the spouse/children. Matthew 20:26 says, "Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister." And Matthew 23:11 says, "But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant." Having a leadership role in the home means the husband should expend himself for his family, even if it means doing the dishes or cleaning a toilet when necessary. And when it's not necessary, then it's fine for me to come home from work and enjoy a clean house and home-cooked meals that my wife makes! She's amazing.

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    4. a man that works hard to provide while dealing with the messed up sinful world is expending himself
      men are not called to be workers at home, so how can you call it a product of culture?

      why do you think that provision is NOT serving your wife? it is almost like your implying that men only serve their wives by taking on their priorities.

      so no I am not putting words, you keep insisting that a man works and then comes home and serves , as if he was not serving all day. Yes I kept saying from the beginning that yeah men should come home and help, but you then say it is wrong for a man to expect his wife to be a keeper of the home? this is contradictory to God's word,

      Keeper at home largely describes that the development of her home his her priority so where do you get that those tasks are not a woman's priority?

      and again why do you think men that work are not doing it to serve and love their wives, most of that income is spent on a house, for the wife everything for the wife and kids- not for himself when he could easily do that... it is sad that you keep separating working from serving...

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    5. it is this same argument that others use to justify stay at home dads
      Keepers at home does not mean anything really- it is cultural.
      A truly loving man who puts his wife first will make her work while he sits at home and develops the home

      because a man working is NOT seen as service...

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  5. Submission is different from serving, and I APOLOGIZE , I fully agree with your last comment, I think it was more that provision and protection was not on the list so I got a bit misled!

    No of course not men should serve their wives, not expect to be served, in the same way there is nothing wrong with a wife telling her husband to relax if he had a hard day ( cause men can have hard days too- you may not think so but they can..) it does not make it 1950's if a woman serves her husband.

    So yeah I thought you were advocating for swapping roles, hence- maybe cause I see it a lot around me I get a bit overly responsive over such things sorry- there are so many christian house husbands where I live and youth leaders encourage young men to become house husbands...

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  6. Okay, well, this discussion is becoming less useful by the minute. You are not listening, and I am tired of responding to the same accusations. To be clear: yes, a man's work is service to his family; but it doesn't stop when he gets home. The end. Now that's finished. Moving on to me thinking that gender is irrelevant, because that is clearly displayed in all my posts and replies. You are building a straw man and showing me how great you are at disassembling men--built from straw. (If you're unfamiliar with this reference, please Google "straw man argument.") I appreciate your interest in the posts and your zeal to correct someone you've never met and don't listen to, but please stop now. Good day.

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