The following points illustrate things that I have learned through my first year of marriage as a husband. These are not necessarily words to live but merely lessons that my wife and I are hoping will be valuable to our wonderful readers out there. I have heard, like most men have, the age old proverb, “happy wife, happy life”. While that is generally a fair piece of advice that was communicated to me on my wedding day, I couldn’t help but wonder “how do I go about that in the best way?!?!” So this is a compilation of my knowledge around that very question.
1. Pay Attention
Self-admittedly I am still working on this particular point, but it should be said. As a guy, I tend to get laser focused on one thing at a time and my wife is able to juggle ten thoughts at once. You can see where conflict can come into play. One of the things I have noticed is that while I am never able to multitask effectively, making sure that my wife knows that I want to hear what she has to say helps the situation a lot versus brushing it off. Stay away from the “yeah, uh huh’s” and stay engaged in conversation with her.
2. It’s a Team Sport
Your wife is your partner and you are hers. It may seem simple when you look at it from a top level view but you should always keep in mind that you two are on a team against life. It will take the unique skills of both of you to make this marriage thing work. If you go halfsies on everything, then you are not putting your best foot forward. For example, my wife and I came to an agreement on certain chores because we are better and more interested in specific tasks. I love to wash cars, she loves to do laundry (mostly because of holding warm clothes right out of the dryer). Rather than have both of us do half of each and be frustrated and unhappy with the task at hand, we work as a team to get everything done.
3. Make time for romance
As a guy, I try to add romance into everything that I am doing with my wife. The result of this can be five minutes of romance in an entire day and I’m guessing most ladies agree that this is not ideal. So instead of trying to squeeze romance into everything in little spurts, take time to really honor your wife by consciously planning time together on the weekend or after work. Creating a time to just love each other and spend time for a few hours is so much more rewarding than the five minutes before bed.
I may be an exception to the guy stereotype of men not wanting to communicate their feelings and frustrations, but talking is huge for me and my wife. From my perspective, I find that there are two ways to address a problem: either talk about it or don’t. It’s that simple. If you don’t talk, you are creating an atmosphere where you and your spouse may be walking on egg shells, generally avoiding each other, and letting the problem fester. Does that sound like a healthy marriage? As a husband who has had fights with his wife (as every husband has), I find that taking time to talk about the problem and working it out on the spot is a much more effective use of time. This way, I can get back to loving my wife the way she wants to and she is no longer tempted to attack me with disrespect.
5. Get Out of Jail Card
Diffusing your spouse is an important thing to know how to do. Mainly because you don’t want to say things that are only digging yourself deeper into a hole. This is different for everyone as your spouse has a love language that you should know and cater too. If you’ve never heard of the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, this is a great marriage book to better understand both yourself and how your wife loves (don’t worry, this isn’t a shameless plug for the book as we don’t get paid for this. It really is a fantastic and short read for married couples). Every woman has a “get out of jail card”. It’s usually something that they can’t help but laugh at or melt over. As an example of what we learned from the book, my wife’s love language is words and she literally melts when I build her up with positive language. So when I have already dug a hole and don’t want to keep digging, I use my “get out of jail card” and alter my language so that I am now loving my wife in the way she prefers and avoiding a deeper hole. In other words, do yourself a favor and “put down the shovel”!
6. Be Humble
Before I was married, it was easy to make decisions because there was only one person to consider. Now I have someone else to consider in all of my decisions. This shift can be a game changer for anyone because there will be times where your typical decision is now wrong. This presents a problem for the ego, which can sneak up on you if you’re not careful. Humbling yourself to listen and understand your partners’ point of view takes some adjustments over time but only brings good things.