Don’t wait for your wife to initiate jump-starting your marriage. Learn how to be a better husband and the rest will fall into place.
Let’s face it – marriage is hard work. Life is long, and after a couple years together you’ve both got a lot of factors in your life that are fighting for your attention.
You’re both worried about your jobs, salaries, mortgages, cars, lack of vacations, kids, not having kids, bad kids, dumb kids, or whatever else keeps you up at night.
Once upon a time it was just you and her, declaring your love to the world to anyone who would listen (and probably some people who wouldn’t). There was constant affection and you tripped over your own feet to do things to make her happy. Your entire goal in life was first to be a better boyfriend, and then how to be a better husband.
One day you look up and the spark is gone. You’re late for work so you barely say good morning before rushing off. At dinner you’re looking at your phone more than her, and then you wonder why she’s not in the mood for sex when you finally make it to bed.
Without sex the resentment starts building. You show less affection and do less for her than you used to. She gets even less interested in sex because why would she sleep with a guy who barely even pays attention to her?
The cycle goes and goes until neither of you are getting what you want.
Guys, here’s the hard truth: It’s up to you to fix this.
It’s going to be hard. If you’re not getting what you want out of a relationship, the idea of putting even more into it may seem like a waste of time or, at the very least, somehow just a weak thing to do.
Before you come up with reason why you shouldn’t be the one to make changes, just consider what the goal is: You want a better marriage. You want a happy love-filled life with your wife.
Becoming a better husband will give you that; so suck it up and get on with it.
Here are some great ways you can be a better husband.
Give Her What She Wants – Not What You Think She Needs
If you’ve been paying attention at all, your wife has probably hinted at what’s been bothering her. If she constantly walks around in the evening saying how tired she is, she’s probably very tired (duh). If she gets annoyed every time there are dirty dishes in the sink, you should probably start doing the dishes more.
If she’s tired, think what you can do to take things off her plate. Can you take care of dinner and the cleanup? What about laundry, vacuuming, or doing the shopping? If you can do a few of these things and give your wife an extra hour a day to herself, she’ll be grateful for it.
On the other hand, if she’s tired all the time and you buy her flowers because “women like flowers and stuff”, you’re not really solving a problem.
Don’t Be Another Child
It’s amazing to see grown men being treated like an extra kid in the family structure. Here’s how it usually happens:
A kid is born and your wife’s motherly instincts take over and nothing you do is good enough. The house isn’t clean enough, the dishes aren’t clean enough, you don’t do laundry properly, and you never pick out the right clothes for your kid to wear.
After a while of never getting anything right, you resort to “Fine, just TELL me exactly what to do and I’ll do it.”
You give up voting rights and become a servant in your home.
Suddenly your kid is 5 years old and you’re sitting there beside him being told what jacket to wear, how fast to drive, and what to eat.
Guys, this happens slowly, and your wife is even less happy about it than you are. Step up and take charge of things. Your wife has enough things to worry about, and putting more on her plate is not going to have her thinking sexy thoughts about you.
Sometimes Just Shut Up and Listen to Her
A lot has been written about men and women’s differing needs when it comes to communication. While it’s not a hard and fast rule, in general men are problem-solvers and women are looking for empathy.
When your wife gets home from work and complains about her day, don’t go into problem-solving mode trying to come up with a solution for how your wife can deal with Claire at the office drinking straight out of the milk carton.
Just listen and show her that you’re supporting her.
It’s Better to Be Happy Than Right
If you like arguing or absolutely hate the idea of being wronged, you’re probably willing to fight for days to prove your point and make her ‘see your way’.
Think back – have you ever argued your way to a ‘win’ in an argument with your wife? Have you had even one conversation where you fought and argued and at the end your wife said “OK, I understand, I never thought of it that way before, you’re absolutely right”?
Probably not. There’s a ton of literature and advice on how to communicate properly with your spouse. In trying to be a better husband, it’s important to remember the goal of any discussion or argument.
You’re building something with your wife, and you want the best possible outcome. That includes being happy with each other and the decision, and not as much about winning the fight.
So the next time you get into an argument, talk less and listen more. Make sure you understand her point of view and that she understands yours.
You can argue until you’re blue in the face if you want, but at some point it’s easier to just be happy.
Support Her Interests, Even If You Don’t Like Them
She probably doesn’t sit down and watch wrestling with you, but she might expect you to take a bigger interest in So You Think You Can Dance than you’d like. Or maybe she’s taking an abstract art class and while a coke can with a feather sticking out of it doesn’t scream artistic expression to you, it’s obviously important to her.
The point is, it’s easy to be condescending or just ignore completely an activity that you don’t like.
Be a better husband and take an interest. The trick, if you don’t want to just fake it, is to find an angle – a part of her interest that you find interesting. You might not like watching amateur dancing on TV, but maybe you can appreciate the intense physical training they go through.
Maybe abstract art isn’t your thing because it all seems like nonsense. Spend a couple minutes learning about the mindset of an artist to better appreciate the WAY something gets expressed rather than the result.
When you were single you probably put a lot of effort into your appearance. Once you’re married, it’s easy to shelve the fancy dress shirts in favor of something that you can easily wash baby food out of.
Take stock of yourself and start fixing your weakest links. If you’ve gained weight, find a quick workout routine to get back on track. If all your clothes come from Walmart, go out and get one or two nice pieces of clothing for when you go out to dinner.
You’ll start feeling better about yourself, and this confidence will be obvious.
Act the Part
With your new-found confidence, fancy clothes, and bulging muscles, start getting back into a dating mind-set.
Start easily by complimenting your wife more. Her appearance, her clothes, her cooking, or her ass – whatever it is, be genuine and flirty.
Figure out a time to take her on a date. Get a babysitter if necessary, but take her out somewhere romantic or somewhere that has good memories for both of you.
Remind her how things used to be, and show her that you can still have it that way.
Touching and Kissing
You’re looking good, you’re feeling good, now it’s time to act on it. This is not a ‘I’m wearing a tie so let’s go fool around’ kind of thing, but start being more physical in playful ways. Even out in public, you can hold hands, put your arm around her, or just give her arm a little squeeze every now and then.
A quick kiss as you go through a door, wait in an elevator, or get in the car can all show her that there’s romance in the air and she’ll quickly start responding.
Respect Respect Respect
I know – we were just getting to the good stuff and now we’re back to respect. The truth is, every interaction you have with your wife sends signals as to how you value her. If you roll your eyes, cut her off, or do the opposite of everything she says, she’s going to get the message that you don’t respect her.
Turn things around. Show her that you’re really listening to what she’s saying. That you value her opinion, and that you like listening to her.
When she talks to you, turn off the TV, shut off your phone, or walk away from the computer. Make eye-contact and show you’re focusing entirely on her.
Sharing Common Goals
If you’ve started following the other steps in this guide, your day to day situation should be improving quickly.
Now it’s time to think a bit more long-term. One of the most exciting features of a marriage is being able to plan your life out with someone else. Working together on common goals is incredibly empowering, but it’s easy to get caught up in every immediate demand for your attention.
Figure out a time to sit down and talk about the future. Get a notepad, whiteboard, or whatever else works for you.
Begin discussing some of your dreams. Where do you want to live? What do you want to do? What kind of future or opportunities do you want to provide for your children?
If her dream is to stay home with the kids, start figuring out if that’s possible. If you want to open a coffee shop and have your wife sell her art there, talk about it.
Want to retire on a boat and sail around the world? What steps do you have to take together to make that happen?
Common goals have a wonderful way of framing your entire lives as the two of you against the world – just how it was when you first met.
Just remember that the first steps are up to you. Don’t wait or blame your wife. Be strong and get the ball rolling. She wants a loving exciting marriage just as much as you do. Take some first steps and she’ll respond in kind.