No groom stands before the glowing vision that is his bride walking down the aisle and eagerly plots all the ways he can disappoint her in the years to come. He has every intention, rather, of loving and caring for her and making her happy. Happy wife – happy life.
And no bride sets out to be a miserable nag. She wants to remain alluring, inviting and feminine to her husband. She wants him to boast about how lucky he is to his friends. And though she understands it may look different in the changing seasons, she wants the romance between them to stay alive.
But the relentless busyness of modern adult life can take its toll on our marriages. Where once we were motivated by a beautiful selflessness towards our spouse, we can become de-sensitised to their needs. If we get home at the end of a long day exhausted and spent, we have so little left to give that it’s hard to put our own needs aside to see to someone else’s. The result is that we can settle for independent, self-sufficient living and lose touch with each other.
Husbands, if you want to make sure your wife continues to adore and respect you like she did the day you said your vows, there is one key thing you can do:
Any gesture – big or small – that says ‘I see you’, ‘I understand how you feel right now’ and ‘I care about you enough to do something about it’.
And the critical success factor?
You need to do this without being asked!
Does this put you into a cold sweat because you fear your inability to read your wife’s mind and respond accordingly? Help is at hand.
I asked 67 married friends to answer the question, “What is the nicest thing your husband could do for you?”. (Take a look here if you’d like to read all their responses. I have to say, there are some really considerate, helpful, loving husbands out there – good job!)
Their replies could pretty much be categorised into six main areas. If you want some practical ideas on nice things you can do, read on:
Do something to indulge your wife: send her to a spa; run her a bubble bath accompanied by a glass of wine; bring her tea in bed; give her a massage or foot rub – spoil her! It doesn’t have to break the budget and will go a long way towards making her feel appreciated.
2. Emotional support
Spend some time listening to your wife. Show an interest in what she’s interested in. Try to understand how she feels (and I don’t need to tell you not to try fix her, right? You know this) Give her recognition for what she achieves in any given day. Be empathetic when there’s a lot of change happening in her life and she’s feeling needy or unsettled.
Chores are dreadfully dull. 365 days a year, they keep on coming. They are endless. They are soul destroying. And any help you can give your wife on this front will score you plenty of points. Do the grocery shopping; cook dinner; play with the kids; get them ready for school in the morning; fold laundry etc
4. Fix things
Yes, times have changed but there are still some ‘manly’ things that most of us wives need your help with: wheel alignments; shelving; clearing out the garage; washing cars; mowing the lawn… You’re our heroes of d.i.y and home maintenance!
5. ‘Me time’
For those couples who have children, this is a biggie. The best thing you could do here is offer to take the kids off your wife’s hands for a good few hours (minimum of 4 as a guideline) so that your wife can get some things done. Sometimes she may just need that time to get some chores done at home (have you ever tried to vacuum the house with a toddler holding onto your ankles? I have) Or she may want to lie on the couch and read a book. Whatever she chooses to do with the time, she will be so grateful for a decent chunk of time all to herself. This is a rare treat that does a lot to restore a weary soul.
6. Time together
This may come as a surprise to you, but your wife chose to spend the rest of her life with you because she enjoys spending time with you. She really enjoys spending time with you! Think back to all those hundreds of hours the two of you spent exclusively together during your dating days. She misses that. Put the phone down. Pack the iPad away. Give her your full, undivided attention. Cuddle her (if that’s what she likes) without expecting sex. Simply hang out together and savour the intimacy it brings.
Did you notice that not once did I mention, ‘Buy her flowers?’
There is nothing wrong with receiving flowers. I personally love getting them unexpectedly. But choose your timing wisely. They have the potential to be viewed as a second-rate, generic gesture if there are many other pressing needs your wife feels you could be addressing.
My challenge to husbands is to pay a bit of extra attention to your wife this week. Do something nice that meets a need she has. If it doesn’t seem to get the response you were hoping for, keep working your way through the six categories I’ve given you and see which gestures get the best reaction from her. If all else fails, go ahead and ask her what nice thing you can do for her. I think that in itself will get a great response!
Now, I am fully aware that we wives need some guidance in this area too. Is there perhaps a male blogger out there who could help us out with a (mature and tasteful) list of suggestions as to how we can be nice to our husbands?
By Jen Groom
photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/clickflashphotos/3440590766/”>ClickFlashPhotos / Nicki Varkevisser</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a> photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/clickflashphotos/3440590766/”>ClickFlashPhotos / Nicki Varkevisser</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>