RELATIONSHIPS: How to be a Better Husband (2017)

When I was single, my married friends and married coworkers drilled four words into my head that I will never forget:  "Happy Wife, Happy Life".  Even now, after being married for a little over five years I hear those words ringing in my ears when I'm deciding whether to walk away from an argument with my wife or just go smooth off.  More times than not, I fight off the urge to turn a small argument into an all out war, which usually pays off in the end.  Still I have to admit that there's always room for improvement.  That's where research and patience comes in handy.

I consider marriage a lifelong relationship, so it's important to remember that throughout our life we all go through changes, just like our significant others.  It's easy to get caught up in work, friends, family, parenthood, and everything else that life throws at us and lose sight of things with our significant others.  It always helps to talk to friends and family, but no one will ever truly understand what's happening in your relationship like the two people involved.  As a husband, it's important to think about what we're doing (and not doing) from time to time and how that can affect our marriage. 

Below you will find some advice for husbands from around the web that I think are relevant today , some of which I've tried to implement in my marriage with different degrees of success.  That being said, I think these tips can also help guys who aren't married, but in serious relationships.  I hope that you find these tips helpful in your marriage and relationships.  

Here are 10 Tips to Be a Better Husband from around the Web: 

1. Learn How to Communicate

Open and honest communication is the most important aspect of a healthy relationship, and is the key to building trust.  Without proper communication, simple misunderstandings can turn into full-fledged fights.  Keep your relationship strong and avoid excessive arguing by simply expressing yourself on a regular basis.

  • Discuss issues as they come up rather than bottling them up and growing resentful over time.
  • Learn how to be diplomatic during arguments.  Try not to get overly defensive if your wife is being critical of you.  Similarly, try not to sound accusatory or angry when bringing up issues with her. 
  • Listen to her.  Being a good communicator isn't just about knowing how to talk.  It's important to give your wife your undivided attention when she is speaking.  Look her in the eyes, ask her questions, and don't look at your phone or computer screen if she's speaking about something important. 
  • If you are in a bad mood for any reason, then tell her explicitly rather than ignoring her or being short with her.  This way, she can give you the space you need without taking your attitude personally. (wikiHow)

2. Be More Attentive

Forget the chocolate-covered strawberries and scented candles.  Want to be more romantic?  Utter these five words to make her melt:  "Tell me about your day."  Talking to your wife - about work, family, the news - is an even better aphrodisiac.  A University of Virginia study found that wives care most about how affectionate and understanding their husbands are.  Spending quality time together and discussion things she likes creates a bond your wife equates with romance.  (Men's Health)

3. Let Your Wife Soar

Encourage your wife to pursue her passions.  Giver her the space to seek her heart's desire.  Put the wings on her back and let her soar.  When you cheer on your wife and inspire her to build a life separate from the life you share together then an amazing thing happens - the life you share becomes even more deeply connected. (The Bridge Maker)

4. Work on Your Appearances

As we start taking each other too much for granted in the years following marriage, it is common for married couples to stop working on their appearances.  They even forget to keep a watch on their weight, looking de-shaped and unattractive after a few years.  Love making declines and so does the excitement that they feel for each other.

If you want to feel the same way as you used to, recall what made you so special for each other at that time.  Didn't you want to look your best before going on a date?  Didn't you care about your body shape and hygiene?  Didn't you keep in mind the colors and fragrances that he/she liked the most?  If yes, then why not today?  After all he/she is the same person at heart.

Set aside some time to tidy yourself up before you meet each other every day.  Start working out to tuck in that bulging tummy, even if it means going for a short walk in the neighborhood.  Give yourself a nice pedicure and manicure, once a week.  Doing these little things can make a large difference to how you see and feel for each other.  Just try it!  (Wingman)

5. Rekindle the Friendship

Start by offering your partner the simple but crucial ingredient that we all have but are reluctant to part with . . . . the gift of time.  Here I'm not just talking about clock time, but about something even more powerful . . . emotional time.  It's not enough to just show up, you also have to be present.  To actually be interested, curious and open with your partner.

The simplest way to begin to develop this habit is to create a daily ritual of 15 minutes together . . . without screens, calls, or kids.  It doesn't require tears or poetry but it does require genuine focus and interest.  (National Marriage Seminars)

6. Help Out Around the House

Studies have shown that the average woman spends 10 more hours each week doing housework than her husband does!  Excessive housework and other stress-inducing activities can attribute to decreased sexual desire in both men and women.  Help balance out the workload by doing dishes, vacuuming, cleaning the bathrooms, doing yard work, handling repairs, and so on.

The key is to help out around the house even when you have not explicitly been asked to do so.  Remember that it is as much your obligation as it is your wife's to keep the house clean and in shape.
If you have children, help your wife by offering to pick the kids up from school, watch them when she is bust, etc. (wikiHow)

7. Surprise Each Other Once in a While

Why not start reading between the lines today and surprise your spouse by doing small startling things for each other.  Occasion or not, cheer up your partner by buying him/her small presents.  Hide small notes of love if different areas of the house, amused by the vision of bringing a smile to their faces.  Send romantic and sexy texts, when the other person expects them the least.  Arrange for surprise holiday trips.  As you go out of the way to do things for your spouse, it will bring out thankfulness from within and will be reciprocated in the same positive manner. (Wingman)

8. Stop Dreaming About Alternatives 

If you're always wondering just how much happier you'd be with a wife who "didn't act like that" or who really understood you, stop focusing on alternatives.  "Constantly visualizing ideal spouses makes you happy because it creates more potential for unproductive desire or regret", says marriage therapist Joshua Coleman, Ph. D., author of The Marriage Makeover.  While occasional communication about the issues that bother you is important, Coleman recommends frequently communicating what you think is great about her, rather than constantly trying to smooth out the tics that annoy you.  Tell her, for instance, that she did a great job painting the living room instead of saying, "That turned out well."  That way she'll know that its her you're impressed with, not chance.  (Men's Health)

9. Talk Openly About Your Finances

Money surprises are never good, so stay a few steps ahead and include your wife in an ongoing conversation about the budget.  This does not mean monitoring her spending.  It does mean that you don't keep secrets, you value her input, and you make important decisions as a team. (All Pro Dad)

10. Actively Revisit the Dreams [and the] Vision That Once Pulled You Together 

The final area to address is to actively revisit the dreams [and the] vision that once pulled you together and led to your decision to be a couple.  We connected because at some level, we could see, feel, imagine, dream of how wonderful the future would be if we were together.  Then life happens.  The busyness and pace distract us.  Kids and careers consume us, and suddenly the dream, the vision has slipped beyond the horizon.  We're on longer conscious of the dreams and visions that moved us.

So clear off an afternoon or evening and consciously reopen that file.  Allow yourself to once again see what you saw and feel what you felt.  Reconnect with the experiences and feelings that were so compelling and intoxicating.  They're still there.  Find them.  One tip that helps many couples is to take the time to look over old pictures or videos of the two of you during a simpler time.  Talk about the memories [that] the photos/videos trigger. (National Marriage Seminars)

BONUS:  Perform One Act of Kindness a Day

Do something special - something unexpected like taking care of a household chore your wife doesn't like doing or bringing her lunch.  You can also speak kindness with a thoughtful compliment or by expressing gratitude for what she is giving you. (The Bridge Maker)

Did you find this article helpful?  If so, please let me know in the comments.


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