Are you unhappy in your marriage or simply wondering if you should feel different than you do? Often, we look at our spouses when we feel unhappiness, but this may be a mistake. If you make becoming a better wife your goal, your relationship will likely improve overall, and you may see your man return your efforts, too!
HOW TO BE A BETTER WIFE
You may be surprised how much humility you learn on your journey to improving as a wife, and many of these lessons can be employed in your other relationships. Read on to learn more.
- BE THOUGHTFUL
It’s not the thought that counts so much when you don’t show how you think and feel about your man. Thoughtful gestures – and they don’t need to be big – can change your man’s world. A backrub after a long day at work, bringing him lunch on his break, a note in his briefcase and other little surprises all make you a better wife.
- TALK TO HIM AND REALLY LISTEN
Your days are busy, so you might not get into soul-searching conversations on a daily basis, but you might not be speaking to each other much at all! Make sure you take the time to ask how his day went, how he feels about your relationship and what’s on his mind. Perhaps most importantly, don’t forget to really listen when he replies. Don’t just set your mind to autopilot and tune him out.
- SUPPORT HIM EMOTIONALLY
While our culture doesn’t necessarily let a man show his feelings, he has them. Be that safe place where he can open up and be vulnerable, and show supports for his hopes and dreams. Don’t take it for granted that he knows you support him and believe in him because he has doubts, too.
- DON’T TAKE HIM FOR GRANTED
To piggyback on that, don’t take your man for granted in any way. Say “Please” and “Thank You,” and let him know that you appreciate what he does for you (and your children) and that your life wouldn’t be the same.
- MAKE TIME FOR YOUR RELATIONSHIP
How do you interact with your man on a daily basis? Perhaps it’s all about the chores, the kids, the pets and other obligations. This ties into talking to your man, but you shouldn’t just talk about him. You should talk about the two of you together and spend quality time doing things that build your bond. A monthly date night is a great way to do this.
- ALLOW HIM TO HAVE HIS FRIENDS; HAVE YOURS, TOO
Your husband might be your best friend, but he shouldn’t be your only friend. Situations like that are defined as codependent and are, ultimately, unhealthy. You both should have your own friends and spend time with them. This may mean you have to curb jealousy, especially if your man has a close female friend or if your relationship is new, and you can’t get enough of him.
- LEARN HOW TO ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED
Your husband wants to provide for you in any way he can, so you need to be comfortable allowing him to and asking him for help. However, many women make the mistake of asking for help in a way that sounds like nagging. As a result, their men respond by ignoring the request.
The two of you have to be connected to avoid this, so he understands that the issue is one that affects you both and not just you. Your man may realize this, but your tone of voice may sound like nagging. Keep that in mind when making requests, even if that means you might need to ask more than once. Be prepared to ask a second time without any contempt in your voice, and be ready to show your appreciation when he comes through.
- …AND TELL HIM THINGS
Too often, we expect our partners to be mind readers, and when they don’t know what we’re angry about, what needs to be done or anything else, we feel frustrated or worse. It’s easy to miss a clue or cue, so you should make sure you’re open with your man without being patronizing.
- PUSH HIM TO BE HIS BEST
Yes, you support him and believe him, but you also believe he has great potential that he has yet to reach. So push him to go the extra mile, take on projects that scare him or apply for a job that he doesn’t think he deserves.
- PARTAKE IN HIS INTERESTS
Does he like sports of woodworking? Spend some time watching or helping. Ask thoughtful questions about his interests and hobbies, even if they’re not up your alley. Besides, being open minded isn’t just a way to be a better wife; it might introduce you to a new interest.
- LET HIM UNWIND AFTER WORK
Chances are, you might accidentally overwhelm him when he gets home from work. Perhaps you’ve been home all day with the kids or pets, or there’s something you’ve been waiting to tell him until he gets home. But most men – and women – need a little downtime once they walk through that door. So give him fifteen or thirty minutes to unwind before you pile it on.
- BE SEXUAL – AND SEXY
We’re not here to tell you that you owe your man sex. However, sex is an important part of feeling connected when you’re in a relationship, so putting an effort into your sex life will go a long way. This might mean trying something new in bed or learning how to deal with your sexual anxiety so you can take the initiative in the bedroom.
- DON’T USE SEX TO BARGAIN
On the note of sex, keep it positive. Don’t withhold sex because you’re angry, and don’t use it as some sort of bargaining chip. That’s neither healthy nor fun.
- BE LESS CRITICAL
If you want to learn how to be a better wife, you’ll need to be less critical. Remember how you looked at your man through rose-colored glasses when you first started dating? He wasn’t perfect then, but you were willing to forgive his imperfections. Do the same for him now.
- CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY, NOT RIGHT
There’s a saying about how you can be happy or right, and this is never truer than in your relationship. You might be right, but what sort of damage will you do by trying to prove that? Instead of trying to be right, just try to come to an agreement that works for your marriage.
- HAVE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
Finally, having realistic expectations is key to improving as a wife. If you think you always need to be right, that your life must look a certain way or that you’ll never fight, you’re going to be proven wrong – and in a hard way. Instead, you’ve got to understand the reality of marriage/relationships.
BEING A BETTER WIFE WHEN YOU HAVE KIDS
Although you can do any of the things above to be a better wife, there are ways to be a better wife that don’t apply to couples without kids. Of course, you can skip this section if you don’t have kids, but we hope you find it helpful if you do!
- LOOK AT YOUR MAN AS MORE THAN DADDY.
Yes, he’s now a father (and you’re a mother), but that’s not all you are. You’re still husband and wife, creatures with sexual desires and people who have interests outside of being parents. If you always think of your husband as a father rather than thinking about him as a man, then the way you talk to and about him will center on that.
- TALK ABOUT THINGS OTHER THAN THE KIDS.
This leads us to our current point: you need to talk about things other than the kids. Don’t let your interests die, friendships weaken, and other priorities become forgotten in the rush-rush-rush of parenthood. If you’re new parents, other things will go on the back burner for a while, but you’ll eventually have time for one another. During this period, you should talk about work, friends, whatever your interests are or the article you read in the paper that morning, which helps the two of you see each other as more than just parents.
- MAKE TIME FOR SEX.
It can be hard enough to schedule time for sex when you’re not parents, but having a little one – or more than one – makes it even harder. If you’re especially romantic, you might not like the idea of scheduling sex, but sometimes you have to. Otherwise, you might find that a month has passed without you touching one another intimately.
- MAKE YOUR BEDROOM A SACRED SPACE.
It’s easy to wake up with your kid’s feet in your back, your husband out of reach on the other side of the bed. This means there’s no room for morning sex, and your bed might start feeling a little communal. Consider devising a solution where your bed is a kid-free zone, at least on the weekends if it doesn’t work all week long.
- PLAN A DATE NIGHT
This is another one of those ways of being a better wife that works if you don’t have kids but is even more impactful when you do. At least once a month, call a sitter (or switch babysitting nights with another couple so they can have a date night, too!), and head out on the town. Take your time to dress up and do your hair and makeup. Your man will appreciate the effort.
Choose a venue that’s not kid-friendly. Enjoy a glass or two of wine, gaze into your man’s eyes and talk about anything that isn’t your kids. If your sitter can host your kids all night, your date can end with some much-needed physical intimacy.
- SHARE PARENTING RESPONSIBILITIES
Finally, one way to be a better wife is to make sure that the lion’s share of the parenting (or housework or shopping, etc.) doesn’t fall on your man’s shoulders. It’s common in many cultures for the wife to do most of this work, but this doesn’t mean your man hasn’t taken up the mantle. So make sure you share those duties, preventing either of you from becoming burnt out or resentful.
WHEN BEING A BETTER WIFE ISN’T ENOUGH
Learning how to be a better wife won’t fix problems in a relationship if your husband isn’t also putting in effort. If you want to make your man feel loved and appreciated, that’s great! However, you need to examine whether your relationship has some real issues that are affecting both of you. Being a better wife won’t suddenly fix those issues.
This is especially true if your man has anger issues or is emotionally abusive. In cases like these, the man is looking for reasons to blame, and nothing you can do will be good enough. Of course, this often goes hand in hand with him convincing you that you’re unlovable and not worthwhile, and you can easily think things will improve as long as you can be a better wife. But that’s not how it actually works.
Improving as a wife is certainly a worthwhile goal, even if you’re already a pretty good one. Your husband will certainly appreciate your efforts, and you will reap the rewards in return. However, not every issue can be solved by you becoming a better wife.