The New Year is here, and happiness awaits. But then, so does misery if we choose. That's the point — we get to choose. Here are 10 surefire ways wives can make happiness happen.
1. Remember how you felt about your husband on your honeymoon
You were over-the-top in love with the guy. Close your eyes and recapture the memory. Think about what you did and how you felt. Relish the thought. Choose to feel those same feelings again (at least for a few minutes) often.
2. Look at your husband with new eyes
See the hardworking guy he is. If he has a few — or more than a few — gray hairs, think about the sacrifices he made for you and your family that brought them on. Fill your heart with gratitude for all he's done to bless your life.
3. Wipe away any negative thoughts about him
While we all have flaws, chances are you married a quality guy. Otherwise, you never would have chosen to say "I do." Focus on your husband's good qualities. Write down a few to help them stay riveted in your mind. It's too easy to forget them when little marital misdemeanors — like dirty socks on the floor — occur. Get rid of negative thoughts and think of the good.
4. Pamper him with a back rub after a hard day's work (at least sometimes)
He'll love the attention. It will tell him loud and clear that you're thinking of him and his needs. Say "I love you" with your hands in a way that will touch his heart. Your tough tiger will be purring like the family feline in no time.
5. Look for opportunities to compliment him
Catch him off guard with a fun compliment, like "I saw you helping our elderly neighbor with her trash can, and thought it was really nice of you," or, "You are so handsome. You make that Walmart shirt look like it came off the rack at Neiman Marcus."
6. Praise him in the presence of others while he's within earshot
This is especially effective when done with his in-laws. It's simple. When you're having dinner, for example, say something like, "I wish you could have seen Jim (your husband) playing catch with Johnny yesterday. He's an amazing father." Or in conversation with your friends say, "Jim cooked dinner last night and it was absolutely delicious."
7. Talk with him
Let him share his feelings without interrupting him. Listen to his hopes and dreams. Sometimes he just needs to know you care about what he's going through. It feels good to have a wife who genuinely cares about what's on your mind — without trying to fix you. The great poet, Maya Angelou, said it this way: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." This definitely applies to our mates.
It's fun for a husband to see his wife looking pretty for a special occasion. That special occasion can be in the kitchen cooking pancakes for the family or on a fun date night out. Of course, looking good in the kitchen won't be the same as when you dress for a night out, but you still look pretty darn cute in nice jeans and a flattering tee — all worn with a big smile.
9. Make snuggle time with him memorable
No need to elaborate here. Just be sure to have some fun, intimate times together, enjoyed by both of you.
10. Pray together and, when it's your turn, thank the Lord for blessing you with a good man. Praying together is a great way to increase your happiness and deal with challenges in life. There's nothing quite like bringing this powerful third party into your marriage.
Do these 10 things, and you will be sure to have a happily married 2015 — and "ever after."
To order the Lundbergs' best-selling book on improving relationships, "I Don't Have to Make Everything All Better," click here.