Your wife is amazing. You know it. That's why you married her. You assume that she knows it, too. However, most women are their own worst critics. If you don't remind your wife, and express to her often, how amazing she truly is, she might start to forget.
As important as it is to know the right things to say, it's equally important to know what not to say. It's quite likely there are some comments you regularly make to your wife that are hurting her feelings. You may mean well by these comments, perhaps they're simply matter-of-fact questions, or you may just be trying to sincerely help, but if you're not careful these well-intentioned comments may slowly be destroying your wife.
Guys, if you want a happy wife, here are 10 well-intentioned comments and questions to avoid. And if you can't help yourself and these comments or questions slip out anyway, make sure they're said in a very pleasant non-accusatory tone.
1. What have you accomplished today?
This comment especially applies to those couples where the wife stays at home, potentially with the kids. Being a full-time mom has got to be the toughest job in the world (if you don't believe me, then try it for a day). If that's your situation, take my advice and please don't ask your wife this question. She may interpret your genuine curiosity as a knock against the importance of her daily activities. If the kids are still alive when you get home, then she's likely accomplished more than you have.
2. Do I have to?
It's quite possible that from time to time your wife asks you to do certain things you're less than enthusiastic about. Perhaps it's attending a boring work dinner with her, wearing that weird shirt for family pictures, or simply cleaning out the basement. Whatever the case may be, remember that doing something slightly unpleasant is a relatively small price to pay for a happy wife. Support your wife because you love her.
3. You really shouldn't eat that [insert favorite treat here]
Um, just don't say this. Ever. Your wife faces enough outside pressure to look and dress and appear a certain way – she doesn't need to hear it, or even infer it, from you. Rather, remind her of these three things you want her to know.
Keeping track of your finances is critical to building a happy marriage and finding financial peace of mind. However, as important as it is to be in control of your finances, it's also important that you're not overly consumed by them. What I mean is that it's possible to take money management so seriously that it becomes a fault. If the first thing you say to your wife when you get home is, "How much money did you spend today," then you've probably taken money management too far.
5. Will you keep the kids quiet?
If you've ever tried to keep 3 kids under the age of six quiet for more than 5 minutes (without bribing them), then you know how absurd this request is. It would be like taking those same kids to Disneyland and asking them to fold their arms the whole time. It just won't happen. Enjoy the peace and quiet where you can, but don't expect your wife to provide it by keeping the kids quiet.
6. Honey, I don't have any clean underwear
We're sorry that you don't have clean underwear, and we suggest you figure out how to do the laundry. It will make your wife so happy.
7. Wow, the house is a mess
Yeah, it is a mess. A big mess. And it's okay. Remember, the first comment listed above? If the kids are still alive by the end of the day, you're wife has likely already accomplished more than you.
8. We're eating this... again?
If you don't like what's on the table, then maybe you should fix dinner tomorrow night… or go buy some cereal. Even if you're not that excited about dinner, just eat it with a smile. I remember when I was growing up, my mom would occasionally "over cook" (i.e. burn) dinner. Whenever it happened, my dad would excitedly exclaim, "Oh, it's just how I like it!" and eat the whole thing. What a great example.
I know the game is important, trust me. But it's not as important as your wife. You can miss one or two plays (isn't that what TiVo's for?) without the world coming to an end. As superstitious as you may be, your presence and attention to the game will not determine its outcome. And hey, your favorite team will probably lose anyway.
Aaron & April are the founders of Nurturing Marriage, a website dedicated to strengthening marriages. They enjoy playing football with their two little boys, watching sports, eating cereal late at night, and going out for frozen yogurt.