If you are married currently or have been married in the past, chances are you've run across what I like to call "GWS," or Grumpy Wife Syndrome. I'll admit; I've been the grumpy wife on more than one occasion. It's easy to get grumpy when things go wrong or when your feelings are hurt.
Most recently, I had a case of GWS when I felt like my husband wasn't including me on budget and money decisions related to our finances (money issues can be a trigger for GWS). We worked through that tiff, but it got me thinking about how I was a little unreasonable and salty in the wake of the "discussion." It took a bit of effort on the part of my husband to help me recover and become the happy, calm wife he knows and loves.
In the wake of that discussion, I did a little informal poll on Facebook and asked: "What's the best way to tame a grumpy wife?" I got a lot of great suggestions from both husbands and wives.
Here are my favorites:
1. "Hand her a glass of her favorite beverage, along with the remote, and tiptoe away quietly."
This works because it acknowledges that she needs some alone time and space to calm down while not making her feel bad for needing it. I give this suggestion an A+!
2. "Fill up the bathtub using some scented bath soap, light a candle, turn down the lights and go away. Offer to stay and talk while she relaxes if that's what she wants instead."
This suggestion takes it up a notch from #1. Again, it validates her feelings and gives her space, while also creating a soothing environment to facilitate calm. Bonus points for offering to stay and talk if she wants it!
3. "Send her out of the house on her own with some money that she can spend on herself."
Most wives I've met would love this suggestion! Time away from the pressures of home and family, and permission to splurge a bit is a recipe for a calmer attitude. Just be sure that the money is in your budget and won't cause conflict about spending later on!
4. "Give her a backrub."
This suggestion is likely to work for many wives. Non-sexual physical affection can be both soothing and reassuring. Make sure the backrub has no strings attached for best impact!
5. "Take her out to dinner and listen to everything she says."
This wins on several levels. First, a meal out and no pressure to cook can be music to a grumpy wife's ears! Secondly, a listening ear can be just the right medicine to turn a negative attitude around. Let her talk uninterrupted, without judgement or trying to fix it and you are sure to find that her emotions turn around quickly.
6. "A strong hug and an 'I am sorry you are having a bad day' can change everything!"
You don't have to be extravagant or spend hours to make your wife feel better. Sometimes a simple hug and acknowledgement of her emotions is the perfect antidote for what's bothering her.
7. "Be kind to her. Sometimes I just need to hear some kind and gentle words even if my grumpy behavior hasn't earned them."
Husbands, your words are important! If you are willing to offer gentle responses and kindness even when your wife is acting grouchy, she will take notice and is likely to soften.
8. "Bring home one of her favorites (cheesecake, favorite dinner, Starbucks, etc), then let her vent while you nod and say affirming things."
Small gestures can have a big impact. Remembering a favorite that your wife enjoys and bringing it to her shows her you care about her, even when she isn't perfect. Listening and affirming combined with a small token will surely soothe her frayed edges!
9. "Don't defend yourself or respond with grumpiness back. Try to make her laugh instead."
This one is tough but important. A grumpy response from you, when she is in a bad emotional place, can be like pouring gasoline on a fire. Try to remember that you love this woman and she loves you. Treat her exactly the way you would want to be treated when you are irritable and you won't go wrong. Bonus points if you can make her laugh - that chases away the grumpiest attitudes as fast as anything I've seen!
10. "Flowers can fix a whole lot of everything."
Flowers are a cliché for a reason guys! It's because, by and large, women melt when their men bring them flowers. Sending flowers for no reason at all, or simply because you love her are the very best kind of flowers. I've never met a woman who will stay grumpy in the face of such a warm and loving gesture.
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