Before you men get your noses out of joint, be assured that the follow-up article to this will be about the stupid things wives do. But for now, it's about you. Pay attention, husbands, and you just might discover a few things that could make your marriage better than you dreamed possible. Hold on tight, we're about to take off on what might be a painful journey of realization. On the other hand, you might be one of the good guys who doesn't fit this mold. If you are, your wife is a lucky woman. Either way, we hope you'll go through this list and see where you fit. Good luck. Here we go:
You work hard but fail to recognize all your wife does. She works hard, too. Start noticing. If she's employed and contributing to the family income, express your gratitude for her contribution. Look around your house and notice things that get done. There is no magical genie that does it-it's your wife. If she's fortunate enough to be at home with the kids, express your gratitude for that. It's not an easy job but is vitally important to the welfare of your kids. Start noticing and let her know you're noticing.
2. You don't thank your wife
Maybe you do look around and see what she does but fail to let your wife know that you are noticing. Open your mouth and let those "Thank you, honey" comments out. Thinking them and not expressing them falls into the stupid category. The only way she will know you are grateful for what she does is if she hears the words.
And be specific. Don't just say, "Good job, honey." That's lame. If she's good at budgeting the family funds, tell her what a good money manager she is and how much you appreciate her. When you see her folding the laundry, tell her thanks for taking care of the family clothes. When you see her helping your children with their homework, say, "Thanks for helping the kids, honey. They're lucky to have a mom like you." Whatever it is, be specific when you thank her.
3. You don't pitch in
It's great to thank your wife, but it's even better to follow up by pitching in and helping her. While you're thanking her for taking care of the laundry, help fold the clothes and match those errant socks. Then help put them away, enlisting the kids help. Be the helpful parent who also sits with the kids as they work out their math problems or other homework.
Look around and see what needs to be done around home. You're not one of the kids who needs to be assigned a task. This is your home, too. Take responsibility in seeing what needs to be done and do it. If your wife makes a special request, do it as soon as you can. An unfulfilled to-do list will only grow and cause irritation in a marriage.
4. You think the money is yours because you earned it
Once you marry, your income becomes the family income. You need to work with your wife in planning how it is to be spent. Your opinion about it is not the only one that matters. Hers is of equal value. Together you can work on a plan that fulfills not only the family's needs, but hers and yours. When she knows you respect and acknowledge her needs she will return the favor.
5. You don't apologize when you've done something hurtful
It's a wise man who learns how to say "I'm sorry" and really mean it. For less serious indiscretions this will usually do the trick. However, if it's a serious transgression it will take far more than one apology. To know you are truly repentant she needs to hear you asking for her forgiveness and expressing your sorrow for your actions several times. What she doesn't need to hear is "I said I'm sorry. What more do you want?" That shows insensitivity on your part. Be patient while her heart heals. And above all, make no excuse for your misbehavior. Show your apology is sincere by never doing the hurtful thing again.
6. You stick yourself in front of the TV and stay there
It's OK to watch a little television, but when you do it at the expense of your wife and kids, that doesn't work. They need your interaction. They need you to be present in body and mind. Ask them questions about their day and listen. Look at them when they talk to you. If you're staring at the boob-tube while their sharing thoughts with you that shows them that you don't really care. Shut off the TV and turn around. Be with them. That's how they and your wife know you care.
7. You don't talk much
Being the strong silent type isn't appealing. Don't be one of those men who won't take at least a few minutes and share your thoughts with your wife. She needs to hear about your day. If you've had a hard day tell her about it. She doesn't need to fix anything. She just needs to know what you're going through and give you the loving support you need, whether you acknowledge that need or not. If you had a great day let her know what made it great. Sharing and rejoicing together is how love grows. Open up your mouth and contribute to a conversation with the one you love.