Being a better wife is something I have to remind myself of often. In a way being a mother is something that comes naturally for me. Not meaning that I consider myself an above-average mom that knows exactly what I’m doing (because most of the time I have no clue what I’m doing), but natural as in my motherly instincts seemed to have come with the birth of my first child. I naturally want to do all that I can to bring about her health and well-being. I naturally hurt when she hurts. And I naturally try to do little things throughout the day to bring that smile that I love so much. There are also those times that I just happen to know that she is hurting and what is causing it. The connection I have experienced in being a mother has been an incredible experience.
Confession time: Being a wife does not come as naturally for me. You might have guessed that from previous posts. It takes more of an intentional effort to make sure that I am also loving and serving my husband and taking care of his needs as well. It’s not natural for me to wait at the door with my apron on and Pinterest-worthy dish in hand waiting to greet him with a hug and kiss. Heck…it’s a good day when I actually prepare a lunch for him to take to work. Sadly, there are too many days that I exhaust all my energy on my toddler that by the time he gets home all he is greeted by is “tired wife,” “grumpy wife,” or “please take our toddler from my arms wife.” There have been too many nights that I have gone to bed with the thought, “Dang it. I need to be a better wife.”
I guess that’s just one of the problems that comes with “marrying up.”
Anyway…this last month of pregnancy I have tried really hard to focus on being a better wife. I know well enough from the last time I had a newborn that it can be hard on both of us as we tend to forget about each other and focus all our energy on the new little human bundle.
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DISCLAIMER: Due to recent comments, I feel I should clarify: This is something that I personally had fun with because I have a husband that helps out and does a lot for me. I felt like I hadn’t focused on him as much during my pregnancy and wanted to think of little things I could do so that he knew how much I appreciate him. He would still be the great husband he is even if I did not do all these things. This post is in no way expressing the view that men are “above” women, or that relationships are one-sided. Obviously it takes two to make a happy and successful relationship. This post does not include ways husbands can serve there wives because the majority of my readers are women.
Here are some habits I have tried to work on (and am still trying to incorporate):
How to Be a Better Wife: 30 Day Challenge
This post should really be titled, “How to Be a Better Spouse,” since most of these principles work both ways, but since the majority of my readers are female, we are just going to stick with the “Better Wife” title.
One of my favorite things anyone ever said to me was “You LOVE those whom you SACRIFICE most for.” I have noticed first hand that when I start to think about myself more, my love for my spouse (and myself ironically) is less. So that is my main motivator behind this challenge. To train myself to sacrifice more for the man I love most.
I’ve broken these down into weeks to make it a monthly focus and help generate some ideas, but obviously you don’t want this to feel like a “checklist.” Just work on different principles as they fit into each week.
WEEK ONE: BE INTERESTED IN WHAT HE LOVES TO DO
- Watch Sports with him. My husband is obsessed with soccer. It doesn’t interest me as much, but I have shown more interest and attended games with him, even when my pregnant body tells me that I do not want to stand through another soccer game. Surprisingly, I have started to enjoy soccer a lot more and I really do enjoy that time with him.
- Ask him about his day/work. Show interest in what he does everyday.
- Give him time to unwind. I’ve heard that men need 20-30 minutes when they first get home to just relax and transition from work to home. This is not the time for us wives to dump all of our frustrations on our husbands (something I’m still working on :)). Depending on your husband, this may not even be the time to talk about his day.
WEEK TWO: LOVE HIM IN A WAY THAT HE LOVES
- Respect him. Ask for his advice. Let him be a leader. Men like to know that they are valued and they love to fix things, so let him know you value what he has to offer.
- Offer to help him. Find a way to work by his side at something you normally wouldn’t. I think my husband would fall over dead if I offered to help him with the yard work. Unfortunately this is hard to do unless our toddler has gone to bed already, but once I’ve recovered from this upcoming birth I plan to find ways to help out.
- Know his love language. My husband particularly feels loved by letters/words. One day this last month I sent an email to him at work praising him for the man that he is and letting him know how much I love him. Sadly, I did this a lot more when we were dating and first married. It’s time to kick things up a notch!
- Point out his strengths. Point out specific examples and ways that he influences others lives. I notice all the time how well my husband interacts with teenagers and those he teaches. The youth just love him. Sometimes we notice things but never make them vocal. It’s good to know that your spouse sees your talents.
- Be his sexy wife! This is currently one of the hardest since being in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy feels as close to sexy as stretch marks, gas, and heartburn feel to beauty. As tempting as it might be to stay in your sweats all day skip out on the mascara, don’t do it. Men are visual. And getting yourself ready for the day isn’t just for your husband. There is a confidence and motivation that comes to us as women when we get ready for the day and make ourselves presentable. Love your body and take care of it. I know personally that when I am eating right and exercising, I am also positively affected emotionally and mentally–not just physically.
WEEK THREE: PRAY
- Nothing seems to help me be a better wife more than prayer. If I struggle with patience or kindness, then I pray specifically to be more patient or kind. I’ve noticed that when I am truly sincere in my prayers, added strength truly does come.
- Pray in your husband’s behalf. Pray for his happiness. Pray for his strength. Pray to be inspired to the best ways to love him. Here is a cute printable bookmark with 10 ways to pray for your husband.
WEEK FOUR: BE LOVEABLE
- Try and remind him of the lovely girl that he married. Sometimes something comes out of my mouth and I think to myself “I would have never said that when we were dating.” My husband most likely married me because he thought I was kind, caring, and maybe even insightful or inspiring at times. I often need to remind myself to be the girl that he fell in love with. Sometimes this means less sarcasm and more kindness.
- Be happy. It’s hard not to be happy yourself when you are around someone who radiates a happy and cheerful heart. Be positive and focus on the things you are blessed with. If you are particularly annoyed with your husband, focus on the things you love about him. This doesn’t mean you ignore issues that come up, but if you address them with respect, success will be much more easily achieved.
- Let go of expectations. No one likes doing something for another person when they are expected to do it. When I was first married, my husband always did the dishes after dinner. The first few times that he went to bed without doing them I remember being shocked. Slowly over time he didn’t do them every night like he used to. I remember questioning the change and he let me know that he didn’t enjoy doing it when I expected it of him rather than appreciating the service. OUCH. As women especially, we can do better at appreciating more and expecting less.
- Avoid criticism and let things go. This was mentioned in a previous post on fighting in marriage. Marriages that survive and thrive have a ratio of 5 to 1 when it comes to positive experiences. Make sure that you are praising and adoring at least 5 times as much as you are complaining or bringing up concerns.
WEEK FIVE: Be unpredictable and find ways to surprise him
- Since there aren’t a full 5 weeks in a month, spend a few specific days being a better wife by randomly surprising your husband with something special. You are the one to know what this would be. Take him back to the days that you dated and remind him why it all started. Be his best friend and create some fantastic memories.
- Have fun and make memories. Sometimes it’s hard to get out of the house for an “official” date when you have kids, but do it as often as you can. If it’s hard to get out, read my post on ideas for fun and affordable dates at home.
I’ve noticed a great bonus to working on being a better wife: My husband naturally reciprocates and does kind things in return! As I increase in kindness and respect, so does he…which only makes me want to keep trying!
30 Days to a Better Spouse Marriage Course
Many of you have written me with your various questions concerning relationships and marriage. This sparked a desire in me to learn as much as I could so that I could inspire as many marriages as possible. It has become my passion. This post on “How to Be a Better Wife” was written FOUR and a HALF YEARS AGO! In those 4 1/2 years, I have spent hundreds of hours reading books, attending conferences and interviewing marriage counselors in a quest to find out how to be a better wife (or husband) and just what makes certain marriages more healthy than others, so that I could teach others.
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What are your Favorite Ways to Show Love your Husband?