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If there were an award for “Husband of the Year,” I would not win. I would not get runner up. I would not even get an honorable mention.
When it comes to being a husband, putting it mildly, I could be better.
Putting it bluntly: I suck.
I’m selfish, inconsiderate, manipulative, conniving, and I leave the toilet seat up.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my wife, but despite all my efforts, I often come up short. Does that make me a horrible husband? No.
Why? Because I recognize that I can always improve (so can our marriage), and I’m committed to making sure that happens. It also helps that I have an awesome wife who shares that commitment.
If you’ve been married for any number of years, you already know this: marriage takes work.
And just when you think you have time to take it easy on the job, you get called in to work a double shift. Unlike a typical double shift, where you can clock in cranky and hating the world, with marriage, you’d better clock in with a smile on your face, and be ready to bring joy to the world.
Mandy and I are approaching our 10-year wedding anniversary, and along the way, I’ve picked up a thing or two about being a better husband.
I’ll be first to admit that I didn’t pick up on most of these the first time around. In fact, it took her beating them against my head before they finally started to sink in.
Husbands, if you’re reading this –which you should – be ready to take notes. I promise there’s something in here that will keep you out of the doghouse. Here’s 12 easy ways on you can be a better husband.
1. Trust Her Intuition – The Mom Spidey Sense
Women ALWAYS know. Call it a sixth sense. Call it a woman’s “spidey sense.” Whatever it is, don’t doubt it.
I was going on a business trip where she didn’t feel good about some of the people I was meeting up with. I reassured her that she had nothing to worry about, which I firmly believed. Turns out that she was totally right. I found myself in situations that I, as a Christian husband, shouldn’t have been in (Sorry to be vague here, but it’s necessary).
I felt horrible because I realized that she was right, and I never should have gone. Her “spidey sense” was 100% accurate, and my “male sense” was 100% inaccurate. If your wife has a gut feeling about something, don’t fight it.
2. All the Small Things
You would think that being married for almost 10 years, I would have this figured out by now.
Yeah. Not even close.
As a “big idea guy,” I always like to come up with unique and funny ways to surprise my wife. While those are always a hit, it’s not always about the big things you do that make you a better husband. Wives like the little things just as much as, if not more than, the big things.
These could be things like doing the dishes, helping your kids get dressed in the morning, offering to put the kids to bed, or getting your wife a fountain Coke on the way home. Sometimes it’s the little things that can have a huge impact on your marriage. Case in point – check out this Facebook page update that my wife shared on Mother’s Day.
The funny thing about that is that I didn’t even think twice about filling up her car with gas. I just happened to be driving it and it was empty, so I did what men do; I fixed the problem.
It wasn’t until this Facebook update that I realized how much my wife appreciated it. It was seriously a light bulb moment for me, so any chance that I get, I try to fill up her car so that she doesn’t have to.
Husbands, pay special attention to that hashtag #takenotesifyouareahusband.
Without communication, there is no relationship. You have to talk with your spouse on a consistent basis. If you allow life to get too busy and instead choose to unwind by watching TV, playing with your tools in the garage, or hanging out with your buddies, your marriage will slowly, but surely, die.
It’s important to have consistent communication, which is something that we suggest with The Love Habits: having the daily “catch me up” chat. This chat can take as little as five to ten minutes, with both of you recapping how each of your days were.
It might not sound like much, but having that short conversation will continue to help you be engaged in each other’s lives, and the love will follow.
“Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation”
– Oscar Wilde
4. Stop Being a Problem Solver
Unless you’re getting gas for your wife’s mini, realize that when your wife is going through a hard situation, she often just wants you to listen, not solve the problem.
Guys, trust me, this is harrrrd. But to the best of your ability, you need to shut your mouth, open your ears, and keep eye contact with your spouse. Listen to her pains and what she’s going through and offer comfort, but don’t try to force a solution unless she asks for it.
5. Never Stop Being Her Knight in Shining Armor
Last winter, we had a ton of snow and ice. Much more than this Filipino man can handle!
While leaving a neighbor’s house party, my wife asked if I could go get the car and pick up her up. It was a simple request, and one that I shouldn’t have hesitated on.
But instead of being the gentleman that I should have been, I gave her a look and said, “Sweetie, you’ll be OK.”
Did I really say that?
Unfortunately, I did (Don’t worry ladies. For anyone that’s reading this right now, I just gave myself another biff slap for being so insensitive). At the time I didn’t see the big deal. After a nice “marital” a few days later, I realized that I was an insensitive jerk. And that’s me being kind.
Husbands, take care of your wives. Nurture them. Provide for them. Never stop being their knight in shining armor.
6. Take Care of Yourself
I ain’t going to lie, my wife is smoking hot! After three kids, her body is more amazing now than it was when we first met (Thank you Jesus). She has a good body because she watches what she eats and she works out doing CrossFit with me.
Would it be fair of me to let myself go and become a fat slob? Absolutely not. I want to make sure that I take care of myself to look good for her, and also for me. Not to mention the fact that I want to be around here as long as I can to see my kids grow, and to also meet my future grandchildren.
Being a better husband means eating sensibly and finding time to workout. You get bonus points if you are able to do both with your spouse. That’s why I love when Mandy and I can do CrossFit together, or if we do healthy living challenges like the Paleo Challenge.
Another way to take care of yourself is to put a little bit of effort into your appearance. Sometimes you have to throw out the tennis shoes and baseball cap, and put on a nice shirt and a little bit of hair gel. Don’t forget the cologne and deodorant, as well.
Put a little effort into making yourself presentable, so that your wife will feel proud to show you off. If you have no clue on how to dress, be sure to take a look at my buddy Antonio’s YouTube channel, Real Men Real Style. You’ll get a ton of great tips in a matter of minutes.
7. Stop Comparing Her To Other Wives
The grass is never greener on the other side.
I repeat, the grass is never greener on the other side.
Have you been in a situation, where say you are at dinner with other couples, and topics come up of sex or leisure activities? Maybe you learn that the couple you are having dinner with has sex a lot more than you have, or the wife is cool with the husband going out with his buddies once a week. Immediately you start to think, wow, I wish my wife was more like her.
Stop those thoughts immediately.
The second you start having those thoughts is the second that your marriage could potentially start to drift. If these are an issue that you feel that you’re having in your marriage, it is important to open those lines of communication to find out what’s important. If you need some guy time, tell her.
If you want to make love to your spouse more often, talk about it. This isn’t assuming that things would be better with someone else. Be appreciative of what God has provided for you, and make it work.
8. Find Out What Her Dreams Are (and Give a Rip)
Remember as kids, when we would always have dreams about what we’d want to do when we grew up? As we have gotten older, we’ve put many of those dreams on the back burner, but every once in a while, it’s fun to dream again, and to work towards maybe even doing some of those dreams.
When was the last time you asked your spouse what her dreams are, or the things that she’s excited about, or things that she looks forward to? You might have had these talks whenever you first started dating, or after you first got married, but after years have passed and kids have interfered, those dream conversations could be long overdue.
Find some time to ask her what are things that she’s excited about. What are some things that she dreams about and wishes that she could do, that might seem impossible? If there’s something that she’s passionate about, then develop a plan together to make those dreams a reality.
9. “What Can I Help You With Today?”
Going back to number two of identifying the small things: one small thing that you can do each day is ask your spouse, “What can I help you with today?”
It’s a simple question that’s also very powerful. It’s especially powerful at a time when you feel that your wife is stressed.
One of the busiest times in the Rose household is dinner time. The kids are hungry, the husband is hungry, and a lot is going on; many times, I can see the stress plastered all over my wife’s face.
It would be easy for me to sit on the couch, turn on the TV and tune the kids out to the best of my ability, but we all know that’s not the right answer unless I want a butt whooping. Ha! Ha!
This is one I like to ask: “babe, what can I help you with?” Taking one or two small things off her plate is huge. Whether it’s getting the kids something to drink, warming up their food, or letting the dog out to go potty, identifying what those small things are is crucial, but you have to ask.
10. Never Stop Encouraging
We all love to be encouraged, to hear positive feedback on things that we are doing. Your wife is no different. There’ll be times that your wife is stressing out and may feel that she’s a horrible mom, because of all the things that she has to handle. There is a lot of pressure nowadays to be that perfect mom who can juggle doing laundry, fixing dinner, running the kids to sports practice, making love to their husband and going to church; it’s a lot to juggle, and it doesn’t take much to feel like they’re failing.
Be there for your wife. Let her know that she’s doing an amazing job. Something that I recently became much more comfortable with, especially after the 30 day prayer challenge, is praying for my wife. Praying to give her strength and confidence that she is doing the best that she can do, and also recognizing that she can’t do it alone; that only by the grace of Jesus Christ can she handle all the duties that she loves.
Last summer,when we both gave a keynote talk at a conference in San Diego, my wife was a nervous wreck. While she was out of the room, I thought it would be a nice, encouraging gesture to write this message on the chalk board that was in our hotel room. As you can see, women, especially wives, love to be encouraged.
11. Identify Her Leisure Activities
I watch football, hike with a 30 pound ruck sack, wrestle with my boys and think that going on a 2 week RV trip is the best vacation ever.
My wife….not so much.
She is the epitome of a “girl’s girl” and her idea of roughing it is traveling to a city that doesn’t have a Starbucks.
It took me a while to figure this out (I’m slow like that) but now realize it’s important to make sure we do things that she also enjoys.
If that means going to plays, musicals, ballets or country music concerts, then so be it. She deserves it and I bet your wife does, too. 🙂
12. Don’t Forget About the Romance
Newsflash: Your wife wants to be romanced.
This is something that I’m decent at (examples here and the video below), but there’s always room for improvement.
Keeping the romance going is challenging when you have to deal with careers, kids and that crazy thing called “Life”. But you have to make it a priority.
“Love like there’s no tomorrow, and if tomorrow comes, love again.” -Max Lucado
Romancing your wife can be easy as sending them love filled text messages, emails or buying them flowers for no reason other than to tell them that you love them.
One of my favorites is leaving a trail of notes like in the example below. Just make sure to pick them up before the kids say in case you write anything a bit provocative!
Start Being a Better Husband Today
The easiest way on being a better husband is just being there. That means listening, responding, and being present as much as you can.
If you haven’t yet, check out our 3 Love Habits that can help bring you and wife together. Trust me when I say you’ll get brownie points if you suggest that you both should do it.