Marriage is really flingin’ hard. I’ve only been at it for two and a half years and I have had those thoughts. You probably know what thoughts I’m talking about. Did you pick the right guy after all? Did you know he was like this before you married him? Remember when you were single and all you had to worry about was your car insurance? Is your neighbor really as in love with her husband as she seems?
Imagine my relief and utter surprise after reading Every Woman’s Battle that this is really every woman’s battle. Every wife wishes for something more, that he would suddenly turn into James Dean and light some candles. Some of us are easier to please and only wish he’d get off the couch. Then the hard fast truth surfaces: Marriage is hard, and wanting a better marriage is a part of a married woman’s everyday walk through life.
I admit to being the Negative Nancy described above, and my goal is to scratch her eyes out so that I can move on and enjoy my marriage, and as a result I can also enjoy my life. I’ve tried a couple of things that seem to at least knock this nay-sayer off her feet.
Think of the Good
Start small. Sit down and think hard about all your husband’s good qualities. Yes. He has them. Give yourself the time and space to think about it, your marriage deserves this extra mental exertion. Write them down, because the moment will inevitably arise when you forget them all – probably the same moment that you slip in the puddle he left in the bathroom.
Be On the Lookout
If you’re really in a bad way, you can keep this part to yourself. You don’t have to say anything to your husband yet, but I’m warning you bucking up means facing the music in Tip Three. For the moment keep your eyes peeled for anything, any sign or wonder that he is thinking of you. Chances are that he thinks about you all the time in his own twisted weird man way. One example is my husband (big soccer fan) always wants to watch the game and also wants to spend time with me. If I deign to join him during the big match he always offers me a massage (a 90 minute massage!) because he wants me to hang out with him. Maybe your husband tries to make “his” stuff more appealing to you? Does he try to tempt you to hang out with him while he does “his” stuff? That’s just one example. Others might include washing the dishes without you asking, or bringing home your favorite ice cream.
Write a Note
This is an idea that I stole (and haven’t used in a while!) from the book Love and Respect. This book was a total game changer for our marriage, and we read it before we even got hitched. I now know that mushy romantic language isn’t really what gets him hot. If you want to get a mushy romantic response from him, then you gotta thank him for being a man, responsible, your care taker, provider, etc. If you’re going to write a love note, change your tune and instead write a “respect note.” You can even be wildly direct and say “Honey, I respect you so much for your dedication to your work.”
Have a Conversation
Don’t accuse or abuse. Just tell him how you feel. If it’s time you want, say so. If you wish he’d help with the dishes more often, say it honestly, kindly and directly. Pick your topic, one at a time, and let him know how you feel. If you think he should know how you feel, think again. Men are dense and need all the help they can get. No hints. Only direct, respectful and honest communication.
Invite Him to Talk
When you have finished telling him how you feel, ask him, “What is one thing that you would like me to improve on in our marriage?” It’s likely that we all know the answer to that one, but in this game of give and take we have to be ready to do a little exercise in exchange for his efforts.
Ladies, this is by no means a comprehensive list. Be positive, be joyful, and live life to its fullest, even if it means doing what feels unnatural and putting your husband first. You are the first one who will feel the fresh breeze on your face if you do.