I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I have failed Husband Sensitivity Training several times since Super Mom and I married. Some follow up questions to that statement might be:
- Who is the instructor for these courses?
- Are they available in my geographic area?
- Do you get a certificate or an award for passing the class?
- How often can you repeat the class before you are no longer considered husband material?
- Can you take the classes before you actually become a husband?
And so on and so on. Super Mom will argue to the bitter end that I’m a great husband (family and friends might have a less biased opinion of my spousal skills) but we are after all, our own worst critics and I believe there are always remedial courses to be taken every time you forget to say things like:
- You look great today sunshine – you make me feel warm all over
- If only there were two of you, my home and our country would run smoothly
- Are you a mechanic? ‘Cause you really make my engine roar!
Okay, I’m being facetious – one of my failings and a primary reason why I fail at being a better husband. The problem with me is…I’m a man, and we men don’t often think about the things that we thought about when we were dating (besides trying to get past first base of course). TMI, right?
In my case, it’s the little things that eventually knock me down from hero status to zero status. I’m okay taking out the trash, driving kids from point A to point B or stepping in to help out with big tasks that require ‘all hands on deck’. But when it comes to complimenting her, making her feel special or just reassuring her that everything is going to be okay, the male brain is sometimes slow to pick up on the non-verbal, subtle queues that could prevent a small spark from turning into an all out forest fire.
When can you consider yourself a great husband? You don’t! Because it’s not up to you to decide when you’re making the grade. Truthfully, becoming a great husband requires a man to be more subjective before he can become literal. In other words, you have to recognize that your wife needs a day off at the spa before her hair starts to fall off and she has rings around her eyes after a frustrating day on the job, worrying about kids and wondering, ‘where the heck is my back-up?’ That would be me.
When do you stop trying to be a great husband? Never. Because the moment you think you’re doing all you can is the moment that you start to lose sight of ‘us’ and start concentrating more on ‘me’. Trust me on this one. Remember that saying, “A happy wife makes a happy life?” If you’ve never heard it, try it.
Look at me trying to give marriage advice to the masses when I can’t follow the advice myself.
Here are three ways to a happier wife/life:
- Tell her how much she means to you when she least expects it. For some of us, ‘least expects it’ is long overdue. If you haven’t told her that your life would completely fall apart without her in the last month, in another five months you’re going to be wondering why you weren’t invited to your own kids’ birthday party and why your clothes are piled up outside the dog house. Compliment her, reassure her and hold her close.
- Go on a date that YOU planned. When we were dating I actually planned dates with my soon-to-be-bride. Once I ‘got a ring on it’ I gave myself a free pass on dating in general. When I finally started taking my wife on dates again, I noticed an overall change in our relationship that we both enjoy. And when we are experiencing high stress moments in life (like those ever happen), that’s when dating is even more important.
- Talk! One of the primary complaints Super Mom has had in our entire relationship is that I rarely talk. It’s just my personality. But it’s very important to open up to your spouse. Not just about the kids or about mundane things, but really talk about your mutual and individual goals. Initiate conversations that lead to deeper, meaningful things that you are both passionate about. I’m still learning that after all these years together, my wife would rather hear me talk than read a good book. And that’s saying a lot because Super Mom loves books!
Your wife may be a whole lot different from mine but I’ve found that in general, these are basic things that have a lasting impact on the overall well-being of a marriage. Give them a shot and let me know how it goes.