Since that time and even beforehand, it was always on my mind to be a ‘good’ wife. Typically, my over-acheiver A personality type wanted to get this ‘marriage thing’ nailed and be the best I could be. God – the pressure I put myself under sometimes!
Over the course of our marriage and even before, during the co-habitation / relationship phase, I wanted to be the best kind of wife I could imagine. It was important to me to ensure my husband was happy, fulfilled in the marriage and felt uplifted.
Can I just confess right here and now that I have failed at that task miserably?
Lately, we have been having a hard time. Raising a toddler, doing my degree, running this blog and business plus our other business, Lavenderia NappyCare in addition to being a ‘good’ wife and supporting my husband on his 5 hour daily commute is all a bit overwhelming sometimes. Ok, lots of times!
As a couple, we adore each other and we are each other’s best friends and confidants. This has always been the case since as far back as I can remember and is a great foundation.
Well, because I focus so much on what isn’t working, what hasn’t been done, what still needs doing and what has been missed. I do this to myself as well as my husband and the poor man is a saint for putting up with me when I am like this!
I have been very humbled lately in the art of being a ‘good’ wife. I have been feeling very remorseful of my tongue lashings – even if they are not meant in malice and are meant to help, I can see now how many men must feel after a “chat” with their wives.
It struck me in the shower – as things often do – that I would not want to go out of my way for ANYONE if they were giving me a sound tongue lashing each day. Who would?
Is it any wonder therefore that my dear husband was feeling, shall we say, less than motivated around particular aspects of our marital life? Nope… not at all.
I wanted to read more on this topic, to immerse myself in learning (as is always the way I do things – full immersion method and nothing less) but there is not much out there. There is a lot of biblical information, which is great but as a devoutly spiritual and non-religious person some of the writings get my hackles up a bit.
So how does one be a ‘good’ wife?
This is what I’ve come up with so far :-D
1. Positive Language
Speak in positive terms wherever and whenever possible. Instead of pointing out what isn't working, point out what IS working, what you DO appreciate, what he HAS done well. Leave the rest till later when you're not so mad about it.
2. Bite Your Tongue
If you notice something hasn’t been done right, then say nothing of it – simply correct the issue yourself.
Think of it this way - if your best friend had done it, would you say anything?
3. CALM Feedback
If you must give ‘feedback’ do so lovingly, without anger. If that means you have to have 2 NeuroCalm and a hot bath to calm down first, then do it. Words spoken in anger cause permanent damage and can not be taken back.
4. The Love Sandwich
When giving ‘feedback’ use the Love Sandwich method. That is start with a positive reinforcement message, then give the feedback then reinforce them positively once again.
i.e. Thank you so much for taking out the rubbish tonight. You know how much I loathe that task and I love that you do it. Just be careful next week when you go to take it out as there was something dripping from the bag on the floor – I’d hate for you or one of the kids to slip and hurt themselves. Thank you again so much for doing that – you’re amazing *kiss*
5. Uplift in Public
Resist the urge to correct them – especially in public or around mixed company. They will feel diminished and under-valued if you do this. Uplift them where possible, speak loving words about them (except to CLOSEST friends if necessary) and don’t correct or argue with them in front of others.
6. Differ Graciously
If they say something incorrect or that you vehemently disagree with, be gracious and relaxed in your approach. Say something like “I see what you’re saying, that’s an excellent point you’ve raised. Would you like another perspective / insight / my thoughts on this?”
If they say no, then they won’t listen to you anyway so leave it be.
If they say yes, then couch your point in gentle without being antagonistic. Use phrases like “I feel that this may be what occurred” or “Whilst you have an excellent point here, perhaps this happened” or “Perhaps they may have felt this way which cause this reaction. What do you think?”
By doing this, you are not invalidating their statement (even if you totally disagree) and you will be lowering their guard through use of gentle phrasing. They are more likely to open their mind or consider your way of thinking if you are gentle and loving, and you validate
Everyone wants to feel they are right – so let them feel it.
When your husband is troubled, resist the urge to jump in with suggestions. Gently prod for him to open up but if he won’t, then say something like “I can see you’re very stressed about something and you don’t really want to talk about it. How about I pour you a drink / tea / cuppa and leave you to unwind for a while?”
Leave him to it and go back in an hour or so. Having not pressed the issue often times they will be happy to open up and talk.
Whatever is said, validate his position and resist the urge to take the opposing view point. He will feel like you understand and support him and every husband wishes for this from their wives.
8. Validate, Validate, Validate
I went to dinner with a good friend a little while ago and we were discussing our respective husbands. She has been in a relationship, a very healthy and loving one, since she was 16 years of age. They have been happily married for over 10 years.
When I asked her what her secret was she told me “validate. All the time. Never stop telling them how good they are”. She then went onto explain to me how it works using a puppy anaology. She owns a dog walking business so this was appropriate for her.
She said to me that like any puppy (or any person) a man will respond in kind to how they are treated. If she wants something from her man, she builds him up about other things and usually gets her way. Any little thing he does she mentions in the best possible way, with tonnes of effusive praise and hearty approbation. Her husband revels in it and their marriage is rock solid.
9. Stay Warm
My grandmother and grandfather have been married 60 years now. They even have a letter from the Prime Minister and the Queen congratulating them on their 60 years of marriage!
I asked my 85 year old grandmother how on EARTH she should still manage love-making at her age with her husband. She told me despite its obvious challenges that she felt it was “vital” to the success of her marriage. When I asked why she told me this:
‘Louisa, when we make love, we can sail by on the after-glow for 2 or 3 days. Everything is sweeter, his words are kinder, he is more considerate of me.
If we go longer than that, before the next session, then a certain ‘coolness’ sets in. That coolness quickly descends if we do not reconnect through love-making once more’.
I was astounded at her honesty and gob-smacked at her understanding of the matter. It is true. I have tested it. Without regular reconnection through love-making, a coolness sets in that is hard to shake off. There is more consideration, tender touches, affection and appreciation when love-making is as regular as permitted by libidos and sleep. For us that’s twice per week at most – for others it may be more or less.
Try it next time – you’ll see what I mean. I call it ‘The Afterglow Stage’.
10. Make an Effort
I know this will upset some people but that is OK. I am not saying this is what everyone should do however I do make an effort in this area.
Many 1950’s housewives will attest to this fact also.
If your husband works out of the home, in an office environment for example, he will be surrounded by dolled up women who have perfect hair and makeup and are beautifully dressed.
That is not to say all men or even any man would be tempted by this at all. That is not the point. The point is that your husband married a certain woman. That woman should make every effort in her appearance, manner and dress just as she was before the wedding.
Think about it – you marry a Brad Pitt look-a-like and think you’ve got it made. Then over the course of 2 years, your Brad Pitt look-a-like triples in size, grows an unwashed beard and refuses to cut his toenails. Still feel lustful of him like you did in the early days?
For me, I have been trying very hard to implement these things in our marriage. Its SO not easy!
One of my pet peeves is that hubby is a sink obsessive and has to wash every item on the sink under running water before washing up properly. I cringe. I loathe this habit. I have arked up every time and gotten nowhere. So what’s the point of continuing the same song and dance? It hasn’t worked to get mad about it, so time I try a different approach.
My approach now? Wash everything up before he arrives home from work. That way everything is off the sink and no water has been wasted nor any arguments had. Problem solved!
What’s your advice for being a ‘good’ wife? How do you find peace in your marriage? Share for all of us! :-D
Love The Eco Mum xo