*Disclaimer: These are all things I do personally. I am not a psychologist, marriage counselor or guru of any kind. So take my suggestions with a grain of salt. Every couple is different; and different approaches work for different people. These things have worked wonders for me; so I wanted to pass them on*
Happy Monday friends! I would first like to give a shout out to Mr. Martin Luther King Jr. for being so brave; we sure could benefit from his peaceful leadership these days. The difference he made in this world is the only reason I am not annoyed that I have 3 children currently running around my house instead of at school.
Anyway, ladies -this post is for you today; annnnnd you’re probably not gonna like it. (I’m sorry in advance.) The reason I feel it might rub you the wrong way is because, some of the things I am about to say; probably go against some of your beliefs – rather; some of your “habits”.
I want to talk about being a good wife. We spend a lot of time focused on what our lazy ass husbands/boyfriends/ baby daddy’s could do to improve; but do we ever take a good, hard, honest look inward to see if there is anything we could be doing to improve the quality of our relationship? I can only speak for myself here-but if you were to ask me “what I would like my husband to work on” I would promptly pull a long scroll out of my back pocket, unroll it, and spend the next 10 minutes listing off various quirks and habits I would erase permanently if given the chance.
Yet; if someone asked me what “I ‘personally’ need to work on”, my answer would probably be; “a tan, that’s about it.”
I am not a perfect wife; not even close. I have many character defects that I attempt to rid myself of daily. My husband has tried to give me “constructive criticism” in the past; and my eyes immediately turned black, my claws came out, and vulgarities shot out of my mouth like bullets from a gun. He decided it best that he keeps his opinions about me to himself from then on.
While it does help keep the peace; it robs me of an opportunity to grow toward being a better wife for him. Sometimes I walk around with the idea that “I work so hard around the house and take such care of our children; he should be thankful for me and everything I do.” And while this may be true; I must remember that it wasn’t my ability to wash dishes and change multiple diapers simultaneously that attracted him to me initially.
It was my silly personality, my spontaneity, my smile and my laugh (okay probably not this one, my laugh sounds like a cow being tickled). So now; if more often than not, my fun loving personality has been replaced with an anxious, frenzied disposition and my smiling face looks like more like a character in a scene from “Night Of The Living Dead”; I have somewhat cheated him out of the person he fell in love with.
Below are 3 things I do to ensure, that I am being the best partner I can.
1) Don’t let yourself ‘go’– Strangely enough; I actually received this advice from my father. His exact words were, “Whatever you do; don’t let yourself go. Make sure you make an effort from time to time to look good for Drew-don’t let having a ring on your finger be an excuse to stop working on yourself physically.”
Okay, so at first I was offended. I was all like “Ummmm, thanks dad; I wasn’t planning on turning into Shrek after we got married, cool advice.” Over time, however, I realized how imperative this advice actually was. Kids, exhaustion, and time constraints all make it pretty difficult to take care of myself. I am too busy giving my all to 4 other people; ensuring their needs are always met. This leaves me with little time to workout and doll myself up regularly. Besides; I rarely leave the house; so what the hell is the point of wearing makeup and brushing my hair?
20 pounds later I found myself waddling through my hallways with my hair looking like a birds nest while donning sweatpants and my husbands t-shirt. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and thought, “Okay I know love conquers all, but there is no way this look I’m rocking right now is a turn on for my husband.” Most days; I attempt to throw some mascara on, slap on some lipgloss and wear real pants… (most days).
Not only is my husband all like “Dayum girrrrl!”, but more importantly; I feel better about myself. At least until one of the kids poops on me). In my personal experience; when I push myself to exercise a
little and make better food choices; I am a much happier wife; exuding positive energy instead of nervous, hostile energy.
2) I have mastered the art of biting my tongue – Okay, this one is tough. I regularly feel inclined to follow my husband around the house, lean over his shoulder and critique his every move when I feel he isn’t doing something the way I believe he should. Something my mother once told me that I keep in the back of my mind at all times is to “pick my battles”. Imagine if your boss followed you around at your job and pointed out everything you were doing wrong; and insisted on showing you the correct way to do it. Now visualize him giving you a progress report of your performance multiple times a day. It would drive you nuts.
A home should be a man’s sanctuary. The place he goes to unwind after a long day of work. The last thing he needs is to feel like he is still on the clock; after he comes home.(I know, moms never clock out, that’s what makes us superheroes). I try to take it easy on him. I want him to enjoy being around me, so I generally let the miniscule things that bug me go. He does so many wonderful things; that I find it petty to make a fuss about trivial issues. Now I’m not saying to internalize your feelings of anger and resentment. What I am saying is; if it’s imperative to the foundation of your relationship – by all means- discuss it, calmly. But if he leaves a dish in the living room for the thousandth time when he knows I hate it; I let it go. That dish is not worth inviting unnecessary turmoil into my life. It’s not as if he is trying to drive me nuts purposefully; (men are just…erm…forgetful.)
I know you are probably saying to yourself “but, but, but; he is so lazy, he could do more, he’s not as involved as he should be; etc.” I get it, I really do. But he already has a mother; he doesn’t need two. I am his partner, friend and lover. We are a team.
It may feel like by expressing my wants and needs on the spot constantly, I am helping him become my ideal man. In actuality; all I am doing is making him feel like he isn’t good enough, and nothing he does is right. Instead I try building him up; encouraging him, respecting him, complimenting him, and being vocal about my appreciation of him. It is my job to love him; not “fix” him.
3) Have fun – life is not that serious – I am going to wrap it up with this. There was a time; when I became so caught up in schedules, housework, school and raising children; that I actually forgot that life only happens one time. You get one go round – that’s it. You don’t get to hit the reset button and start over whenever you want. When our time on earth is over, it is over. (unless you believe in reincarnation; but we can get into that another time.)
When I realized that there is so much more to life than working, paying bills, changing diapers and counting down the days until the kids reach their next milestone; so that they can be more independent and “things will get easier”- everything changed.
It is up to me to find joy and happiness in each moment. It is my choice whether I merely “exist”; just going through the motions of my day to day; or if I grab life by the horns and make it my b****.
I like to mix things up around my house. I burst out in song while cooking my husband dinner, I have an impromptu dance party when a commercial comes on with music. I interrupt my husbands “Facebook scrolling” with an idiotic series of knock-knock jokes and I jump out of hiding spots to scare him when he least expects it. In return; he squeezes my water bottles when I’m mid-sip; soaking me in water. He locks me out of the car when I return from getting something from the gas station and drives away while the kids laugh hysterically.
I can’t peacefully take a shower, because I have a deep-rooted fear that my husband is going to burst in at any moment and dump ice on my head; because he has done it 7 times and counting. I have gotten him 4 times; unless you count the time I missed and flooded the bathroom; in that case I got 5.
My point is, take a second and shake off the mundane routine. Take a moment to remember what it was like in the beginning; before all of the responsibility of marriage and raising kids became a reality. Strive to recreate that time with your significant other. My husband and I belly laugh with each other at least once a day. We create those silly moments for ourselves to enjoy. It is up to us to keep the passion alive –because no one else is going to do it for us. It takes two of us to make our marriage work; and I try to check myself each day to ensure I am doing everything within my power; to be a kick-ass wife..
If you haven’t read The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman; you absolutely should. His New York Times best-selling book has transformed millions of relationships. Or- you can take The 5 Love Languages quiz here and find out yours. (I swear he didn’t pay me to say that; I just really believe in the benefit of his book… However if you see this; Mr. Chapman and wanna toss me a couple bills I won’t be mad.)