7 Keys to a Happy Wife

Karen and I have been talking about doing this post for a while now. Her post 10 Marriage Tips Every WIFE Should Hear has been viewed 5 million times in 3 months! We’ve been asked by many people, “Where is Frank’s version?”. Initially, my thoughts were that Karen’s post addressed a divorced man’s “lessons learned” blog post and there was no reason for me to write my own version. After gauging the comments the we received from our readers, I felt that a few tips from Karen’s other half would be beneficial to see how our suggestions co-exist within our marriage. These suggestions stem from mistakes I’ve made:

Happy Wife

  1. Separate from Mamma. – Men, you are married to your wife, not your mom! When family matters invade a marriage, your wife needs to trust that you and she are a united front. She must not fear that you will go behind her and talk negatively, especially to your mom. When you and your wife speak to your mom, it should be as one flesh, not competing teams. Your mom is usually going to fight in your corner, right or wrong. This will cause serious problems in your marriage. I love my mom and she is precious to me, but YOU leading your family is the best way to honor her, not the other way around.
  2. Balance the extracurriculars. – Living life in Sportsman’s Paradise can get busy. Louisiana has everything a man could ever want with regards to the outdoors. My boat and I were closer than my former wife and I at one time. I was perfectly happy leaving her home with the kids to go “tear ’em up” somewhere in the Lake Pontchartrain waters. The problem with this is when it’s done in excess. You really need to take a look at why you fish, hunt, play video games, go to sports bars, etc. Are you doing it because it’s fun or are you getting away from your wife? It’s easy to fall into this trap because it’s easy to justify “harmless” activities. After all, you’re not out drinking all night with other women, so it’s not that bad. The problem is that your absence at home is felt by your wife and the kids. Keep your extracurricular activities in check by communicating about them with your wife. Too much passing the ball or too much running the ball will make it easy for the defense to game plan against your marriage. You need balance!
  3. Kiss her first. – When you see your wife for the first time after a day of work, kiss her first. If you’re coming home from work or a long day out – put your keys down, drop your bag on the floor and lay one on her! There is nothing that makes mamma feel better than knowing you are thinking about her. Hitting the door with the intent to connect with her immediately sets the stage for positive energy throughout the evening and shows the kids that their parents are secure in their relationship.
  4. “Boys Night Out” (AKA: Bachelor Parties). – I mean – C’mon man! There is nothing that kills a good thing with your wife like a “boys night out”. Back in the day, I was a partying force to reckon with. “Boys night out” usually implied alcohol, taxi cabs, strip clubs and vomit. If this is how you roll with the boys, then I suggest you re-examine your priorities. You may not know it, but your wife is probably scared to death the whole time you’re out. If you want to go hang out with your friends, don’t involve excessive booze at nightclubs. Take some responsibility as a husband and make sure your wife approves. A good question to ask yourself is, “If my wife were here, would she be offended?” (This tip goes for the ladies too.)
  5. Reject Passivity. – When something is happening that you know isn’t right, step in. Passivity will kill your family’s faith and trust in you in times when circumstances demand your intervention. There were so many times in my first marriage when my passivity ended up defining my role in my home. This can’t happen. Now – rejecting passivity does not mean that you need to be a dictator in your home. We are to love our wives as Christ loved the church, not like Ike loved Tina!
  6. Your wife did not grow up in your house. – 6 months after my first marriage began, we were in marriage counseling. I was 100% sure it was all her fault. The counselor listened to each of us plead our cases, and after hearing what I had to say, she got very strong with me in her response. My biggest complaint was “This isn’t the type of environment I grew up with in my house. It’s not the way I do things.” My counselor was quick to point out that my wife did not grow up with me or my family. She was thousands of miles away living a different life and didn’t even know I existed. She said, “How can you possibly expect her to understand ‘how things were in your house’ when you met her only a year ago at the age of 27? And why do you expect her to act like your relatives?” She was right. Far too often we think things will immediately “mesh” and that we’re above the communication problems. Understand that you and your wife are building a new life together, and it will always be in progress.
  7. Own her decisions. – I admit, being married to my wife is like a spiritual roller coaster. She is plugged in to Jesus! Her extreme spirituality leads her in places that are sometimes not familiar to me. She respects my role as the head of our family and when issues arise that are major, it’s my job to make the final decision. (And ladies – before you get up in arms about the “balance of power”, she will be the first to tell you that she prefers it that way. The burden is taken off of her shoulders by allowing me to bear the responsibility of the heavy family issues.)  Even though many of the ideas are not mine, I am the leader of my house and therefore the decisions to take action are all mine. If decisions like these fail, you should never blame your wife. You should own it and learn from it.

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78 thoughts on “7 Keys to a Happy Wife

  1. My husband and I have been married for 17 years we have raised my daughter 22 from previous relationship and our very busy daughter of 15. I have to say that now that the kids have a life of there own we really don’t have much left to talk about. My husband left me every weekend to as you said hunt, fish play golf etc. he has never attended any parent teacher conferencing or even met a teacher. He has never paid a bill even though he does put his money in the bank this is so stressful! My life has been about keeping us afloat and managing the kids for years until now I have severe anxiety. I also am the supervisor at my very high stress job! I feel alone most of the time and now feel like when my husband does say things like I’m going to just tell so and so I’m not going to go hunt with him I’m gonna take you out that he is just doing it out of guilt. The last thing I want is to be a charity case! I’m so worried about the rest of my life and have told him that maybe we should go our own ways but he says he loves me and is so proud of me. But I don’t feel that at all and I can’t help it. So after reading this article and living in this life for so long I just want to let other men know what there wife’s future life may look like. I’m not sure if there is hope for my marriage my husband does not want a divorce and just says he will do anything to avoid it but now I feel like the attempts he makes are just forced! We thought we knew each other but really if you remove the kids we have nothing left. So that being said I hope that all young husbands out there take your advice to heart the extra activitys and shouldering your wife with all the household responsibilitys and then expecting her to tell you what to do to save your marriage is just more than a wife can handle! So be a man take some of the bill juggling off her run the kids to dance class and sell the cookie doe at your work to and for Gods sake remember that she also works and deserves some time off on the weekends as well and don’t think we are ready for sex when you woke us up at 5:30 am to go hunting and sattled us with the kids and laundry all day. Just because you had a wonderful day out and now want a night cap our day was exhausting were not feeling so sexy! Longer then I intended pray for my marriage or at least that I remember who I use to be before marriage I know it was not a person who felt like a charity case but I can’t quite get the old me back.

  2. I would love to get my husband to read this as alot of what you wrote hits home with some,of the difficulties in our marriage….hes a very quick to do and go, go, go, individual who doesnt read much besides the bible. How,can i present this to him so he can read it ?

    • Well, the fact that he reads the bible is great and he may be open to reading it after you tell him about the post. I would not try to to trick him and slide it into his bible or anything. If he knows it’s not a long read and it addresses men in a biblical marriage model he may give it a shot. So, my best advice is to just be honest with him and ask him to read it.

      • Very practical and good advice. Im sure he would be open to checking it out since he really does try to make me happy….but we need more then his failed attempts. i also need to learn to respect him more and im so glad your wife wrote her 10 marriage tips. I will be printing out both articles and looking forward to a more positive relationship for 2015.

        • Maybe you could ask him to read the companion article for wives… and ask him how he thinks you’re doing, honestly. 🙂 And then, after listening carefully and thoughtfully, invite him to read this article here together. He miiiight just go read it himself, since there’s a handy link right at the end of the wives’ article.

  3. I feel that what you and your wife shared is right on the money, I will add one thought of my own. When a wife has issues she needs to vent about, a man naturally wants to make all things better but what a wife really wants is a listening ear. So try not to solve her problem unless it is major, just be silent and let her vent. She will feel so loved and the payback to you is a treasure.

    • Murlene!!!! You are right on. My wife asks me to stop trying to fix the problem and just try to understand why she’s upset. I must say, stopping to actually listen to her issue has helped me better understand her problem. So many times I would hear a little of what she was saying, but my head started processing ways to fix it. Once that started I was no longer listening. Plus, your wife doesn’t necessarily need your help in fixing the problem. Offering a solution without being asked can be somewhat condescending as well. So now you’ve turned “Hey baby, can we talk?” into your wife being upset over her initial problem, you not listening, and being offended that you think she can’t handle it herself. One thing I’ve learned, in this situation it’s better to just listen and give hugs and kisses. If she asks, then give help.

      Great comment!

  4. Great advice!! It brought me to tears because it hits home with my marriage. I hope to someday come to terms like this with my husband so we can make things better! 💔

  5. Pingback: 7 Keys to a Happy Wife | Text Directory

  6. Reblogged this on One Hundred Years and commented:
    This is a great read and I was differently taking notes, when you wrote about Own her decisions “The burden is taken off of her shoulders by allowing me to bear the responsibility of the heavy family issues, really got me thinking about me and my wife do things.” It reminded me of a conversation we were having on Sunday about our worries and how we think the first year of marriage is so impotent.

  7. This is very true but when your husband’s has a lot of growing up to do and we live with his parents and his mom comes in and want us to do things like she did its hard to have our own life and we can’t afford to live on our own yet so haven’t been able to move out and not we are separated but still live with his parents and our son cause I wasn’t working but now I am slowing getting to get out but for now what can I do cause now we are not together we get along better then we did so does that mean it wasn’t meant or what cause we both had bad timed in our past there for took it out on each other and I got help but he still hasn’t so what u think.thank you

  8. I liked this. only thing I would add is on the decision making that if you want a happy wife you consider her thought, feelings, wants and needs in mind when making those decisions that are ALL yours to make. A lot of women (myself included) have a hard time respecting their husbands decisions because its extrememly obvious he made the decision soley on what his wants needs and thoughts and feelings are, Mainly wants.

    • Good point Nicole. Perhaps I could have worded that differently, but any major decisions in our home are preceded with communication and prayer. I DO NOT recommend to anyone that they dominate their wives in any way, decision-making included. However, when I say “Even though many of the ideas are not mine, I am the leader of my house and therefore the decisions to take action are all mine” this means my wife has something that she wants, desires, has prayed about, etc. and it’s major. She is communicating with me that she wants to proceed (or not) with something and wants me to pray about it and make a decision. It is a mutual process.

    • My thoughts exactly. If I felt my husband had all of our interests at heart instead of 1) his son’s wants & needs, 2) his wants & needs THEN 3) my needs, I would be a lot happier about having to hand over the reins of control. I won’t do that until I feel like I’m something other than the priority always on the bottom of the list.

  9. Hi Frank,
    after reading your wife’s post (and commented on it) decided to read your side, and comment on it.

    1 – Separate from Mamma.
    True.
    My mum was right (for whatever reason), my wife was wrong. I was on my wife side.
    Mum understood this and was happy for me. (because her husband (my father) never did this for her)

    The result of this? my wife wasn’t happy and argued with both of us.

    2 – Balance the extracurricular.
    Didn’t have any or too many activities or hobbies.
    You guys (Frank & Karen) probably spent more time on this blog then I spent on net. Its one of my chill out thinks.

    Not drinking, clubbing, pubing, chasing females… home to work to home.

    Try to spend time with kids, play with them and help out around house.
    And still, it wasn’t/is good enough for my wife.

    3 – Kiss her first.
    No reason specified, she would have to let/allow me first.

    4 – “Boys Night Out” (AKA: Bachelor Parties).
    “Take some responsibility as a husband and make sure your wife approves.” it all depends on relationship you have.
    Saying that I’m going out and wait for her approval? Ehm. Ehm. Cough Cough
    It all depends on circumstances. If I can / she can too and vice versa.

    5 – Reject Passivity.
    100% agree with you “Passivity will kill your family’s faith and trust in you. The passivity ended up defining my role in my home”
    I should not allow mother-in-law stay with us.
    And helping out too much can lead to passivity too.

    6 – Your wife did not grow up in your house.
    True. I didn’t grove up in theirs. So she should not expect me to fold t-shirts their way and blame me for it.

    7 – Own her decisions.
    Nicely said. But it comes from her respecting you, and balancing the power and allowing to share things.
    This needs to be learned. and sadly, its learned through (different) marriages.

    I would like to know, if you make a bad/wrong decision and you admit it that you are wrong, what will be Karen stand?
    Will she blame you over and over?
    Will she tell you what looser / no one you are because you can’t make a “simple” decision?

    if no is the answer, she is a keeper 😉

    Good post. Thanks

    • Thanks Matt! This sure is a nice breakdown of how you feel on each key. To answer your questions at the end of your comment:
      “I would like to know, if you make a bad/wrong decision and you admit it that you are wrong, what will be Karen stand?” This has 100% to do with trust. Karen and I feel that in the framework of a marriage respect needs to be given and not earned (Karen wrote a post on this too: ) However, that doesn’t mean she is trusting that you are making the right decisions. Respect without trust can’t be sustained for very long so you MUST HAVE TRUST.

      I can tell you what has worked for Karen’s trust in me. I screw up all the time, but she still trusts and respects me because she knows when I freak out in front of the kids or am completely inconsiderate of her in some way that I will make an effort to prevent it in the future. I am intentional in letting her know that I understand what I did was wrong. Additionally, she needs to see me on the improve when things are going good. Reacting to screw ups is one thing, but you can stay ahead of the game by being intentional about being a better husband. For me it means strengthening my faith in Jesus. Karen’s love for Christ is completely independent of, and more important than me or anything I can do. When she’s sees that Jesus Christ means that much to me and sees me leading our family accordingly, then her trust is strong.

      No two marriages are the same so it’s important that you work your butt off to figure out a common language that works. For Karen and I the common language is our faith in Jesus Christ.

      To your last comment, the answer is “No” and I’ll keep her!

      • Thanks for reply.

        Everyone screws up. Not everyone admits it. Not everyone learns from it.
        However.
        If there is mutual respect (looks like that you both have that) thinks should go “smoothly” when solving problems any problems.
        It’s hard to, as you say “you work your butt off to figure out a common language that works”.
        I say its hard as you make it hard.
        You need two to communicate and you can’t push one to talk.
        So what then? move on? Divorce ? Or stay together because of kids….

        To the point, my wife’s world are kids and kids, then hers family (mother, father, brother – in that order) than all materialistic stuff so kids would be happy. then other things, then husband.

        Thanks

        • Matt, I’m sorry you are experiencing this. Have you had a candid conversation with her? Have you said these things to her?
          I’ve been with my husband for going on eight years, feels like twenty, haha, and I can say that we have been through many phases in those years. Me, pursuing him, he pursuing me. Me, doing my own thing, sort of withdrawn. He busy with his stuff, mostly gone. Me, concentrating on the kids and investing in my friendships. He, planning fishing trips and hunting excursions that didn’t include me or the kids. It is only now, after the “hump”, that we are getting into a stride of sorts, where a balance is coming into play of “alone” time, “kid” time and “us” time.
          I know that in the times that he wasn’t a “priority” for me, it was because investing time in him was not returning the value that I was getting else where at that time. Now, that sounds like I’m blaming you, uh? Hahaha…let me finish. Haha…I wasn’t getting the return because I want putting in the time I was putting elsewhere. I would “try” and unresolved junk would always be the first order on the block and I didn’t want it. I wanted a rest from it for a while. I needed a rest from it. Luckily, marriage is forever and both my husband and I are committed to that (even though we have our days of “I can’t stand your face”) so with time, I got my rest, he got his and we were able to sit down a time or two and hash some things out and over time….yes, time can seem unending at times, haha…BUT over TIME, we found that one day, we had hashed pretty much everything through and had a pleasant evening for once!
          My point is this. If she is still there, there is hope. If she is still physically in your home, you have more than hope…you have a marriage! So, approach her. Tell her what you are thinking, feeling…and if she pukes all over it and you two have a crap time of it. So what, if she is still there in the morning. Then do it again. And again. And again. And again. And eventually, you might find that things are hashed out and you two are back on some sort of common ground.
          Believe me when I say, she is still available for you. She might just be taking a rest and you have too, by not communicating with her how you are feeling ENOUGH times and heard her complaints in response and so forth. Is it mature? Heck, I’m one heck of an adult in every faucet of my life except my marriage! Hahaha…. I think it’s just the nature of the thing, marriage, that we have these childish phases.
          It really comes down to this. Do you love her? If not, do you love your family with her? I can tell you, the kids have kept me here somedays. The idea of being single grandma didn’t sit nice with me. Or even grandma with step grandpa…nah! I want the man who will truly ADORE those grand babies as much as I do because they are ours! It doesn’t have to always be the classic motive ( my un-dying love for my spouse) that drives the thing forward and it doesn’t lessen the value. I’m so grateful I stayed for the kids ( the times I have) because I get to be with my husband now and I adore him now and what we have together now.
          A phase will last how ever long we let it. If you have been in this phase for years upon years, then DO something to push it to the next level. Fearlessly! I had to get to a serious point of considering leaving for good in order to work up the courage to say all I needed to say. To find my voice and not back down or apologize for how I felt and, BOY, did that make a difference in our communication! So even in desperate times, it can work for the good of your marriage. I didn’t even realize that I wasn’t speaking my true self before that stage in my marriage.
          I’ll just say one more thing. Marriage is awesome. My marriage is awesome because MARRAIGE is awesome. Marriage doesn’t let you off the hook. It won’t let you quit. It forces you to grow. My mom told me once; “marriage is two people on a boat in the middle of the ocean. If something breaks down, you fix it or you both drown.” I love her for that comment. Marriage works, but only when you see it for what it is. Forever, no erasies. It has no choice but to be fixed when you are truly in a MARRAIGE. So the real question is, are you married or aren’t you?

          • I just want to tell you how beautiful that was Jennifer. You’re absolutely right. Marriages definitely go through phases but I am so thankful to have my husband to live out this journey with. It definitely pushes you to grow and learn how to be a team. Good luck Matt! Sorry you’re going through a tough time.

        • Hi Matt, I empathise with what you are going through. When i first read Karen’s post about “10 Marriage Tips Every WIFE Needs to Hear”, I welled up in my eyes.

          I had harsh words thrown at me like “you need to earn respect”, “you’re worst than a dog”, “why is it that other people can do it and you can’t”, etc. You can imagine the hurt. Through counselling, it became obvious we were heading for a downward spiral. She would go strong to get to the bottom of all matters, while I retreat when I sense a threat.

          I know all marriages go through phases and no two marriages are the same. But when it comes to a point where you lose yourself, your faith, your hope and contemplated ending your life, then you have no choice but to make a major change (no, not ending your life).

          The Bible verse revived my faith: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV).

          More recently, after hearing the testimony by David and Greta Peters, my hope is restored.

          At the end, each of us alone will be accountable to God. So find your peace within, pray and make your own change. I wish you all the best in your journey.

    • If your wife belittles you by calling you a lower then she is not respecting you. Respect is a two way street and since I can’t see inside your home I can’t say whether you respect her either. However, it’s not okay to call each other names and be hurtful. Ever.

  10. Pingback: 17 Tips Every Couple Should Know | CFPN.TV

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