No, that’s not a punch line. It’s not even the intro to a joke. I know it sounds like something that Rodney Dangerfield would love to explain, but it’s not. I’m talking about knowing what makes your wife happy, and what will keep her happy.
Let me throw out my disclaimer. I’m not the expert here. I’m not the guy with all the answers. What I am is a guy who has learned a lot through trial and error.
I don’t know that I’ve ever nailed it right out of the gate. In fact, the only thing I think I’ve nailed is realizing that I’ve screwed it up a few times. But, God gave me a patient wife, and I thank Him for that! Mandie has put up with a lot, especially in my Ray Barone moments.
So, the last post I discussed how to know if your wife was happy. If you didn’t read it, make sure to read it here. But this one is going to take it a step further. You’ve bought her flowers. You sent her to Target for some “her time.” But now what? Is it one and done? Did she get her fix and you’re off the hook until you ask her to make a crazy dinner after her hard day of work? Or did you forget to pick up that thing for the 47th time? It’s not penance to make her happy. It’s actually what we’re supposed to do.
So, here are a few practical ways you can start today (because it’s never too early) to work toward keeping your wife happy.
1. Be there. Look, I love fantasy football as much as you do. Maybe more. But you know what? My wife seriously doesn’t understand my
fascination obsession passion for it. But, she does understand when I’m fully present. Jim Elliot said, “Wherever you are, be all there.” That’s marriage advice gold. It really doesn’t matter how many yards your quarterback threw for if she is telling you about the cashier who was a jerk today. That running back that you wasn’t so sure about starting? He doesn’t count if you haven’t started listening to her talk about what’s on her heart. If you don’t think it matters, your fantasy is more than just football.
2. Be consistent. Have you ever had a boss who was borderline schizophrenic? The kind where you actually wonder which side you’ll see as you’re driving in to work? As much as you hate that, your wife hates not knowing which you she’s going to deal with today. Now, I’m not saying pick a side and stay there, because if you pick the wrong side, you’re in an even worse spot. No woman wants to live with the guy who started the day off screaming about how his Pop Tarts were burned that morning and the kids were acting crazy and he has to work overtime, and then comes home and doesn’t speak to anyone but the TV, doesn’t acknowledge his kids more than just a grunt when they say hello, and then expects his wife to return his “affection” at night when there’s no connection, no consistency, and she doesn’t know who he is at that moment.
3. Do the thing. There are certain “things” that you are counted on to do. It may be killing that roach that has scared your wife into a traumatic stage, or maybe it’s taking out the trash, or perhaps even feeding the turtle that only your kid wanted and now doesn’t even know that you still have. There are things that are your job. Perhaps they weren’t spoken, perhaps they weren’t written down, but you know that it’s yours. Here’s the hint: DO THEM. Yes, this could probably go under consistency, but it’s just a little different. You are counted on to do things that the other people in the family don’t do.
4. Take her out. Guys, your wife never gets tired of going out with you. Unless you’re taking her to your bowling league, fantasy draft, or some other you-focused event. Those don’t count. I’m talking about a real-life, ask-her-out kind of date. Take her to Starbucks. Go see a movie (except you can’t talk to each other. Make this one a last resort unless it’s something you’re both passionate about seeing). Try new restaurants. Go to your old ones. Talk about life, and goals, and passions, and dreams. Don’t talk about work, kids, bills, or anything else that makes passion dry up like a Texas puddle in August. This is couple time. This is reconnection time. Get a babysitter and go OUT.
If you can’t afford a babysitter, you have two options. Call in favors with family and friends, or you can have a stay-in date. Put the kids to bed early. No, not 9:00, not 8:30. Put them to bed early and then have a plan. Ask her to sit on the porch, or pull two chairs together and make some decaffeinated coffee. Put on some music. Dance in the kitchen. Kiss her. It’s about connecting. It’s not a plan to lead to something more, it’s about her and you, and remembering why you fell in love. Hint: If you two get close, and you’re reconnecting, and you find passion again, you don’t need a plan for the date to lead to something more…
Here’s my chance to ask questions. What do you do to make sure your wife stays happy? Wives, if you’re reading this, what is it your husband does that other guys would like to start trying? What kind of dates do you two enjoy? I can’t wait to hear from you all!