One of my (many) pet-peeves about being a wife (and woman) is how many husbands (and men) think we are impossible to please. The truth is women are complicated (if you haven’t figured this out yet… go out and buy a “Women for Dummies” book asap). But realize that complicated does not equate to impossible. Speaking on behalf of myself, I don’t not expect the men in my life to always understand me. My expectation is that they endeavor to TRY to understand me or why I do something. I realize that this isn’t always possible, and we are bound to “agree to disagree”. My brain is certainly not wired the same as a mans. I can accept that and appreciate that we are different and that it is through our differences that make us stronger together.
In an effort to drop the veil of confusion I thought I would draft a list of 5 things that I believe would likely improve most relationships. So Men… take notes.
- Romance is the key (to her heart and other things)
I’m not talking about daily grand gestures of romance. Simple things go a VERY long way in the heart of a woman. Leave her a note on the mirror in the bathroom about how much you love her, plan a date (and I mean everything from the babysitter to dinner), simply pour her a glass of wine after a long day and handle getting the kids to bed. Need more tips… there is this crazy website called Pinterest (you may have heard of it), its FREE. I guarantee it will give you some ideas. Bonus level: follow your wife’s pinning (trust me, she pins EVERYTHING) and pull ideas from there.
- Listen with your ears (as I tell my children)
Is she all of a sudden commenting on how fat/ugly she is? Guess what, that is her secret way of telling you… she needs reminding of how beautiful she is (especially post babies). Is she complaining she is tired often? You guessed it… give her some meaningful ALONE time. Arrange to take the kids somewhere for an afternoon, or better yet, send her AWAY for a weekend. Many women are telling you want they need without saying that exact thing. I know for men that is super annoying… I get it. Problem is… we women are also plagued by constant guilt for wanting for ourselves. We are wired to put every one else before ourselves. So before you complain that she “hides what she wants in hidden messages”, understand that it is because (stupid as it sounds) having you tell us, insist upon or acknowledge that need, allows us to give ourselves permission to stop the guilt. I’m aware there are other issues here, but this is in fact how most women are wired. Just deal with it.
- Take pictures of her (with her children especially)
Often women are the ones capturing those special moments with loved ones. Be that with our children, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, whatever. Because we are taking the pictures we are often not IN them (unless you carry a handy dandy selfie stick everywhere). Taking pictures of her shows her that you care and want to remember that moment. This one in particular is crucial for those of you with children. Capturing those moments are unbelievably important. One day they will be all she has left of her babies. So take the damn picture… and ignore her when she tells you not to (see #2 if she insists she looks terrible).
- Touch her (inappropriately sometimes, HA!)
Do you remember when you first met your significant other? Remember how you couldn’t keep your hands off each other, or finish that movie on the couch? Well, it’s likely those days ended around the 1 year mark of your relationship. Does that mean you both don’t still have wants and needs? Of course not. But life happens somewhere along the way. The longer you are together or if you have children its even more important to remind your wife that she is sexy and wanted. This is a good one for women to remember for their partners as well. Let’s be honest… everyone loves a good butt grab every once and a while. Remind her that you think of her in those naughty ways even though you may not have the time you once did to exploit them. Need a hand in remembering how to do this… pickup any PG rated rom-com. There is bound to be a good make out seen somewhere along the way. Bonus level: watch it with your significant other… and maybe try not to finish the movie. 😉
- Talk to her (even about things you would rather not)
Take interest in her day or activities. The best thing you can do at the end of everyday… ask your wife/partner “how was your day?” Now here is the secret: you have to actually listen and engage in her response. BOOM! Shocking, I know! Having a meaningful conversation does not have to include talking about politics OR the weather. Is she taking a fitness class? Or a mommy and me class? Maybe she’s working on a project at work? ASK HER TO TELL YOU ABOUT IT! (see #2 for listening tips) You will be shocked at what you can learn about your partner. Tell her when there is stuff you are dealing with. Even if it seems silly or insignificant. Trust me, she wants to know. Quite frankly, something that is nothing to you is likely something to her. Bonus level: incorporating the things you talk about into any of the above topics.
Bottom line here… we aren’t perfect (although we like to believe we are). We are sometimes plagued by uncontrollable mood swings and emotions that even we don’t understand. The only thing all of us want… unconditional love and support. The only way you can provide that is by trying to understand that we are complicated and we are bound to be difficult. Its these moments when your patience is paramount. Know that beyond everything else we love you and just want that love in return.
Need or want more resources… Check out these relationship books that go beyond the fluff and get to the nitty gritty of relationship building:
The Five Love Languages by Gary D. Chapman
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff In Love by Richard and Kris Carlson