We spend much of our day running at full speed. It’s not surprising, therefore, that we might roll our eyes at the idea of adding more things to our to-do list, especially if it involves trying harder to please our mate. Are they doing enough for me, you might ask? While it’s important to have your own needs met, it’s also vital to see your marriage as a partnership.
First things first, this is no “how to please your man” kind of list. It’s a discussion about how to be your best self while considering your partner’s needs. After all, teamwork makes the dream work, right?
As I’ve explained to counseling clients in the past, you don’t have to wait for your husband to start doing the right things — be the one who sparks the change! So, in that spirit, here are some things that your husband wishes you’d do more often.
Let loose and have fun
Life can be so hectic nowadays it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important. We are often juggling multiple obligations at once and, in order to keep up, we can become fixated on maintaining certain schedules and routines — but what if, once in a while, we got spontaneous and cancelled plans in order to do something outlandish or fun?
Your husband would probably love it if you just let loose and decided to go with the flow for a change. It might be tough, at first, to buck with tradition but, ultimately, you will probably end up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Pro tip: Ditch the office during lunch time and meet up with your hubby instead. You will both enjoy that extra time together in the middle of the day!
When it comes to your own appearance, do what makes you feel happy and comfortable. If that means applying makeup every morning, then so be it! We all deserve to feel good in our own skin.
That being said, why not skip the beauty regimen once in a while? Despite what the magazines try to sell us, studies are showing that men actually prefer when women wear less makeup. Who would have thought?
Pro tip: On your next date night, try a more natural look, and see if he comments on the change. As long as you feel beautiful, and you’re up to it, why not experiment a little!
Let it go
If you’ve had to repeat something multiple times or just happen to be having a bad day, it’s really tempting to just harp on some problem or mistake your husband has made. You might even be venting about a friend, family member, or coworker who has upset you in some way.
It’s definitely important that you continue to communicate with your husband — and you deserve to see him as a confidante — but once you have made your point, he might appreciate if you reel it in a little. Your blood might still be boiling but you will know when the opportunity arises, that this time, it’s best to drop it.
Pro tip: If you’ve been blowing off steam and realize you’ve begun repeating yourself, take a deep breath and accept that there might be nothing left to say. Then, pull a Frozen, and let it go.
Make the first move
We all have our preferences about whether we are the pursuer or the pursued, and really, many women seem to prefer being chased. As long as your partner is fine with this dynamic, it’s no one’s business but your own. Deep down, though, he might really wish that — once in a while — you were the hunter. Of course, there are plenty of relationships where the wife takes on this role regularly but, if you traditionally haven’t, it could be a nice surprise.
Pro tip: Come up with a fun way of initiating some alone time. He’ll be pleasantly surprised you’re taking the reins.
Embrace your sexuality
Every day, women are bombarded with messages about how we should, and should not, express our sexuality. As a result, so many of us become shy or uncomfortable with our bodies and it can have an impact on our intimate relationships.
Research has shown that women experience orgasm during intercourse far less frequently than men which, of course, is entirely unfair. Chances are that your husband wants you to enjoy sex as much as he does and would be willing to work on it, but he might need some gentle guidance.
Pro tip: Pick up some books, watch some videos, and grab a mirror so that you can explore your own body. Once you feel comfortable, invite your husband to play along.
Put down your phone
It’s pretty frustrating to try to have a conversation with someone when their face is buried into the screen of their phone. We’ve all been annoyed by this, yet, we still do it to others on a regular basis.
Your husband probably wishes you’d toss that thing aside more often and focus on him, especially if you are easily upset by things you see on social media (and, therefore, need to vent), or the glare keeps him up at night!
Pro tip: First thing in the morning and right before bed, try to have a “phone-free” chat with your husband so that you begin and end each day feeling connected.
Tell him he’s your favorite
Most of us have to deal with the memories of the exes in our spouse’s past. Hopefully, we are secure enough in our relationship that it doesn’t create any unnecessary issues.
Still, it’s pretty normal to feel insecure sometimes, especially when a story about an ex seems particularly memorable or nostalgic. In those moments, a little reassurance can go a long way, even if your husband is brushing it off.
Pro tip: If some great story from your past comes up, acknowledge that wonderful piece of history but let your husband know that his chapter in your life is your favorite!
Let him help more
We all like things done a certain way and, really, some things have to be done a certain way. Sometimes, it’s easier to just handle things ourselves, especially if our husbands have failed at completing tasks in the past.
The thing is, though, that some things aren’t really that big of a deal. If your husband gets the kids dressed and their clothes don’t match, does it really matter (especially if you’re not leaving the house)? Did he set the table using the ivory dishes when you wanted to use the white ones? When it comes to things like that, pick your battles.
Pro tip: Before you jump in and “correct” your husband, ask yourself if it’s really worth it. Chances are, you will have feedback on a million other things anyway.
Be more adventurous
Do you find it hard to step out of your comfort zone? If so, you are not alone. It’s so much easier to stick with what we know than to strike out and engage in completely new (possibly scary) experiences.
It’s very possible, therefore, that your husband would love for you to try something he loves or is interested in but you aren’t too sure about.
Pro tip: Once a week, push yourself to delve into uncharted territory, even if it’s just sampling an unfamiliar cuisine or trying karaoke. You’ll only grow stronger from the experience!
Recognize his efforts
We all want to be recognized when we are making an effort. After all, as I’ve mentioned to clients in the past, the best way to encourage people to keep trying is to let them know that they are doing a good job.
Too often in a relationship, we take our partner’s contributions for granted. Pay attention to the things your husband does to make you happy and let him know how much you appreciate it.
Pro tip: Buy some sticky notes and randomly leave them around the house with encouraging words for your hubby. You will both probably get a boost from the positivity!
Drop unrealistic expectations
Society perpetrates a lot of myths about what a good marriage looks like. Even children’s movies make the male figure seem like the perfect balance between being emotionally available, financially stable, and physically able (see what I did there?).
What if your husband doesn’t bring you flowers, but always makes sure your car is gassed up, the toilet paper roll is replaced, and the air filters are changed on time? Are your unrealistic expectations about romance interfering with your ability to see the ways in which he shows you how much he loves you?
Pro tip: Take a moment to really think about all of the ways in which your husband makes you a priority. You might be surprised by all of his small gestures.
Happiness is contagious
If you are putting in a bigger effort to do things for your husband but feel frustrated by his lack of effort, it might be helpful to remember that making him a priority not only increases the chances that he will do the same in return, but also makes you a great partner.
Being married isn’t about checks and balances. It’s a healthy work in progress!