Her heart will be yours forever!
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, "Happy wife, happy life." But it's difficult (and near impossible) to know what makes women happy because, let’s face it, we are way different from men.
What I want you to know though, fellas, is that your heart is obviously in the right place (because if it wasn’t you wouldn’t be reading this). You just need to stop assuming that your wife thinks like you do (and us, ladies, need to stop assuming you think like we do as well).
Well, here’s the thing — after all that love potion wears off and you start living your real lives as husband and wife, you stop being hyper-focused on each other. And when you stop being hyper-focused, you stop thinking alike because other things, people, events and experiences now claim some (or most) of your attention.
It’s going to take a little work on your part to turn things around in your marriage, to get it to the point where she’s genuinely happy and you have your happy life with her. But don’t worry, the work isn’t much.
All you have to do is become her best friend.
Now before you start claiming that you're already your wife's friend, remember that's probably based on you assuming she thinks like you do. She doesn’t.
Friendship to her means understanding and supporting her in a way that makes sense to her — not you.
So here are seven powerful ways to make your wife happy by becoming her best friend:
1. Always respect her.
Respect her thoughts, feelings, beliefs, opinions, priorities, values, work, hobbies, wants, needs, and time as much as you want her to respect yours. Believe it or not, most men quickly discount their wives’ thoughts, feelings, beliefs, etc., when these things in any way conflict with what they want.
For most men, it’s not on purpose because this is exactly how they treat other men. They expect another man to tell them "no". But, remember, your wife doesn’t think like you do so she feels disrespected when you continually push your agenda ahead of hers.
2. Help out with the chores, even if she doesn't ask.
Do you notice how your wife is always busy (not all wives, but most are)? She’s always working on something or other and it’s rare to see her sit down and relax. She assumes that you notice how hard she’s working to take care of the kids, the pets, the house and the meals. And you probably do.
The problem is that she needs help taking care of the kids, the pets, the house and the meals. Taking care of your house and family requires both of you because they’re both yours.
So pitch in without being asked. Notice what needs doing and just do it. Oh, and don’t expect her to praise you for doing it any more than you praise her for getting things done to maintain your family and household.
3. Spend quality time with her.
Her idea of quality time might be different than yours, so be sure to do things with her that she enjoys, not just things that would please you. Here's a secret: she probably enjoys talking to you and connecting with you on an emotional level.
4. Treat her with sensitivity.
I’ve read that women value emotional security more than financial security. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I do know that women need to feel safe to express themselves. Most women are emotional beings and they need to know that their husbands respect this.
We also need our husbands to know that we are sensitive to their emotions too.
If we don’t feel safe emotionally, we start to shut down and look to others to satisfy our need for emotional intimacy. Now I’m not saying that we’ll look for another man (although some women do), but we will start spending more time with people who do fill this need for us — like our friends and family.
5. Remember that she can’t just turn off her thoughts and feelings.
Most men can put things out of their minds fairly easily, but most women can't. We tend to have a bazillion thoughts and emotions streaking through our minds all the time.
There's a joke about a couple who are in the throes of passion when all of a sudden, the wife says, "Blue." The husband is trying to maintain his focus, but he doesn’t want to ignore her so somewhat distractedly he asks, "What?"
She responds, "I think I’ll paint the bedroom blue." Well, that ruined the mood for him, but she was still ready to go because she finally solved a dilemma that she had been struggling with for quite some time!
And that, gentlemen, is how a woman’s mind works.
So give her time if she’s caught up in a thought or emotion and isn’t able to just put it aside. Patiently talk to her about it to help her process it (DO NOT TRY TO SOLVE IT FOR HER) and as soon as she does, she’ll be back to herself again.
6. Know her "love language" and use it to your advantage.
Hopefully you’ve heard of Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages before. If not, you need to order a copy right away.
Chapman’s premise is that we all naturally experience and express love in at least one of five different ways. It’s important that you express your love for your wife in the way that makes most sense to her instead of the way that makes the most sense to you.
For example, let’s say your love language is physical touch and you love it when she spontaneously gives you a hug and kiss in public. And let’s say her love language is gifts. If you assume she’ll feel loved by you spontaneously giving her hugs and kisses in public, you’ll be very, very wrong. She won’t feel that you’re showing her love, she’ll feel that you’re just getting your needs for love while ignoring hers.
7. Encourage her and appreciate her efforts.
This is one place where you both need the same thing, but the problem is that men do this less frequently than women. So take the time to let her know how much you appreciate her (and more than just sexually).
The more you encourage and appreciate her, the more energy and ability she’ll have to encourage and appreciate you. It’s one of those things where if you lead by example, she’ll easily be able to follow.
So, how soon will doing these things turn your wife into the happiest woman alive?
I wish that I could give you an iron-clad guarantee that by consistently doing these 7 things that your wife will be happy and your life together will be amazing, but I can’t. All women are different, but almost all of us respond positively when our husband puts forth the effort to be our best friend. And given that the reward is a happy life with her, you’ll be happy being her best friend.
Dr. Karen Finn is a divorce coach who believes that choosing divorce is a last resort. She works with clients wonder what else they can do to turn their unhappy marriage around. You can join her anonymous newsletter group for free advice or schedule your FREE 30-minute consultation directly in her Time Trade calendar.
This article was originally published at Marriage.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.