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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How to be a better husband

MSN has an article today on How to be a better husband. These are always popular, as men seem completey incapable of figuring women out, and women seem completely incapable of figuring men out. I may not be so good at the figuring men out part, but I can usually offer some pretty good advice on how to figure us girls out. So if you're curious how to be a better boyfriend or husband, go read their article.

If you also want to learn what you can do beyond the obvious stuff listed in that article (and to me, it was all very obvious), then keep reading.

  • Don't try to solve her problems.
    This is one thing men do not seem to understand. Here's an example.

    Recently, Michael and I went out bowling with another couple. The guys were, of course, great while us girls just kind threw the ball down the lane and hoped for the best. After a few minutes, they started "coaching" us -- telling us how to hold the ball, how to spin it, etc., etc., etc. They would try to correct our form before every turn. (If you don't get where I'm going yet, then I'm sorry for you.) She and I both started getting frustrated and upset, because guess what? It. Drove. Us. Crazy. We were fine with the advice the first time, but before and after every single turn? We both were about ready to start plotting to kill them about halfway through the game until they wised up and just let us bowl.

    Moral of the story? Don't try to solve her problems. Women don't need that, and especially not from the man they're looking to for support. If she's had a bad day and is venting to you, she doesn't want you to offer her advice or solutions (she's likely just to get pissed off the more you do that). If she's upset about something, be there to comfort her. Ask her if there's anything you can do to help, but she'll probably tell you no. This is where listening comes into lay. Tell her OK, but that if she needs you, you're there for here. Beyond that, leave it alone.

  • Be romantic for no reason.
    When you first saw your significant other, and decided you wanted to pursue her, how did you act? Maybe you brought flowers for her to your dates. Maybe you went out of your way to take her to unique restaurants you knew she'd like. You dressed up for her, and you went above and beyond what she probably expected.

    Fast forward a little. You've now won her heart, and how much of this do you still do? Giving her flowers and gifts on birthdays, anniversaries, and Valentine's Day don't count.

    Here's my advice. Bring the romance back to the relationship. Send her flowers regularly -- say, once a month or so to her office. Everyone there will be jealous of her, and she will feel like the luckiest, most loved woman on the planet. Leave work an hour early to make her dinner (or pick it up on the way if you absolutely cannot cook, but arrange it all nicely on the table if you do) by candlelight. Let her sit down and relax while you serve dinner to her. Surprise her with little love notes in her car or under her pillow. Whatever you may choose to do (these are just examples), be romantic, and often. Treat her like you were still pursuing her -- don't get complacent because you've already won her heart.

  • Compliment her.
    This one probably seems obvious, but men do not do it enough!

    Think back to the last time you and your girlfriend or wife went out on a date. I'd be willing to bet that after she finished getting dressed and ready to go, she probably came out and asked you, "How do I look?" If you responded "Fine," then you failed the test. She's not asking you if she looks presentable; she's wanting to hear from you that you still find her wildly attractive!

    Try this. Next time the two of you go out somewhere, rather than waiting for her to ask you how she looks, respond immediately. As soon as she makes her appearance, say something -- whether it's a "Wow!", or to tell her, "You look stunning." Beat her to the punch. She'll probably be glowing the rest of the night.

    And don't just wait for date nights. In the morning before she leaves for work, when you're both walking out the door to drive off, add in a "You look gorgeous" to your goodbye kiss.

    The bottom line here is to compliment her, and often, even if it's for no real reason. It'll make her feel like a million dollars.

  • Invite her out with the guys.
    Your initial response to this one is probably an emphatic "No way!", or a "What?!". But hang in there.

    Two friends of mine are married, and Colin was telling me one day about his policy when it comes to his guy nights. When his buddies suggest going out somewhere, the very first question he asks is, "Is my wife invited?" If the answer is no, he's automatically not interested. Now, Tara, his wife, does not always go with them -- 9 times out of 10, she stays home. But the point, as Colin explained, is that if Tara is not welcome, then he isn't interested.

    Now imagine how much more valued and secure this makes his wife feel. The point here is not to bring her with you to all of your guys' night outs. The point is to make her feel welcome and not left out. For one thing, it will put her mind at ease -- she'll be much less likely to badger you about who you were with and what you were doing (a plus for you). For another, it will make her (again) feel incredibly special and important in your life.

  • Tell her you love her -- all the time.
    Does this one also seem obvious? It may, but look beyond the surface.

    How often do you tell her that you love her? If it's only, say, when you get off the phone, then you should be telling her much more often. Don't be afraid to just tell her how much you love her all the time. Don't overdo it, obviously, but it seems that much more genuine when it seems to come at random. Don't be shy of telling her how happy she makes you, or that you're so glad she's in your life. It's the easiest of all of these to do, and can make a huge difference.

    These are just a few hints and tricks I would advise you to try out. Making your wife or girlfriend feel like she's the luckiest woman in the world is not difficult; it just takes a little effort. If you're willing to put in that extra effort, it will go a long, long way.
  • 9 comments:

    Anonymous said...

    "If she's had a bad day and is venting to you, she doesn't want you to offer her advice or solutions"

    She "venting", right? It's called "whining". If you don't Whine, we won't offer solutions. Got it?

    Eric said...

    The part about not trying to fix things is incredibly hard for us men to get (and hard to consistantly practice even after we understand), but in my experience it makes things much much better in the marriage once we get them.

    I agree with pretty much everything you said (and I pretty much said the same stuff on my blog in a post about this same article) except the part about inviting her out with the guys. Guys need to have guy friends to go do guy things with, and sometimes that means the women are unwelcome and intentionally left out. That doesn't mean we are out snorting cocaine off the bodies of naked hookers, and a wife who trusts her husband should know that.

    I don't get suspiscious of my wife if she doesn't invite me to go to a tupperware party with her friends... she shouldn't get suspiscious of me if I don't invite her to play poker with mine.

    Anonymous said...

    Many years ago I worked in an office with 9 co-workers, all women. In fact I was the only man on the whole floor of the building. My boss, who was in another county, was a woman. I was married and had 2 daughters, no sons.

    A night out with guys was a rare treat. It would have been extremely rude and very unwelcome for someone to bring his wife. Even if she was hot!

    Cas said...

    Y'all are missing the key point of the "inviting her out" part. It isn't bringing her along; it's letting her know she's welcome. She's not likely to want to come and watch you and your guy friends sit around, watch the game, and drink beer. It's a show you're putting on for her -- think of it that way. As I said, my friend Tara rarely ever goes out with Colin, but he makes a point of letting her know that she's welcome.

    Cas said...

    And anon, the "whining" part? It doesn't sound to me like you'd want to be the kind of guy I would ever want to be with in a million years. No offense or anything... but you do not sound like the supportive, comforting, reassuring type whatsoever, nor do you sound willing to even try -- and trust me, women need their man to be comforting, reassuring, and supportive. This article was not about how women do stupid things; it was how to make men better partners. You can take the advice or leave it.

    Eric said...

    "It isn't bringing her along; it's letting her know she's welcome."

    But that's my point... she's sort of, um, not welcome to come along. She knows it. I know it. Why pretend? Sometimes, the whole point of going and doing something with "the guys" is to get away from my family for a little while. Nothing wrong with that. I know my wife needs to get the hell away from me sometimes too (and she rarely hesitates to tell me when that's the case).

    I'm not above putting on a show from time to time for the sake of getting along, but I think it is important in a marriage for both partners to acknowledge that it is OK to sometimes step outside of the circle and go play with another group. Just don't be stupid about it.

    Gredd said...

    This is a good article. Full of stuff we should know but it's nice to see it spelled out. But like many, I disagree with "Invite her out with the guys." :)

    I think it's disingenuous to invite someone to something you really don't want them to come to. I also think it's poor to expect to be invited to everything.

    If she's happy hanging out with the girls without me for an evening, then that makes me happy (cause her happiness is important to me). I would hope the reverse to be true too.

    Here's another thing to consider. If the significant other joins in on the *insert gender* only night, it has a chance to screw up some friendships/trust bonds. What if bud of mine wants to talk over an issue in his life so he calls up the guys and says, 'hey, let's grab a beer?' If an Significant Other (SO) from one of the guys comes along, he won't feel comfortable talking about what was bothering him. This isn't good. I speak of this from personal experience.

    "For one thing, it will put her mind at ease -- she'll be much less likely to badger you about who you were with and what you were doing (a plus for you). For another, it will make her (again) feel incredibly special and important in your life."

    I'm not sure inviting her out as a preventative measure against badgering is a good thing. That makes the invite even more insincere. Also, there might be trust issues already if she's always on you about where you were or who you were with. Which brings me to the last sentence in that paragraph. If one were to do all the other things you advise (and it is good advice), she'd already feel special and loved that inviting her to everything wouldn't be needed AND she would trust you.

    This is kinda interesting though. Here we have a girl telling us what makes her feel special. And then we have a bunch of guys telling her she's wrong. :) Cassy, you're running into the Male Logic and I'm afraid you won't get far with this one. I will say that I do see what you're saying and I do understand it, I just have to go with my experience AND what I've been told by women what is most important in a relationship: Honesty. So I have to stick with my bit about not inviting the SO to come to a single gender only outing when they aren't invited.

    Also, Colin seems whipped. :) j/k LOL

    Cas said...

    This is kinda interesting though. Here we have a girl telling us what makes her feel special. And then we have a bunch of guys telling her she's wrong.

    Thank you, Gredd.

    Y'all may not agree with all of this stuff, but the article is not titled "How to be a better husband by only doing things that you agree with or make sense to you". ;) I'm just pointing out a FEW things that will make your girlfriend or wife feel incredibly loved, appreciated, wanted, and special. Whether or not you agree with the method, I think you can probably understand the meaning behind it, and that's the most important part.

    John said...

    Dr Cassy - Not sure you are being fair to Mr. Don't Whine. Let's try a typical scenario and see what you suggest:

    Day 1: She comes home and vents. You try to solve her problems. She gets upset.

    Day 2: She comes home and vents about the same thing. You read Cassy's brilliant post and try to be supportive (BTW a bit of definition here on how to BE supportive would not hurt) hoping she will get over it and feel better. At least tonight she doesn't get mad at you.

    Day 3: She comes home and vents about the same thing. You still try to be supportive hoping she will get over it and feel better.

    Day 4: See day 3, except she gets mad at you anyway for not being attentive enough or for picking the wrong "Uh huh" word while listening.

    Day 5: See day 4.

    .....

    Day 50: Shut up. SHUT UP! SHUT THE @#$$%^^&*&$%* UP!!!! What kind of lunatic complains about the same thing every day and won't lift a finger to fix it? I know the rant word for word by now. It haunts my dreams. Get help. For Gods sake, for all our sakes, GET HELP!

    So how can we be supportive husbands and not end up at day 50? Or are you saying we should endure the unfathomable torment of days 6 to infinity as the price of the relationship?

    NOTE: Had some trouble getting this to post. Hopefully there is only one of them.