I believe the secret to men having a happy and fulfilling marriage is to become a better husbands.
I spent too many years trying to change my wife, thinking it would improve our marriage. I believe that my wife would acknowledge that she took the same approach.
Eventually, I realized that the only person I could change was myself. So when I worked on becoming a better husband, our relationship improved.
It was in becoming a better husband that I received a better wife. I am not suggesting that you work on self-improvement to receive a better wife. If that is your motive, it will fail miserably.
Please re-read the preceding paragraph. It bears repeating. Trust me; becoming a better version of yourself is its own reward.
After many years of marriage, I have discovered that a better husband seeks guidance from his wife in understanding her needs, is thoughtful, kind, and aspires to be a worthy companion.
A better husband seeks guidance from his wife in understanding her needs.
A better husband asks his wife what she really needs. As men, we may think our wives need financial security, a confident leader, and a problem-solver.
Maybe your wife longs for intimacy, a yearning to be known, accepted, and loved for who they are. But this is not always the case.
What your wife needs and what you think she needs may not be the same.
Is there anything more wasteful than expending tremendous time, energy, and resources on a perceived need that does not exist?
The only way to discover a wife’s actual needs is to ask probing questions and listen. Your wife has probably told you on numerous occasions, and you didn’t catch it. Apologize and ask again.
You might be slow to learn, but you can be persistent. What are her dreams? What are her fears?
A better husband is thoughtful and kind.
Things in life cost you more as time goes by marriage, raising children, and a car’s upkeep. But a careless word is the most costly.
Being thoughtful and kind invites compassion as a response. Often an argument can be avoided by a gentle response. Proverbs says that a gentle answer turns away wrath.
It is in a marriage that sarcasm meets its first worthy editor and adversary.
Abuse, in any form, is not thoughtful or kind. Physical, mental, emotional, and verbal abuse can quickly destroy a marriage. No one should stay in a relationship where the constant threat of physical harm is present.
A better husband aspires to be a worthy companion.
A companion spends time with someone. But a worthy companion will not merely walk alongside someone; they will close the distance.
A worthy companion will seek to be faithful, fair, and fun. Faithful. Affairs, physical and emotional, can destroy a relationship. Protect your heart from engagement with others. In an age of social media, this is a challenge. Draconian measures are not necessary, but common sense is.
Fair. Marriage is a partnership. Neither one of you is the boss or a slave. The Bible teaches mutual submission to each other. Each household needs to work out how this functions in your family.
In our family, my wife has asked me to be in charge of our finances. She has agreed that she will support my decision if there is a disagreement with how to proceed.
This approach has produced a fantastic response in me that I did not anticipate. With a hard decision, I will wait for additional information when possible. When an urgent decision is required, I know she will support me. Conversely, If the decision is strictly a matter of personal preference, I will often yield to her wishes.
How you make difficult choices is often more important than the actual decision.
Fun. You got married because being with your spouse was fun. But now, financial and parental obligations have left you too exhausted to party.
In the early years of our marriage, our friends suggested a date night. But often, we canceled the date night due to sick kids or finances.
We opted for playing a game before bedtime. For years, it was Yahtzee. Now we compete with digital timed versions of solitaire. While we play the game, we talk and have fun.
A call to action.
How do we become better husbands? First, we can seek to understand our wives, being thoughtful and kind; becoming a companion worthy of their love and respect.
What tangible steps can you take this week to be a better husband? What can you consistently do with your spouse that is easy, affordable, and fun?
If you liked this, check out my post on how to be a better father.