Is your marriage on the rocks? Here are three action items that will help you improve your marriage.
1. Be the Wife He Wants to Keep
One way to save your marriage is to choose to become the wife he wants to keep. This does not mean radically changing your personality or abandoning your beliefs.
Instead of being angry all of the time, remind yourself of the traits that endeared you to him in the first place. Treat him like a boyfriend, with caring acts and a solicitous nature. Dennis Prager has said that choosing to act kind and endearing can generate those emotions inside you, and it will improve the relationship between the two of you.
Express gratitude for the things he does. Tell him thank you for picking up the kids or fixing an item that has been on your to do list for months. Never nitpick how he does something, or he will stop doing these things. Nor should you stand over him and tell him how to do something while he’s doing it. For that amount of work, he’ll reason it is better for you to do it yourself.
2. Equally Yoked But Not Split Down the Middle
Don’t demand that he wash his own clothes or clean his own dishes. You can and probably have a division of labor in the household. Demanding that he stop fixing something and wash his own dishes adds anger, when it may be more efficient to do his dishes while you’re at it. If he works more hours for pay than you do, accept that your contribution should involve more housekeeping and parenting tasks.
Your relationship needs fair and honest communication to work. Don’t just talk, but communicate. Turn off the TV, the background music and computer so that there are no distractions when you talk to each other.
Talk about the family finances, long term goals, vacation plans, careers and concerns about the kids. Most importantly, let him have equal time to talk. And remember that it may take a man a few minutes to feel comfortable to join in the conversation. If you verbally run over him after saying you wanted to “talk”, he’ll decide that you will not listen and shut down. Getting angry at this point will confirm that you aren’t equal in the relationship but the dominant one.
Be careful about gossip; men don’t care about the political infighting at work or strife with friends. Your husband is your partner, but you should go through those emotional travails with female friends. If tell a man about your problems, he’s going to try to offer a solution. Shooting him at this point indicates that you were venting, instead of sharing, and this act will push the two of you farther apart.
3. Put Him on the Front Burner or You’ll Get Burned
Remember that you married him. Don’t keep putting the kids between the two of you, acting as messengers or an excuse not to do something he likes. Drop a few volunteer activities or nights with the girls to take your husband on a date night. Then plan a lot more date nights. Put notes saying “I love you” in his lunch. Meet him for lunch on a work day. Go with him when he wants to see a sporting event or visit family.
We ask men to be loyal to us, and then we often cut off the sex when angry. While it does punish him with physical frustration, it also causes resentment that will last a long time. Giving in to your husband and having sex when he wants it, even if you’re not particularly in the mood, is a considerate act he will recognize. It will also put him in a better mood toward you.
When your marriage is in danger, the best way to save it is to put “us” ahead of “me”. Acting selfishly, adversarial and withdrawn will guarantee its failure. Give in a little on the little things. Accept him for who he is and that it isn’t all going to be 50-50 except in the big picture. Act loving and considerate to bring back the love and affection.
Kirk Wilkinson is a speaker, coach and author of The Happiness Factor. Check out his site at http://thehappinessfactor.com for more tips on how to achieve happiness in every area of your life.