I’m going to start off this post by doing something unusual. I’m going to ask, if you’re a female reader, that you stop reading this one. Of course, I can’t stop you, and I greatly appreciate your readership of this blog. But for your husband’s sake in winning with your love alone (trust me, this will mean you winning!) I ask that you click away and allow him some room to flex his marital arts skills. I promise I’ll write a more inclusive blog next time. If you ignore this warning, you will be subject to potentially mind-bending guy logic and slightly questionable ways to make your wife happy.
Now, guys. What this is not — this is not a treatise of expertise. If you want to hear from a godfather in the faith who can dip deep into the recesses of thirty or forty years of married bliss to draw a cup of water springing to eternal life, I’m not your guy. Close your Macbook Air and go shoot the breeze on a front porch somewhere with someone who’s never heard of the internet.
This is for guys who want forward-thinking, quick ideas to add to their repertoire.
I’m going to shoot you straight. I’ve been married two and a half years, I have two kids, semi-consciousness, a wife, and an absolute need for these to work to survive. So, if you’re willing to glean a few things from a guy just out of the gate, who can only guarantee the best of luck, read on brother.
These five secrets are worth their weight in eyelid scan time. Best of luck, chaps. Here goes:
1. Instead of buying her flowers when you have a fight (cliche, but dependable), buy her flowers when her friend has a fight with a husband/boyfriend. THAT’S when you cash in for big money.
When your wife’s friend has a fight with a significant other, your wife will automatically take it out on you. It’s unavoidable. She’s emotional and her mind wanders. Whatever platitude her friend gushes between tears will inevitably be leveled upon you. If he’s cheating, every guy does it. If he’s hiding something, brotha, the suspicious eye has turned on you. Sure, this will pass when reason returns. But who wants to wait for that?
The moment you hear of a friend’s relationship misfortune, immediately swerve into oncoming traffic, do a U-turn, whatever it takes to stop for the prettiest bouquet. There is nothing cliche about chocolate and flowers to overcome a friend’s relationship woes.
Plus, you’ve done an invaluable thing here. You’ve cemented to your wife that you are not THAT guy. She swells with the assurance that you’re different. Congratulations, friend.
Really, what you’ve done for her is establish trust at the moment she most needs it.
Score — You: 1, Unnecessary relationship drama: 0.
2. Always, always, ALWAYS encourage her relationships with her family.
This seems like a no-brainer on the list. Don’t be fooled. Besides being biblical, this is entirely strategic.
Every woman is going to have problems with her family. And she’s going to tell you them. It would be easy to jump on the covered wagon and take pot shots at her fading family horizon. Resist. She likely just wants to vent and doesn’t want your gun smoke clouding her vision (which it will — it will hurt her family relationships).
But here are the real reasons. It’s inevitable at some point they’ll question whether or not you are fueling a dispute she has with them, and if your advice has always been level-headed, seeing their perspective, and encouraging family reconciliation, I can promise she’ll fire back faster than you can turn and aim for an upper story window. More importantly, she’ll beam thinking about her mature husband she can respect so much, who balances her in times of uncertainty.
Score — You: 2, Scary In-Laws: O.
3. Fight the laws of the universe. Keep yourself in a steady-state of sex-preparedness. Shower. Brush your teeth. Groom.
We all know what you want. And we know what she wants. They are very different. But you should be good at simple math. If what she wants is a prerequisite for what you want… make sure the prerequisite is always filled.
No woman actually wants to get down and dirty with a smelly orangutan that looks like it’s not doing the Ape line any favors. Not even, I hate to say it, a wife. I’ve learned this one the hard way. This is unfortunate for our gender, because one of the more attractive things to guys is spontaneous orangutan-like procreative behaviors, and one of the least attractive to women is interacting and cohabitatively procreating with the Ape-like.
So, logic 101 here for the developmentally impaired. If you want unplanned escapades to maul you at any moment, look and smell a little less Caveman and a little more Calvin Klein-man. In married life, you will have few once in a thousand moments. Inspire them to smile back when they come.
Score — You: 3, Missed Opportunities: 0.
4. Scatter compliments about your wife everywhere you go. They’ll return to you as luscious, ripe fruit.
When you were a child, you were always showing off your raggedy old toy or stalk of corn to your classmates. Now that you have a wife, how did you forget this?
For some reason, we often complain about our wives or make embarrassing comments or jokes at their expense to others, right in front of them. I think we mistakenly believe they’ll be tricked by our pre-Cambrian logic and shamed into changing the behavior we so recklessly criticize. Not so, my Cave-dwelling friend.
The trick is this: gossip and brag about your wife constantly. About every good quality you can think of. That way you scatter seeds that will come back to feed you for years. Why make jokes about her weight, house-keeping, and other weaknesses? Positive reinforcement is much more powerful than negative guilt. Compliment her everywhere. In front of her. Even more importantly, behind her back.
The secret you’re tapping into is her friends will repeat everything you say. Make it exceptionally positive and people will be spreading her wonders (and improving your relationship) when you’re not doing a thing. That’s passive relationship income, my friend.
Score — You: 4, Stupidity: O.
5. I had a fifth secret to share about making a mindset shift of her being the most valuable member of your family and treating her like it. But I’m going to bypass that for something I think might be even more valuable:
Give her your purity.
I’ve looked into my wife’s eyes when we talk about struggles many men face. I’ve seen the questions in her eyes about the topic of pornography or private sexual sin. I know how much this matters to her, and to every woman. And I determined to give her a gift that every woman deserves: her husband’s sexual purity. Even if she doesn’t know it.
I determined to give it.
Deep inside the woman I married is a little girl who once dreamed of a knight in shining armor. Who once prayed God would give her a dashing, godly man.
I still see that little girl in my wife’s eyes sometimes when I look at her.
And I’ve determined to give it to her.
It is the only dream within my power. Hers is the only hero I’ll ever be, and I, the only knight she’ll ever get. I won’t rob her of this dream.
Perhaps it isn’t cool or clever or funny enough to make the list of ways to make your wife happy. Perhaps I can’t spin it into being as good as the others. Because it isn’t about us. But perhaps I shouldn’t, either. Because after all we want — to win, learn a few tricks, stay ahead, and make our wives happy — we should probably actually do that. Make them happy. And that’s what they want. You. Me. A dream. I’ve seen it in my wife’s eyes. And that’s what I’m going to give her. A little girl, now a woman, a dream she can sleep soundly to. And to which I can fall asleep at perfect peace next to her.
Maybe that doesn’t mean much to you. But to me, that’s the whole game.
Score — You: 5, Little Girl Dream-Crusher: 0.