Jun 6, 2007

How To Be A Good Husband

There are two times when a man doesn't understand a woman - before he gets married, and after he gets married. Today, men are more confused than ever about women. In my dad's time, if a man was a good breadwinner, if every night he came home, had a martini and watched TV all night, then went to bed, he was fine. He would have been considered a real "catch".

Man is no longer king of his domain. He's now supposed to be an equal partner -- and a good listener, too. He must to be strong and sensitive at the same time, an impossible task. Admit it, guys, you've been in this double bind. If you cry, you're a wimp. If you don't, you're an insensitive jerk.

Blindsided by the escalating emotional demands of marriage, we guys wonder how love became a no-win proposition. Come with me on a journey into the murky waters of modern male-female relations.

The guidelines for being a good husband used to be simple: provide a good income, protect hearth and home, maybe mow the lawn now and then. Now wives still want all that in a mate -- and more. Today's wife wants a confidante and soul mate, too. Now the job description has been expanded to include listening and that least measurable of skills, empathizing.

Men have long wished that relationships came with written assembly instructions, complete with a parts diagram (like those that come with your kids' bike or swingset). Insert part A into slot B, and there you go! Intimacy achieved. Done! Let's have a cold one and watch that NASCAR race.

If only that instruction manual existed. If you are serious about your desire to be a good husband, you have to start attending to the "little things". While they don't mean much to men, they are very important to women. A first-rate marriage is like a first-rate hotel: expensive, but worth it.

If you have been married for even a few years, you should have the most basic of little things mastered. There are certain things that a good husband must be able to do without fear, like opening jars, killing spiders, and mowing the lawn. Some common "little things" that many women appreciate include:

Don't Wash My Sweaters.

You know where the garbage can is, please use it.

Please brush your teeth, women like that

Never say "no" to your wife.

Phyllis Diller appreciated this: Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.

These details are the baby crawl stage of the "little things" women want today. But women want more. Remember, in the world of romance one single rule applies: Make the woman happy.

If you really want to put your wife first, then you have to talk about the things that interest her! What's that? You don't know what her interests are? You're catching on!! You have been so self-centered that you don't even know what your wife is interested in. Shame on you!!

Special is how your wife should feel, and it is your task, as a good husband, to make her feel special. Don't forget her birthday. And - just as important - don't forget your wedding anniversary. Don't buy her a vacuum cleaner or an ATV for Valentines day.

To help your wife feel VERY SPECIAL, pretend you're not her husband, pretend you're her best girlfriend (in text messaging lingo, be her BFF.) When your wife tells you her problems, she isn't necessarily looking for a problem solver. (Insert A into slot B, and there you go. Intimacy achieved. Done! ) She wants someone to listen to her and empathize with what's going on in her life. She'll tell you every detail, every nuance of her life. You need to just listen. And empathize.

A husband who hears about his wife's problems instinctively wants to come to the rescue. But most of the time, this isn't what your wife is looking for. You need to fill the role more of a therapist than that of a problem solver. Listen to her problems; show concern for those problems; show that you have empathy; but don't always reply with, "Here's your problem, here's the solution. Honey, what's for dinner, anyway?"

Women, I beg you for patience with your husband when they try this empathizing for the first few times. You know how, during the day, when you sometimes think about certain deep, complex "issues" in your relationship? Then when you get home, you want to "discuss" these issues? And during these "discussions," your man sits there nodding and saying things like "Sure, I understand," "That makes perfect sense" and "I'll do better next time"?

Well, we don't understand. It doesn't make any sense to us at all. And although we'd like to do better next time, we could only do so if, in fact, we had an idea of what you're talking about.

At the end of the day, remember this: Wedding rings don't come with magic powers.You don't need magic, to have a long, fulfilling relationship. To keep out of the relationship muck, just remember this: treat your loved ones with love, respect, and unselfishness. And it doesn't hurt to read insider tips in Psychology Today, too.

My wife and I celebrated our fifteen year anniversary last month. I know I married Miss Right. After fifteen years, I now know her first name is "Always".

1 comment:

Carmin said...


Who raised you? They did a darn good job raising you to be a good, no a great husband!

You should host teleconferences on the subject of being a good husband.

Now, if all men knew to treat their wives/women as something special, there would be no need for my book, "Lessons Learned: While Looking for Love in All the Wrong Faces."

Carmin Wharton, Author