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Good Husbandry

Good Husbandry

My wife tells me all the time that I’m a good husband. In all honesty I rarely feel that way but I do try to be a good partner to her. Being a good husband though isn’t necessarily something that has a handbook that you can follow.

Being a good husband starts with knowing your wife. It begins with learning what her needs are and yes, those are going to be different for each individual woman (for my gay readers I’m writing from a heterosexual relationship viewpoint but feel free to substitute man for woman from here on out; and ladies, hopefully the advice I give will be useful for being a good wife as well). Those needs may or may not have to do with what’s important to her.

Some women need a nest. They want it to be clean. Being a good husband may be as simple as picking up after yourself, helping out around the house and taking an interest in projects that she wants to take on to make the nest more comfortable. She may want you to be proactive in making sure repairs are made around the house – that lightbulbs are changed, fences mended, lawns are mowed regularly. Whether or not assigned chores are part of the deal, there aren’t many women who don’t want their husbands to help out around the house. Knowing what’s expected of you in that regard and cheerfully in a timely manner making sure those chores, tasks and projects are completed goes a long way with most women. But often times that’s not even close to being the most important part of being a good husband.

Nearly all women are looking for emotional support. That doesn’t mean what you think it means by the way. They aren’t necessarily looking for your advice so much as needing for you to listen, so back off Neanderthal boy. It’s not so much a “Woman broken. Me fix!” situation. More than likely she already knows how to fix things and probably better than you – at least in my case that’s certainly true. She just needs her feelings validated and the less you say, the more effective you can be. Besides, chances are that being a man the more you talk the more opportunity you have to screw things up. Most of the real mistakes I’ve made in my marriage have come of me trying to be smart or clever when being really smart or clever would have required keeping my mouth shut. Gents, when in doubt, stick a banana in your mouth and keep it there until she’s done talking.

Being a good husband really requires an ears open mouth shut mentality but that doesn’t mean you don’t ever talk. It means learning when to offer an opinion and learning when just to say “it’s all right honey, you’re absolutely right to feel the way you do.” Let her talk herself through whatever is bothering her; she’ll feel much better and you’ll be a hero for being supportive husband and for heroes there are always rewards (nudge nudge wink wink). Most of the time she needs to vent; let her vent and make liberal use of hugs and statements of support but don’t tune her out while she’s venting because she’ll know you’re doing it without hesitation. Ask clarifying questions to let her know you’re listening to what she has to say. A woman who knows she’s been listened to is a woman who appreciate her husband.

But above all, being a good husband means being a good partner. Your wife is not your slave, not your maid, not your chef although she can be those things from time to time – on her time, not yours. There are things you’re going to want to do around the house. For me, it’s washing dishes and doing laundry. Da Queen will do laundry but she appreciates me doing it for her. She doesn’t particularly like doing the dishes and again, is grateful that I do them for her. There are things that she can do that I’m not particularly good at. She unloads the dishes much more quickly and efficiently than I for example. She’s also a better planner and more organized than I am so she takes care of our calendar and keeps track of our finances. Teamwork. It’s the name of the game.

But the name of the game is also presence. Sure, nobody is present in a relationship 24/7 – that’s just not possible. We all need some me time and when she needs it, giving her the same respect and space as you require when you need it is called for. Presence is being active in the relationship and that isn’t just about sex my low-browed friends. It’s about affection as well. Holding hands. Hugs. Compliments. Letting her know every single day that she’s the most beautiful woman on Earth (which is something I’m guilty of taking for granted, I know – I’m working on it honey, truly I am) and how much you appreciate her. Some women need this reassurance more than others but they all need it. Guys need it too.

A good husband knows what makes her wife smile and won’t hesitate to do those things. A good husband will remember small seemingly insignificant details about their lives together – which tells your wife that every moment with her is important to you. A good husband knows that sometimes your wife needs a good cry and it’s okay to let her just get all of it out of her system – and a good husband knows that just being there to hold her and tell her it’s okay can make all the difference in the world.

Good husbands don’t necessarily have to be great providers although they should contribute to the household in other ways if they aren’t. Good husbands are spontaneous – picking up flowers along with groceries on the way home from work. Ordering a pizza so it’s waiting for her when she gets home so she doesn’t have to cook after a particularly hard day.

Good husbands aren’t doormats although you might be thinking that it sounds a lot like it right now. A good husband is a good partner, and yes there will be disagreements but when there are, they are expressed with respect. Good husbands communicate which means that when something she does bothers you, you tell her about it. You have a conversation with her, not a lecture meant to make her feel three inches tall which she’ll probably feel like anyway but you have to trust her enough to be able to say things like “I can’t agree with the way you’re handling this” or “the way you’re expressing yourself to me makes me feel bad.”  She’s no more perfect than you are and believe it or not, she’d rather hear that she’s upsetting you than have you hold it in and be miserable. Of course, this doesn’t mean you jump all over her for every little offense; we’re talking patterns of behavior here, not individual incidents unless she does something grievous.

Being a good husband will look differently to every woman but there are some basics. Communication, respect and loyalty are the most common things that women expect from their mates. Give your wife all of those and even when you mess up – and you will mess up  – she’ll be much quicker to forgive because she not only knows where she stands with you, she knows that she has a very special life partner that she will stand by forever.

Being a good husband is work. For a lot of us, it doesn’t come naturally as men have a tendency to be somewhat lazy when it comes to relationships and I for one am guilty of that particular sin. It is so incredibly easy to take your wife for granted and all of us husbands sooner or later slip up and start doing that very thing. To combat that, this is an easy checklist to follow: Don’t be afraid to tell her that you love her every day several times a day. Don’t be afraid to show her that you love her. Don’t be afraid to show the world that you love her. Never fail to appreciate the things she does. Finally, live every day with her like each day matters. You never know what tomorrow may bring so make sure that she hears you say the words AND feel the truth of them. Nobody ever looked back on a relationship and wished they’d said “I love you” less often, after all.


One Response

  1. Awesome… exact observations of a wife! Yes we all need to be listened first.. and very few husbands understand this need of a woman. That’s a wonderfully written article.. keep it up!

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