2 weeks ago we wrote an article titled: How Can I Be a Better Husband?
Many responded with thanks and then asked us to write another article on “How to be a Better Wife.” You asked – so here it is:
I am somewhat reluctant to write this article, because I imagine that a majority of our website readers are wives, who may be happy to discuss what’s wrong with their husbands, but might be less excited to take an honest look at themselves. Yet, taking an honest look at yourself (as scary as that may be) has the potential to take you beyond your struggles and get you the life you want.
Many women focus on their husbands – whom they are powerless to change. This leaves them dissatisfied, unhappy, and often complaining victims.
The famous Serenity Poem applies here:
“God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change
To change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.”
Your spouse does not fall within the realm of things you can change. You, however, do.
As a woman you may have experienced reading a marriage book, finding everything you feel applies to your husband, highlighting it, and asking him to read it. Usually this has the effect of making things worse not better. Since this is an article to women, if you are a husband, it’s not going to be a good idea to show it to your wife, with an attitude of; “see what you need to change.”
Here’s the secret to both husbands and wives:
“The more I’m willing to change – The better you become.”
I also want to put a disclaimer here. While it is always a good idea to focus on being our best self and living our best life, the things in this article are not meant to be taken as the causes for a spouse’s affair. If your spouse has been unfaithful DO NOT BLAME YOURSELF for their affair. They are 100% responsible for their choice to be unfaithful. There are no perfect wives and no perfect marriages, but there are monogamous joyful marriages. Just because you could’ve been a better wife doesn’t give your spouse a reason to have an affair. Every wife can be a better wife, and every husband can be a better husband!
Exception to the Rule!
There may be a woman reading this who is married to a man who will never choose to be good. A good woman does not tolerate being abused, physically, emotionally or verbally. Living with a man who continues to be a cheating husband is living with abuse. If any of these abusive situations apply to you get the professional help you need to take a stand and remove yourself from being the victim. If you are in an abusive situation, your solution doesn’t lie in being a better wife. Your kindness may only serve to make your abuser feel worse about their self, resulting in more abuse. Instead your solution lies in taking a stand, getting professional help, and possibly getting out.
So You Want to Be a Better Wife?
The first step is: practice self-care and learn how to say “no.” You cannot be any good to your husband, your kids or anyone else if you do not know how to slow down and recharge your own batteries. You are not super human. So get proper rest, eat well, exercise, and build yourself up emotionally & spiritually, so you will be ready to handle your busy days, and all the crazy stuff life is going to throw at you!
A good wife has a good heart. She is loving, kind and patient. She is humble, which means she is not proud, arrogant, selfish or rude. Instead she is modest.
She has learned the art of wanting what she has. Her life is not about material things. It’s good to have dreams and goals and material things can be lovely, but a good woman doesn’t try to fill her emptiness with stuff. Instead she is fulfilled through relationships; with God, her husband, her children, her family, her friends, and her mentors.
She seeks purpose for her life. Her life is not all about herself and only her little world, it extends to those around her. Herein she finds a priceless sense of inner fulfillment. For some this may be making a difference for one person forgotten by the world. For others it may be something global or anywhere in between.
She is energetic and hardworking. She sees in her work how she is making a difference. Even if she is stuck working in what feels like a “dead-end” job, she sees her role as one that makes a difference. She looks for ways to give a smile or a word of encouragement to a coworker or customer.
She has integrity. Her husband can trust her completely, because her goal is to bring him good and not harm every day. She has his back. She believes the best of him. She looks for good in every situation. She has learned the art of …
“Treat a man as though he were what he ought to be, and he will become a better man.”
A good wife doesn’t buy into our current cultures programming which depicts husbands as stupid. Just think of every current sit-com on TV. I laugh too, but lets face it, without exception they paint the husband as an incompetent loser. It’s just not true. Men are not stupid. They are different, and I dare say grossly misunderstood by women today.
A good wife speaks of her husband as an equal, not as a child.
While I’m speaking of children and cultural programming, if you want to be a good wife, avoid embracing our current cultures child centered marriage model. Your husband comes first. Your children come second.
There are times when I wonder just how much truth there may be in the old saying:
Behind every good man is a good woman.
Here are some secrets:
1. A good wife sets her husband up for success by asking for exactly what she wants.
Set your husband up to succeed by spelling it out for him point blank. His “mind reading” skills are not up to par, so kindly remove the guesswork from your husband’s potential for being a good husband.
For example you might say: “Honey, our anniversary is coming up next weekend, and what would really be meaningful for me is if you planned an overnight date for us, made a reservation at a restaurant, lined up the babysitter, and got me a nice gift and card – a romantic gift, not practical.”
Men like to succeed, so remove the mystery. You might say, “Well, if I have to tell him it’s not meaningful.” Yes it is. Then …
2. Make sure you’re ecstatically happy when your husband does what you ask. (Comments such as “it’s about time” are a good way to ensure that good thing doesn’t happen again, because it is a criticism.)
John Gray tells the story of how his own wife asked over and over if he would take her to the opera (the last thing in the world he felt like doing). Finally one day he took her. His wise wife apparently was so appreciative of him that as they pulled into their garage at home afterwards … she rewarded him with sex right there in the car. The next morning John Gray ordered season tickets to the opera!!! (Smart wife!)
3. Overlook mistakes.
I remember when our first daughter was born. One morning my husband helped dress our little baby girl for church. He put one of those pretty pink frilly dresses on her. All the beautiful bows, lace and ruffles were at the back like a massive cape. On the front were 3 simple buttons. (You guessed right. He put it on backwards! Bless his heart.) Then he added orange sox!
I never said a word. I held my baby proudly in church, and let all the other mothers whisper away. Instead I applied rule #2 and was ecstatically happy that my husband helped. The result was a husband dying to find more ways to help me. What if I’d pointed it out with a comment like, “Sigh, the dress is on backwards, and orange doesn’t go with pink. What were you thinking?” I’m pretty sure if I’d said that, that would’ve been the last time my husband helped dress the children.
4. A good wife is confident and strong – not needy. She knows herself and is happy with herself. I’ve asked many men what qualities they find attractive in women, and the answer most often given is self-confidence. Here we are spending hundreds on hair, make-up, and trying to be skinny, when in fact, the thing that has the greatest potential for making us attractive is something money cannot buy. It’s self-confidence. If you struggle with low self-esteem, you are not alone. All women struggle with insecurity at times. If you want to be a good wife, find out who you are, and get good at being you, and know that YOU ARE GREAT! Stop comparing yourself to other women.
5. Last, but not least, a good wife is sexual. She is in tune with her body. If she has had past issues with sexual abuse, she’s gotten the help she needed to overcome those negative affects. She’s learned that sex is not sinful, nor shameful. Sex in marriage is sacred. It’s to be fun, adventurous and enjoyed.
©Copyright 2012 Anne and Brian Bercht. All rights reserved.
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