There's no standardized guide on how to be a good husband, but Eric Williams at YourTango has some tips on how to not only be a better man, but a better partner.
Show her how important marriage is to you.
For any man who's a husband, there's a good chance you've upset your wife at some point.
For some of you, it was just this morning. And at some time, you may have heard, "I don't feel like you love me," or "We don't do anything anymore," or "You need to get your stuff together."
Being a man does not come with a manual — and neither does being a good husband.
So what does it take to be a good husband, and in turn, have a happy marriage?
If you want to make sure you're doing a great job as a husband, then there are some things you'll want to make sure you're doing — that will result in a happy marriage, too.
Here are 17 ways to be a good husband — to keep your marriage happy and healthy, as a result:
1. Develop a moral compass.
Every man needs to have his sense of morality anchored in some philosophy of life or some faith. Whatever yours may be, make sure your wife and you agree.
And then ground your marriage in those beliefs, as well.
2. Believe in yourself.
One thing we are good at as men is being confident in our careers. And confident husbands are considered sexy by their wives.
Be confident in how you love her, provide for her, and support her in your marriage, too.
3. Know yourself.
No man is perfect. Therefore, no husband is perfect — no matter how good of a husband he is.
Take inventory of your strengths, weaknesses, bad habits, and unrealistic expectations of marriage. And although you aren't perfect, recognize that you can still strive for excellence.
4. Know your wife.
Just like you have to take inventory of your "stuff," you have to take inventory of your wife's good and not-so-good baggage brought into the marriage, as well.
Be confident that you both have "blind spots" that need to be addressed to make the marriage better — and work on understanding and addressing them together.
5. Be a student of love.
Having a fulfilling and happy marriage comes from the ability to first be a student of what your spouse needs to feel loved, appreciated, respected, and supported. And know that learning this is a life-long experience.
Listen to her and her needs with the intent to understand her on a deeper level and become a better lover. Your marriage will improve, as a result.
6. Be a teacher of love.
Conversely, you need to communicate to your wife what things you need, in order to feel loved, appreciated, respected, and supported.
Although she may be great in a lot of ways, she will need you to tell her what you need in this marriage. Opening these lines of communication — and having talks (sometimes difficult ones) — will increase your marital bliss for years to come.
7. Develop your emotional vocabulary.
To be a more effective teacher of love, you will need to develop the words that resonate better to your wife's ears. In other words, we have to expand beyond phrases like, "Whatever you want, babe," or "I'm good," or "I don't wanna talk about it."
Click here for a free list of emotional phrases you can begin using today. She'll be forever grateful and feel closer to you when you're able to "speak her language", as a result.
8. Prioritize the relationship.
You don't have to think about your wife the entire time you're at work or while you're having drinks with the fellas.
But prioritizing does mean that every decision you make about your life (i.e., cussing out your boss, flirting with other women, drinking till you pass out, etc.) should be made based on the influence it will have on your marriage. Still be true to yourself, but also be aware of the deeper consequences your choices will have before you act on them.
9. Embrace interdependence.
In marriage, the only things that are his and hers separately are the wedding rings. Life stresses, mental health challenges, substance abuse issues, financial stresses, difficult kids, etc. are shared issues.
So communicate your struggles and challenges openly with your wife, so that you both can face them head on as team. After all, with unity comes power.
10. Date her all over again.
I'm sure you've heard the saying, "Whatever it took to get her is what it takes to keep her." You used to think of ways to make her smile and have fun with her (i.e., dancing, comedy shows, concerts, etc.).
Don't make it easy for her to think the good times are over. Keep your spark — and her passion and admiration for you — alive by continuing to court her long after your wedding date.
11. Show some passion.>
Just like you have passion for your favorite sports team or favorite video game, show some passion about being a great husband.
Be passionate about making her smile, giving her "me" time (i.e. buy her a spa treatment, make her a bubble bath), and spending quality time with her.
12. Fight for the relationship.
Wives like to feel desired and needed, even when they are upset about the marriage. Just because she says she isn't happy doesn't mean you just give up.
Instead, a great husband fights harder to make the marriage work.
13. Choose assertiveness.
You can choose to be passive, aggressive, or assertive — and being assertive is the key to marital success.
The passive guy is the one that feels he has no voice in the marriage, makes no decisions, and goes along with every decision his wife makes.
The aggressive guy is the one that speaks too much and too harshly, intimidates his spouse, and makes it hard for his spouse to make a decision.
And the assertive guy is the one that is confident, communicates effectively with his spouse, and respects their differences of opinions. This approach to your relationship is the way to go. The others will only lead to cracks in your marriage's foundation.
14. Be humorous.
You don't have to be Kevin Hart or Gary Owen-level funny. Just be able to laugh at yourself, laugh at life, and laugh with your wife. I've never met a woman that says, "My husband makes me laugh too much."
And besides, a little laughter in her day will make both you and her happier, and therefore more willing and able to connect emotionally, romantically and intellectually.
15. Show your appreciation.
Showing appreciation can be as simple as saying "please" and "thank you." You want to sprinkle these displays of your appreciation into your daily conversations with her.
Some examples of moments to show appreciation include after she cooks a meal, spends quality time with you, goes grocery shopping, or when she wakes up with the crying baby in the middle of the night. These little gestures go a long way in maintaining long-term happiness.
16. Compliment her often, genuinely, and unconditionally.
Compliments are both a form of appreciation and a form of admiration. Allow your wife's sense of beauty and value to you to be influenced by your verbal expressions.
Make this a part of your daily routine. Every person on this planet could use a little feel-good compliment to brighten their day. And by sharing your love with her in this way, she's likely to return the favor.
17. Practice patience.
Marriage is a journey. You are constantly growing as a husband just like your wife is constantly growing in her role as your spouse — so be patient with her as she is patient with you.
And enjoy the here and now of your marriage versus comparing your relationship to someone else's.
Having a successful marriage starts and ends with holding yourself 100 percent accountable for your actions and their impact on the marriage. You can't take any shortcuts without some consequences.
Adopting these traits will produce a better version of you, which is an investment in a happier wife and marriage that will keep you feeling fulfilled for years to come.
Dr. Eric A. Williams is a counselor and marriage and family therapist specializing in both interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships who helps individuals and couples reconnect with their inner selves, as well as their partner. Contact him today to set up a face-to-face or telemental health counseling session so that he can "walk alongside" you, ensuring both personal and professional success.
Check out more great stories from YourTango:
- Zodiac Signs That Make Good Husbands, Ranked From Best To Worst
- 5 Healthy Ways To Respond When You're Feeling Unloved In Your Marriage
- 20 Tiny But Powerful Things Men Do That Make Them The BEST Husbands