1.Welcome Him Home.
When was the last time you were really excited to see your partner? If you own a dog, or if you’ve ever seen someone come home who owns a dog, you’ll know the dog gets really, really excited. It announces the master’s arrival with gleeful barking, often jumping up on the master to lick his face, prancing around his legs practically knocking him down with its excitement. Do you love your partner at least as much as the dog?
Humans aren’t usually as open about their emotions, but why not? Maybe you don’t want to lick his face, but what about his ear? Instead of barking like crazy, what about a gleeful shout, “You’re home!” – like you really are excited to see him? Throw yourself at him, hug him, ask him about his day. Put down what you are doing and spend at least a few minutes reassuring him of your love.
2. Listen to Him.
Do you ask him about his day? If he opens his mouth, are you listening to him, or do you immediately launch into a long recitation of your day? Take a few minutes just to listen to him. Women often complain that their partner doesn’t talk to them, but sometimes they have trained their partner that trying to talk is a waste of time. Learn how to listen. Pay attention. Look at him. Look at his face, his eyes especially. Read his body language. Don’t give advice, just listen. He’s a grown up and can solve his own problems. Just be his cheerleading section. Telling him how to do something, or how to react to a situation emasculates him.
3. Spend Time with Him.
After listening to his day, what do you do? Do you run off to check your emails? Play games on your phone? When was the last time you spent doing something with him? If you ever watched a 1950’s sitcom, the housewife often greeted her husband at the door with a martini. She’d be wearing a dress, with her hair and make-up just perfect, thanks to the stage crew in the wings, and a big smile. The martini might not be a great idea as a daily habit, but maybe he’d like a glass of ice tea with lemon. Ask him. Then find something to do together. Maybe you could help him make dinner. Or maybe serve a light snack for now – cheese and crackers, or raw veggies with dip – and play a card game. A half an hour isn’t much compared to the twenty-four hours we’re given each day, but it can really make or break a marriage.
4. Think Before You Speak.
Words are powerful. With words we vow to love, honor and cherish. Words can change the world. Words can be immortal. Your words, for better or worse, will be remembered by those who love you. Be sure that your words are worth remembering! There are two parts to communicating. What you say, and what he hears. Sometimes, the two don’t really match. If you tell him to tuck in his shirt, he hears you criticizing him. If you tell him how he should respond to someone at work, he hears you saying that you don’t think he can handle the situation on his own. The next time you open your mouth, take a few seconds to think about what you want him to hear. Will it be words of love and encouragement? Or will it tear him down and belittle him?
5. Eat Together.
When my children were at home, we ate all our suppers together, every day. I didn’t realize that wasn’t even the norm, until I heard some one on the radio encouraging families to eat at least one meal a week as a family. Once a week? My gosh – what happened to the other six dinners, seven lunches and seven breakfasts? We have to eat – we ought to eat with our loved ones. Eat as many meals a week as you can with him. Does he leave for work before you? Then set your alarm to get up earlier to eat with him. You can either go back to bed after he leaves, or get started on your house work, check emails, etc. Does he get home very late sometimes? Can you have a light salad when you get hungry, and have the main meal with him when he arrives? Then eat together – at a table – not in front of the television. Real communication can’t be squished between commercial breaks.
6. Sleep Together.
This should go without saying! But you’d be surprised how many times I hear couples complain about their relationship, and then mention that they don’t share a bed anymore. Well, duh! Of course your relationship is going to suffer. In the marriage ceremony, the “two shall become one.” How can you be “one” if you maintain separate beds, or separate bedtimes in the same bed? I’m not talking about sexual intimacy – just physically going into the same bed at roughly the same time every night. Maybe you’re a night owl, and he’s an early bird. So go to bed with him. Talk with him. Read a book for a while. If you still can’t get to sleep, then get back up for a few hours. But make bedtime a “you and me” tradition.
6. Notice His Efforts and Thank Him.
All of us like to do the things we are good at. We avoid the things we aren’t good at. So if your husband does the dishes one night, praise him. Don’t tell him all the things he did wrong. Don’t go in and rearrange the dishes in the dishwasher – you’re sending him the message that he didn’t do it right, so next time he won’t even bother to try. Instead, when he does something you’d like him to repeat – praise him. Don’t lie… but be careful about what messages you send him. “Darling, thank you so much for helping! I really appreciate it” can be words of truth, even if he did a lousy job. You are appreciating his effort, and he will be more likely to do it again.
But don’t just thank him for doing things for you or around the house. Thank him for the things he does for the family. Does he have a job? He gets up every morning, prepares for work and goes there, spending the majority of his adult life doing it. Thank him. Thank him for being such a good provider. You’ll build him up, and a happy husband can be a wonderful lover.
7. Praise Him in front of Your Friends.
When asked about her husband, I once heard a woman say, “Oh, he’s short, fat and bald.” I knew then that they’d be divorced soon. She no longer valued him, but humiliated him, even though he wasn’t there to hear it. Unkind words have a way of coming back to haunt us. If you praise your husband in the privacy of your home, he’ll feel good. But if you praise him in front of your friends, in front of his friends, you make him feel fantastic. Those words carry a lot more weight! You aren’t just praising him for whatever it is that he does well, but you are building up your relationship, your marriage, and telling all your friends that you love him, value him, respect him. That is the key to a happy, successful marriage. Conversely, never ever criticize him in front of his friends. Never ever criticize him if you want a good relationship.
8. Show Him that You Love Him Every Day.
What did you do to show your love for him today? What did you do yesterday? It isn’t the anniversary dinners or second-honeymoon sex that builds strong marriages. It’s the common little acts throughout the days. Did you hold his hand when you went for a walk? What about rubbing his tired feet after a long, busy day? Can you pick up his favorite flavor of ice cream for dinner tonight? How many little things can you do to show your love for him? Create a list and continue to add to it. Then make sure to do at least one thing every day. He might pick up on this without you even saying a word… and maybe he’ll start to return the favor.
9. Make it Clear to Him that He Makes You Happy.
Actually, it isn’t his job to make you happy. He vowed to love, honor and cherish, not to amuse, spoil and entertain you. But if you are happy in your relationship, make sure he knows it! And make sure he is happy, as well. Be alert to his wants, needs and desires. This relates back to communication. Don’t just assume that because you two don’t argue, everything is fine. Make sure that you tell him everything is fine with you. And ask him if everything is fine with him – and not just once, but regularly. This way you can deal with little problems before they become insurmountable mountains.
10. Show Him that You Desire Him Still.
I went to a wedding a few years ago. The young couple had chartered a boat, hosting a dinner cruise for their ceremony. It was festive, lovely, intimate. It was a unique experience, and I believed the couple had a good future ahead. Imagine my surprise that nine months later they had amicably separated! I don’t understand the “amicable” part at all. If they were still on speaking terms, then any marital problem should have been fixable! “He just doesn’t satisfy me any more,” was the bride’s response.
Well, there is a certain amount of “sameness” that can come with years of sharing the same bed with the same partner. This can lead to boredom if you let it, but it also can build security. You do know what to expect, and what is expected of you. You don’t have to worry about it, like you probably did when you were dating.
If your sex life is starting to feel like tv reruns, then maybe it’s time to mix things up. Not too much all at once, unless you talk with your partner about it first. You want him onboard with you, not feeling insecure. Try a new negligee. Light candles. If you always do it in the bedroom, make sure your bedroom is clean and inviting. If you can, try another room in the house. Try the backyard. There are many things you can do to add interest, to keep your sexual relationship alive and healthy.
The important thing to remember, though, is to make sure that your husband knows you desire HIM. He is your one and only.
Try any or all of these ten simple steps, and see how much better your relationship becomes! Then share the results here.