*Welcome to week eleven of this 12-week series based on the New York Times® bestselling book, Happy Wives Club. Join me each week as I share 12 principles about marriage I’ve learned from some of the happiest couples around the world.*
I’m always amazed at the number of husbands I meet who say in frustration, “I just don’t know what it is my wife wants from me.”
Sometimes we aren’t even certain what it is we want. And in different seasons of our lives, what we desire might change.
To help, no matter what season you are in, try using these six keys consistently to help your spouse fulfill your every desire.
1. Speak up. Whoever said to sweep things under the rug didn’t understand the idea of partnership and the intimacy required in a happy and successful marriage.
One of the biggest problems with sweeping issues under the rug is although things may seem pretty and put together on the surface, in order to continue sweeping more things under the rug, you have to actually lift it up.
And each time you lift up that rug to sweep more under it, the dust unsettles and you have to come face-to-face with the mess all over again. Be honest. Say what is on your heart. It’s important to your spouse and your marriage.
2. Say what you mean but don’t say it mean. I’m not sure who originally coined that saying but it’s the perfect mantra for honest communication in marriage.
Timing is everything and today may not be the right time to say what is on your mind. You may not be in the right frame of mind to convey your feelings properly; out of love, from a place of vulnerability rather than aggression. But just because today may not be the best day, don’t keep from sharing your heart soon. It is the only way your spouse will know how to give you what it is your heart desires.
3. Acknowledge what they’re already doing right. One of the things I learned first in business and then carried into my marriage was this interesting truth: In order to get my staff to do better, I praised them for what they were already doing right. When I focused on what they did wrong, they quickly got discouraged and made more mistakes. But when I addressed the areas that needed improvement –at the right time- but buffered it on both sides with what they were doing right, they performed at their best.
That is just the way the psyche of humans work and that doesn’t just stay within the walls of business. In every area of life, especially your marriage. To get your spouse to do more, recognize what they’re already doing and praise them for that first.
4. Give without expecting anything in return. I know this might seem counterintuitive in an article about getting what you desire from your spouse. But it’s just the way the world works. We didn’t make it this way but it doesn’t change it’s how it works. When you give your all, expecting nothing in return, that is what comes back to you. It is when we begin giving with an expectation that we set ourselves up for disappointment.
5. Embrace the virtue of patience. Just because you give today, expecting nothing in return, doesn’t mean your spouse is all of a sudden going to begin giving you exactly what your heart has desired for many years. Nothing worth having happens overnight. But remember, this is the person you gave your whole heart to and pledged ‘til death do us part.’ So isn’t your marriage worth investing the time it takes to help your spouse understand how to please you?
Your spouse wants to give you your heart’s desire. If you ask them that question, you will find they will answer in the affirmative. But many will also say they don’t quite know what their spouse truly desires. And so it’s up to you –doing numbers 1, 2, and 3 of this post- to let them know and then help guide them there through love and patience.
6. Forgive and move on. Not one of us is perfect. Not you, not me. We all make mistakes. Your spouse is going to continue falling short in some areas, as will you. But the faster you can get to forgiving and return to focusing on what they do right, the sooner you’ll get your marriage to exactly where you desire it to be. And the sooner your heart will be free to receive all the things it truly desires.
You don’t have to be the best communicator in the world to have a marriage that rocks your world. Just make a commitment to share what it is that you truly want from your spouse so they can do everything in their power to make it happen.
Until tomorrow…make it a great day!
THE NEW YORK TIMES® BEST-SELLING BOOK: It’s been described as, “Like Eat, Pray, Love but not down on marriage.” Make sure to check out the Happy Wives Club book. I had the great honor of traveling to 12 countries on 6 continents, interviewing couples happily married 25 years or more, with 1 mission only: to find out what makes marriages happy…and keeps them that way. It’s a marriage book line none other. Guaranteed.
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