Let's face it: Sometimes marriage is just hard. There will be days when you and your spouse can't agree on anything, there's a mountain of laundry to be done, the dishes are piled high in the sink, there are unpaid bills scattered across the counter, and a baby is crying in the background. At these times, it's very hard to feel love towards one another. I'm ashamed to say that, at these times, I find myself taking my frustrations out on my patient, long-suffering husband. As if things weren't already hard enough for him, he's now got a shrew of a wife blaming him for everything that's gone wrong.
Are you a wife who is easy to love? Do you give your husband reasons to sing your praises and brag about you to his buddies? Honestly, I know I'm not always that kind of wife, and I'm betting there are others like me out there. You can test yourself on your own loveable-ness by answering the following questions based on your experiences and actions. Consider the possible answers as being Always, Often, Sometimes, or Never.
1. Do you give your husband credit for things he does to help around the house?
Everyone likes recognition and men are no exception. Make sure you notice what he does to help out — running a load of laundry, vacuuming a room, playing with a child so you can have a few minutes to yourself — and thank him for it. He'll be more likely to do it again.
2. Do you tell your husband you love him?
I'm not talking about the knee jerk, “Love you, too,” you say when he tells you he loves you or a sleepy, “Love you,” as you lie in bed at night. I'm talking about an intentional moment when you give him a hug or a kiss, lock eyes with him and tell him in all sincerity, “I love you, sweetheart.” Men like to hear the words as much as women.
3. Do you perform acts of service for him?
Men have tough days, worries and frustrations just as frequently as women, but they're not always as vocal about it. Any little act of service you can do to show your husband how you appreciate him can make his day a little brighter and his burden a little easier. Give him a back rub, make him his favorite meal, run the car through the wash without his asking you or do some other thing you know he loves but doesn't get to experience very often. There's nothing more gratifying than the look of surprise and gratification in a man's eye when you surprise him with something he loves.
4. Do you have open lines of communication?
Don't suffer in silence when something is bothering you. One of two things will probably happen: either you'll end up shutting your husband out, making him wonder what he did wrong, or you'll make the problem worse because you're not addressing it. Make sure your husband knows what's going on in your life. That way he can work on changing the offending behavior or help you deal with whatever is causing you to stress.
5. Do you accept his compliments?
Women have a hard time accepting compliments because they often feel they don't deserve them or the person complimenting them is “just saying that.” Chances are your husband really means it when he tells you your hair looks nice or your dress is sexy. He doesn't analyze statements or motivations like you might do, men just don't think that way. But if you don't accept his compliments or you laugh them off and not take him seriously, he'll be less likely to compliment you in the future.
6. Do you ask for his help?
Men like to feel needed. One way they can demonstrate their love for you is by helping you when you need it. If he's not busy or sick or stressed himself, don't be afraid to ask for his assistance with the kids or dinner or the cleaning. It's another way he can show you how much he cares.
How did you do on those questions? You can easily score yourself. If you answered Always or Often on most of the questions, you can be reasonably assured you're a wife your husband can easily love. Those questions you answered Sometimes or Never might give you ideas of how to better show your husband love and allow him to do the same. Implementing those ideas will bless your family and your marriage.
Katie Nielsen is an adjunct English faculty member at Brigham Young University – Idaho and mother of one. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org