Contrary to the many romantic movies you may have seen with your better half, marriage is not about having that picture-perfect home, an adorable brood and hearty home-cooked meals every day, although those things can be the icing on the cake. Real marriage is hard work. You might have days when you feel like you just can’t understand the woman you married, and completely at a loss as to what to do.
A man’s greatest need is to be respected, and a woman’s greatest need is to be loved. Demonstrating your love does not have to be a lavish affair, but it should be an integral part of day-to-day life. Love to a woman is rarely just about sex. From the way you speak to her in private and public, to whether or not you contribute to managing chores at home, to the time you spend together on weekends – every little act you do can speak volumes to your wife. There will, of course, be days when your wife just seems unlovable, possibly after harsh words have been exchanged or a seemingly unreasonable request made, but remember that no one is perfect. Remember your marriage vows, to love and cherish “for better for worse”.
2. Know her love language
All of us give and receive love in different ways, and one of the best gifts you can give towards your marriage is to understand yourself and your spouse’s love languages. According to psychologist Gary Chapman, the five main love languages are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. Find out what is your love language here.
3. Treat her with gentleness and respect
Even the most independent, assertive woman wants a partner who will treat her with gentleness and respect. Not out of fear of incurring her wrath, nor out of a sense of male superiority that thinks of her as weak and ineffective, but out of a genuine desire to lead the marriage by example and honour his wife.
4. Listen well
Most men are natural problem solvers and gravitate towards finding the solution to any problem that presents itself, including your wife’s. On the other hand, most women are not as interested in solving their problems as they are in finding someone to come alongside them in the journey. Your wife wants your empathy, not your suggestions. She wants you to set aside your newspaper to listen to her share, not for you to brush her worries off as “trivial”. Guys, learn to listen well to your spouse first and discuss options later.
5. Make time for romance
When a marriage begins, it doesn’t mean that your dating days are over. Often, the daily routine of everyday life can squash out the sparks of romance that were so much a part of your courtship, and it will take effort from both parties to keep the flame alive. Romance begins at home – from the littlest things, like making her breakfast in bed, or surprising her with a bouquet of her favourite blooms. Plan one-on-one special dates on anniversaries and birthdays, and random days in between. Make time to share your dreams, plan your next holiday, talk about your fears, or even explore a new hobby together.
⇒ Related Read: Keeping The Romance Alive
6. Communication is key
The root of most relationship problems is a lack of communication. There is no substitute for open, honest communication in a marriage. Many women make the mistake of assuming that their husbands will be able to read between the lines or know what to do, feel, say in response to what they have shared. Conversely, many men prefer to “say things as it is”. Sometimes, your wires will get crossed. Husbands, don’t give up! Communication is truly a fine art that takes much time and experience to perfect, and even though it may be frustrating at times to try to “read” your woman, keep trying. The effort alone means more to her than you may know.
7. Share responsibilities for the home
It takes two hands to clap, and it will take both parties in the marriage to make the house a home. Granted, not every man is house-husband material – nor should he have to be – but men are not exempt from housework simply by virtue of their gender. This is especially true today when most households are dual-income. At the end of a long day of work, your wife is at least as exhausted as you are, so surely she shouldn’t have to bear the brunt of the household chores. And husbands, if your wife is a Stay-At-Home-Mum, know that she has not been sitting on the sofa shaking her legs all day – the job of mothering is one of the toughest jobs there is.
8. Take time to get to know her family and friends
You might not like every single family member or friend of your wife – you don’t have to – but now that you’re married, it would mean the world to your wife if you would at least try to get to know the people that matter so much to her. So if you haven’t done this pre-marriage, make it a point to get to know these key people in your wife’s life.
9. Don’t compare
Comparison is a great thief of contentment in any marriage. Resist the urge to compare your wife with your buddies’ other halves or characters on-screen. No woman is perfect, and the same goes for men. This is especially dangerous when it applies to a man’s sexual fantasies and is one great reason why so many married men turn to porn to satisfy their desires. And yet, by doing that, they are effectively ruining the actual sexual experience for themselves, and ultimately, the relationship will suffer.
⇒ Related Read: Four Steps to Better Sexual Communication
10. You are not her father
That moment when the bride’s father hands his beloved daughter to the groom can be one of the most poignant moments in a wedding. For a man, it can feel like he has been entrusted with a priceless treasure to protect and keep – and in some senses he has. But sometimes, a concern can turn into over-protection and leadership into a dictatorship. Always remember that you are not your wife’s father – she already has one. Husbands: Love, respect, protect and support your wife as an equal, not as a child in need of your parental authority.
By Dorothea Chow.
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