When it comes to relationships, we almost look at them as a separate entity. Each individual is part of that system, and when one part is affected, the system as a whole is affected.
As a person within the relationship, there is only one part you have any control over: yourself. If you put work into yourself, it has the opportunity to impact the relationship positively.
If BOTH partners are putting in the effort, then it’s just gravy.
When I work with couples, I encourage them to start inward first. Look at self first, BEFORE looking at the relationship.
The best thing you can do, before looking at your relationship as a whole, is to start becoming the best version of yourself.
Here are some ways to help you become the best wife you can be:
1. Be His Champion
Everyone wants to feel supported, but knowing you have a supportive partner is crucial.
Whether it is a potential promotion at work or recreational softball, your husband loves to hear and feel your support. He wants to know you think he is capable and you believe in him.
It’s important to be his biggest advocate and cheerleader.
He will never have to doubt your support, or that you always have his back. It helps build his confidence and feelings of security in the relationship.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Show Love
If we are stereotyping here (and I think we can), women usually want to know the relationship is in a good place. This helps them engage in sexual intimacy.
For men, they want to engage in sexual intimacy to know the relationship is good. It’s somewhat similar to physical affection.
Typically (again, not everyone falls into these stereotypes), men desire physical affection on a high level, and it does not have to even mean just sex.
Women are usually doing a thousand tasks at the same time, making sure everything is taken care of always.
It’s meaningful when wives pause to take a few moments out of their day to show affection. It helps husbands feel loved, wanted, and like they are a priority.
3. Remind Him That You’re Physically Attracted to Him
Just as women like to feel beautiful, men enjoy feeling desired as well.
On the subject of sex, most men I have worked with over the years talk about how they care less about how often they have sex with their wives. They care way more about knowing their wife is enjoying the moment.
As with women, husbands love feeling desired by their wives. It’s really affirming for them.
Even outside of sex, giving him a flirty compliment and slap on the rear can remind him that he is attractive in your eyes, helping him feel more secure.
4. Compliment Him on a Deeper Level
Sure, the whole “Hey, I think you’re sexy!” compliment does NOT hurt a guy’s self-esteem. However, building him up on a deeper level can create more sustained confidence.
When you make a comment like, “I love how you are patient and kind even when it would be easy not to be that way,” two things are happening:
First, you are complimenting him on who he is as a person rather than his accomplishments or things that may be fleeting.
It shines a light on some of those intangible qualities. He can see a deeper admiration from you, which can be really uplifting.
Secondly, it shows you are really paying attention.
It illustrates you really know him, and you see him for who he is as a person. It can help him feel seen and known, which is incredibly comforting.
5. Take an Interest in His Hobbies
Raise your hand if you love all of your husband’s hobbies!
Chances are, there’s at least one (but usually multiple) hobby you probably have no interest in, and that is completely fine. You do not have to love everything your husband is involved in.
However, I have been in therapy with couples where the wife is not only uninterested in her husband’s hobbies, but she also shuts them down.
I get it, video games and sports may seem silly or even pointless, but they may be important to your husband.
It can help to engage in the things he finds interesting. It allows him to share something he is passionate about with you, which builds connection.
You do not have to sit down and watch football or play video games with him. Just taking a general interest can be enough and be meaningful to him. And who knows, you might end up liking it too!
6. Encourage Him to Spend Time in His Hobbies
If you show interest in his hobbies and understand them a little better, it can help lead to you encouraging him in his hobbies.
Sometimes, it seems wives are threatened by the things their husbands love.
Deep down, it seems they are afraid that encouraging their husband to spend time on their hobbies or with their friends will drive a wedge in their relationship.
Is that a potential reality?
Are there husbands who struggle to balance their life and prioritize well?
However, encouraging your husband in his hobbies can often have a boomerang effect. It can come right back to you in a beneficial way.
Spending time on his hobbies can rejuvenate him and allow him to be more engaged, rather than distracted.
It shows him you care about what is important to him, and you want him to have that time for himself. When he gets that time, he will appreciate you for helping him make space in his life for the things he loves to do.
7. Say Thank You for the Things He Does
Saying “thank you” may seem ridiculously small compared to the other things on the list. However, it is the little things that help sustain relationships, and showing gratitude is vital.
The further you get into your relationship, the stronger and more defined your roles become. These roles help keep the relationship and everyday life humming along nicely.
Slowly, expectations are cemented. If he cooks dinner regularly, that is what you expect. If he does yard work, that is what you expect.
Eventually, those expectations and routines can lead to less mindful thinking, and that is usually when we forget certain things like saying “thank you.”
Going out of your way to show gratitude can toss those expectations aside and show him that you really appreciate him, even if he is doing what is expected.
It feels nice to be appreciated and can help husbands feel more loved.
8. Show Him and Tell Him You Appreciate Him
Be specific. This seems similar to saying “thank you,” and it is similar but just takes it a step further.
It can be one thing to say a simple, “thank you.” It is another to take a moment to tell him why. Share with him why you are thankful.
For example, telling him “thank you for cooking dinner,” but adding, “it gives me the chance to unwind and gives me one less thing to worry about,” will show him you have put more thought into it.
It’s really affirming for him to know how his actions (even those he is expected to do) benefit you. It can also be nice for you to show him you appreciate what he does for you.
It could be something as simple as a sweet text or a small gesture like bringing him a coffee. Whatever you choose, it can be really uplifting to him to be shown how much you appreciate him.
9. Learn His Love Language and Be Intentional
It’s incredibly common for us to show people love in the ways we like to receive love.
For example, if words of affirmation help you feel loved the most, you probably are throwing out compliments and affirming statements like Oprah giving out free stuff –
“YOU get an affirmation, YOU get an affirmation, EVERYONE gets an affirmation!!!”
That is completely natural and completely normal.
However, knowing your partner’s love language can help you zero in on ways they feel loved.
It is about really understanding what they want. Sometimes, it’s not as simple as needing quality time. You need to know what that means to them.
They may want to just be near you, and watching a movie together satisfies that desire.
Or, they may want your undivided attention in something that’s more engaging, like an activity.
Whatever it may be, it is vitally important to recognize how they feel loved and be intentional to show them love in their way.
10. Surprise Him in Little and Big Ways
Like I mentioned in an earlier point, relationships can become routine, and expectations become set. It can be nice to defy expectations at times and surprise your husband.
This can be literally anything that is a little different than the norm! It’s also helpful to pair this with knowing his love language.
You could surprise him by doing something he normally does, like the dishes or cooking dinner. You could plan a surprise date night for the two of you.
They do not have to be grand gestures. Too often we get caught up in the “grand” part when in reality the “gesture” part is the most important.
It shows that you’ve been thinking about him, and you went out of your way to do something special for him. It will help him feel loved and that his happiness is a priority to you.
11. Take an Interest in His Friends
When it comes to friends, it is important for wives to be supportive of those relationships.
Just like with women, there is a certain type of companionship they can get from those friendships. It’s different but needed.
Some women can be concerned, especially if they don’t know the people their husband is spending time with. It can be helpful to get to know your husband’s friends.
If you make an effort with his friends, it will show him you are supportive of those relationships in his life.
Winning over his friends can also be great because they can remind him how lucky he is to have someone so great in his life (ha!)
12. Encourage Him to Spend Time With His Friends
As you get to know his friends, it will become easier to encourage him to spend time with them.
It creates opportunities for some healthy time away from each other.
It also allows him to talk to people who relate to him on a level that’s just NOT possible as his wife and as a woman.
Not only will he enjoy time with his friends, but he will also appreciate you for encouraging it and helping him make it a priority.
Instead of feeling stuck between his wife and his friends, he will feel supported in more ways than one.
13. Do Not Undermine Him or Minimize His Feelings
If I had to pick one of my least favorite tropes on television, it would be the way they portray married men. Husbands are often seen as idiots, albeit usually very lovable, but idiots nonetheless.
Subsequently, the wife seems to be portrayed as someone who has to “take care” of him, making her look controlling and cold. This type of caricature is REALLY unhealthy, particularly in terms of relational dynamics.
It feeds into this idea that husbands aren’t capable and leads to undermining them and minimizing their feelings.
It is especially detrimental when this happens in front of other people, including their own children.
It can add a level of shame and embarrassment and leave others thinking there is no need to take them seriously.
14. If You Have Children, Encourage Him as a Father and Build Him up in Front of Your Kids (Even If He’s Not Around)
If your husband is a father, one of your roles is to support him in becoming the best father he can be. Encourage him to foster his own relationships with his children and build him up as a dad.
I have seen fathers who are absent not because they do not care, but because the wife takes everything on.
I have seen men lack so much confidence in their abilities as parents because they were not given the responsibilities of caring for their small children early on.
As a wife, it can be somewhat easy to step into the role naturally. It’s important to relinquish some control and allow your husband the opportunity to get involved early.
As the kids grow older, it’s important to build him up in front of them, even if he’s not around.
He might not know what kind words you said while he was away, but the kids will see him in a different light when you talk positively about him.
15. Talk Positively About Him to Others
Most women probably have been in the situation where they have been in a group of women, and someone brings up something annoying their significant other does.
Usually, what follows is a lot of, “Oh this one time he…” and “Oh yeah, me too!” It’s good and relieving to vent at times, but it is important to recognize what is venting and what is bashing.
Sometimes there are other situations where you might be with your husband and his friends, and they start poking fun at each other. It can be easy to jump in and pile on, which can be fun and playful… sometimes.
In general, it is important to watch how you talk about your husband to other people, again, even if he is not around.
Speaking positively about him to others when he is not around can help you appreciate him more. That appreciation can help you treat him well when you are with him.
16. Be Vulnerable With Him
Vulnerability is incredibly difficult but also necessary to develop deep connection and intimacy.
Our culture can be extremely unkind to men when it comes to expressing emotions. Honestly, it’s something we need to do better. We need to create a new norm where men can be as emotionally open and vulnerable as women.
Modeling vulnerability can be important because it shows him that you trust him and that you feel the relationship is a safe place for you both.
It can build up his self-esteem knowing he gets to see a side of you no one else gets to see.
Experiencing your vulnerability will help bring security to the relationship.
17. Allow Him to Be Vulnerable With You
Ideally, creating a safe space in the relationship will allow him to be vulnerable as well.
Do NOT allow yourself to be caught up in the toxic culture trap that men cannot and should not express any emotions outside of happiness and anger.
When he opens up about emotions, validate them and encourage him further. Even if the emotions are difficult to hear (i.e., his feelings are hurt by something you said), try not to minimize them or shut them down.
Foster an atmosphere where communicating emotions is appreciated rather than dismissed.
18. Watch out For Criticizing, Stonewalling, and Being Passive Aggressive
Constant criticism can slowly tear down who a person is. It can be a destroyer of self-esteem and self-confidence.
Stonewalling or freezing someone out shuts down communication and the possibility of reconciliation.
Handling situations through passive-aggressive tactics usually does not yield positive outcomes and can feel very manipulative.
These types of behaviors usually tear down and create resentment. Once resentment nestles into a relationship, it can be challenging to overcome.
It is important to face difficult moments with empathy, a listening ear, and open communication.
19. Ask Him for Help and Allow Him to Help You
One of the more difficult things to do is to ask for help. It can feel very vulnerable to admit you need someone.
Vulnerability deepens the connection between people. Feeling wanted and needed can strengthen self-esteem.
Asking your husband for help, and allowing him to help you, can lead to a deeper connection between the two of you.
It can allow him to feel useful and wanted by you. It can also allow him to use his strengths, like the ability to problem-solve or find creative solutions.
Not only will it allow him to do something that benefits you (which he will enjoy), but it will also allow him to use his skills and strengths, which can feel empowering.
20. Encourage Him to Be Healthy (Mentally, Physically, and Emotionally)
Support his healthy habits in any way he needs.
At the end of the day, a marriage is the sum of its parts. It will only be as healthy as each partner within the relationship.
It circles back to being your husband’s champion.
Encourage him to be healthy in all aspects of his life and take the initiative in caring for himself. Provide support in whatever way he needs, whether it’s providing encouragement, accountability, or all the above.
He will know you support him every step of the way and care about his well-being as a whole.
Are You Being the Best Wife You Can Be?
I can imagine many of these points you have read and can think, “Hey, I already do that!” That’s great!
Hopefully, some of these points give you ideas to think about and try to implement.
The idea is NOT to overwhelm yourself with a checklist, but more to be mindful of what can benefit your husband and your relationship as a whole.
The more mindful you are, the better the chance of you being the best wife you can be!