20 PRACTICAL TIPS FOR BECOMING A BETTER HUSBAND (11-20)

by Jeff Hagan
(Tacoma, WA, USA)

Proverbs 18:22, “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD” (NIV).


Eleven: Be A Team
Why? Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, found that couples that say “we” are better at resolving disagreements than couples that emphasized their individuality by using pronouns like “I,” “me,” and “you.” The couples that identified more as “we” also showed less stress and were more positive in general.*** In the long run, "we" or "me" language is a strong indicator of marital satisfaction. When in the midst of a conflict, you can either team up with your wife or become each others opposition. But couples that considered themselves as a partnership felt better equipped to work through struggles and difficulties and they were also more confident about making big decisions.

The point: A team is always stronger than an individual.

Twelve: Don't Limit Affection To The Bedroom
Why? First, we are talking about appropriate affection. Nobody likes to see P.D.A . when it's taken too far. One study published in the American Journal of Family Therapy found that a woman’s satisfaction in her relationship increased when her husband was physically affectionate in subtle, non-erotic ways. Things such as: while driving in the car rest your hand just above her knee; touch the small of her back as you guide her through the door you have opened for her; gently brush her hair away from her eyes. She’ll feel closer to you knowing that you like being close to her.

The point: Don't make all intimate touching about a final goal behind your bedroom door. Let her know she's loved and appreciated with the simplest of touches.

Thirteen: Don't Fight Dirty
Why? Arguing in a marriage can be healthy. That’s because how you argue can determine the long-term success or failure of your relationship. It's those couples I counsel who claim they don't argue that concern me. Researchers from the University of Michigan analyzed nearly 200 couples for close to twenty years and found that those who bottled up their anger actually died earlier than those who expressed their anger and resolved their conflict. The couples that held on to the problems, letting them boil up inside, doubled their likelihood of dying early. Why? They never tried to fix the problem, which, as one can imagine, would likely lead to an increase in stress, bitterness and resentment. State your concern early, and respect her point of view - even when you “know” she’s wrong.

The point: Recognizing the feelings, and reasons for those feelings, in an argument go a long way in resolving, or at least getting past, the point of contention.

Fourteen: Kiss Her On The Lips Every Morning
Why? Don't just walk out the door with a “see you later hon.” "Skin-on-skin contact releases oxytocin, which lowers stress and makes you feel connected," says Patricia Love, Ed.D., and the coauthor of How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It. "When a man is touch-deprived, this need becomes sexualized, making his wife think he just wants sex, and creating more tension." You only need to set aside 1 minute a day. "It takes just a few seconds of skin-on-skin contact a few times a day to start oxytocin production," says Love. A simple kiss in the morning, a warm hug after work, and another kiss before going to bed can do a lot in producing a feeling of intimacy that lasts.

The point: we all need to fell wanted. This is a very simple way to let her know she is wanted.


Fifteen: Get Out More And Get Creative
Why? If your relationship seems to be in a bit of a rut, cancel the normal dinner date at the normal restaurant and do something different instead. Boredom can do just as much damage to your marriage as bickering, according to a study in the journal Psychological Science.**** Researchers analyzed more than 120 couples on their seven year anniversary, and again on their 16-year anniversary. The study revealed that greater boredom in year seven (the seven year itch) predicted much less satisfaction at year 16. There is a commitment that is made at marriage that surpasses boredom. Boredom will come in life after time passes. That doesn't mean you shouldn't diligently be on the lookout for new opportunities to try together.

The point: Actually, there are a couple of points. For one, time needs to be made to just “get out.” Sometimes that can be anywhere as long as it's “away.” Second, boredom is a silent killer. Be on the look out for new things, new experiences that can be shared together and that can re-charge both of your batteries.

Sixteen: Laugh At Her, But In A Good Way
Why? One of the most affirming things a person can do for another is to laugh at the other's attempts at humor. This one gets forgotten a lot by husbands especially as more and more time passes. Some of you must be thinking, “But my wife isn't funny?” Well, so what? Neither is your boss, but I bet you laugh at his lame attempts at humor. Why? Because you're trying to show that you respect him. Now, put that in context with your wife. One of the biggest dangers mature marriages face is that the husband and wife stop trying to show their respect for each other. Laughter can be medicine for a woman's soul. Don't be fake about it but laugh at, and with, her.

The point: It always feels good when someone laughs at a joke you tell or a story you share. Not only does it help her feel good in that since, it creates within her a feeling that you still respect her.

Seventeen: Hire A Babysitter And Plan A Weekend Away
Why? Ninety percent of couples experienced a “nosedive” in marital joy once they had kids, according to a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. It's a good idea to protect your marriage by hiring a babysitter or having the in-laws watch your kids for a date night here and there, bowling night, dinner on a weekend night. But at times more of a break is needed. At times romance is needed.

Take an entire weekend and go to the coast, rent a cabin on a lake, go visit a bed and breakfast. Do something to get away and keep that romance alive.

The point: We all need to escape. If you have kids you especially need to make sure you can get away at times. It renews you inside and can also rekindle romance.

Eighteen: Slow Your Roll
Why? Add some “tracks” to your one “track” mind. For the most part, men are pretty much ready for sex at any given time. However, "Many women need a transition period between dealing with the stress of work and family life and feeling sexual," says Ian Kerner, Ph.D., the author of She Comes First: The Thinking Man's Guide to Pleasuring a Woman. After a few years together, men start shortening the amount of foreplay they are willing to put in. Women are not built the same way we are in this category. They need romance, a build up. Consider her needs. Don't just start aiming for the “goal” as soon as your wife walks in from work. Instead, have a warm bath waiting for her.

The point: Showing her you're thinking of her needs before your own will go a long way in getting her to consider what your needs might be.

Nineteen: Be Specific In Conversation
Why? When your wife asks you how your day went, she doesn't want to just hear "fine." Or worse, just a grunt. She actually wants details and explanations. If you're not use to this kind of communication one way to be effective is to put things in terms of your emotional reactions: "I was nervous...,” “I felt excited...,” “Bob really made me angry when he.....”. She wants to, actually it's more of a need, hear you talk about your feelings. I know it can be rough but it's worth it. “You'll be amazed at what revealing your feelings can do for the level of intimacy between you," says Les Parrott III, Ph.D., and the author of Love Talk.

The point: Learning to talk about your feelings, and being detailed in conversation, can take your marriage to a whole new level.

Twenty: Delay Dinner
Why? When partners who typically have good relationship skills are under extreme stress from work, they fall back into having trouble using their communication and relationship skills. Lisa Neff, Ph.D., and assistant professor of human development and family studies at the University of Texas recommends the couple take time to unwind after they get home from work by doing something you want to do, as opposed to just jumping right into prepping and fixing dinner. If you simply tell your wife that you enjoy dinner conversation much more after you're able to shed some of the day's stress, she'll be more likely to understand where you're coming from. In fact, this will give her the opportunity to relax a bit as well.

The point: Decompressing from a tough day of work can help relieve residual tension. Explaining to your wife why you'd like to wait gives her an opportunity to do so as well. You know what they say, “A happy wife is a happy life.”

Proverbs 18:22, “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD” (NIV).

Conclusion: Husbands, it's important to remember daily the good and gracious gift God has given you in a wife. Treat her well.

Keep in mind she was not made from the bottom of Adam's foot as someone to be walked on or ruled over, instead she was fashioned from Adam's side, an equal, a partner. And you are to love her as Christ loves the church, with a sacrificial and unconditional love. Not as a king over a kingdom, not as a tyrant ruling a country, but as a partner to be cherished.

*Article adapted from “30 Ways To Be A Better Husband,” 1-3-2014, written by the editors on menshealth.com.
**Ibid.
***Ibid.
****Ibid.

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