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My dear husband, Barton, and I have been married for seven years, and we have three children ages five and under. The absolute circus that is three small children goes unsaid, but then add in a brand new, extremely time consuming job (him) and a long summer break with very limited childcare and many, many meltdowns (me, and the kids, but mainly me), and things can get dicey. DICEY, I tell you.
Which means it’s time for a little refresher course on the topic of Easy Things You Can Do To Make Your Wife Happy (And Maybe Even Get Some Action).
The other night I tried telling him that I was kinda sorta feeling a liiiittle stressed (read: I AM DROWNING AND THERE’S NOT ENOUGH WINE IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE TO HELP ME RIGHT NOW), but the kids were yelling and I was elbows deep in laundry and he was wrapped up in his mistress (yes, my husband has a mistress, and her name is ‘Twitter’. She’s a real floozy, that one. And super desperate too; always available day or night. I’m pretty sure he loves her more than his own family and it’s upsetting, but honestly it’s just easier to turn a blind eye. I just want him to be happy, you know?)
So needless to say, I’m not so sure anything really got through to him.
But thankfully I have a trusty little trick up my sleeve: I can lovingly write out everything I want to say to him, post it on OutKick, shoot him the link in a text saying, “Hey honey, look! It’s an article about sports! Want to read about some sports today? Goooo SPORTS!” and just sit back and wait for him to naively click the link. And then, instead of reading about the hottest new football uniform or about who tackled whom and if the guy got hurt when it happened or about “alley-oops” (this is the sporty stuff men are reading about, right?) he will in turn find himself face to face with a list of things that will truly make a married woman happy.
He will be mad at first, when he realizes I’ve outsmarted him and there is actually no article on meatheads and beefcakes for him to read about. But then he’ll realize it’s ultimately for his own good—and for the good of mankind in general. Don’t get me wrong, Barton is pretty good at the whole “Happy Wife, Happy Life” lifestyle and I’m very grateful for that, but everyone needs a little tune-up now and again. And I’m going out on a limb here, but I’d venture to say there are other men besides my husband who might need a little refresher from time to time.
We women don’t ask for much, really—only to feel loved, valued, appreciated, heard, protected, cherished, desired, encouraged, lovingly touched (but not too much, and only when we say so), and to stay properly hydrated (ok that’s on us, not you). Oh and sometimes we want to feel like you’re extremely jealous that our kid’s college-aged swim coach checked us out at swim lessons last week. Is that so much to ask???
Besides all of that, there are just a few more easy things that will help rocket you to Super Husband status, if you aren’t already there. (Which, if you are, then skip over all of this and just re-send your wife my Father’s Day Gift Guide. You deserve it.) In no particular order…
1. Do not step over things on the floor.
What’s that wise old Chinese proverb? “No one is full of more false hope than a woman who puts something on the stairs and expects her family to take it up with them as they go.” Or something. I guess what I’m trying to say is, if I fold your laundry and set it on the stairs, this means I (stupidly) assume you’ll take it up with you as you go. When in reality, you will practically stretch your legs into the splits and almost pull a hamstring trying to maneuver your way over it while walking up the stairs empty-handed.
Please do not do this.
In the same vein, I always put my baby’s dirty diapers on the front porch so they won’t smell up the trash cans. (Shout out to the innocent visitors/Amazon delivery men who have to encounter this situation daily.) Every morning, seeing as Barton has to literally step over them to get out the door, I naively expect him to pick them up on his way out the door and toss them in the dumpster… and every morning I’m crestfallen when I see them still chillin’ on the porch. Men, kindly stop stepping over things. Just pick it up.
2. Take a small breather from your phone for once in a while.
Men and their phones are quite an anomaly. During the day, I cannot get my husband to text me back to save his life. (Last week I may or may not have typed in all capital letters, “I KNOW YOU HAVE 8 SECONDS TO RESPOND TO ME. YOU ARE NOT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.” I wasn’t proud of it, but it had to be done.) During the days, all I want is for him to look at his phone and text me back, or give me a call after lunch to tell me exactly what he ate for lunch (all wives always want to know, just accept it and tell us about the damn tuna salad sandwich.) But he somehow never sees that I’ve texted/called at least 37 times. (Editor’s note: I realize he does, in fact, see the psychopathic number of texts and chooses to ignore them, and I can’t say that I blame him. I prefer to just think that a car ran over his phone instead of admitting he ignores me. Let me live, guys.)
Then, when he finally gets home and the only thing I want is for him NOT to look at his phone, he cannot seem to pry his corneas away from it. THE IRONY IS THICK AND PALPABLE.
Men, you like a challenge, right? So I challenge you: when you get home from work/golfing/being with your buddies, no phones for at least 30 minutes. Deal? Turn it off, hide it, throw it into an incinerator? Just give us your undivided attention for a half hour and see how much more pleasant we are for the rest of the evening. (And by “pleasant” I mean “how willing we are to have intimate relations with you.” You pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down here, fellas?)
3. Plan something, ANYTHING.
A dinner date, a weekend trip, a walk around the block with Styrofoam cups of wine: every once in a while, take the reins and plan something so we don’t always have to. Surprise us, but don’t make it TOO surprise-y. If we’re going out to a nice restaurant I’m going to need ample time to properly moisturize and try on no less than 17 different outfits (and then dramatically rip them all off and throw them on the floor while sighing before I’m satisfied. But I will still complain and say this dress makes me look fat, obviously, so you can earn extra brownie points by complimenting me a lot regardless of what I look like.)
4. Greet us intentionally when you get home.
Make it a point to walk over to us, put your arms around us for a full five to eight seconds, and squeeze moderately tight. If we look up at you, you can probably give us a kiss, too. If we don’t make eye contact, wrap up the hug and slowly back away because that’s a sufficient amount of intimacy for now. We will let you know if and when it can resume later.
5. Listen when we are worried about something you deem irrational and do not judge us.
If I’m curled up in the fetal position telling my husband about how I’m worried that one day soon I will inexplicably die, leaving only him to fend for the kids and that he will have no idea how to pack their lunches or how they like their eggs or how to do their ponytails or when to make their yearly pediatrician check-ups and the fact that he won’t be able to do school drop-off correctly because he probably doesn’t even know what school they go to… I need him to listen to me, not judge me and not make me feel crazy.
Acknowledge our worries, nod understandingly and help us workshop the “problem.” Things you are not supposed to say include, “that’s insane,” “that would never happen,” “you’re being irrational,” and “how do I put your therapist on speed dial?”
6. Take out the trash.
A simple one, yet probably the most problematic one of all. I think it’s important to note that this needs to happen when the trash is almost full to full: not when it’s overflowing, not when people are precariously balancing pieces of trash on top of other trash or propping up empty egg cartons and cardboard boxes against the side of the can. Then it’s too late. It’s too late, and we are too pissed. Take it out before trash/tensions are too high.
Did I mention that a nice, trash-free kitchen releases pheromones into the air? I’m sure I read that somewhere. Trust the science!
7. Rinse out your dishes.
I take it back– THIS one is the simplest yet most problematic. It may seem trivial, but let me explain: when you don’t run a few splashes of water into your cereal bowl, the milk-soaked sugary flakes dry on the side of the bowl and cling on for dear life until I have to break an actual sweat scrubbing them off with some elbow grease, a few industrial-strength sponges and a lot of curse words. I’m not even asking for y’all to put the dish in the dishwasher (I’m not a monster), I’m simply asking for you to rinse them out, so as to not create more work for me in the long run. And if I spend less time taking care of dishes, I can spend more time…
There’s more where these came from, but we’re starting small to help set you up for success. I’ll be back with another installment after you’ve mastered these. Also, I’m fully open to suggestions from husbands about how wives can keep them happy (well, besides the obvious). It’s a two-way street in this crazy thing we call marriage, and I’m just here to help.