How to be a better husband

It’s almost uncommon when a man decides he wants to be a better husband. I called you today has almost eliminated any kind of self-improvement when it comes to relationships. It gets hard,  so people just give up.

But we’re going to look at that question.

How can I be a better husband

Become a better listener

Men, we tend to listen just enough to hear the problem and try to fix it. Women often don’t want you to fix the problem but rather just to listen. That’s frustrating for us. 

Scientific studies have actually shown that the reason men don’t talk about their feelings is that they just don’t see the point.

Women, on the other hand, need to talk about their feelings. And that’s okay.

But to be a better husband we need to be a better listener. There’s a degree of empathy that we have to cultivate. We need to just sit in the moment with her while she works through what she’s feeling. It’s not about feeling sorry for her. It’s about acknowledging that she has feelings.

I think this video illustrates the point very well.

Control your reactions

When we react to every stimulus and every circumstance, it creates a tension between a husband and a wife. If you want to be a better husband, learn to suppress the immediate emotional response to the stimulus that your wife is putting out. 

Men, we like to think that we are not emotional, or that we are more stoic than women. We are often just as emotional and we have very emotional reactions. Our emotions usually manifest as anger and frustration. 

The first step in controlling your emotions is recognizing when they happen. Make a conscious effort today to pay attention to the things that get you riled up. You have to choose to deliberately react the opposite way. 

It’s going to feel weird at first. She may even pick up on the emotion behind your control and try turn it into a fight. 

Take a breath and react with love rather than anger.

Reevaluate your priorities.

For many years the husband was the sole provider in his home. It is still the case in some homes.

Regardless of who brings home the bacon, here are some vestigial remnants of the days when the husband was the hunter-gatherer. Most of those remnants are thought patterns in our own minds. 

We feel that we have to give our families more. We feel that they deserve a better life or better social standing or more activities or more material things. 

I do believe that it’s important for us to work, and it’s important for us to be a part of providing for our family. But we have to make sure that we don’t prioritize the material things over our presence in our home. 

Our families are of a higher priority than the things that we possess. Our marriage is of a higher priority than any other relationships. If you want to be a better husband make sure that you value that relationship above anything else.

Correct her gently.

Wives don’t like to be told they’re wrong.

To be fair nobody likes to be told they’re wrong. A good husband can gently correct and lead his wife when she’s making a mistake. And this goes both ways. She also can gently correct you when you’re making a mistake. 

If you are overly critical, He will tear her down. If you are overly passive, she will never know that what she’s done has wronged you. There is a fine line of balance right in the middle where we are gentle, humble, and kind but also truthful.

Guard against temptation. 

A friend once told me he had a deal with his wife. In their relationship, there were no barriers for him to go to strip clubs or watch porn.  She said,  “I don’t care where you get your appetite as long as you come home for dinner.”

Some of us might think we would appreciate that kind of “freedom.”
But I know that that can be a dangerous path to tread.

Your marriage vows are sacred. If you use other women to satisfy or inflame your sexual desires, you may very well find yourself giving into the temptation of having an affair. 

Adultery isn’t just an old-fashioned sin. It’s the number one cause of divorce. Some people have come to the place where they don’t even care about the wrongness of it anymore and have an open relationship, where they sleep with whoever they want.

I know I sound old-fashioned but I just don’t see that as a good thing.

If you want to preserve the sanctity of your sexual relationship, you need to train your mind to shut out external sources of sexual desire.

We’re men. We’re always going to notice beauty. But to notice and mentally acknowledge beauty has to be tempered with mental discipline. Learn to tell your mind to stop before it goes down the rabbit trail of imagination. 

That may mean that you have to take away the bait. For many years, there were television shows that I couldn’t watch, because I found myself focused on the woman in the bikini or the low-cut top. It wasn’t a trashy show, but I felt attracted to the actress, and seeing her would stir up temptation.  I did not have the mental discipline to watch that show, because my mind wanted more. I went back and watched the show years later, and it didn’t bother me the same as it did when I had less control. 

Your situations may be different, but I do believe that the principle is the same. Don’t go to the donut shop if you can’t say no to a donut.

Get used to being wrong

A wise couple once told my wife and I that to really do marriage well, you have to ask yourself the question:

Do I want to be married, or do I want to be right?

The truth in that question is everything. There are times when you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are right about something. She disagrees. Before it becomes an argument – you really have to contextualize the issue. Is it worth a fight? Can you be humble enough to let the situation play out? 

Don’t say I told you so

In a follow up to the scenario I just posed – you know you’re right – and she disagrees, but you decide it’s not worth the fight. The situation comes full circle, and it is proven you were right all along… 

Do you gloat? Do you find a way to get your glory? Do you say, “I told you so, honey!”
You may have the upper hand, but taking glory in it is only going to push her down and build you up. That’s the opposite of how this should work.

Cosmic alignment

What does astronomy (or astrology) have to do with your marriage? Absolutely Nothing.

But I use those words for a reason.  Many husbands have set their whole universe to revolve around their wife. I know I told you that she needs to be your highest priority. But if she is the sun to your planets, the center of your universe – you will cause your marriage to suffer. 

If your marriage is a galaxy, you are two planets locked in orbit together around a greater gravitational force. Not a moon or a planet revolving around each other.

You each have to have friends and connections and interests apart from each other. She cannot fulfill every one of your needs. You cannot fulfill every one of hers. You need brotherhood. She needs sisterhood. You need hobbies. She needs hobbies. You need things you can do together, but you also need to have somewhere to go or something to do occasionally to remind yourselves that you are not the only two souls in the universe. 

Ask her

Have the conversation with your wife. What do you need from me? How can I be a better husband?

Each of you take a piece of paper. Tell her you are going to write down a number from 1 to 10 on performance as a husband. Ask her to do the same. Then trade papers.

Don’t be hurt or offended if hers is less than you need it to be. Ask her for ONE thing you can work on over the next couple weeks to level up a notch. Let her know that you are committed to improvement, but you can’t fix everything overnight – so ONE thing is a good place to start.

Don’t ask her to do the same job of rating herself as a wife. If she offers, accept it. Chances are she will. But don’t make this about criticizing her – make this about improving yourself.

If she’s willing to talk about what you need to improve, be humble, teachable, and don’t make excuses. If you think she’s wrong – carefully listen to what she’s saying, and commit to take it seriously and to work on it. 

Get help

Nobody likes marriage counseling. It’s like going to the dentist.
But if you find that you can’t work through the issues you’re facing without fighting- it may be time to call a pastor, a counselor, a marriage therapist, and to sit down and talk through the issues together. There’s no shame in it. But don’t go in with the goal of proving her wrong. Go in with the goal of fixing yourself. 

If you are asking questions about how to be a better husband, this is good. Many men do not even care to explore the questions. They just assume it will happen. They just assume they are good. They follow their feelings rather than their principles and integrity. And then they react emotionally when things come crashing down. Don’t be like those men. Dig into what it means to be a good husband. 

I’ll contend that to be a better husband, you should start with trying to be a better man independently of her. You commit to self-improvement whether she does or not. You commit to be the best version of yourself. Most of the time – she’ll follow suit. She wants to see you improve – and she is designed to follow your lead. If you aren’t improving – she can’t.  Don’t do it for her. Do it for yourself. Even if she says, “Dude, this is over. I’m done.” — being a better man is the right answer! You’ll never survive marriage or divorce if you don’t commit to bettering yourself.