One of my goals in life is to be the best wife I can possibly be to my husband, Nathan.
Why? Because he deserves it. He deserves a wife who will love him, respect him, adore him, and be there for him in every way that she can.
I love him and I want the best for him.
He wants the same for me, too. He’s always looking for ideas on how to be a better husband. He is an amazing husband to me already, and I deeply appreciate his commitment to our marriage. Ultimately, we’re both dedicated to building a strong, loving, and lasting marriage together, so we’re always striving to be the best spouses for one another.
So, what can I do to become a better wife? What makes a good wife? A kind wife? A wife of noble character? I’m still in the process of learning this (and, after all, it’s an ongoing journey), but there are things I work on personally; my own ways to be a better wife. Here are 10 of them:
Be your husband’s biggest supporter
Probably the single best thing you can do to be a good wife to your husband is to be his biggest fan. Ladies, your husband needs your encouragement, your support, and your belief in him. This will bolster him up with confidence and make him feel that he can do whatever he sets his mind to.
For me, I find it easy to offer my husband support and encouragement, but I also have to step back and try not to take over for him. I am guilty of loving to plan and control, and there are times I’d love to jump in and micromanage. Yet this would not be a true way to support him. I offer help and advice when he seeks it out, but otherwise, the best way I can support him is to just chill out and know he’s got it handled. I think that simply stepping back and being quietly supportive is actually a really strong way to say “I know you got this! I believe in you!”
What about if your husband makes plans that you find difficult to get behind? Maybe he starts a lot of projects and never finishes them, or he has schemes and inventions that—while creative—are not necessarily practical. If this is the case, I’d encourage you to find what you can support in whatever he’s doing. You can admire his determination, his spirit, his creativity, and his drive (and let him know so) even if you’re not totally psyched about whatever he’s out there inventing in the garage…
Give your husband space and freedom
In marriage, both husbands and wives need space. Too much togetherness can be problematic, just like too much of any good thing can have negative consequences.
Are you giving your husband the space he needs in his life? This can be actual space and time, such as being cool with him going out with the guys one night a week, or spending a few hours pursuing one of his hobbies in the evenings. But it can also involve mental space. Does your husband feel like he has some things that are “his own?” Does he feel like he is in control of how he spends his time? Or do you have his weekends (or the whole family’s) planned from start to finish?
These things are so important in a marriage. Both spouses need to feel free to pursue their own interests and have time for self-care, outside friendships, etc. The strongest marriages are those in which each partner can be wholly an individual, where there is space and freedom to grow and expand.
If you’re not sure if your husband feels like he’s got the space he needs, it might be time to have a discussion about it. Together, you can find ways to allow each other that all-important space and you’ll certainly find that this can help your relationship thrive.
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Be his wife, not his mother
Do you ever feel like you’re being a little…motherly towards your husband? This is a habit to nip in the bud.
Honestly, I hate the idea that I am in any way treating my husband like a child and not a partner. But, unfortunately, I know this is something that can happen occasionally if I’m not careful. The reason is, I’m nurturing, like most woman tend to be, and I have instincts that make me deeply care for the wellbeing of the ones I love.
I also know I’m organized, smart, and I’ve got a handle on things, so why shouldn’t I help my husband with some of those things?! Well, I have to make sure that I’m not overstepping. What I consider helpful might be perceived by him as controlling or overbearing. And if this happens too much, it can start to feel like you’re treating your spouse like a child.
My husband is a grown man who was living just fine (well, mostly, lol) as an adult until he met me. He survived a good 30 years before he became my husband, so clearly he knows what he’s doing.
If this is something you struggle with, stay aware of your actions and habits and look for ways to focus on your role as his lover, partner, and equal.
Challenge him in the ways he needs to be challenged
Marriage is not just good feelings. It involves work, sacrifice, and sometimes going through hard times. But the harder parts of marriage are also some of the most vital. They are really one of the ways through which we grow and become the best versions of ourselves.
That means that we shouldn’t pull away from times that challenge us. In that vein, to be a better wife, don’t be afraid to challenge your husband at times. Challenge him in essential ways that help him to achieve his goals and find satisfaction.
In marriage, no one knows you better than your spouse. For better or worse, this means they know your flaws and your issues, and they know what it is you need to “work on” in your life. But rather than turning this into a weapon, something you can use against the other person, you can use your knowledge of these things to help polish and refine one another.
Sometimes, you can be a better wife by forcing your husband to deal with a problem you know he’s been denying or avoiding. Sometimes, you can be a better wife by not giving him an easy out, or not taking care of something for him. Sometimes you have to make him own up to his own shortcomings. You have to encourage him to take a risk or a chance.
There’s a fine line between pushing and encouraging, but if you’re motivated by love and coming from a place of good intentions, chances are you’re doing the right thing.
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Be more selfless whenever possible
In any relationship, one of the best things we can do is to serve the other person by putting their needs above our own. This is true in any close relationship, marriage or otherwise. Yet such a thing can be terribly difficult. Being selfless is maybe one of the biggest challenges, and though we may never get it “perfectly” right, it’s the striving for it that matters.
As people, we tend to be self-focused. I admit it; I know I am. It’s just so natural to focus on my own needs: what I’m feeling, thinking, worrying about, wanting to have happen.
And yet, in a marriage, there are two people to think about. Two separate people with their own feelings, thoughts, worries, and desires. There is not always room for both. If there was, there’d be no conflict and no misunderstandings.
But alas, marriage is a give and take, and it often demands compromise.
This is one example of when selflessness might be required of you. Some compromises end with both people satisfied: a win-win where both partners get a little of what they want. But sometimes, compromise…well it’s actually sacrifice. At times such as those, you are giving up something so that your partner can “win.” You are putting their needs above your own. That’s awesome, and a great way to love your husband.
The best approach is not just waiting until a conflict arises to practice selflessness. We have the opportunity to do it every day, from the little things like letting your husband pick what show you will watch on Netflix, to the bigger things, like taking time out from work or our busy schedule to listen to a problem our partner may be having. Every opportunity we have to make a selfless choice is so good for us though, helping us to grow in real love and build a deeper, stronger marriage.
Think before you criticize
There’s a stereotype about the typical wife: apparently we like to nag. Now, I’m proud to say I think this is one thing that I do well as a wife. But I am certain I’ve also done my fair share of nagging, even if I’d call it by other names like “suggesting,” “hinting.” or “reminding!”
So avoiding habitual nagging is a great step towards being a better wife. But what about criticism? Are you guilty of that in your relationship?
Nagging can feel like nudging or reminding, but the reason it is harmful is because it is generally perceived as criticism.
So, if you find that you’re often doing something that could be called “nagging,” that may be something that you need to work on as a wife.
Here’s why this can be difficult. For so many of us, complaining becomes our default mode. It’s not hard to do. The news is negative, we’re often bombarded by negative messages, and even when conversing with others, it so often becomes a shared commiseration party. And we’ve even grown accustomed to putting ourselves down, sucked in by a negative self-image.
In other words, it’s not easy to lift ourselves up sometimes, let alone lift one another up. So criticism, however thinly veiled, becomes second nature. Not to mention, we know our husband SO WELL. Of course we’ve got a catalogue of his biggest faults and his most annoying habits and flaws! It’s no surprise then that when we’re in a bad mood, we take it out on the person closest to us: our spouse.
If you want to be a better wife, however, this is a major habit to rid yourself of ASAP. Nagging, criticism, and all that go along with it are super damaging to a relationship. Not only does this constant criticism drag down your husband’s self-esteem, it also erodes his happiness, and yours as well.
Marriages thrive when a husband and wife lift one another up. Before you make a criticism, stop and think if what you’re about to say is helpful. How will what you plan to say make your husband feel? Will it help or will it hinder? what is your intent behind saying it?
Simply slowing down and thinking before you speak can help you to make sure that your words and messages are as loving, edifying, and non-critical as possible.
Which brings me to my next point.
Be generous with your praise
The antidote to criticism is praise, and it’s something your husband needs a hefty dose of!
What would happen if every time a criticism sprang to your lips, you replaced it with a word of praise? would your husband feel more uplifted, more supported? Perhaps you would feel more positive and optimistic. Perhaps you’d also receive more praise in return! It might become clear that one of the best tips on how to be a better wife is to be kind, and generous with your kindness.
Could it be as simple as that? I think it could be. I would challenge you to take an opportunity every day this week to tell your husband one thing you love about him. Tell him you’re so proud of his hard work. Tell him you like the way his hugs make you feel. I can almost guarantee you that your week will be different: better.
Because when we are overflowing with (genuine) praise in our marriage, it creates an environment of trust and support, where a husband and wife can be their best. And it also frees us up to make mistakes without fear of criticism or ridicule. In short, it makes a safer space in marriage where everyone can grow and become better people.
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Make your marriage (and your husband) a priority
When you got married, you made a lot of vows. The traditional ones, “in sickness and in health,” “for richer or poorer,” etc., indicate that your marriage is a lifelong commitment, something you intend to work at so that you can keep it your whole life long.
One of the best predictors of a happy and successful marriage is when both partners recognize that vast importance of that commitment, and of that marriage. Much like a houseplant, a marriage is something you need to tend to in order to keep it alive and thriving. Without careful attention and effort, it doesn’t work like it should, and it can become stagnant and even toxic. When a husband and wife completely give up on building a good partnership, and no longer are willing to put in the work, that can really be when things get dicey for a marriage.
I know that sounds cryptic and scary, but it may be easier to avoid than you think. One of the best ways to be a better wife is to be the kind of wife that makes her marriage a vital priority in her life. Many people think that a wife’s husband should even be her top priority, perhaps even ahead of children, but that’s a discussion for another day—for another article.
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No matter what you believe about where a husband stacks on the priority hierarchy, it’s undeniable that married people need to keep one another as a main priority in their life.
But by maintaining an attitude of prioritizing your husband and your union, it is easier to make the necessary adjustments to keep your marriage on the right track. Just by putting a little work and attention into your marriage every day, you keep it afloat.
To use another analogy, it’s like regular car maintenance. Although you may not want to change the oil every 3,000 miles, you do so because it avoids further, bigger problems down the line. And, like a beloved car, if you take pride in your marriage, you want to do that maintenance work, because the benefits of a loving, respectful marriage and the love of a happy husband are precious and wonderful.
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Tell him what you need
Ladies, he cannot read your mind. Your husband wants you to tell him exactly what it is that you need and want from him. This is beneficial in the bedroom, in the gift/holiday/anniversary department, and in meeting your needs for love and affection.
I know that telling your husband exactly what you want feels like it lacks spontaneity and romance, but it is an important part of communication and it ensures that our emotional physical needs are met. You’ll save a lot of time and misunderstanding by being direct about your needs. And your husband will really appreciate your candor.
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But know how to meet your own needs
One of my final suggestions on how to be a good wife is this: learn to meet your own needs and to understand what they are.
The person we love is our partner and part of the blessings of being married is that we have this person we can turn to for love, support, and more. In short, they help our needs be met. But it is essential to recognize that our spouse cannot meet all of our needs. They cannot, and they should not. There are some things that we just have to take care of ourselves. This goes for both husbands and wives, and it is generally just a crucial thing that all mature adult need to learn in time.
Being able to handle your own stuff, particularly in the emotions department, is critical for self-care, and also goes a long way towards a more balanced and happier partnership.
What is your top tip on how to be an amazing wife?
Read these next:
- 5 Boundaries in Marriage That Will Strengthen Your Relationship
- The Best Marriage Books for Couples to Read Together