How To Have A Perfect Husband (Or At Least Get Closer) in 5 Steps

Listen to the NPR audio version of this here.

My husband is incredible. As I lie awake thinking about how he lives for me I feel so loved and satisfied that I can barely sleep. Well I cannot sleep actually, it is three o'clock in the morning right now.
John is as close to perfect for me as I could imagine. He loves by being patient with me when I get excited about something and prattle endlessly; often repeating myself in my desire to be heard and understood. He actually listens or does a fine job of looking like he's attentive. He looks at me. I mean really looks at me and reaches out to touch me often during normal daily doings.

He is an active and in love father.

He changes dipes. Even the NASTY ones that make me wonder if we can throw them out with the baby who made them. He washes those (cloth) dipes, too. John leaves the house *gasp* with children and without me almost bravely. He gets up with our baby often and especially now that we are trying to discourage her (several times a) night nursings. And did I mention he is the one who leaves the house to work?

He keeps us secure financially with his hard work, financial planning to live under our means, and his tireless balancing of our moolah.

He checks in with me to make sure I am happy, that I have what I need in a variety of ways. He rubs my feet almost without rolling his eyes. He never complains when I do not make any dinner. At times the Tiny Red Kitchen is closed. Like last night when the whole chicken was STILL frozen after spending lots of quality time in the fridge. He knows I work hard some days and validates what I do in our home which means so much to me as a stay at home mama.

My husband John is God's best gift to my life, even over my children. (And oh! I love them chirren so much.) He meets my weakness with his strength and his life choices are usually inline with mine. He is selfless more often than I am. He is smart, wise and pretty darn handsome to boot.

So I've felt this way for the four and a half years we have been married. My mother in law jokes that my friends must be sick of me and my unusually happy marriage. I do not think my husband is actually perfect and could give you a list of what I'd love to see added, but John is perfect for me.

So this got me thinking about how other women could have a perfect husband.

It is simple really: Be a Perfect Wife!

Ok, Ok stop laughing...I don't want you to choke on your breakfast there. I am as far from perfect as it gets so please do not take me literally. I am selfish and bossy and controlling and fickle and I can help the national debt with one trip to Target for milk. I am also not a PhD on relationships and haven't written any books on marriage. I simply struggled to find a good mate for me and finally married him at 36 years old after a lengthy romantic history of tumult. I learned some hard lessons through my previous relationships and I believe that helps me the most in this final and most important relationship. What I mean by "be a perfect wife" is look at what you want in your mate, and then consider what he might want in his mate.

A funny thing happens when a spouse starts being the sort of spouse they want. Many times they will start getting the kind of spouse they want.

Do Not Expect Him to Be Your Everything
A spouse is a BIG DEAL in our lives. We sleep next to them, share money and things and living space with them. Some of you gross folks even leave THE door open during your "magazine reading time". They say to choose your spouse carefully because from them will come all of your happiness or all of your woe. I say yes and no. We women especially like to put any neediness we have on the man we love. We want them to make us feel smart and pretty and important endlessly.

I realized early on that John was was a real person who got grouchy or tired or bored or distracted. I could not base the temperature of our relationship on how he reacted to me any given day. He can be quite distant when focused on something pressing. I know he loves me and do not jump to any conclusions when he is quiet. I also tell myself I look fabulous. He doesn't' criticize me when I look like a homeless person and haven't showered for a day. Or Two. This is PRICELESS in a husband. But the flip side is he won't exactly do cartwheels and layer on compliments when I do put on a little mascara. You mamas know how it is. You doll all up and hit the door way for the "Ta Da!" and they just smile like you said "The coffee is ready". So I tell myself how foxy I am and have my girlfriends to admire my preening. I do not expect him to be my personal validation. I know God made me pretty awesome and I get immense satisfaction in that.

You are Not the Boss of Him
This one is really hard for me because I know the best thing for him and the right way to do everything related to our home, our life, our social adventures and our children.
Nagging doesn't work. The word itself sounds horrible, why do anything that could even be called n a g g i n g? Your husband is a grown up man over 21 with a drivers license. He doesn't want or need you to tell him what to do or remind him (however helpful you mean to be) about what needs to be done. He might not do what you think needs to be done and the world will not end. Even if you are right. Offer your husband respect as an adult to live his own life within your marriage.

Ask Him What Matters Most
I used to assume my husband wanted me in makeup and nice clothes with a gorgeous dinner over which I told him hilarious and engaging stories from my day and the world at large. In our clean house perfectly decorated. I thought scheduling fun activities throughout the week like art openings, concerts, fish suppers and local festivals was adding to his daily joy. I was wrong. I get filled up by activity but my husband gets drained by it! When I finally asked him what I could do to make his life better, he said I could schedule less stuff in a week. Turns out I become a bit of a stress ball with all that extra debris on our calendar, and (imagine that!) he doesn't' love it. I have heard a lot of versions of this from my married friends so I believe it is quite common. Ask him!

Learn his Love Language
Gary Chapman put out a series of books on Love Languages. They made a big difference in my personal girlfriend relationships, so I definitely applied them in my marriage. The concept (if somehow you have not already become familiar with this national bestseller!) is that people communicate their love and affection to others using one or more of five love languages. If you are expressing your love for me in a language I do not speak, I cannot hear it. I miss feeling loved by you even though you are really doing things to love me well. The five love languages are: Gifts, Physical Touch, Quality Time, Acts of Service and Words of Affirmation. I didn't write the book, so to learn more go here.

Date your Husband
I don't mean just make time for date night although that is very helpful in creating a strong happy marriage. I mean act like you did when you were dating. It is hard to recreate the passion of a new relationship, but what about the respect? We get married and then take for granted our spouse's presence in our lives. We yawn at his work stories, glaze over when he acts silly and stop dressing up or doing our hair everytime we see him...because we see him all of the time.

Many affairs start simply because the person doesn't feel important or valued by their spouse anymore. Someone new finds him fascinating and so he becomes fascinating and is in turn fascinated with the new woman. Can we be the new woman? Surprise him with a night off to go out by himself or with friends instead of putting kids to bed. Buy him a small gift that he will enjoy and is perhaps impractical. Look at him, really look at him when he talks. Remember that everyone wants to feel important, and you are his first and best source for that validation.


Anonymous said...

LOVE this!! Great blog, Heather!! After having kids, husbands and our relationships with them so often take the back burner. Thanks for the reminder to keep it a number 1 priority!! :)

Adventures In Babywearing said...

I have the hardest time with the love language thing because what my husband needs most is what is the hardest for me to do naturally. I don't know why! So, for those things I look at it at being obedient to God, and remind myself of it all the time. I don't know why I can't just do it on my own. But this helps!


HeatherCurleeNovak said...

Thanks Lori & Steph for reading my long winded post. Glad you can relate. Steph it is really hard to remember an opposite Love language, that is what trips up many a relationship IMHO. I think this is even harder in a god marriage, easy to assume, which makes an /ass/ out of /u/ and /me/!

Anonymous said...

What an awesome blog! You are a wonderful writer Heather!

HeatherCurleeNovak said...

Vida, your check is sooooo in the mail. Thanks for reading, I sure enjoy the writing.

Melissa said...

As always, Heather, I really enjoy reading your articles. They always challenge me to be a better person. Thanks.

HeatherCurleeNovak said...

Melissa, thank you...that is what I want, happier and better folks...learning from all my mistakes! LOL. They should come to sumpin', right? THANK YOU for reading. Really.

Mercy Turner said...

Heather, I have become totally obsessed with your blog! I decided to comment on this one because the way you describe your husband and your relationship sounds a lot like my own relationship! Love every bit of it!

HeatherCurleeNovak said...

Why MERCY! Miss Mercy! Thanks for making my night. It means SO MUCH when people comment. I can see how many folks read but hardly anyone comments so it MEANS A LOT! Glad to hear you are obsessed, that helps too!