During my years of relationship coaching, I can’t tell you how many men have said something like this to me: “If only I had a bullet point list of what to do to make her happy”.
In this brief post, I’ll give you just that, a bullet list with 6 points for what to do to make your wife or partner happy.
Of course, you have to actually DO it to find out if it works, and not just once, but as an ongoing practice of relating.
With no further ado, we’re jumping right in.
#1 Engage in the relationship.
We men have a tendency to think that once we’ve gotten into a relationship, or once we’ve gotten married, we’re done. In the back our minds, we say, “Mission accomplished”, and give our attention to the next accomplishment. Nothing could be further from the truth, and the attitude of “I’m done” is responsible for countless love stories turning from sizzling hot to lukewarm to ice cold.
When there’s a kerfuffle, a conflict, or some sort of tension and upset, don’t back away or shut down. Instead, engage. Step in, even though your natural instinct might be to get the heck out of there. Engage and participate actively, both in the fun and sexy parts of the relationship, as well as the tedious or tense ones.
#2 Connect. Talk. Share.
One simple way to accomplish “connection” is to talk. Share about yourself, your day, how you feel, what you dream of, and what you’re afraid of. When she asks you how your day was or how you’re doing, answer in more than one word. To this day, I still sometimes have to remind myself of this, because it is so ingrained in me to just say, “Fine. Great. I’m good”, or another one-or-two syllable response.
It’s not that I’m trying to withhold information, it’s just that to my practical brain, “Fine” is a satisfying answer to “How are you doing?”
But it does not produce a sense of connection for my wife. Connection is produced by the back-and-forth passing of something, in this case words. It’s like throwing a baseball with a friend. Imagine you throw it to your friend, he catches it and then just keeps the ball. Boring game, right? To have a game, you have to keep throwing the ball between you. Same with connection and conversation with your wife. Catch the ball, then throw it back to her.
#3 Listen. Without taking stuff personally
The other side of talking and sharing is listening. Particularly, listening without taking her words personally. Granted, when she’s talking, your name might appear frequently in the content. When it does, don’t take it personally, and don’t jump to providing solutions to what you think her problem is.
If, for instance, she comes home after a long day at work, starts sharing about her challenging day, don’t jump to providing solutions that would make her feel better. Just let her talk and she’ll take herself home.
If during her share she says, “That guy at work is just like you …”, don’t jump in and defend yourself (or the guy at work). Don’t do anything, other than listen. The vast majority of times, she will sort out anything that needs sorting out and your listening helps her do that.
#4 Tell her she’s beautiful and special to you.
Not just with your words, with your actions too. For her to know that among all the people you could be in relationship with, you choose her to be your wife or partner, produces a tremendous sense of safety in her. It helps her relax, let her guard down, open up to you, and be with you.
Actually, this is great advice for anyone in relationship. Making your partner feel actively chosen basically confirms what our soul is longing to hear, and what our demons are always trying to convince us that we’re not.
#5 Give of yourself
When she asks you to do something with her or for her, either do it, or if you can’t or aren’t willing to do it, at least acknowledge that she asked or ask her questions about why she’s wanting you to do it. If you’re saying no to her, tell her what you would be willing to do, or when a better time is. Don’t just say no, ignore the request or turn away, because that will surely build a barrier between you.
Give your time and attention to her. Give your touch and adoration. Give your praise and encouragement. Not just for special occasions. Always. And especially when you’ve landed in a tense situation, or you haven’t been connecting much. Be the first to break the deadlock by giving of yourself.
#6 Hear her criticisms as a desire for more of you.
This relates to not taking her statements personally. Rather than arguing with the surface criticisms, respond to the deeper meaning of her communication. For instance, if she says, “We never do anything together! You never want to do anything with me!”, it’s easy to take it personally and want to defend yourself.
The deeper communication here is, “I miss you. I want to spend time with you. I love you. I want to be with you. I want more of you”. Those are good intentions and they basically tell you she loves you. If you’re skeptical about this interpretation, think about this way: If she didn’t give a shit, she wouldn’t even bother trying to get you to spend time with her! The logical conclusion, then, is that she cares about you.
There you have it, a short bullet list for how to make your wife happy. If you do these steps, there’s an excellent chance she’ll be really happy and think you’re a fabulous man for her. Don’t take my word for it, though. Try it out and see what happens. Show her this list and ask her about it.