My marriage is very important to me. This is both because my wife is still the love of my life and because I want my daughters to grow up in a good home. And, as a result of that, I do work hard to keep the marriage functioning smoothly.
Several months ago, my wife and I hit a major rough patch in our relationship that steadily got worse to the point we almost didn’t make it to our 9-year anniversary. While this wasn’t completely my fault (and my wife will agree), I ultimately took responsibility for my part in it, looked in the mirror and figured out how I could be a better husband. And, today, thanks to three simple but major changes, our relationship is much stronger as a result.
The first thing I did was start helping with the housework more. I’ve never been one of those husbands who just sit around the house and watch their wives do all the cleaning. In fact, housework wasn’t even something we were fighting over at the time. However, even though I was helping out, my contributions were normally limited to the weekend. This meant my wife would either be stuck keeping up with the housework during the week or we would both end up spending the weekends cleaning instead of doing something fun.
Now, instead of waiting until my day off to help, I find little things I can do in the evenings. This includes helping the kids pick up their toys, throwing in a load of laundry or, on nights when I’m the one cooking, making sure the dishes get washed up afterwards. As a result, we now have more free time to spend together.
The second thing I did was start dating my wife again. Our marriage was in a rut so I figured one of the best ways to get out of that rut was start over from scratch and doing the same things I used to do when I was trying to convince her to be my girlfriend. This includes making her candlelight dinners, buying her flowers and even shaving on the weekends.
Since we do have kids and don’t always have a baby sitter, I don’t get to take her out as often as I would prefer. But, I started working around this by taking the time to ask her if she will watch a movie with me on the couch or will have a dinner for two in the kitchen. It’s my way of showing I still want her to say yes but don’t necessarily assume she will.
The last thing I did was start making long-term plans. My wife and I are currently planning two trips next year, a family vacation and a trip just for the two of us. This is something I would not have done a few months ago, mostly because I didn’t want to go through all the work only to have something come up at the last second. But, making that effort has definitely strengthened our relationship both because it gives us something to look forward to and reminds her I’m planning on being with her for a long time.
While I’m still not a perfect husband (something else my wife would agree with), these changes have definitely made me a better one than I was before. And, hopefully, they will keep us from having the same major problems that almost destroyed our marriage.