I was married at the ripe, young age of 25. I don’t know why, really — except I met someone who I actually liked and was a decent man. Of course I loved him, but I also loved South Park and cheese fries. I just knew he was the only person who had better ideas than me, and that together we had the best ideas. Also, he was level-headed, practical and funny. I am only one of those things — I will let you guess which one.
Fifteen years, two kids and a round of marriage counseling later, I cannot believe he has survived living with me. For TWENTY YEARS, two kids and a round of marriage counseling later, I cannot believe he has survived living with me. Granted, I am funny (ha! I bet that’s the trait you guessed above) and organized with really nice penmanship, but none of those really make for a great wife. On the eve of our 15th 20th wedding anniversary, I sat down to figure out what really does make a wonderful wife (or in my case, a really okay one).
Don’t Be an A**hole.
This was hard for me. I’m a jerk. I don’t intend to be, but I have a thick, candy-coated shell and a snarky, grumpy center. I had not-so-nice parents and moody friends. So, I naturally thought I would just be me to my new husband, because that’s who I was when we dated. Makes sense, right? And then… KIDS! Ugh, the kids. No sleep makes me cranky. So guess who got my lousy attitude? My hubs. The guy who was going to work every day, supporting our family and just wanted a pleasant wife when he came home. It was amazing when I started being not-a-jerk to him. “But Jessica, it’s not that simple. My husband is [insert negative adjective here].” Yeah, it is that easy. Try it and you’ll see.
The older my children have become (they are both teenagers now), the more I have softened. Even from when I first wrote these words 5 years ago- my mood has mellowed, and I have more empathy for my husband and my kids than ever before. I think I’ve gone “soft” as the world around me has become hardened.
Stop Complaining About Everything.
You are probably noticing a pattern here. I swear I am a likable person, despite my lack of fondness for hugging. But man, did I complain. I griped about the kids, my job, the dishwasher, commercials. I was always negative. And guess who was my sounding board? Yep, you guessed it. The same guy I was a jerk to most of the time. When I made a conscious decision to stop complaining about everything, it left me with more time to listen. Ladies, if you are upset your husband doesn’t communicate much with you, did you ever stop to think it is because you just won’t stop complaining? And fun fact, the men in our life take much of what we say as a compliant vs. a statement. “But Jessica, I’m with the kids all day and he gets to do grown-up things.” Yeah, so? Grown-up things aren’t that great. Just stop complaining, and I promise things will improve.
Yes, I am happy to say that I am still not complaining 5 years later! He is my safe space and I am his. That doesn’t mean we don’t discuss our day to day lives with one another- of course we do. It is just as we have grown into our marriage, we listen better. We are vulnerable and kind with one another.
Have Sex with Him.
One of my best friends told me that her favorite Jessica one-liners was, “If you don’t have sex with your husband, someone else will.” Now, granted, that is extreme but think about it. This man took vows to you and promised to only do the deed with you. So what if you decided, with all your jerkiness and complaining, not to make love to him? Kinda sucks for him, doesn’t it? And I know, I know — we are all fat and tired and sex is probably that last thing on our minds. When is the last time you shaved your legs? Spoiler alert, he doesn’t care! The fact that you would actually be interested in sex (and not lay there like a wet noodle) is turn-on enough for him. Men are not complicated, but we women try to make them so. I dare you, have regular sex with your hubby, and I can promise you your relationship will be better than it was without sex. Again, just try it!
This is my favorite bit of advice and one that people still quote-LOL! It’s truly a gift from above that we get to grow old with someone- someone who looks at me and sees me as 27 years old. I am still so attracted to my husband,- and it is not just physical. He’s a fantastic Dad and Mr. Fix It. He is calm when I am a hurricane. He’s always cuddling with our big kids and planning our vacations. I am more attracted to him now than when I was in my 20s.
I could write a novel about more things to do to be an okay wife, but these three things are the pillars of okay-dom. Don’t be mean, stop complaining and get naked. Pretty solid advice if you ask me, and I’ve been successfully married for 15 (+) years.
Marriage is a blessing- even after 20 years. I know it has been said, but now that the fog that comes with raising small children has lifted, I am settled into a different stage of wife and mother. One day these big kids will fly away, and I will be left with their sexy father. And I am more than okay with that.
What advice do you have on being an okay wife?