Being an awesome husband starts with putting your wife first.
And of course, vice versa. Here are a few things you can start doing for your wife on a regular basis.
1. Cuddle with her. Physical needs between men and women are so different. There are various ways to be intimate so keep her needs in mind. Hint: cuddling is a good start.
2. Don’t expect sex. Now that the cuddling is over, it’s your turn, amiright? Although sexual intimacy is crucial in a happy marriage, your wife doesn’t want to feel like she owes you a favor.
3. Bring home dinner. If it’s been a particularly crazy day for your wife, the last thing she wants to do is make dinner. Give her a night off every once in a while, either by bringing home some takeout or cooking yourself.
4. Take the kids out. Speaking of crazy days, another sweet act you could do is take the kids out for an hour or so. Whenever I am feeling overwhelmed, my husband quickly takes the hint and takes our kids so I can get some quiet time.
5. Be a gentleman. When you were dating, you did everything you could to woo your wife. Then life happened as it always does. It doesn’t take much thought or energy to act like a man. Open her door, and not just when you’re on a date. Open it every time. Speak kindly to her, about her, and about others.
6. Listen without fixing. If you haven’t seen the video about the nail in the forehead, you must! It is ridiculous and illogical, but it’s so true. This is how women work. Go against your every instinct, and just be there and listen.
7. Compliment her. You think your wife is beautiful, you think she’s funny, you think she’s smart. You admire her in so many ways. Have you told her lately?
8. Pray with her. A good husband prays for his wife daily. A great husband prays with her.
9. Ask her out. I have been married for nearly 14 years, and one thing that still gives me butterflies is when my hubby actually calls me to ask me out. It is so much more romantic than a “Hey, the baby needs a diaper change and we should do something tonight.”
10. Date her. Now that you’ve properly asked her out, keep at it. Dating doesn’t need to be expensive. Whether it’s dinner and a movie or a night in after the kids are in bed, keep dating a consistent part of your relationship.
11. Let her sleep. Mothers, especially those raising small children, are SO incredibly tired. If you’re home, let her take a nap. If it’s feasible, let her sleep in one day each weekend.
12. Appreciate her. Often times, a wife and mother’s work goes unnoticed. Maybe you come home to a messy house. She probably cleaned it three or four times already but you can’t tell. Your dirty clothes magically appear in your closet all clean and folded nicely. Perhaps she’s gone eight hours a day and somehow the bank account has some extra money in it (not for long, I’m sure.) Let her know you appreciate all she does for your family.
13. Work hard. Just as she works hard for the family, you do too. Give everything you can to your career, your kids, and especially to her.
14. Encourage her hobbies. It’s not uncommon for a woman to forget about herself in service to her family. Help her keep her identity by pushing her to do the things she loves.
15. Ask about her day. Each day when you finally get to connect, really ask how her day was and see if she needs anything.
16. Open up. Men don’t generally like to look vulnerable. You want to be tough mentally, physically, emotionally. Your wife wants to know how you are really feeling, and real communication is so important in marriage.
17. Apologize. When couples fight, women tend to fume on the inside until the issue is talked through or resolved. If it’s a big one, this might go on for a while. Generally, men happen to forget about the issue or put it away for a few hours or overnight (like a good cheesecake). Then they forget about it (unlike a good cheesecake.) To them, the argument is over. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to them, their wife is still angry. Just apologize.
18. Hold her hand. Maybe PDA isn’t your thing and that’s OK. Taking her hand in yours is just a small physical gesture that shows her how important she is to you.
19. Respect her. Your wife has built-in motherly and wiferly (it’s a new word) instincts. Even if you don’t agree with her opinion, you need to respect hers. Then kindly talk out the best way to handle the situation.
How many of these things are you doing as a husband? And how many could you work on?
This story originally appeared on Becky Squire