Ending Conflict & Building a Better Relationship with Your Wife (pt. 5)

Bride and Groom making Heart Symbol
Bride and Groom making Heart Symbol by Takmeomeo

When it comes to building the healthiest possible relationship with your wife the most important there are a number of basic principles that apply woven into this work that I think bear making express:

Don’t avoid conflict:  Most conflict in your marriage happens because your wife or girlfriend doesn’t feel secure in the knowledge that you will fight to defend her.  If you are passive, conflict-avoidant, and just try to pacify her, then you are only confirming the fears driving her behavior:  You’re being a wimp – and that is only even more frightening to her.  Instead, seek to take problems and the feelings behind them head on.

Don’t reward bad behavior:  With every interaction you are teaching your woman what is and is not the right way to treat you.  If you simply give in to nagging, bullying, temper tantrums, panic attacks, etc., her subconscious mind will just learn that this is what she has to do to get what she needs from you.  Instead assertively call her out on bad behavior and demand that it stop… then when it does, then take care of the problem.

Keep on top of things: When something is not going right in your life:  when you are losing sleep, money is tight, there are behavior issues with children,the car is breaking down, or whatever – know that these things are going to make your wife feel unsafe – especially if you do nothing about them!  If you tackle problems when they come up rather than let them build up, you establish a safe environment within your marriage.  As they say in the Canadian Armed Forces, never pass a fault: if you’ve noticed something isn’t working right, then it is your job to fix it.

Set the tone and direction of your marriage:  Make plans, set goals, and decide not just where you want to be in five years, but where you want to take your family, too.  This will make you a leader in your marriage, and make it easy to make big decisions as well.  When you make plans and treat your wife as a trusted advisor, bouncing your ideas of her, and taking her advisements to heart as you make plans, that will serve as a constant reminder that you are working towards her happiness and wellbeing, and build a sense of security.  Let her see that you are ambitious, and she will be far happier to follow your lead.

Keep the romance alive:  Men and women’s sex drives work differently.  A woman becomes aroused when a man chases her, and she becomes responsive when that man is strong, a good leader, and brave.  That means that you as the boyfriend or husband have to be the one to keep sex alive in the marriage.  You have to show ambition, show leadership, and stand up to her fitness tests – and you have to flirt with her, take her on dates, and initiate sexual activity regularly to keep the marriage alive.   If you don’t chase, she can’t let herself get caught, and also, if you don’t chase she will notice, and feel hurt, lonely, and resentful.

Father Roughhousing with Kids
Father Roughhousing with Kids by Pezibear

Be an involved Dad: Many men find young kids boring, and even the ones who don’t are often so tired making sure that their kids have food in their bellies and clothes on their back that they feel too exhausted at the end of the day to be an involved parent.  Letting your wife handle all of the parenting is the worst mistake you’ll ever make, because it will erode both your relationship with the kids and with her.  Then make sure you take the time to play with your children every day, help them with their homework, take an opportunity every day to help them develop good routines, and strive to be someone they can talk to about their problems. By being the best dad you can be, your wife will have a good reason to feel loved, supported, and feel assured that the kids will be happy with you if something were to happen to her.

Take care of yourself:   You cannot be a good husband if you are sick, tired, remote, or spaced out on the couch all the time.  You can’t be a good dad if you are too tired to take time with your kids after work, or sleep your weekends away.  Your wife can’t feel protected if you are barely awake most of the time and so out of shape that lifting a beer bottle seems like hard work.  Exercise, meditate, eat well, get the sleep you need, and take time between work and home to decompress and put work out of your head.  You need to make sure that you are healthy enough to take care of your family, that means taking care of yourself first.

Your marriage takes work: You have to connect with your wife regularly, and keep track of what is going on in her life, and how she is doing.  If you stop putting effort into caring for your wife, she will stop putting effort into caring for you. Make sure that doesn’t happen by letting her know she matters with conversation and little gestures.

The Common Thread

Taken apart all of these ideas can seem overwhelming – a marriage has a lot of moving parts that you have to pay careful attention to.  But there is a simple way to put them all together and make it much easier to maintain your relationship.

Have a positive and inspiring image of what it means to be a man, and aspire to live up to it.

If you have a clear idea of what makes a good man, and always work towards it, choosing your actions and your attitudes based on your ideal of masculinity, then the things that are rolled into that image will be easy to accomplish.

Next week I will start unpacking this idea more, and I will show you how focusing on being a man of good character can help you get rid of pointless arguments and problem behaviors that drain the positivity out of your marriage.