By Dave Willis
When I was engaged and just a few days away from the wedding, my wise Dad said, “Son, always invest the best of yourself into your marriage. Put your wife ahead of yourself. Strive to make her a happy woman. A happy wife creates a happy life.”
My parents have a wonderful marriage. They’re best friends. They love each other AND they actually like each other too! They have the kind of marriage that made me genuinely excited about getting married someday, so I took dad’s advice to heart. I’ve found it to be completely true! When my wife Ashley is happy, I’m happy.
Now, you might be asking, “How can I make my wife happy?” That’s a great question, and a complicated one, because I don’t think it’s possible for one person to “make” another person happy. In fact, when we expect a spouse to make us happy, both spouses usually end up unhappy. A lot of marriages struggle because both spouses are unhappy and blame each other for their unhappiness. Still, I’ve learned that there are some very specific ways a husband can and should cultivate happiness and joy for his wife.
Most of my blogs and books contain lists of things to do, but I’m going to do something different here. I’m going to share just one thing, because I’m convinced that if you’ll do this one thing, it will create more happiness for your wife and more peace and joy in your marriage. I’ve found we all tend to learn best through stories, so I’m going to illustrate this one principle through a true story that just happened in our marriage…
Ashley and I recently had the opportunity to take on a project that would instantly bring a good amount of additional income. I wanted to do it! I was already mentally spending the extra money. The problem is that the stress and strain of this project was going to fall mostly on Ashley. She’s already working so hard in so SO many areas and she doesn’t have much extra margin to take on new projects. Still, she saw that I was excited about the opportunity, so to be supportive and encouraging to me, she agreed to do it. She’s always so willing to support me (even when my ideas are bad)!
As we started making preparations to begin the project, I sensed the stress she was feeling. She insisted that she was fine and willing to take on the extra workload, but I knew she didn’t have peace about it. I made the decision to pull the plug. I knew that no amount of extra money would be worth taking joy or peace away from her. I told her that I didn’t want to do it, because I’d much rather have the extra peace and joy in our home than the extra money and stress.
I could see the weight of that stress lift off her shoulders and then she gave me that smile that still melts my heart every time! Honestly, it was a no-brainer! That little bit of extra money wouldn’t have meant much when I’m at the end of my life looking back, but there’s no price tag I could ever place on our relationship. Giving up this money was a small (but also a tangible) way that I could show her the place of priority she will always have in my heart.
So, what’s that “one thing” a husband should do to make his wife happy? It goes back to what my dad said to me all those years ago. It’s simply to prioritize your wife’s needs ahead of your own agenda. It’s to show her that you value your marriage more than your money. It’s showing her that her happiness is the key to your own happiness. It’s showing her that she matters to you more than anything or anyone else.
I can’t “make” my wife happy, but I’ve learned that I can fuel Ashley’s happiness when she knows that I value HER above any other relationship, pursuit or agenda. When she knows that she doesn’t have to compete with my career, my hobbies or anything else to have the best of my time and attention, it gives her confidence and joy. When she knows that I’m willing to sacrifice my own “agenda” for the good of our marriage, she feels protected and cherished. She deserves my best; not my leftovers. When I’m willing to give my best, she’s much happier…and so am I.
For more tools to help you build a happy, healthy marriage, check out my book The Seven Laws of Love: Essential Principles for Building Stronger Relationships and our brand new online program at FightingForMyMarriage.com.
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