Besides the parent-child relationship, the husband-wife relationshipis the most profound relationship you’ll ever have in life. At least inwestern civilization, an exemplary spousal relationship is built on romance,mutual friendship, a sense of respect, and a sense of partnership. Having agood marriage partnership requires several thing, but two that do not alwaysgo hand-in-hand: a passion for your spouse and a sense of respect for them.
Passion makes us do crazy things, and how we react to passion issometimes good and sometimes bad. Passion and desire is probably whatgot you into this relationship, but that doesn’t necessarily mean yourespect your relationship partner. Here’s why respecting your lover is soimportant to maintaining the wife-husband relationship: passion may fadeover time, but respect tends to be longer-lasting. Long after her beautyfades and his manly figure becomes pear-like, your regard and appreciationof your spouse’s other qualities will remain.
Studiesshow that our words and actions aren’t just formed from our thoughts, butour actions and words also form our thoughts. If you get in the habit ofdisrespecting your spouse–even if you ultimately have a deep and abidingrespect–the very act of being disrespectful is going to erode your respectfor your husband or wife. When you show disdain and contempt for yourspouse, they have one of two choices. They either ignore your behavior, inwhich the thought enters your mind that they don’t demand respect. Or theydemand respect, thus lowering themselves to your level. The first leads to asteady erosion of esteem, while the second tends to cause fights andacrimony that erodes your image of your spouse. So here are simple steps youcan take to maintain a good husband-wife relationship.
Don’t Make Demands – Say Please
Don’t make demands. Instead make requests of your spouse. Anultimatum sets up a situation where your spouse either caves in or starts afight. Marriage is like international diplomacy–always leave the otherparty an escape route. Whenever you make a request of your wife or husband,always say please when making the request and always say thank you uponreceipt of the favor.
Say I Love You Often
Every single day of your marriage, tell your spouse “I love you”.You might think a person doesn’t need this reminder every day, but if youget in the habit of not saying how you feel, you get in the habit ofshutting your lover out emotionally. These simple words are never moreimportant when things take a turn for the worse.
Saying I love you is more important when you’ve been fighting. Ifyou have a fight, don’t walk away without saying you love your spouse. Loveshouldn’t be conditional, so make this explicit. You might not be feelingmuch love right now, but this reaffirms you have a deeper relationship thanthe simple disagreement of the moment.
Thank Your Spouse for the Simple Things
When your wife (or husband) makes a meal, washes the clothes, orcleans a room, thank her for it. When your husband (or wife) fixes thegarage door, mows the lawn, or cleans out the swimming pool, thank him.Simple acknowledgement that these actions are appreciated go a long way tomaking the household run smoother.
Husbands Should Avoid Bullying
Men tend to get what they want by using their masculine traits. Guyslike to debate and cite facts. Many raise their voices and “bow up” whenchallenged. Other men might not think a thing about this, but their wife andchildren are going to perceive this as an attempt at intimidation. As yourkids grow up, attempts to berate and belittle them and/or their mother isgoing to be resented. Even if their mother lets this kind of conduct pass,as your kids get bigger and more mature, the tactic won’t work as well. Thewife, on the other hand, may or may not respond in kind, but either way,they’ll resent you for it. Even if you win the argument, they’ll make youpay with passive aggressive behavior.
Wives Should Avoid Nagging
Using a term like “nag” may be outmoded, but women are social creaturesand tend to have more energy for certain social behaviors than theirhusbands. One method of revenge is to stay after their husband relentlesslyin his moments of strength and weakness, what soldiers called in the olddays “winning by sap instead of by storm”. A women shouldn’t save up hergrievances and continue to chip away at her husband’s confidence, authority,and self-respect, because this only causes lingering resentments.
Gender Roles Don’t Matter
The last two gender roles might be reversed in a marriage. If so, thebullying wife and the nagging husband are no more positive. Whether you arethe one who dominates the relationship or the one who makes comments fromthe sidelines, this behavior has to stop. You can’t tear down the confidenceand self-esteem of your loved ones, or else your relationship is a negativeone. One important factor I’ve only touched on plays into all of this: thekids.
Children See Your Example
However you act in the husband-wife relationship, your children aregoing to see and note this behavior. By misbehaving towards your spouse,you are teaching them to misbehave towards them. If you treat your husbandor wife with respect, you’ll teach your kids to do the same.
Several times in this article, I’ve made analogies to diplomacy and war,so let me make one more. If you and your wife are like two warringnations, then your children are like neighboring powers who see the war fromthe sidelines. When they see the two of you in conflict, some of themtend to become co-belligerents and join in the same verbal tactics. Theylearn from your poor example.
Because that’s the case, everything I said above goes double when thetwo of you are around the kids. When the children are in the room or thecar, always treat your wife politely, point out the little things she does,tell her “I Love You”, avoid bullying or nagging, and don’t pull your kidsinto your troubles. When the two of you present a united front, you areteaching your children important lessons about married couples, behavior totheir family, and showing respect for the people you love.