14 Things Every Woman Should Know About Her Husband

September 4, 2013  |  
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Even women who’ve been married for twenty years are still in the dark when it comes to some things about their husbands. Maybe they don’t want to pry, or maybe they believe some things are better left a mystery, but knowing these things could actually just bring a couple closer together.

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Why he needs alone time

Women are pretty good at switching gears between professional and personal life: we can get off a stressful business call and then listen to our kids rehearse for the school play in one swift movement. This is why wives can get upset when their husbands come home, and they’re ready to reconnect after their long day, but their husbands clearly aren’t. Men need a little time to breathe after work before delving into home life. When your husband walks in the door just say hello, and then let him go to his office/bedroom/garage/mancave. He’ll come out when he’s ready to engage.

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When he’s doing something out of obligation

Your husband only has so many hours in the day. Between maintaining his relationship with you, with his friends, perhaps with his co-workers and maybe some little ones, every night is booked up. When there’s an event you want your partner to come to, be real with yourself: is this really how he’d like to spend his evening, or is he saying yes because he feels he has to? Don’t just blindly accept that he’s coming along. If you know he won’t really enjoy himself, and you know you could do without him, give him a break for the night. Otherwise, he may not ask for that break himself.

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When he’s actually listening

If you watch two good male friends talk, you’ll notice they’re not making eye contact the entire time. In fact sometimes they’ll discuss the most intimate things while playing video games side by side. Don’t jump to assuming your partner isn’t listening to you just because his eyes are wandering. This will just make him feel scrutinized. Pay attention to his words and responses—that’s what counts.

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What he tolerates in you

Nobody is perfect. There are surely things you do that bother your husband, or that he doesn’t agree with. But odds are you have no idea what these are because in order to minimize conflict, your husband doesn’t pick at you for them. It would do your marriage some good to think about your quirks, flaws and tendencies that your husband tolerates. It will help you take a moment to decide, “Do I really want to nag at my husband for this?” before you pick a fight.

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How he likes to be talked to

Most fights that happen don’t even need to turn into fights! But one person’s method of communicating rubs the other person the wrong way, and that alone turns everything into a fight. Before approaching your husband with an issue, ask yourself how you’d like someone to approach you with that same issue. What tone would you want them to take? What would make you feel most comfortable discussing it? What might make you feel patronized? Or scrutinized? Be conscious of your approach.

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How to prioritize conversation topics

If your husband is clearly exhausted, or has a dozen things on his mind, or has one very serious thing on his plate, asking him what color curtains you should buy for the guest bathroom will at best make his load heavier, and at worst piss him off because you clearly aren’t respecting the headspace he’s in right now.

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Which fights can’t be finished

Communication is the number one key to a good relationship. But knowing when to keep quiet comes in right behind it. If you and your husband are arguing about something crucial like how to raise your children or who will work while the other one stays home, you may have to battle it out. But with smaller issues, ask yourself, “Will I even feel the effects of this decision in a year? Or a month?” You’re supposed to spend forever with this person. So don’t argue about anything that doesn’t affect forever. If you’re screaming over where to eat for dinner, just let him choose already.

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Hot topics

Pick up on which topics are emotional landmines for your partner. If certain things—like his brother’s career, or his parent’s relationship, or politics—get your husband so worked up that he has to lock himself in the bedroom for the night, eventually his anger around these issues will need to be worked out. But during Thanksgiving dinner, or an office party, is not the time to work through those issues. Know the hot topics so you can tread them lightly—or never.

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When he needs your support

Most men won’t flat out say, “I could really use some help with my errands/work/life this week. I’m overwhelmed.” They’ll just try to tackle the world instead, until they implode. But marriages in which the couples feel they are each other’s support system have 50% higher rates of satisfaction. Recognize when your partner needs help, and take some work off his plate without him having to ask.

 

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When he needs to handle it himself

Don’t be pushy about being supportive. There are some things men just need to handle themselves. If it gets accomplished because someone else stepped in, that will get under their skin. Learn to see when your husband is in, “I need to prove I’m a man” zone, and back off.

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How he sees himself as a father

You should of course work to come to agreements when it comes to your children. But don’t try to shove your partner into a certain type of parent that he simply isn’t. If he needs to be the cool dad, or the firmer parent, or the hands on parent, or the parent that lets kids figure it out for themselves, be aware of that and work with it. Respect the type of parent he wants to be and see if you can accommodate it in decisions about your kids. He’ll feel closer to you if you do.

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How he sees himself as a husband

Does your husband like to be a protector? Let him be that sometimes. Does your husband want to be an indivisible unit that does everything together? Do what you can to accommodate that. Does he want to maintain a lot of his individuality? Don’t stand in the way of that. Know what you need from him as a partner, and what he needs to do to be happy as a partner, and find a middle ground. But don’t try to force him into being your ideal husband.

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His career goals

If you want to grow as a couple, you need to not only be supportive in the moment, but also know what the big picture is for your husband. He’ll love it if you can bring him lunch on a day you know he’s swamped at his current job, but also bring him a flyer on a class on starting your own business, because you know that’s what he eventually wants to do.

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Why he loves his interests

Whether he’s into sailing or karaoke or golf or model trains, try to understand what he loves about these activities. Do they calm him? Take him back in time? Invigorate him? Scare him? If you can find out what’s behind your partner’s love of his interests and hobbies, you’ll do an amazing job of finding other activities you can do together.

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