So, you married the woman of your dreams. You pledged before witnesses on your special day to be there for her “through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, till death do you part”.
Six years and two kids later, you congratulate yourself that you’ve been pretty good at keeping your end of the bargain. So, why is it that nothing you say or do seems to make the missus happy anymore? You even tell her that you love her every day ― what more does she want? A pink diamond bracelet? A Prada bag? Maybe for you to climb Bukit Timah hill and declare in ringing tones that you adore her?
Newsflash, fellas! While a new pair of cute shoes will no doubt make your honey very happy, what she’s actually looking for is so much smaller in scale and best of all, free!
What is it? Words of affirmation ― backed by action! Yes, it’s that simple. Why? Because it makes her feel cherished, appreciated and cared for, which will not only make her happy but give her a sense of security about your relationship. And as we all know, happy wife = happy life!
“It’s becoming increasingly clear how important it is for couples to have well-stocked ‘love banks’, which can be nurtured and maintained through words of encouragement, praise and kind gestures,” notes marriage and family therapist Anoushka Beh. “This forms a strong firmament, which helps them weather the challenges that can arise in the form of small daily grievances to larger tensions over the course of time.”
Looking to fill your lady’s “love bank”? Then keep telling her how much you love her every day, but also add these 10 key phrases to your marriage vocabulary. It’ll help to put that spark back into your romance in no time!
1. “Call me anytime, even on my office phone.”
A husband that’s accessible all day, every day? Yes, please! Wives love to know that however busy you might be ― running a business or fighting crime a la Batman ― you’ll drop whatever you’re doing to pick up her call, even if all your love wants to say is that she’s missing you or a request to pick up milk on the way home. It makes her feel like she’s your number one priority ― and isn’t she?
“It’s becoming increasingly clear how important it is for couples to have well-stocked ‘love banks’, which can be nurtured and maintained through words of encouragement, praise and kind gestures.”
2. “What can I do to make your days less hectic?”
So you’ve seen your wife struggling to stay on top of her daily routine ― getting herself ready, while packing the kids’ lunches or rushing home from work to cook dinner. Now’s the time to lighten her burden. Just asking her how is often good enough, even if there’s no way you can help. She will know that you want to make her life easier because you aren’t blind to her struggles and she’ll love you for it.
Of course, if you’re lucky, you’ll be married to someone who’s like Marie Han’s hubby. “My husband does all the housework, from washing the clothes to cooking dinner because he says I work longer hours, so he wants to make life stressful for me. I am thankful that we treat each other as equals in this relationship and don’t subscribe to any archaic gender roles.”
3. “I’ve been thinking about what you said and maybe I can try to change.”
Stop right there. You actually took time to ponder over what the wifey said last night instead of binge-watching Narcos? You’re a keeper! It’s not that we’re blaming you for everything (not all the time at least), but your wife needs to know that when the going gets tough, you’re flexible about changing. Taking what she says into consideration and acting on it also proves how much you respect her viewpoint.
4. “Sleep in, I’ll take care of the kids this morning.”
“This works like a charm every time,” says mum-of-two-boys Jessica Gullichsen, 37, who’s been married to Cato Gullichsen for 7 years. The fact that you’re willing to take on a bunch of rambunctious toddlers solo, especially on a weekend morning, will make any wife cry happy tears as she returns to dreaming about Chris Hemsworth. Want to score even more brownie points? Offer her a steaming cup of freshly made coffee when she wakes in a couple of hours.
Six more ways to woo your woman with expressions of love, coming right up!
5.“Let’s go on a date next Friday ― I’ll plan it and arrange the babysitting.”
Just finding out that you took it upon yourself to plan and execute a date night ― or anything concerning couple time ― will already have your wife jumping for joy. One less thing on her list to do! Now, make sure you score the restaurant’s best seats and start the night right with her favourite tipple.
6. “I need to make some majors decisions at work, can I talk to you about them?”
Even the most attentive and loving husbands tend to make the mistake of excluding their wives from their work life. You think you’re doing her a favour, because it’s a part of your life she’s not very involved in, but that’s exactly why you should include her. You spend a considerable part of your time in the office, so it’s only fair you share what’s going on there with her. You are bringing the gap between family- and home-life, which gives her a sense of security.
What your sweetheart needs to hear though is that she’s worth so much to you that you’re willing to do everything it takes to keep the marriage going.
7.“You are so stunning, smart and talented.”
We don’t care how self-assured and successful we are, even smart, powerful women like Michelle Obama enjoy having their hubbies compliment them. Have you seen her smiling coyly at Barack when he gives her a thumbs-up when she’s all dolled up? It’s adorable and you can really feel the love between them. Yes, we know we are superwomen, now we want to hear you say it!
8. “You’re worth it.”
No marriage is perfect, nor any human, for that matter. After the honeymoon is over, it takes a lot of compromise, understanding and respect to keep a relationship going. Wives will make mistakes and so will husbands. What your sweetheart needs to hear though is that she’s worth so much to you that you’re willing to do everything it takes to keep the marriage going.
9. “Don’t worry, everything is going to be fine.”
“I’m usually the more easily flustered one, so it always helps me calm down when he says everything will be okay or we’ll find a way,” says mum Kumari Revi, 35, who recently celebrated her third wedding anniversary to hubby Kelvin Caleb. “It also helps when he correctly acknowledges how or what I’m feeling, because I feel like he gets it.” Women tend to worry more than men, so, we love it when our hubbies can calm us down and help us put things in perspective.
10. “I’ve been going over our budget and I don’t think you spend enough on bags and shoes.”
Which women doesn’t want to hear that? Okay, so most husbands are unlikely to make this statement, but don’t you want to celebrate your wife’s sense of style? After all, she makes an effort to look good for you ― and if she looks good, you look good! “I went back to work after being a stay-at-home mum for almost a year,” recalls Joyce Tan, 36. “When I got my first pay check, my husband told me that I didn’t have to chip in for the bills that month and I should instead spend my money on myself, because I hadn’t had the luxury of doing so for so many years. It was music to my ears and made me love him even more.”
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