Last week I exchanged emails with a man who has spent the past month trying to save his marriage. He told me about a long conversation with his wife about going through with divorce. Do you know what she told him?
“I didn’t think you would care when I told you I was done.”
She had assumed for YEARS that he did not care about her, or the marriage, or the family. To her, it felt like all he ever did was work and drink, so those must be the only things he loved.
Sadly, for many men the realization that their wife doesn’t feel loved comes way too late, only after she’s dropped the D-bomb.
How do you romance your wife? How do you make sure your wife feels loved and valued?
Putting effort into romancing your wife and maintaining a deep romantic connection is the best way to safeguard your marriage against future crisis.
Separated? Quick note: If you are currently separated, then some of these things won’t apply. Just like maintaining a working car is different than fixing a broken down car, so is maintaining a happy marriage versus fixing a broken one. Still, I encourage you to read through these ideas, and perhaps a time will come when you get to apply them to your marriage.
How do you rebuild the connection that keeps a man and a woman happily together forever?
9 Ways To Build Deeper Connection With Your Wife
1. How You Spend Your Time Says More Than Any Romantic Gesture
Make a point of spending meaningful time with your wife every single day.
There is a reason I put this first. How you spend your time is one of the single most important parts of what makes you a good husband and leader.
If I were to shadow you for a full day and see how you spend your time, I would be able to tell you what’s most important to you.
How you spend your time can either show your wife that you love her and value her or don’t care about her and take her for granted.
You’ve probably heard the children’s story about the little Red Hen who asks for help making bread, but everyone else is too busy. Once the bread is ready everyone suddenly has time to eat, but the little Red Hen doesn’t share.
Similarly, if you’re too busy for your wife or too busy to contribute to the home, you don’t also get to expect her to feel intimate and connected with you. You can’t skip the hard stuff or the boring stuff and still expect to get your fair share of the fun, exciting stuff.
One of the most common mistakes that I’ve seen men make is assuming that their wife is okay putting the marriage on the backburner “just for a while”.
A husband often assumes his wife is fine with him making work his top priority for a season, that she understands that it won’t last forever. Unfortunately, many times what starts as a few weeks or months stretches into a year or longer, and eventually the wife has felt so neglected for so long that she gets fed up.
If you absolutely have to work so much that you literally cannot put enough time in with your wife, find some other way to make her feel wanted and prioritized. The less time you have available, the more important the time that you do spend with her becomes.
2. Meaningful, Frequent Encouragement
You’ve probably heard the old relationship rule — for every criticism, give three encouragements. Something to that effect.
Not only should you praise your wife more than you criticize her, it should FEEL to her like you are a much more positive leader than a critical one.
It’s always easier to see the bad in people than the good. Most of us are natural judgers. It’s easy to speak up when your wife is doing something wrong, but most of us don’t think to offer praise when she’s on her game.
And really, even me saying that reveals a mistake that I myself often make, which is to only encourage my wife when she’s having good days. I try to make a point of offering as much or more praise, acceptance and encouragement on the days where she’s struggling.
Your wife must believe that you think she’s doing a good job, and that you love her and accept her exactly as she is.
3. Make Her Feel Wanted
This isn’t just a sexual thing, it means that you make sure your wife always knows that you WANT her as your wife. It’s not just you and her getting through life, raising kids and ticking off a to do list like roommates, it’s that you actively WANT her and WANT to live your life with her.
You don’t just love her, you like her too. Your love isn’t just from a sense of duty or obligation; it is because you love her and chose her as your wife.
What are some practical ways to do this?
- Say I love you
- Take her on surprise dates
- Compliment her looks, make her feel attractive
- Do favors
- Leave her love notes
- Spend quality time with her
- Always seek to learn more about her
Not rocket science! This is the standard advice you’d get in most other articles about how to romance your wife. You’ve probably heard all of these before. And yet, it’s doing them that takes effort and consistency.
4. Get Rid Of The Bad Habits & Negative Behaviors
If this is for you, you already know it and I don’t have to tell you too much about what it is. You know that you have a bad habit or behavior in your life, and you’ve probably known for a long time that you need to get rid of it. Now is the time; don’t wait until it costs you your marriage or your wife’s trust.
Some common examples that I have seen severely damage the marriage include:
- Drugs, commonly smoking weed
These are the obvious ones, but your bad habit may not be so apparent. Other common bad habits or extreme distractions, if you want to call it that, that men fall into include:
- Way too much time on video games or YouTube
- Way too much time on fantasy football, or some other hobby like that
- Eating out too much, or spending too much money online
- Spending too much time on Facebook and other social media
- Allowing yourself to spend too much time at work for too long
- Being too critical or controlling
Again, chances are that you have already felt a little inkling in the back of your mind telling you to get these bad habits under control. That’s your conscience talking, listen to it! You cannot lead your marriage if you have no self-control.
5. Show Her That You Respect Her Time As Much As Your Own
A couple years ago I read an article titled She Divorced Me For Leaving Dishes By The Sink.
The gist of the article is that this guy, like so many husbands, was happy to leave all of the domestic duties to his wife. His wife constantly asked him to clean up his dishes instead of leaving them in the sink to be done later. He never did, and one day she filed for divorce.
Now, was the reason she divorced him really because he left dishes by the sink?
No! It was because of the message that sent to her every single time he chose to ignore what she asked.
By allowing his wife to take on more than her fair share of domestic duties, he effectively told his wife, “My time is more valuable than yours. I am more important than you. I do not love you enough to do even this simple, 5-minute task even though it’s important to you.”
In a way, this is just another iteration of the very first point. How you spend your time says so much about you as a husband and a leader. If you typically spend 3 hours a night watching TV while your wife is lucky to get an hour to herself before bed, then it’s time to up your responsibilities in the home.
Of course, this extends to more than just domestic duties, but this area is a big one for probably 90% of marriages, so it’s the best example to use here.
The point is, how you spend your time shows your wife how you value hers. When you leave all the cooking, cleaning, getting kids ready for school or in bed, to her, it may be fine for a while but eventually she will feel taken for granted, especially if you don’t recognize and appreciate what she does.
6. Learn What She Loves And What Makes Her Feel Most Loved (and do more of it)
My wife’s love languages are primarily acts of service and quality time. These are great for me, because I love to provide acts of service and I’m also a quality time love language. Obviously, my wife loves encouragement and complements, but for her, the kind gestures and little non-romantic surprises matter a lot (oh, you did the dishes when it was my turn! Thank you!).
Here’s the thing, for a long time after our daughter was born, most of my acts of service centered around taking on extra parenting time. While my wife appreciated this, over time we both realized that taking on extra domestic duties actually meant more to her and relieved more stress from her everyday life. It meant a lot more to her for me to make a grocery list and cook dinner than it did for me to finish work early and give her an extra hour to herself. That’s just her personality.
This is an example of doing the right things in the wrong direction. For us, it was an easy fix. For you, it will probably take some brainstorming, reflection and of course conversation with your wife to figure out what things she likes, and what things don’t have quite the same impact.
Over time, pay attention to what your wife responds to. What things truly make her day? Figure out what really makes your wife feel loved and valued, and do more of those things.
7. Engage Yourself In Your Conversations
Honestly, this is just the standard communication advice. Listen more, talk less. But, even though it’s cliché common sense, it still needs to be said.
I spend a huge portion of my day to day helping men with their marriage, so I am always thinking about relationships and examining my own relationship. You would think that I would be a super-husband, the best listener in the world with 100% perfect communication.
Not so! I still have to remind myself to put the phone down, mute the TV, look at my wife and really listen and engage with her during conversation. It’s easy to treat that “Tell me about your day” time as a routine requiring little attention, but it’s important!
Many of us have kids, long hours at work, other responsibilities… Many couples will only get one or two good solid hours a day with each other, and that’s IF you use those hours for quality time. All that much more important that you are truly engaged in devoting your full attention to your wife every minute that you are together.
I have an article titled seven ways to make your wife feel heard, and the very first line of that article is that “A wife who does not feel heard will never feel loved.” Remember that.
8. Own Your Mistakes — AND — Just Say “Yes” Sometimes
Why am I listing these two things together?
Let me ask you this…
Have you ever had a boss who ALWAYS shot down your ideas?
I listened to a CEO talk about leadership, and he recounted his first experience running a big company. He thought of himself as a very good leader and he had a very sharp mind for business. However, over time, the people below him stopped coming to him with new ideas. Why? Because he always shot them down or put them into the “Someday, maybe” pile.
A husband who can both admit when he’s wrong and say “yes” to her ideas will make his wife feel respected and worthy.
You may think that owning your mistakes and just saying yes don’t have anything to do with each other, but these are the two cardinal sins of a controlling husband. A controlling husband will never admit when he’s wrong, will never take responsibility for his mistakes, and will rarely simply say “yes” to any of his wife’s goals or ideas.
One of the most dangerous side effects of being too controlling is that it tells your wife that you do not respect her. It tells her that you are too prideful, that your way is always better. Even when she has a good idea, you will find something to nitpick about it.
Many men struggle with being too controlling. If this is you, if your wife has ever told you that you are controlling, then listen up. This point is very important in rebuilding and maintaining a connection with your wife.
You can probably tell I’m speaking from experience here!
The reality is, nobody is perfect, and nobody is always right.
Especially if you have a controlling or dominant personality, it is extremely important that you learn to take responsibility for your mistakes, admit when you are wrong (and she is right), and just say yes to her sometimes.
These two things — owning your mistakes and saying yes — go hand-in-hand because they are the two most difficult things for a controlling person to do. I hate to admit when I’m wrong, and I always try to make every idea better, or make it fit into the parameters that I think are best, whether that be a budget or a timeline or a method. Sometimes, even if there is a better way out there, you have to bite the bullet and just say yes.
A husband who can both admit when he’s wrong and say “yes” to her ideas will make his wife feel respected and worthy.
9. Step Up As A Father
Husbandly leadership goes beyond your marriage and into your family. Investing yourself in the family is adjacent to investing yourself in the marriage, and the two often go hand in hand.
If you have kids, one of the single best ways you can romance your wife is to step up your game as a dad. A mother’s instinct is strong, so when you make your kids feel loved and valued by their father, your wife will in turn also feel loved and valued by her husband.
Make your wife proud of the father that you are. Be such a good and involved dad that she hesitates to tell her friends how much you do because she doesn’t want to make them feel bad.
Obviously, being a good father is a topic for another article, but I just want to put this in here because it’s not something you will see very often in an article about romancing your wife. However, the reality is that this is one of the best ways to both repair a marriage that’s broken and maintain one that’s doing well.
Marriage Struggling? Want To Go Deeper?
Many of the men who read husband help haven are facing imminent crisis in their marriage.
If this is you – if your marriage is on the rocks and you need to turn things around ASAP, then the best starting point for you will be the 9 Essential Traits of a Good Husband.
This quick guide will walk you through even more ways to step up as a husband and both stop creating distance in your marriage and start the journey back to romantic connection with your wife.
Whatever you do from here, thanks for reading and as always…
Much manly love,