Have you ever met a married couple who was in the thick of an argument or crisis, and when asked how it all began, they say something to the effect of, "He always leaves his laundry on the floor!" or "All she does is nag me about the dumbest things!"
I remember hearing statements like this when I was single and couldn't help but laugh. "I'll never be that couple when I'm married" I thought to myself. Turns out, I was wrong.
But here's the thing. It's not really about the laundry, is it? Or the dishwasher. Or the garbage being taken out.
Most arguments don't start with what was spoken, but with what was unspoken. As husbands, your wife carries expectations that she hopes you will meet, and when you don't, something as simple as a sock on the ground can trigger a blow-up. (Note to the wives: we NEED you to speak your expectations. As men, we make a lot of guesses, and we often guess wrong. It will save everyone a lot of trouble if you are clear on what you expect from your husband.)
The unspoken expectations list can be long and daunting, but here are three things you can immediately check off the list:
1.) Ask Better Questions
When you come home from work, don't ask how her day was. If she's like most moms, she probably has no clue how her day was. Sometimes it was amazing as she watched the humans she gave birth to learn something new. And the very next minute could have been the worst moment of her life and she wiped poop off the wall (for the third time before lunch). Instead, think through your questions. Ask questions that will engage her heart. Here are a couple to get you started:
"What was the highlight of your day?"
"What was the hardest part of your day?"
"Is there anything left on your 'to-do' list that I can check-off?"
2.) Pray With The Kids
It's hard for wives to have the courage to ask this, but there are very few things more attractive to her than when you spiritually lead your family. Something as simple as praying over your kids before they go to bed each night, will do wonders. Bath, teeth brush, story, prayer. Make it happen.
3.) Plan Family Dates
At the end of the day, your wife wants to know that you cherish her and your kids more than anything else. More than work, more than friends, more than sports. One of the best ways for you to show her how much you love her is to take initiative when it comes to planning family dates. This doesn't need to be extravagant, but it does need to be planned by you. Don't just participate in family dates, plan them.