As the old saying goes- happy wife, happy life. I think we’re getting to a point where spouses find this common knowledge (at least I hope so), but the reality is we are responsible for the vast majority of our own happiness. In other words, it’s something like a 90/10 rule: 90 percent of the happiness in your marriage will be up to you- the way you interact with your surroundings and life choices, and the other 10 percent will be reflected in your partner’s actions. So what are a few of the things happy wives do no matter what?
1. Happy wives maintain close friendships. There are a lot of girls out there with the notion that all they have to do is hunt down a lover, get a ring, have a big wedding, and live happily ever after. But, the truth is that people respect people who have the ability to keep long term friendships, and when your spouse is away on business, annoying the hell out of you, or sucking up to his mom (it’ll happen) you’ll still have your girls to share an impromptu dinner party with, yoga class, or drive to nowhere just to talk and vent. Should you need a refresher, here’s a guide to the Anatomy of Friendship.
2. Savvy wives don’t put pressure on the making babies thing. Making babies- it’s a touchy subject- but have you ever noticed that it’s just harder to make babies when you feel stressed? The truth is, maybe the stress is societal, like you got married at 32 and your whole family and his thinks there’s an urgent, dire need to pop out 2.3 children by the time you’re 37. There is some biological pressure if children are your intention, but pressuring yourself beyond “yeah, let’s give it a whirl and see what happens” for the first few months will only strain your own happiness, his, and take a toll on the entire marriage ecosystem.
3. Wise wives don’t sweat the material stuff. So maybe you were dying for a perfect 3 carat ring when you met him. But, the truth is, he’s still paying off law school debt and just trying to combine incomes with you to give you two a good life. Honestly, that’s awesome, so why put enormous strain on the relationship to dish out $50,000 on a ring when that money would be more wisely used as a down payment on a house, or to pay off damn-this-economy debt? Consider letting him know either a) a big ring isn’t necessarily the most imporant thing in the world to you, or b) you’re open to an option like Moissanite (which looks, feels, and wears exactly like a mined diamond).
I actually had a replica of my own ring made by Charles and Colvard. Every time my husband would see my hands flailing around the playground with the kids he’d have a near heart attack that I’d either lose or break the stone he busted his hump to buy. Having a replica (set in identical white gold, by the way) takes the pressure off wearing my ring to more, ahem, “intense” activities, traveling, and just actually doing fun kid stuff. For newlyweds, these rings are also a great option- you can put the saved money towards a dream wedding, home, or anything else.
4. Balanced wives travel, with or without their other halves. It’s not about taking the big annual 2 week trip solo- that’s something that you SHOULD reserve for loving couple time, but the occasional business trip for 2 or 3 nights to a far off city, or a few days away at a spa like Canyon Ranch is actually a perfect time to refresh, revitalize, and renew your sense of “wow, I really miss the bed we share and can’t wait to get back.” When you pamper yourself with things that feed your soul, you become more exciting, interesting, and easy to love… and frankly, the easier you are to love, the more fabulous your relationship with EVERYONE will become.
5. Satisfied wives don’t sweat the small stuff- they ignore it. The truth is, when it comes to living with ANY other human (a friend, a child, a lover, a parent… you name it), the other person just isn’t going to live exactly the way you do. Maybe they like smelly onions in every single thing they eat, maybe they have a gas issue, or an annoying laugh, or a habit of leaving their dirty clothes OUTSIDE the hamper. Whatever it is, if it’s not a question of serious morals and integrity- let it go. I mean, you could nag your partner about his annoying habit of farting on the couch while you watch your favorite show (forcing you to evacuate the room), but the truth is he or she will likely do it anyway within a matter of days. Spare yourself the frustration. Move to another room. Invest in DVR. Live somewhere with fresh air. Whatever. If your partner is loyal, honest, loving, and kind… well, everything else is just stuff. Hopefully your other half will learn to ignore your habit of crowding the bathroom vanity and leaving pantyhose strewn about the floor after a long day.
Editor’s note: if you’re engaged, consider reading this helpful list of things to never do when you’re tying the knot.