Yourtango: 7 Ways to Stop Being the Wife Men Always Complain About

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These stereotypes exist for a reason.

A single guy and a married guy walk into a bar (no, they aren’t a priest and a rabbi). The married guy looks like he’s been through one of the darkest wars of our modern age. He’s jumpy, weary, and tired. He has a ball and chain attached to his ankle and it gets heavier and heavier with every sip of beer he drinks. 

The single guy looks at his friend, concern etched on his face. Married guy’s phone rings and his eyes grow large. He goes back through the day in his mind, trying to figure out if he did something wrong. He takes another sip of beer and turns off his phone, putting off the inevitable battle for later. He looks at his friend, and sighs. “My wife is so (insert negative word here).”

Getting married is one of the most exciting things a woman will do in her life. But what happens if you go from starry-eyed fiance to a nagging, unhappy, resentful wife? Is there a way to learn how to be a good wife by changing when you find yourself in this position, wondering how you got here? 

The answer is yes, and it involves going against every stereotype there is. Here’s how to stop being the wife he complains about, and start being the one he can’t wait to come home to.

1. Quit nagging him.

It’s the most common stereotype about a wife, and the number one thing his friends teased him about at his Bachelor party. However, this stereotype exists for a reason and I probably won’t be popular with the female population when I say that women nag their husbands… a lot.

Imagine a little mosquito buzzing in your ear, following you around, biting you, and never leaving you alone. Do you really want to be that mosquito?

“Why did you leave your clothes all over the floor?” 

“Are you really working on that stupid car again?”

“Why are you going out with the guys?”

“Are you really going to wear that?”

Imagine your husband following you around all day barking orders at you like you’re in one of those prisons on Locked Up Abroad. You would be out at the bar, drinking a cosmopolitan like you’re Carrie Bradshaw, complaining to your girlfriends that your husband is constantly nagging you. 

What you should do instead: Show some appreciation! Your husband may leave his clothes all over the floor, but did he take out the trash this morning or make you breakfast? Maybe he’s really great with the kids, or was very generous in bed last night. 

Showing appreciation toward your husband will actually improve his behavior more than nagging will, because he’ll be busy trying to live up to the amazing guy you see him as. Not only that, but the more you appreciate him, the better he will look in your eyes because you’re focusing on the positive. 

2. Stop complaining about the smallest things.

Nagging’s annoying cousin, but it’s even worse because constant complaining shows a negative attitude about life in general. 

“This is so boring.”

“This apartment is so small, I hate it.”

“This weather sucks, and it’s messing up my hair.”

“The food sucks here, why did you choose this restaurant?”

One of the biggest turn-offs for men is a woman with a bad attitude, and it’s easy to see why. Remember the evil stepmother in Cinderella? She was an absolute sadist! You didn’t see men lining up to date her did you? Nope. The prince wanted sweet, kind, gentle Cinderella. 

What you should do instead: It’s similar to showing appreciation for your husband, but in this case, you need to work on showing appreciation and gratitude for life in general. Look internally and do some emotional excavating. Ask yourself why you are so unhappy and negative all the time. Complaining all the time has nothing to do with the man in your life, and everything to do with how you feel on the inside. 

How can you show some gratitude for life? You could start a gratitude journal which is always the go-to advice, but I also recommend a gratitude rock. Keep a small stone in your pocket or in your purse, and every time you touch it, think of something you are grateful for.

3. Don’t be so clingy.

 

You are not saran wrap, so stop clinging to your husband like he’s leftovers from dinner. Women have been told time and time again to be independent and have their own life, but it’s amazing how many don’t seem to embody this advice in their relationships. 

When men get married, they tend to get very comfortable and may not pay as much attention to you or do as many grand, romantic gestures. But if you think about it, the fact that he believes your relationship to be so stable and secure that he can get comfortable is actually kind of romantic in a way. (However, if his idea of comfortable is sitting on the couch in dirty sweatpants playing video games all day, you have my permission to climb on your nagging horse and tell him to get off his butt.)

When women get married, they very quickly start to think of themselves as a “we” and completely forget about “I.” You are still an individual person, and you should not forget that. 

What you should do instead: Make an effort to do something on your own at least a couple of times a week, whether that means going out for drinks with your friends, or enjoying hobbies like taxidermy or playing the ukulele. 

4. Make it your mission to be happy.

This is kind of a loaded suggestion because it implies that you should be smiling and perfect 24/7 like a Stepford wife or Gwyneth Paltrow. It’s okay to be sad occasionally or ride your PMS cycle, but being unhappy every single day is going to make you the kind of person nobody wants to be around, let alone your husband. 

In order to learn how to be a good wife, it’s important to bring something to your relationship — and that includes a happy and cheerful attitude for the majority of the time. Not only that, but don’t expect it to be your husband’s job to always make you happy; your happiness is your own responsibility. 

Men feel most accomplished in their marriage and lives if they know their wife is happy, and they will do everything possible to make that a reality. However, your husband will become increasingly stressed out if he can never make you happy, and he may shut down altogether. 

What you should do instead: Make a list of all the things that make you happy. (If that includes a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, and watching Magic Mike with your vibrator, nobody is judging.) You may be surprised at how long it has been since you have done any of these things. 

5. Don’t act like a woman who can’t be pleased.

Step right up to see “the woman who can’t be pleased!” She’s the scariest character in the freak show because nobody can figure out what she wants and nobody can figure out when she will snap. She stands behind the metal bars, eyes wild and crazy, foaming at the mouth. 

Her husband steps up, presenting her with two options: Italian or Mexican for dinner. She tells him to choose, and suddenly the cage explodes. He chose spaghetti but she really just wanted a damn taco. 

Men are always complaining that they just can’t please their wives. Usually, this is because women don’t explicitly tell men what they want. Men are terrible at reading all the signals you try to give them; that includes subtle signals, smoke signals, and maybe even fireworks. 

What you should do instead: Just tell him what you want for dinner! He will be happier because he will feel that he’s satisfying you and you will finally be pleased because you’re getting what you want. 

6. Stop withholding sex.

We couldn’t get through a list of complaints men have about their wives without mentioning sex. If you are reading this and thinking, “Wait, I’m always initiating sex! I’m a sex monster! My husband is always satisfied in bed!” then feel free to skip right over this. 

However, there are many women who put sex very low on their list of priorities. It’s understandable, with children to raise, appointments to schedule, work to be done, and a house to clean. But by not making sex one of your priorities, you are telling your husband that he’s not important to you. 

Physical intimacy is extremely important for men to feel close to their wives and satisfied in the relationship. Women tend to feel a connection using their emotions, words, and quality time, but men feel a connection through sex and affection. 

What you should do instead: Initiate sex tonight. If not tonight, then put it on the schedule for this week. Even better, plan an entire date night, and give your husband a happy ending. There was a time in your relationship when you couldn’t keep your hands off of each other; make an effort to get back to that time. 

7. Do everything in your power to not let yourself go.

Are you reading this while you’re sitting around in the same sweatpants you’ve been wearing for three days? Have you been skipping the gym and eating a lot of junk food lately? You may get angry that I would even ask those questions because it’s the inside that counts, right? Yes, but the outside counts too.

How many times have we been told men are visual creatures? By letting yourself go and not making an effort to look nice, you’re telling your husband that his opinion of you doesn’t matter. Not trying with your appearance is telling the whole world that you don’t care about yourself enough to dress nice and run a brush through your hair. 

What you should do instead: If you’ve let yourself go that much, then you have stopped with self-care. Do something that is caring to yourself, mentally and physically. For example, a bike ride or a bubble bath. Look on Pinterest for outfit or makeup ideas. Taking care of yourself not only improves your looks, but it will have the added benefit of making you happier as well. 

© 2018, sarahveldman.com. All rights reserved.

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