Happy Wife, Happy Life

I’ve tackled some interesting topics as a blogger, none with more potential to get me in trouble than this one — drilling down on the precept Happy Wife, Happy Life.

My life’s experience with an over-the-top caring, poised, loving woman who speaks her heart and her mind — one who lives by the philosophy of “more kindness” and cares more for the well-being of others than herself — puts me in an excellent position to examine this foremost issue of our times.

My reflex says, emphatically, HWHL is a true statement. As is the flip-side — Miserable Wife, Miserable Life. Ergo, more so than our counterparts in relationships, men generally walk through life dependent on someone else’s state of mind. Hers.

Let’s not get all goofy and up in arms. I don’t draw this conclusion chauvinistically, and, of course, vice versa applies here, too. (Happy Hubby, Ain’t Life Bubbly?) I’m not saying that women assume sole responsibility for family happiness. Nor am I insinuating that women always stand between a man and his true aspirations.

I’m just saying that scratching the happiness itch is easier for men if momma is content. Women are generally okay if their guy is trustworthy, honest, respectful, and on point, which may or not include a chipper disposition.

Still …

Okay. I realize I’ve crossed into potentially perilous territory. The premise for this piece probably shouldn’t be gender specific. Instead, Happy Spouse, Happy House correspondingly fits the bill.

Truth be told, both spouses can and should play a role in how happy the other is with their life, and, at the same time, realize they are not in control — at least not totally — of what’s happening on the other side of the couch. I get it. When you put someone else’s eccentricities and angsts in control of how your life goes, you are giving up freedom that is rightfully yours. Still and all, men generally do exactly that. At least to a higher degree than do women.

A great many trials and errors lead me to believe that all Moi needs to finish my stretch for the pole is a happy wife. That does not mean I am a prisoner of someone else’s emotions. It does not mean that my interests are not important. The fact of the matter is doing things that make her happy actually makes me happy. And if I’m happy with how life is going and days are mostly stress-free, then there is a good chance my better half is feeling secure and happy as well. At least for a spell.

Happy Spouse, Depart Doghouse

Why does a man’s well-being plummet when the universe forecasts rough weather ahead? The feeble-minded philosoraptors amongst us guys instinctively chalk it up to us being scairt, not necessarily of our better half but of muddling on and making the situation worse than it already is, which almost assuredly is the direct path to an undetermined amount of time in either “silence mode” or the doghouse. We guys may be our own men, but we’re also smart enough to know that accelerating toward despair and distress, even for a short period, will not be a walk in the park. Yet we keep coming back around to that state.

Men should know this going into a relationship, but it’s a challenging concept to embrace. It should be easier than it is because a wife will automatically set a guy’s bar lower because … well, we’re guys. But it’s not. Women are wired differently than men. Disproportionally, men spend much more time thinking about what their wives are thinking about than vice versa. Women appreciate this to a degree.

I have brothers-in-arms who I mostly love who will bravely ascribe “pansy” to such trepidation and encourage the growth of a new pair of … oranges … because vitamin C is essential to protect cells against the effects of free radicals and help avoid scurvy. Yeah, that. These gentlemen tend not to often look in their own mirrors.

The bottom line is that men and women have a shared responsibility for directing the course of their relationship because they promised each other that they would be the most loyal of friends forever. Period.

A Partnership

I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring this investigation back around to lessons learned. Let’s review.

Guys are apt to cross into goober territory far more than their partners. We’ve got a lot going against us. We like to win and get in the last word — that in itself is not compatible with married life. We have trouble grasping the concept that the collective way is really her way. We mutter under our breath and inaudibly snicker at our wife’s choices, failing to remember that we are one of them.

Being a woman is a terribly difficult task since it involves dealing with men. If something can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes a woman sad or angry, they refuse to embrace the concept that the man meant the other one. Women are headstrong. As Will Rogers said, “There are two theories to arguing with a woman. Neither works.”

With all warts being exposed, the equation for Happy Life is surprisingly pretty simple. Treat each other as equals. Be each other’s best friend. Be genuine and honest and faithful and supportive and grateful. If you keep all those balls in the air without dropping any (hint: it’s really not that difficult to do), the all-important element of trust builds over time. You learn that you don’t always have to agree … or be right. Communicate, forgive, hold on … and move on.

Always remember that marriage is between two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other. I firmly believe that true love will always find a way back to center because your split-apart sings a song only you can hear.

Let’s close with 11 simple tips to happiness:

  1. Communicate with her … honestly.
  2. Think about her … constantly.
  3. Reinforce your support for her … perpetually.
  4. Be faithful to her … always.
  5. Forgive her … no matter what.
  6. Know what she likes … and search for more of the same.
  7. Give her space … till the cows come home.
  8. Provide for her … endlessly.
  9. Laugh with her … everlastingly.
  10. Make her a priority … come what may.
  11. Tell her you love her … forevermore.

Now try this exercise. Scroll back up to the top of the list, and read every reference of “her” as “him” or “he.” There you go. Happy Life.


Addendum from LSomerbyCooke …

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