What does it mean to make your husband happy?
Whenever my husband travels for work, I tend to pack my bags (mentally) and head off to my own inner retreat.
The solitude, working longer hours, waking up knowing he’s not walking through the door in the evening makes me a little melancholy.
Not always a bad thing.
Like last week for example. I was typing away having just spoken to him on the phone when I started to think “What makes my husband happy and what can I do to make him happier?”
It’s not a new question.
It’s actually almost a joke in our house now, all though it wasn’t funny at the beginning. The first time I asked Tommy “what can I do to make you happier?” he said nothing.
As in, he kept quiet, not answer.
The improvement list
I was surprised.
Because I thought all couples have a “spousal improvement list” tucked somewhere at the back of their minds?
I could reel off a few things of my own! Which mostly comprise of things I want more of, not necessarily things he doesn’t do. Like chores, walking outside together, cooking.
But Tommy had nothing to say when I asked.
So I figured I would keep at it.
So later I’d ask “Are you happy?” quietly hoping for a list of things to do and become.
Tommy would nod. And continue watching TV or whatever else he was doing.
No pausing to really decipher my question, no looking me in the eye with “oh how sweet of you to think about what makes me happy!“, no sappy romantic moment.
Just a quick nod and “eh” (Swahili for “yes”) and move on.
One time he went deep and told me “You don’t need improvement babe, your are an angel.”
He was smiling. I was not. I wanted specific areas to improve so he could be happier!
I wanted a list, that list. Cook these types of meals, do this personality improvement, dress up more, require less emotional maintenance (ha!).
But it wasn’t forthcoming. Eventually I figured it was better to be more observatory than direct. Slowly I am figuring out ways to become a better wife and a blessing to my guy.
BUT LAST WEEK!! Oh the joys of mental retreats with the Holy Ghost! Finally I get it.
It doesn’t take much to make my husband happy! That’s why he doesn’t have a list!
He says what he means and means what he says. If he says he’s happy, he’s happy! He’s not a girl who can say one thing and mean something entirely different (check this post). He is not a maze of complex software and hardware. He’s a simple guy!
What makes your husband happy? A little less complexity
Most guys are simple (or let me say, simpler) creatures. Love them, feed them, keep a jungle-free home, meet their intimacy needs; they are good! 🙂
Seriously. I am not trying to over simplify things but I think we need to believe it when a guy says “I am cool”. Because that hunt you’ve geared for will leave you more frustrated because there was nothing to find anyway!
So behold my revelation: if my husband is feeling respected, if I am keeping a good organized home (he’s not stepping over the trash-bin when he comes home), if I am doing the laundry, cooking eatable meals and working at being a hot mama in bed, he is happy!
Obviously there’s a lot more to guys than food, sex and clean clothes. But that’s the skinny on guy happiness!
Signs of satisfaction
In my book Blues to Bliss, I share how my husband whistles around the house and how the demeanor blesses me.
My dad was a carpenter by profession and my fondest memories from childhood are of my dad pounding away with the hammer and a whistle on his lips.
My brother was visiting a few weeks ago and I rediscovered he’s a whistler too! And funny thing, he did not notice until I pointed it out. “That’s a sign of satisfaction,” he said, laughing.
I think that’s gold.
Guys might not have sophisticated emotional/language skills, but if you look, you’ll see. Just observe and you’ll begin to know what makes him happy.
Why I prefer a list?
The reason I want my husband to hand me 5-point – hopefully less! – list on how to make him happy is so I can follow it to a t.
A list will take out all the guess work. I won’t have to study and watch and pay attention. I can serve it up and rest back with “he’s happy now”.
But that would be the most mechanical marriage, wouldn’t it. Because the beauty of marriage is in the journey, the intentional pursuit of agape love for our mate.
If all the blanks were filled, we would not grow and become better people. We would not need God!
Therefore God created marriage this way so I could listen, observe, stay still, keep giving, keep watching and hearing. Because the gift is not merely the final act but the inner work that leads up to it.
What do you think? Am I the only one thinking this way? I’d love to hear from you. Because I want to know if my husband is like your husband, as far as happiness is concerned. I suspect he is, but lets talk? Let’s talk i Comments!
Ps. If you are thinking of talking things over with your husband, here’s a piece of advice from J Parker of Hot Holy Humorous blog,
“I often counsel wives to introduce difficult (in our case, vague-ish) topics through shoulder-to-shoulder conversation, rather than face-to-face. We women usually want to look each other in the eye, but men often reveal more when you take a side-by-side walk or drive somewhere together or just sit on the couch facing forward. Let him look somewhere else if it helps him talk through what you need to know.”
J’s post is not related to what we are talking about today but an important nugget of truth. J’s entire post here.
Read follow up post: 8 truths to building your husband’s happiness