How to Be a Good Wife

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Jennifer

The Vintage Housewife was created to share my love of all things vintage, and to delight in the routine and ritual of keeping a house in vintage spirit… With joy, kindness, and generosity. I believe that as modern women, we can fill every aspect of our homes, families, and ourselves with creativity, comfort, and calm.

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A very Merry Christmas to all who are celebrating today! I hope your day is filled with warmth, love, laughter, and delicious food.

Did you watch the Royal Wedding?

Of, course I did! I have a long fascination with the Royal family.

Megan Merkle was poised and stunning, Harry obviously at times overcome with emotion and beaming with pride and love. It is truly a modern-day fairytale.

Aside from the Royal Wedding which I watched in my PJs in the comfort of my own home, we are invited to handful friends and family weddings over the course of the summer.

Weddings always seem to come in clusters, some years there are none, other years many, and for us, we are definitely in a wedding season.

When my husband and I were married (close to 16 years ago now) our Reverend made a point during the service, and at the time I didn’t fully understand it, now all these years later it makes perfect sense and I actively try to take his advice at each and every wedding I attend.

Our Reverend said “Weddings are not just for the young couple starting out together in life, they are also for attending couples who have been together for awhile. A wedding is a time to relive your own wedding, reflect upon the vows and renew and refresh your commitment to your spouse

Or something very close to that. It has been 16 years, after all

While, I love attending and watching weddings, is because I love to see that sparkle of enthusiasm and new love newlyweds. I also like to evaluate my own marriage, particularly my role in the marriage.

Am I being a good wife? What makes a good wife?

After 16 years of marriage, I feel like I have learned a lot about being married, and I still have so much to learn!

If you have even spent a minute here you probably have heard me talk about The Good Wife Guide,  the dated guide is the basis for my 1950’s Housewife Challenge, and is loaded with tips on being a good wife and a happy love-filled marriage in the 1950’s. The guide is primarily centered on cleaning and keeping a tidy house. While I do think that actually still is important, there is a lot missing from The Good Wife Guide. Here is my what I would add or further clarify:

Work on growing together

What is the number one reason people usually saw caused their divorce? Yup, it is usually something along the lines of “we just grew apart”. Why do people grow apart? I am not sure, I imagine it has something to do with becoming complacent. Marriage was never meant to run on autopilot, a marriage needs to be nurtured and nourished, regardless of how long you have been married. Love and marriage is a choice, one you must make every single day, and continue to work on.

Communicate

I think it is safe to say that the foundation of a successful marriage is built on strong communication, even the experts seem to agree on that. But for some that is easier said than done. I am not a natural communicator, and if presented the option of fight or flight, my natural instinct is almost always flight. I hate conflict and have a hard time with big, difficult topics. Over the years I have worked on addressing the big issues with my husband and making myself more emotionally available through communication. Not only has working on my communication strengthened my marriage, but I feel developing this skill has helped me grow as an individual.

Share Your Positive Qualities With Your Spouse

So many times we present the most pleasant version of ourselves to strangers. Being courteous and polite in the checkout lane, kindly thanking a stranger for holding a door, or giving compliments and smiles freely and naturally. As a married couple, it is easy to get caught up in the current task at hand, we tend to take our partners for granted, rather than the honoring our relationship and partner. I suppose since we are very comfortable and easily irritated with people we spend the most time with, it makes sense we are kinder to strangers than our loved ones. While the reasoning behind this behavior seems logical, it is not right. We must show the utmost love, kindness, and respect for those closest to us, especially our spouses.

Look Good

This topic always seems to draw the sharpest criticism whenever the Good Wife Guide is discussed.  And, I know what you are thinking, isn’t focusing on appearances and style kind of shallow? Maybe, but hear me out.

I truly believe how you look affects how you feel, and vice versa. For me personally how I feel about my appearance affects my confidence and self-esteem. There have been plenty of times in our years together were food, exercise and rest wasn’t a priority for me, and my body showed it with puffy skin, lousy posture, and sluggish energy, which led to lazy and indifferent wardrobe selections. I would get stuck in a cycle of “I feel like crap, so I look like crap. I look like crap because, I feel like crap”. Break the cycle and the rest will easily fall into place. Once I started walking I started drinking more water and eating better, which made me feel better, once I felt better I started putting more effort into my appearance.

For me, this has always been less about looking good for him, and more about looking good to feel good, which probably makes me a more pleasant person to be around.

Go on “dates”

Dating, or creating a unique and special time to spend focused on each other is so important. Occasionally my husband and I will go out to dinner without the kids, but more often our dates look like walks around the farm. Date night doesn’t have to be fancy, You just want to set aside time each week to nurture your relationship, rather than wait for it to break down to try to spend time together.

Keep a clean and organized house

They say your environment affects your well being and mood. Keep your house neat and clean at all times. The clean and uncluttered environment at home will uplift his and your spirits and mood. Think of ways to make your home a peaceful sanctuary and soft place to land after a long day.

Give him his space

Just as important as spending time with your hubby, is spending time apart. While my husband and I have a lot of mutual interests, there are some I just don’t enjoy (hello baseball) giving him space to pursue his own interests or just to relax time refreshes moods and resets stress levels, and gives you and him something to talk about!

Fight wisely

It simply is not realistic to imply you will never face conflict with your spouse (although so much can be head off by good communication) or that you should live in quiet obedience and subservience.

You will fight.

Pick your fights, don’t let minor annoyances by a catalyst for a boiled-over argument. Talk, don’t yell. Listen. Communicate some more. And sometimes you will simply just need to agree to disagree and move on.

Be on the same page financially

I have heard almost every single possible variation of the money fight from my friends and family, and have lived through my own with my husband. Money is a touchy subject, and if you aren’t on the same page with your hubby about everything from spending, saving, debt, and investments there will be clashes. I hate to keep repeating myself but communication is key here, talk with your husband about money, have periodic financial check-ins with each other to make sure you are both on the same page.

Have fun

 When we have fun we smile, we are in a better mood, and we usually have a better attitude, and generally are more pleasant to be around.  When the dishes are piled up in the sink, and the floors need to be mopped it is hard to prioritize time for fun, but without it we can easily feel worn down and overwhelmed and kind of a drag to be around. How do you make time for fun when you have a ton of adulting to do, and kids to take care of? Impromptu kitchen dance parties, a Sunday afternoon bike ride, playing hide and seek in the yard are good places to start. Have fun with your family or sneak away from some solo activity like a jog, shopping (if that’s your thing), or anything else that refreshes and recharges you.

Show your appreciation

It is so easy to take your spouse for granted, and feeling unappreciated is not a particularly nice feeling. Make a point to express your gratitude for your husband. Not only will your spouse feel appreciated and loved, but you will benefit also, gratitude is the foundation of happiness.  When we bring awareness to the little blessings in our every day, we tend to be more fulfilled, and happier. Practicing gratitude may take a little work in the beginning but soon it will become like second nature.

Be Interested In His Interests

Having common hobbies and interests can help you and your husband deepen your sense of intimacy, connection, and especially friendship. Like I said I just can’t get into baseball, but I do enjoy helping my husband on the farm, and he enjoys spending time on the boat with me. Finding common ground will definitely make you feel more connected to each other.

Express your love

Until I had read The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts it never really occurred to me that everyone has different preferences when it comes to giving and receiving love. Knowing what you and your partner need and value can help you love your spouse better.  I value quality time, and physical touch, while my husband thrives on acts of service and physical touch. If either of us were to shower the other with gifts, while it would be nice, neither of us would feel particularly “loved”. We express our love for each other with quality time, small thoughtful gestures, and hand-holding, and hugs. Your expressions of love may look much different, but knowing how to express your love in a way that resonates with your partner is so important.

Keep Things Lively Between the Sheets.

Don’t underestimate the importance of your physical relationship with your husband. I think as women we sometimes go through phases were we don’t need as much physical touch as our husbands, maybe we are caring for toddlers and have them climbing all over us every day, or we may be dealing with our own insecurities and just don’t feel attractive.  Developing a healthy physical relationship with your husband will keep everyone happy, and will maintain a level of intimacy that both people need.

Prioritize Your Own Self Care

Are you putting your own self-care at the bottom of the list? It is easy to do, especially with kids in the picture. Taking care of you is not frivolous or even a luxury, it is required maintenance so you can continue to bring your best self to whatever challenges and other priorities the day presents. If you feel like you are just to busy to practice self-care set aside just 10-15 minutes a day, and use this time to journal, walk or exercise, meditate, take a bubble bath, learn a new skill, anything that will help promote a healthy mind, body, and soul.  You will be better for it!


 

Trust me, I am by no means an expert in being a Good Wife. It is something I strive for daily, but am lacking in often. There are days the house is a mess and laundry is behind, I am in a bad mood, or just I am tired and want to wear my PJs all day.  I hope and try to be the best wife I can, but sometimes my attitude just basically needs a BIG overhaul and it is times like these I am thankful for wedding seasons.

Will this list change, or be added to as we near 20, 25 or 50 years of marriage? Probably. Did I miss something? I am sure. What would you add?

 

 

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