WifeCode Principle #4: “Appreciate.”

dreamstime_xxl_95164882It’s been said that people will forget what you said and what you did; but, they will never forget how you made them feel.  Think about that for a moment. Then, take a moment to consider those times in your life when you were moved by what someone said to you, be it good or bad.  Then, take another moment to consider those times in your life when you were moved by what someone did for you.  And then, take another moment to consider those times in your life when you were moved by how someone made you feel.

If we’re honest with ourselves, those moments that immediately rise to the forefront of our thoughts are almost always associated with a feeling.  Now, flip your thought process, and take a moment to consider how you make the people in your life feel.  What do you think they’ll say?  What types of feelings do you think people feel as a result of their association with you?  Wives, this is a very important question for us to consider, particularly when we think about how we make our husbands feel.  Why?  Because out of all the people connected to us, HE should be the one person whose feelings matters most.

Up to this point in The WifeCode, we’ve addressed the importance of establishing healthy patterns of communication, learning how to fight fair, and the importance of serving our husbands.  Now, it’s time for us to have a real, candid conversation about how we handle our husbands’ needs, which are intrinsically tied to how we make them feel.  This thought brings us to the Fourth Principle of The WifeCode, which is all about the importance of showing our husbands how much we care about them by expressing our appreciation to them.

You Can Show Him Better Than You Can Tell Him 

Yes, ladies—there IS something that our husbands need to receive from us to make them feel secure, and they need this MORE than anything else that we can give…even sex.  That thing is APPRECIATION.  Men need to feel appreciated, just as much as they need to feel that they’re needed. That probably sound a bit contradictory because love is often expressed through acts intended to show that appreciation.  As wives, we must be mindful to recognize that there IS a difference between the act of loving and the act of expressing love.  We sometimes stumble with the latter because we assume that the act of loving automatically covers the act of expressing love as appreciation, when in reality, it doesn’t.

So, wives, how do we show our husbands how much we appreciate them?   Here are three quick ways…

  1. In Word—Never underestimate the power of saying “thank you.” Don’t allow yourself to reach a place of comfort in your relationship with your husband where you become complacent and passive in recognizing his efforts to sustain your marriage.  Saying “thank you” not only tells your husband that you appreciate the things that he does to sustain your marriage, it also tells him that you see him and that you care.

 

  1. In Deed—Make more of an effort to DO things that show your husband how much you appreciate him. Whether you cook his favorite meal or leave him alone to watch the big game without interrupting him, as wives, we must figure out new ways to show our husbands how much they mean to us.  We must be willing to allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to go out on a limb and find creative and meaningful ways show our husbands how much we appreciate everything they do for us as we work together to sustain our marriages.

 

  1. In ActionActions will always speak louder than words, which is why it’s so important for us wives to understand that words and actions should work in-tandem with each other in every aspect of maintaining a strong relationship with our husbands. It’s not enough for us to tell our husbands that we love them if our actions toward them aren’t in alignment with what we say.  We must get into the habit of following-up our words with actions that reinforce the words we use to show our husbands how much we appreciate them.  When our words become inconsistent with our actions, we leave the door open for our husbands to welcome and entertain questions about our intentions, which isn’t a good thing.

 

And that’s it!  Stay tuned for the Fifth Principle of The WifeCode, which will focus on the importance of keeping your matrimonial business within your marriage.  In the meantime, keep the conversation going. Join TheWifeFiles e-mail list today to receive each principle directly in your inbox as soon as it’s released!  Thank you in advance for subscribing, as well as for following.

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WifeCode Principle #3: “Serve.”

dreamstime_xxl_82953523I do realize that as some wives read this, they may be a bit taken aback by the title for the third principle of The WifeCode, and for various reasons.  For some wives, the thought of having to assume a more subservient role in the marriage is enough to make her want to scream.

To assume a more subservient role in marriage requires a wife to serve her husband. It’s understood that her purpose in the marriage is to work inside of the home…to maintain the household by completing all the domestic duties that come with it—cook…clean…take care of the children…do laundry…yada-yada…etc.…all while the husband goes out into the world make a living so that he can provide for/take care of his family.

When we look at what it means to serve in this context, and then couple that view with the reality of how far women have come with respect to securing equal rights and freedoms since the days of old when a woman’s existence and survival were contingent on a man “choosing” her, the idea of a woman serving a man in any context can arguably set women’s progress back at least sixty years; but hear me out on this one.

Regardless of what your personal beliefs and opinions are about a wife’s role in marriage, the truth of the matter is that, as wives, we were called to serve our husbands.  While the concept of marriage has remained constant over time, the concept of servitude has become somewhat skewed as the definition of marriage and thoughts about traditional marriage roles have changed over time.

As women, we embody a certain level of duty and responsibility to upholding the true purpose for marriage; one that transcends time and space. As wives, we must use our ability to use that duty and responsibility to leverage our power in our marriages because our power in intrinsically tied to our willingness to and our attitude toward service; which is why the Third Principle of The WifeCode will take a deeper look at what it means to serve in marriage through the eyes of a helpmeet.

Reconnect With Your Inner Helpmeet

When we think of the term “helpmeet,” our thoughts tend to lean toward the Bible because of the association of the term “helpmeet” with the story of Adam and Eve and Creation. In the traditional sense of the word, we’re taught that as wives, our primary responsibility is to be a “helpmeet” to our husband—that we are to be his helper…his companion…his partner…his “other half” …etc. In striving to be all that the term “helpmeet” implies, us women get so caught-up in trying to be everything to all of the people in our lives, simultaneously, that we lose sight of the importance and the value that we add to the one person who matters most—our husband. If we’re not careful to check our motives and our intentions, all our “helpful” actions will create an imbalance that, if unchecked, will cause a serious rift in our marriages, Ladies.

So, “how will reconnecting with my inner helpmeet help me to unlock my power in my marriage,” you ask? The key-to-the-key here is to RECALIBRATE the balance in your marriage by doing the things that helpmeets do. Start by rethinking the motives and intentions that govern the way you interact with and relate to your husband.

Are your motives and intentions being driven by your underlying desire to get your way in a specific situation, causing you to act a certain way or say certain things? If this is the case, you may want to refer to the Second Principle of The WifeCode for insight on the importance of learning how to fight fair in the heat of the moment. Next, you must engage in an act of honest self-examination to determine whether you are truly serving to help or to hinder your marriage, based on what you discover about yourself as you look within to find the answers that you seek.

In understanding how traditional marriage roles have evolved over time, I’ve learned that being a helpmeet is not so much about bowing-down in subservience to your husband’s every whim as it is about understanding the context and virtue with which women were created while recognizing that our capacity to serve is by giving so freely of ourselves for the benefit of others is our superpower.  The key is to learn how to strike the balance between servitude and ___ to truly leverage our power in our marriages.

Principle Take-Aways

Here are two ways that you serve your husband by showing him that you respect his role and what he contributes to the marriage in much of the same way as you want him to respect you and your contributions. Trust me, he WILL notice your efforts, and he’ll love you even more for doing so!

  1. Stand by Your Man: Ladies, in the same way that we want to feel supported by our husbands, our husbands need to feel that same level of support from us. We need to make sure that our husbands know that we’re there for them, and that they’re not alone in the struggle—whatever the struggle might be. Although you might not agree with everything that your husband might say or do…and vice-versa…you should always stand in unity with your husband; ESPECIALLY concerning any issue that serves to threaten the foundation of your marriage or your family. In other words, keep outsiders on the outside of your marriage, and never let them witness you not having your man’s back.  Your focus should always be on building a relationship with your husband that feeds his spirit and nourishes his soul in such a way that he won’t have room to question your loyalty to him because your loyalty will be reinforced by everything that you do to help him to be a better, stronger man.
  1. Take Care of Home: When women of a certain age hear the phrase “take care of home,” there’s an unspoken tidbit of advice embedded in the wording that basically suggests that, as a woman, you should keep your man satisfied, pleased, and fulfilled because if you won’t, someone else will. While a healthy sex life is of utmost importance in any marriage, taking care of home is about more than making sure that you serve up hot sex on a platter every night. While our husbands need us to fulfill our wifely duties and take care of their sexual needs, they also need us to take care of the needs of the house itself. A man’s home is his castle, and, as wives, we must have the skills and the ability needed to maintain his castle.  As wives, we need to take care of home, literally.  We have to flex our domestic muscles so-to-speak…keep the house clean…keep the laundry cleaned and pressed…keep the stove hot with home-cooked meals…attend to your children…maintain a stress-free environment in your home…etc. etc. We need to cover ALL of our bases, Ladies. Taking care of home might sound like something out of the 50s with all the talk about housekeeping and all—ESPECIALLY to the modern woman of today—but again, this is what’s really real when it comes down to it. Oh…and never leave your husband uncovered because there will be another woman somewhere standing at-the-ready to offer him a blanket.

Wives, playtime is over.  It’s time for us change our mindset about service.  It’s time for us to shift the emphasis away from the negative connotations associated with the thought of serving our husbands to focusing on the manifestation of a stronger relationship with our husbands.  This will happen as soon as we realize that our power is intrinsically connected to our willingness to serve, and must be leveraged as such.

To achieve this, we must make sure that our husbands: (1) feel that we support them;  (2) know beyond a shadow-of-a-doubt that we’re in-it-to-win-it with them; and, (3) believe that ALL of their needs are being met. We have to get back-to-basics when it comes to shoring-up the foundation of our marriages by being the one thing to our husbands that no other woman can be—his helpmeet.

Stay tuned for the Fourth Principle of The WifeCode, which will focus on the importance of appreciation.  In the meantime, keep the conversation going. Join TheWifeFiles e-mail list today to receive each principle directly in your inbox as soon as it’s released!  Thank you in advance for subscribing, as well as for following.

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WifeCode Principle #2: “Fight Fair.”

woman in white

What started out as a seemingly normal conversation between you and your husband somehow took a drastic turn for the worst somewhere between “What-Did-You-Just-Say-To-Me? Way,” and “Well-Excuse-The-Hell-Out-Of-Me! Lane.”

You’ll know when you reach this crossroad because it’s where you become the most hell-bent on proving your point…on presenting your case…on making sure that your husband knows exactly where you’re coming from—the point when the air between you and your husband becomes unbearably thick and suffocating; heavy with the stench of foul language, and infused with random explicitives that serve only to sharpen the sting of the impact that those words have in that moment.

Congratulations, Ladies…you’ve officially entered the “Argument Zone.”

As the words keep flying and the tempers keep rising, you somehow manage to snap-back into reality for a split-second, only to realize that, despite the faulty logic inherent in the nursery rhyme “sticks-and-stones-may-break-my-bones-but-words-can-never-hurt-me,” words really DO hurt.

Wives, this is where we lose our ability to effectively leverage our power in our marriages because in those moments of temporary frustration, we tend to let the emotions that we feel control how we reacted and responded to our husbands; without thinking our way through “how” our actions will continue to impact our relationships after the argument is over.

We must understand that this argumentative approach to getting our point across is counterproductive because creates opportunities for division whenever we allow our actions to be guided by the emotions we feel in any situation. That division will impact our ability to work toward resolution with our husbands because we lose sight of the issue at-hand, thereby keeping keep us stuck in a perpetual pattern of negative communication that gets fueled whenever we’re reminded of the unresolved issue.

The first principle of The WifeCode addressed the importance of maintaining a healthy pattern of communication with our husbands.  The Second Principle of The WifeCode will take things a step farther in that it will help us to understand how any type of breakdown in communication will almost always lead to an argument if we don’t learn how to fight fair in those moments.

Understanding the Power of the Fight

When we’re in the heat of the argument, we rarely stop to consider what our husbands are saying…thinking…feeling.  Rather, we perceive whatever they say and how they respond to us to fuel our frustration.  This happens all because we don’t see eye-to-eye on some issue at some point; now, we’re yelling and screaming at each other to elevate our points-of-view over those of our husbands’ because we HAVE THE LAST WORD…regardless of how right or how wrong we are.

This is why we must be completely honest with ourselves so that we can begin to understand our motives for allowing this type of disruption to create division in our homes. If we’d be honest enough with ourselves to examine our motives for allowing the argument to go there in the first place, we’d do the most good in preserving our sanity and the sanity of our husbands. We should take a pause for the cause and ask ourselves—what need did we have met as a result of the argument? What value, if any, was added to strengthen our marriage as we expended all that energy arguing?

Learning How to Fight Fair

Learning how to fight fair in marriage requires you engage in a pattern of honest self-assessment so that you can identify what brings out the argumentative spirit that makes you want to fight to the finish; just to prove your point.  First, you must be willing to acknowledge how your actions contributed to the breakdowns in communication that happen in your marriage.  Then, you have to allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to receive the feedback that you get from your husband in love so that you can move forward and grow, as opposed to remaining stuck in that moment without learning from the experience.

As women, we get so caught-up in the emotion of having the last word and proving our point until we miss the lessons that those breakdowns in the communication process were trying to teach us about how to use the lessons learned to empower us to become more effective facilitators of the process of restoring our relationships.  When we fail to learn the lesson, we lose our ability to leverage our healing so that we can move forward.

Ladies, let’s be honest.  We all have a problem with controlling our emotions in the heat of an argument.  If we’re to get to resolution more quickly, we must first be open and willing to accept responsibility for all the ways in which we contributed to the problem that caused the argument by allowing ourselves to: (1) Recognize and manage our emotions in moments of disagreement; (2) Disagree WITHOUT being disagreeable; (3) Actively listen WITHOUT interrupting; and, (4) Allow yourself sufficient time to process all messages that you’re receiving in the moment (doing so will reduce the opportunity for misunderstanding everything that’s being communicated in that moment).  Then, and only then, will we be empowered to fight fairly.

Principle Take-Away

Whenever we find ourselves in an argument with our husbands, we’ll only be able to move forward when we’re able to recognize any negative emotions that we feel in that moment, and take the time we need to process those emotions so that we can find a solution to the problem.  Recognizing and processing those emotions in the moment will help us to better-assess how those emotions are serving to either strengthen or strangle our marriages.

As wives, we have to model the change that we want to see in our marriage. We have to lead by example in that regard, and take responsibility for how our words and actions influence our ability to resolve the conflicts that are sure to arise in our marriages.

And that’s it! Stay tuned for the Third Principle of The WifeCode, which will focus on the importance of service.  In the meantime, keep the conversation going.

Join TheWifeFiles e-mail list today to receive each principle directly in your inbox as soon as it’s released!  Thank you in advance for subscribing, as well as for following.

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WifeCode Principle #1: “Communicate.”

dreamstime_xxl_90357618TheWifeFiles is all about providing a forum through which wives can address many of the common, yet uniquely complex issues that can only be acquired through the process of growing into the role of a wife. Regardless of the many reasons that guide our decision to get married, becoming a wife is a process that requires a significant amount of personal growth and internal sacrifice to develop the character needed to not only sustain the marriage, but also to sustain the commitment made to our husbands.

While the process of growing into a wife might not be the same for every wife, the process itself does not change as we all experience certain aspects of the process at one point or another, regardless of where we are in the various stages of wifely development. With that being said, there are some key principles that undergird that process—principles that I’ve dubbed “WifeCode.”

This post is dedicated to taking a closer look at the first principle, which is to recognize the importance of communication in your marriage.  Why is communication so important, you ask? The answer is simple—it’s because communication is key to building and maintaining a strong foundation in your marriage. This is especially true if you want to sustain everything that a happy, successful, and fulfilled marriage is built upon.

The Biggest Problem with Communication in Marriage

It’s been said that the biggest problem with communication is that we don’t listen with the intent to understand; we listen with the intent to reply. Ladies, if we’re honest with ourselves, we should be able to hold a mirror up to ourselves, acknowledge, admit, and see that there’s some truth to that statement alive within each of us. We should also be able to see how that truth is reflected in the way we communicate with those around us—especially in how we get our point across to others.

As stereotypical as it may be, the reality is that women tend to project more emotion when communicating. That emotion, when it reaches a certain point, causes us to stop listening, which is usually the main culprit when the communication process breaks down.Reaching the point of breakdown in communication is detrimental because this is where we become closed to seeing or understanding any point-of-view other than our own.

Logic and reason give way to emotion, and we end up yelling and screaming and crying and name-calling and belittling and so-on and so-forth. This is where we lose our power because we get so caught-up in having the last word that we miss the learning opportunities that empower us to resolve conflicts as they arise when we’re engaged in the communication process.  This is a particularly dangerous place for us to find ourselves in because when we lose our power, we lose our ability to leverage that power to help learn how NOT to repeat the mistakes that sparked the breakdown in communication with our husbands in the first-place.

Ladies, if we are to truly leverage our power as wives, then we need to take a long, hard look at how we communicate with and relate to our husbands. Then, and only then, will we be able to own our part of what makes communication a stumbling block in marriage…and in life for that matter. After we do that, we need to do whatever needs to be done to fix it because our marriages depend on us doing so.

Key Take-Aways

If you ALWAYS feel as if your husband doesn’t understands you…or if your husband is always against you…or as if no one—ESPECIALLY your husband—ever listens to you or knows where you’re coming from…or is always nit-picking, nagging, or getting-on-your-nerves…yada…yada…yada, then you need to look in the mirror and understand that the way you’re communicating (i.e. sending and receiving verbal and non-verbal messages to those around you) is serving to either strengthen or strangle your marriage…for better or for worse.

This is the reason why communication is so important in relationships—ESPECIALLY in marriage. If you don’t have a healthy pattern of communication in your marriage, then your marriage will fail on so many different levels. Ladies, this is why we must recognize the importance of maintaining and nurturing healthy patterns of communication, not only in marriage, but in life, and we must make a greater effort to lead by positive example in that regard. Here’s how…

Keep these three tidbits in mind whenever you think about what communication looks like in your marriage. If internalized and implemented correctly, these three strategies can help you to get your needs met whenever you communicate by shifting the focus of the exchange from “you” to “understanding” the purpose for the exchange in the first place. Doing so will help you to keep your emotions in-check, and can help you resolve any conflict that could potentially arise BEFORE things get out-of-hand…

Say It Like You Mean It: Oftentimes, we end-up feeling frustrated and defeated in communication because we miss those key opportunities to say “what we mean and mean what we say.” We either don’t want to say something that will hurt our husband’s feelings, or we don’t want to say the wrong thing. So, what do we do? We “sugar-coat” what needs to be said so that we can spare his feelings because, after all, we don’t come across as being the ultimate bitch.

Listen, I’m not talking about engaging in any type verbal abuse or anything extreme like that. Ladies, we have to stop tip-toeing around what you want to say and say what you have to say like you mean—with tact, diplomacy, and the utmost respect, of course.

Disagree WITHOUT Being Disagreeable: FACT—You and your husband won’t see always see things eye-to-eye, and this fact will almost always show up when you’re communicating, trying to get your point across to each other.  However, this fact does NOT give you the right to lash-out in a passive-aggressive, demeaning, or combative way to manipulate the situation so that your husband sees things from your perspective.

It’s important to remember that your husband is not wrong just because he doesn’t agree with you…and vice-versa. You can disagree without adding unnecessary stress to your marriage, which often sneaks in through the unkind words spoken out of anger in the heat-of-the-moment. That’s what we do when we “agree to disagree.” It also helps to stop being so negative because negativity feeds a disagreeable spirit, and that’s just not cute.

Express Your Expectations Clearly: Miscommunication happens because we do not clearly state what we want or expect to happen. Recognizing that the world would likely be a much better place if everyone had the magical power of “mindreading,” the reality is that human beings were not created that way. Therefore, you cannot expect your husband to know what you’re thinking, feeling, believing, intending, etc., etc. IF you do not clearly express yourself and your expectations.

You cannot get upset when you find yourself in situations or conversations that take a turn for the worse because you thought you were on the same wavelength with your husband when, in reality, you were not. This will happen whenever you do not clearly express your thoughts, ideas, talking-points, expectations, etc. etc. up-front. Doing so will, at least, level the communicative playing field.

And that’s it! Stay tuned for the Second Principle of the WifeCode, which will focus on the importance of learning how to fight fair.  In the meantime, keep the conversation going. Join TheWifeFiles e-mail list today to receive each principle directly in your inbox as soon as it’s released!  Thank you in advance for subscribing and for following. Can’t wait to share this with you, Ladies!

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Leverage Your Power in Your Marriage With “The WifeCode”

dreamstime_xxl_92590388Hey, Wives!  Let’s be honest.  We all want to have stronger, more successful marriages.  I’ll even go so far as to say that we want stronger, successful marriages just as much as we want to be better, stronger, more powerful wives.  But somewhere in between accepting the marriage proposal and saying, “I Do,” we begin to succumb to the pressures associated with projecting the “ideal” image of what it means to be a good wife.

This is a particularly dangerous space for us wives to wander into because we’re simply ill-equipped to navigate this space of uncertainty through to the other side—especially if we lack strong images and examples of what strong, successful marriages look like in our everyday lives.

If we’re not careful to guard our thoughts and manage our emotions as we navigate this space, we’ll struggle to strike a healthy, constructive balance between how to manage those outside expectations around how we should conduct ourselves in our marriages and remaining authentic to our unique truths as we live through the process of marriage.

Yes…marriage IS a process, and becoming a wife is the easy part of it.  Staying a wife is the hard part; which is why we need to have a more in-depth conversation about some principles that, if allowed to guide how we conduct ourselves in our marriages, will help us to connect with our husbands on a deeper, more meaningful level.

These principles, which I’ve dubbed The WifeCode, is simply a compilation of thoughts and observations about how wives lose their leverage in their marriages when they’re unsure of how to manage the issues that we all experience.  The WifeCode will address different areas where wives tend to stumble and sometimes fall under the immense pressure of trying to be everything to everyone EXCEPT to the one that matters the most—our husband!

These principles will help wives to better understanding different aspects about what it takes to manage the process of staying married, and, if applied, can strengthen the foundation on which marriages are built—if we’re willing to be open, honest, and transparent enough with ourselves to allow ourselves to see how and where we fall short as wives.

Are you ready to learn how to use the principles outlined in The WifeCode to leverage your power in your marriage? If so, join TheWifeFiles e-mail list today to receive each principle directly in your inbox as soon as it’s released!  Thank you in advance for subscribing.

Can’t wait to share this with you, Ladies!

Photo Credit: © Creative Commons Zero (CC0)

 

 

Have You Heard About “The WifeFiles?”

WifeFilesConfidential LogoTheWifeFiles.com is a new website that was created to provide an outlet through which wives and soon-to-be-wives can connect and share their wisdom, thoughts, and insight about marriage.  We truly hope this site will be every wife’s go-to source for support, inspiration, and encouragement, and we’re working hard to establish this site as the #1 online community for wives.

By creating opportunities to facilitate discussion around the issues and experiences of married life and everything that comes with the process of staying married (yes…there is a process to this thing), TheWifeFiles.com aims to bridge the gap between the act of becoming a wife (i.e. reciting your vows during the wedding ceremony) and the process of staying a wife (i.e. living-out your vows in everyday life as your marriage unfolds in real-time).

TheWifeFiles.com is here for you!  Engage with TheWifeFiles community by subscribing to our blog, engaging through social media, and by subscribing to our podcast, WifeTalk Live! with Tawni,” which will feature candid conversations about topics that all wives can relate to—all while featuring practical tips and information to help wives navigate their way through the complexities of marriage to emerge on the other side of their “happily ever-after” WITH their husband.

We look forward to growing with you!