Let’s face it, being a husband does not come with a manual. But you can always do better!
We asked 16 experts “How to be a better husband?”
Let’s have a look at their insights.
Certified Mindful Lifestyle & Stress Management Coach, The Quiet Zone Coaching
Cheating is a no-no
It seems like a no-brainer, but loyalty is extremely important. How can you be a good husband if you’re also playing in someone else’s playground?
Communication is a must-have skill. Active Listening is a wonderful tool. This involves really listening to what your spouse is saying and summarizing it back before adding your own opinion or comment.
“It sounds like you had a really bad day today. It must be awful when your boss gives you a hard time! What can I do to help?”
Being able to work through conflict without degenerating into an argument is another important skill for a happy relationship. Avoid statements like, “You always do this!” or, “Why are you acting this way?”
Always stay calm (agree to discuss things later if necessary if things get too heated), and only speak about your own feelings and opinions. “I get angry when you leave the garbage for me to take out because I don’t always have the time. What is a good way we can get it out by working together?”
Always focus on the goal. Think about what is happening right now, rather than what happened a week, month, or year ago.
Always be willing to compromise
Be willing to negotiate. “I’d really like to watch the game on Saturday. How would it be if we went out for a nice dinner on Friday instead?” or, “I’ll come shopping with you today if you come to the concert with me tonight.”
Surprise your partner with little favors, flowers, or trinkets just to let her know you’re thinking about her.
Say, “I love you,” every day
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at Wisdom Within Counseling
You have to ask your partner what they need from you
Being a better husband means looking at your areas of growth with self-compassion. In order to make a change, you may need to journal, make notes, and get feedback from your partner about what’s not working.
In order to make your marriage work better and be a better husband, you have to ask your partner what they need from you. For example, your partner may want better sex, financial stability, emotional connection, or simply to go to the movies on Friday nights with you.
What your partner needs vary day to day and year to year. Part of being a better husband is being able to evolve, grow together, and adapt, while also reading your partner’s body language. If you can get to know your partner better than anyone else and read their subtle body cues, you will already be a better husband.
Read Related Article: The 10 Best Books on Body Language
Listen to your partner and be their best friend. Being a better husband doesn’t always mean making more money. Instead, it could simply be holding hands, listening and laughing together, and cuddling.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Take the time to know your wife
We may know our wife’s favorite color or type of food, but does that mean we really know her? If you want to be a better husband know your wife’s love language. You can be a better Husband by speaking her language of love. Whether it’s acts of service, physical touch, quality time, receiving gifts, or words of affirmation. Knowing what speaks to her emotions can build a better bond between you and her.
In addition to the 5 love languages, you can build love maps. John and Julie Gottman developed love maps. Which consist of questions “the little things” you can ask your wife to get to know her and build a foundation of friendship and intimacy while improving the emotional intelligence of your relationship.
Work on yourself
If you want to be a better husband, it’s good to know yourself. Be aware of your strengths, weakness, likes, dislikes, and habits. Accept who you are and commit to being a better person. Recognizing and admitting you are not perfect leads you to the path of being a better person and a better husband.
Licensed Counselor | Master Certified Addictions Professional | Life Coach
To be a better husband one must seek to be a better person.
Wives are not looking so much for behavioral changes as they are heart changes. If not the changes will be mechanical and not genuine which will only frustrate both of them. All husbands can grow in patience and demonstrate this by taking the time to understand their wife’s needs, validate those needs and make efforts to meet those needs.
Perhaps the most difficult things for husbands to understand is that their wives want to feel protected emotionally and that they want to feel trusted, respected, desired and pursued. If a man will take the time to understand these needs and take steps to meet those needs, he will be a better husband.
More kindness helps and will be demonstrated by communicating with kindness rather than being critical.
A better husband should be less selfish as demonstrated by giving her time to take care of herself so that she can also be the best version of herself.
Licensed Psychotherapist | Founder, Let’s Talk Divorce
1. Do what is in the best interest of your marriage by doing and saying things that are healthy for the relationship. Shift out of making it about you or your wife being right, but rather the happiness, health, and success of the relationship.
2. Maintain boundaries with friends and family by prioritizing the needs of your marriage first.
3. Gift your marriage by doing things you don’t always want to do. In turn, your wife will do the same. This creates compromise and fondness. It is also important to maintain a positive perspective on your marriage, rather than focusing on what your wife isn’t doing.
4. Set aside time for revisiting the “love map” of your relationship, which includes becoming familiar with your wife’s inner world. Sit down and catch up on each other’s lives and worlds. Some questions can be:
– What stresses/struggles am I facing right now?
– Who are my closest friends?
– What is my favorite restaurant right now?
– What hobbies do I want to pursue?
– Describe in detail what you each did today/yesterday.
5. When you are struggling with feelings like hurt, resentment, pain, sadness, etc. turn towards your wife rather than away.
Suppressing the emotion may feel safer as it won’t rock the boat, but in the long-term, it will be destructive to the marriage. Communicate your feelings, needs, and desires with her instead of others. Using “I feel…” statements, express what you feel and how she can help you. Try to be as detailed as possible in letting her know what you need, even if it is some space until you learn how she can help.
Certified Empowered Couples Coaches | Speakers | Entrepreneurs
Priority and commitment
Prioritize your relationship and your wife (partner) over your schedule, family and even kids. It is critical to always give mental priority to your partner no matter the situation. This can be difficult at times with our busy lives pulling us in different directions. At times we may not be able to give time priority to our partner, for these times it is important to connect with them in advance and give emotional priority to remind them that they are always the #1 in your life. Commit to showing up as your best self and an exceptional husband every day.
Empathy and grace
Always associate the best possible motives to your wife (partner’s) actions. Love and support her especially in her most difficult times, unconditionally and without judgment. Show grace when they don’t meet your expectations and forgiveness when you fall short.
Partnership and vision
Having a common vision for how you both desire to feel would create a sense of strong partnership and being on the same team. As a husband be sure to put focused intention into your relationship. Have a deep understanding of your partner’s hopes, dreams, and desires. Understand how they desire to feel and let them know how you desire to feel in the relationship.
Listen & share
This is an area that I personally work on the most since I tend to avoid discussing topics that would cause conflicts. I now understand that it forms the foundation of the relationship. The rate of flow of our thoughts, ideas, and feelings is directly related to the depth of our connection.
Seek first to truly understand your partner by actively listening (with phones and other distractions off) to what they are saying, without the urge to respond or resolve. It is more valuable to your relationship to open up and discuss tough topics than to withhold and avoid conflict. When sharing your perspective, remember that communication is not what is said but what the other person hears. Share your deepest thoughts, fears, and desires with your partner
Serve and protect
Be quick to protect your wife’s (partner’s) honor. What that means is that you never criticize or complain about them to anyone in private or public. It is abundantly clear with my actions and words to my family, friends, and kids that my wife holds the highest place in my life no matter what.
I will not make or tolerate any comments or jokes at her expense. Always be willing to serve them and their needs, a simple “how can I help you?” goes a long way. Agree on tasks and activity distribution but enthusiastically offer to help with their tasks as often as possible. Compliment them often and make small gestures (kiss goodnight/goodbye, thinking of you text or bring flowers) to show your love, care, and appreciation on a daily basis.
Raffi Bilek, LCSW-C
Marriage & Family Counselor, Baltimore Therapy Center
Stop trying to fix it
Husbands are notorious for swooping in to solve their wives’ problems when that really wasn’t what was being asked for, to begin with. It can be tricky, because often a woman will want to complain about something and just be heard, without necessarily wanting to solve the issue.
Men, however, are accustomed (whether through hardwiring or socialization) to get in there and find an answer. This can be infuriating for a woman who just wants to talk about it without trying to shoo the problem away.
To be a better husband, get in the habit of just listening. Empathize with your wife’s experience, and don’t try to solve it (even if you really do know the answer). Only once she feels that you understand the problem will she be willing to consider hearing an answer.
(Pro tip: a good way to find out whether she is ready to hear a solution is to ask! “Hey, would you be interested in hearing some possible solutions I have?” Then accept her response, even if it’s no.)
Clinical Sociologist | Psychotherapist | New Beginning Counselling
More than 50% of my practice is dedicated to couple counseling.
I always tell my clients that the objective in Marriage counseling ought to be focused on how to be a better husband or better wife. The best version of themselves. This requires that they each give 100 percent of themselves.
I recommend a basic premise that works! I refer to it as *STOP and Be with TLC*
In short, it means STOP, BE (Empathetic) with TLC (Time, Look, Care)
Here’s how it works:
Stop whatever you are doing. Be fully present. (Your eyes ought to be fully focused on your partner. This shows respects and commitment to valuing how the other person feels and shows that you are listening to them.
Put yourself in the shoes of the other person emotionally and cognitively—That’s being empathetic. Make the effort to spend at least 10 minutes being totally focused on your partner. Look at her, and demonstrate you care by asking a simple question and be willing to come through: *What do you need from me right now?* (at this moment). It shows you care. It tells your partner that they matter. In so doing, couples have reported better communication and a greater connection with one another.
This simple Acronym becomes a recipe in a toolbox of helpful hints that empowers couples to be their best possible self. In this case, a tool for husbands to be better husbands!
Author of “Waiting for Elizabeth”
Behave every day as though it might be your last one together
After twenty-nine years of marriage, my wife left me and we got a divorce.
The six years before we began to see each other (to “date”) were so bleak that I increasingly became aware of the price of my loss. Once we did reconnect, after those barren years, my primary emotion was gratitude.
But what good is gratitude if it is unexpressed? I searched for and found myriad small ways to demonstrate mine.
I never cared about making the bed but that is very important to Elizabeth. I not only learned how to do it but doing it to please her became a joy. It’s a small thing yet a series of small things when performed out of love will add up to a sizable sum.
Doing the unskilled part of making dinner every night; peeling, slicing, chopping and the like was a new activity for me. No more sitting and watching the news while she prepared the food. Washing dishes and scrubbing pots became my jobs. Now on fall Sundays I watch football games from the table in the dining room while I prep ingredients for the soup Elizabeth is making.
I do not perform any of these chores because Elizabeth asked me to. They are my expression – through action – of my appreciation of having her back in the center of my life.
My advice? Once you find the lover/partner of your dreams behave every day as though it might be your last one together. Those small services you perform will become small joys and will help secure your relationship with a loving mate.
Your wife’s happiness is your happiness
Becoming a better husband, I believe, starts with a key understanding… your wife’s happiness is your happiness.
As partners, you are tied together. The glow of her happiness and satisfaction will reflect on you, as will her unhappiness and dissatisfaction. If you genuinely understand this, you will behave toward her in ways that help her to feel safe, cherished and fulfilled. You will naturally want to do all the things good husbands do– be responsible, generous, appreciative, flexible, helpful, etc.
Of course, it is not your responsibility for whether she is happy or not, but your loving behavior will certainly help create the conditions for a harmonious and fulfilling life together.
Co-Founder and Chief Editor, Give Me a Bag
1. The first step is to literally ask this question from your partner: “How can I be a better husband/partner/friend to you?“
Everybody has different needs, and your partner can give you the most relevant answer to this question. Don’t try to guess based on stereotypes and other people’s ideas, just listen to your partner. On top of gaining valuable insights, your partner will appreciate your attentive question.
2. When you ask the question above, try to understand your partner’s motives and her feelings. If you get a general answer like “You could be a better husband if you would love me more,” ask further questions like “When do you feel loved? What can I do for you to feel loved?”
I know guys love specific, actionable things, so inquire until you get specific and detailed answers from your partner. This way, you will know exactly what to do when you want to express your love and care.
3. If you want to express your love and care, just remember the answers. You can even make a list if that helps. Most of the time, you don’t have to get creative to be kind to your partner. If you remember your partner likes to drink hot chocolate in the evenings, sometimes ask her if you can make her a cup of hot chocolate. She’ll be thrilled by both the hot chocolate and the fact that you gave her something she enjoys without a prompt.
+1: If you want to be a better husband, just do something nice for your partner every day.
At first, this methodical approach might be strange. But after a month, these kind things will be part of your routine and it won’t be a problem to make your partner smile at you even at the end of a long and tiresome day.
Understand and accept what it means to be a husband
In order to be a better husband, you must first understand and accept what it means to be a husband.
Yes, technically you become a husband when you say “I do“, but being a husband is so much more than participating in a ceremony. As a husband, you are called to be the leader and caretaker of your marriage. Your wife is a blessing in your life and you must treat her as such.
You, as the leader of your marriage, must remember that you’re not in an authoritative or dictatorship role, but you are in a servant leader role. This does not imply that you should place yourself beneath her or that you must be subservient to her. Instead, as the servant leader of your marriage, you are to set the tone within the marriage that you as spouses will look to serve each other, treat each with compassion, kindness, and respect, and meet each other’s emotional, financial, spiritual, and physical needs.
To create this type of atmosphere within your marriage, you must look to serve your wife by becoming a student of her. Pay attention to what is going on in her life. Are you aware when she is having a difficult time at the office or stressed over a family situation?
You must know your wife well enough that you can see when she is having a difficult time and needs your emotional support. Remember that she may not necessarily need you to solve the problem, but just be supportive and comforting.
Husbands often think that they must solve the problem when often all their wife wants is for them to listen and try to understand.
Learn to communicate with her so you are aware of her financial goals and concerns. Are you both acting financially responsible for your monetary resources. Financial concerns are often a major cause for marital strife.
Foolish spending and being irresponsible with money can cause stress and uncertainty within your marriage. You as the husband and leader of the marriage must set the tone for how to be responsible with money and communicating on big financial decisions.
Whatever your beliefs, lead your wife so that you are both growing closer spiritually. Couples who are growing stronger in their spiritual beliefs often have a greater sense of emotional connection within the relationship as well as a greater sense of self-satisfaction. Be willing to lead the charge within your marriage so that you and your wife are growing spiritually together.
Your wife has a need for a physical connection with you. Whether it is a holding her hand or a kiss on her forehead, make sure you have a physical connection with your wife. Of course, physical intimacy is a need as well, but a good husband understands that great intimacy begins with the simple loving gestures like holding her hand.
Final Thoughts on Being a Better Husband
So many marriages fail due to the husband not taking ownership of his role and leading his marriage. Being a great (or better) husband requires continued commitment over the course of the marriage. However, by following the approach above, a man who accepts and understands what it means to be a husband can lead his wife on a path towards creating a happy and loving marriage.
Over the course of your marriage, you will falter in your efforts to lead your marriage. You are not a perfect creation and you will fail. As a leader, you must own your mistakes. Be humble and apologetic as necessary to your wife. She does not expect (nor does she need) you to be perfect, but she does need for you to honor your commitment to be the best husband you can be for her. Learn from your mistakes and move forward.
A Jazz Musician Who Writes Books
It can be hard for artistic types to be good partners. A lot of the work writers, musicians and artists do is self-exploratory, even self-healing. With all that focus on the self, putting someone else’s needs ahead of your own can sometimes feel like self-sabotage.
On the contrary. When I am down, doing something for someone else is a wonderful way to remember myself. And in a marriage, there are always opportunities, daily, to be there and do something for your spouse.
Yet artistic types can get distracted and do things that they think are for their spouses which are really for themselves, ways to bolster their own egos or sense of security.
To be a good spouse, you have to listen carefully to your partner and know the difference between what is needed versus what you are giving. Knowing when it’s time to let go of one’s self-journey (temporarily!) to take care of a partner sometime ends up benefitting the self more!
Founder & Director of Areyvut, Inc.
- Compliment your bride regularly.
- Treat her the way you want to be treated.
- Think of her perspective.
- Leave her notes thanking her for something she did and/or telling her how much you love her.
- Try to proactively be sensitive to her needs.
- Buy her a present just because.
- Remember that kindness always matters.
Health & Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics
Help around the house
Helping with daily chores like making dinner, doing laundry, and washing dishes. Doing your part will not only decrease the chores for her but it will also prevent her from being so tired or stressed. It means she’ll have more mental and physical energy to be with you. A win-win for both of you.
Listen to your wife when she talks to you and asks her how her day was. If you’re too busy looking at your phone or watching a football game, she’ll stop trying to communicate with you. Being an active listener will make her feel appreciated, so turn off the television, close the computer, put down your phone, and really listen to her.
Author, “Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants: Timeless Wisdom on Being a Man“
The four most important things a man needs to do to be a better husband:
Make sure she feels she is number one in your life
Make her feel special. Tell her every day how important she is to you. Tell how much you appreciate everything she does for you. Every day think of something she does for you or the family and tell her how much you appreciate her for doing this. Everybody wants to feel appreciated and a woman needs to know she is being appreciated by her man.
Show more leadership
Showing leadership means thinking about the greater good. It’s focusing on what’s best for your partner and your family. It often means putting aside what you want for yourself. Leadership is the opposite of being controlling – which is thinking only about yourself.
Start by being more aware of what’s going on in your relationship and your home. When you see a problem that needs to be dealt with, step forward and handle it. If you’re not sure what do to, research an answer. By stepping forward to handle situations – especially difficult ones – and not leaving it to your partner, you’ll start to become her hero.
To avoid accusations of being controlling, a lot of men leave many decisions to their partners. To many women, a man who avoids decisions – by asking her to decide or delaying until the decision makes itself – is shirking his responsibilities. One of the meanings of the word “manly” is being able to make decisions.
There are many decisions where the decision itself is not extremely important, but a decision has to be made. Women often want the man to make these decisions. For example, she asks what you’d like for supper. You say anything is fine. She asked you because she wants you to decide. If you have no strong feelings either way, it’s easy – choose.
A man is expected to take responsibility for what is going on in his relationship and his home. This means he doesn’t allow negative situations to go on and puts a stop to them if they do occur.
When something goes wrong, take responsibility to improve the situation. Don’t blame your partner – even if you feel she pressured you to give in on something you feared would turn out badly. Blame can damage your relationship. There is little sympathy for a man who blames a woman. He’s the man. Why did he let it happen?