I heard this quote from a friend years ago and it has stuck with me and become a favorite. I have used this often with couples and particularly with men. Here it is: “If next to me is the best place to be, you’ll always be next to me!” I really believe that this is one of our main tasks as men who are husbands. We have to learn how to make the spot right next to us a place our wives want to be.
If we do a good job of it, she won’t want to leave. If we do a medium job of it, she is likely to stay put. If we do a poor job of it, she may struggle with leaving, but will someday pull it off. If we put a priority on making the place next to us as the best place for her in the world (at least most of the time) she will never want to leave.
- Next To You Will Be A Great Place To Be When: You know you are determined to make it the best place. Now that you are familiar with this saying, and if it makes sense to you – make a conscious decision that you will do your best to make next to you the best place to be. As a veteran of 43 years of marriage, AND from a couple of decades of experience in counseling couples; I know that it pays off.
That is right – guys – there is a payoff to taking care of your wife. When she feels loved and cared for and feels safe and secure in the relationship – she will want to take care of your concerns and needs as well. While there are always exceptions to every rule, the rule I found to be true more times than not is that a wife who knows and feels she is loved will not have difficulty loving back. Make a decision, be intentional about ensuring that the place right next to you is the place your wife wants to be. The next few steps will give some guidance.
- Next To You Will Be A Great Place To Be When: You have made strides at eliminating the things that cause your spouse to want to move out of that place. Most women are not that difficult or complicated to understand – at least on many levels. Women are usually clear about the things that they don’t like or want to be changed in their marriage.
Men do not always pay attention or give it enough credibility but, by and large, most women have a way of letting their man know when they are unhappy, unsatisfied, disappointed, scared or feel overburdened with responsibility. There is an old joke in which a man says “Doctor, Doctor, I broke my arm in three places.” The Doctor responds, “Well, then stay out of those places!”
Pay attention to the things that hurt, annoy, disappoint and crush your spouse and then work hard at eliminating them from your marriage.
- Next To You Will Be A Great Place To Be When: You continue to work at communicating effectively with your spouse. It seems like almost every couple we have worked with in our counseling practice has indicated that they need help with communication when they seek help. There are so many reasons that this is true.
It may have to do with our background, family of origin, previous relationship experiences, hurts we have endured inability to clearly state a problem and on and on it goes. It is common for couples to have problems at times in communicating clearly to each other. If you want your wife to desire to stay next to you, learn how to communicate your thoughts and feelings clearly to her.
While you are at it, learn to do it in a way that is not offensive, brash and “in your face.” She wants you to talk to her like she is your friend – just like you did years ago when you first spent time together. If necessary get a good book on the topic or attend a marriage seminar and ramp up your ability to listen to and talk to her.
- Next To You Will Be A Great Place To Be When: You have placed a priority on doing the things your spouse needs in order to feel loved. An assignment we have sometimes given to couples is to make a list of “The Top Ten Caring Things You Could Do For Your Spouse.” Without asking her about it, what things could you jot down right now that you have heard that she would like from you?
Take some time and compile the list over the course of a week or so. Listen to what she says she would like, the ways you could help out, the things that would mean a lot to her. It could range from taking out the trash and bringing in the mail to taking charge of supper, cleaning up the dished or arranging for her to have a night out. Give it some thought, pay a little attention and she will lead you right to her list – you just have to pay attention and listen.
- Next To You Will Be A Great Place To Be When: You conduct occasional “Best Place” reviews and make any mid-course corrections that are needed. Specify a date night or even better, do this on an overnight or weekend getaway. Set aside some time in which each of you has 15 to 20 minutes to think about your lives, marriage, and family.
Write down some thoughts about your expectations, desires, dreams and vision of the future. Note also the things that need attention in order to bring them up to par. You should discuss areas such as career satisfaction, wealth and financial goals, housing, personal development, close personal relationships, how your children are doing in life and others that are important to each of you.
Do this at least once a year and make it a positive and forward-looking exercise and not a gripe session.
As a husband, you have a lot of power in creating a life together with your wife that is satisfying and fulfilling for BOTH of you. You can’t fix everything that is going on inside of her and it is not your job to do so. You can work on the things that you have control over that affect her sense of well-being. As you give attention to that goal you are in truth constructing a spot that she will never want to leave.
If you’re ready, take the next step now and call 630-333-3202 for a free 15-20 minute phone/Skype consultation. We will tell you about how our process works and you will come away from that call with the information you need to make a decision about how we can best work together.