Seven Ways Women Can Improve Their Marriages
What Does Being a "Good Wife" Mean?
Certain stereotypes do still exist about married women, and have been popularized by the media. These stereotypes deeply embedded in our culture and we are so used to them we don't even give them a second thought.
To understand this, take a look at the majority of commercials for household products, food, and almost anything for that matter. Think about the way that women are portrayed in these commercials, and the associated expectations. Think about how "good" wives, are portrayed in movies. Think for a minute about what happens inside your head when you look in the mirror and a "supermodel" isn't staring back at you. Watch a few "family" shows and see how you "stack up." Becoming more aware of these things is the first step to take in order to begin navigating your womanhood.
In the past , there has been a failure on the part of both men and women to value womanliness and focus on the strengths of womanhood. The result has been a tendency by both sexes to associate the concepts of womanliness and femininity with weakness, helplessness and an inferior intellect. Some men bask in their ability to marginalize women, and some women subjugate themselves, sometimes without even realizing it, perhaps because it seems easier to just "be nice".
In the following paragraphs, you will discover how a woman who has confidence and poise, strength, independence, self-worth, intelligence and assertiveness is a far better partner in a marriage than one who accepts old, worn out stereotypes, feigns weakness, plays dumb and feels inferior.
How Having Confidence Can Make You a Better Wife
One of the biggest improvements women can make is gaining self-confidence. Start working on this by standing in front of the mirror and listening to your self-talk. Think about how you really feel about yourself, and how you compare to other women, especially those portrayed in the media. As you begin to recognize any negative thought patterns, you can jot them down, then examine whether these thoughts about yourself are true, fair, kind or acceptable. Take it to the next level by making a separate list of all of your good points. Everyone can improve but arent the standards set for women in the media and in general unrealistic?
Focus on your assets and you will gain a healthy sense of confidence, which will benefit everyone around you, including your spouse. Think about the people you enjoy being around. What kind of people are the most inspiring and fun? They are happy and sure of themselves, not clingy, insecure, or full of guilt and shame. True confidence can allow a person to shine and make good decisions, especially in times of crisis. Confidence and good decision-making abilities lay the groundwork for your success as an individual, and for the success of your marriage.
How Independence Can Make You a Better Wife
When women are independent, they are more of an asset to their husbands. As a wife, you are an equal partner, not a child. Having fun and enjoying life is one thing, but being dependent in a childish way is another thing altogether. This can be in any area of life, from money, to self-care, to keeping up with the needs of the home.
When an able-bodied partner takes on the role of a sheltered child, routinely expressing qualities of helplessness and weakness, the unintended result in both partners can be the development of bitterness and contempt.
Bitterness can develop on the part of the person who ends up pulling all the weight and making all the hard decisions. Meanwhile, the person who has silently subjected themselves without (vocalized) complaint to the (naturally sometimes fallible) leadership of another human being can develop a strong sense of contempt. How easy it is to criticize from the sidelines. Taking on the role of a dependent, sheltered little girl who needs guidance is a mask for taking the easy way out, leaving the leader to be blamed for anything that goes wrong.
Become more of a contributing partner. Even if you have children, and have elected to stay home with them, you should try to have a hobby, pursuit, home business, or do volunteer work. When you are with your husband, you will have more to talk about than the two year old's constipation and the 6 month old's spit up.
Responsibility in any partnership should be evenly distributed, and adults should be able to function independently, especially since anything can happen that might leave a dependent person stranded.
How to Be a Supportive Wife
Whether the man in your life portrays it or not, and whether norms allow it or not, the truth is sometimes men need support and protection too. A lot of men have begun to realize that the past media stereotype of men was a big lie Many women have begun to realize that men actually have emotions and needs.
Wives can be a great source of comfort in a number of situations. Protection is not just physical. As a good partner, you can be there for him in his times of need, whether that be mental, emotional, or physical. Start being more aware of the shifts in his attitude, or how defensive he gets over certain topics. Instead of nit-picking or criticizing, do some genuine listening and consider the possibility that there is a reason for those behaviors. There may be some very real needs and fears buried under that all-knowing, tough-guy facade. Your willingness to listen and provide your spouse with a sense of safety will make your marriage stronger than it ever was.
Whenever anyone is doing their best to succeed, they need a supportive partner. This goes back to the issue of not having one person to carry all the responsibility while the other one acts needy. When both people in a marriage know their partner has their back, each individual will be more confident and able to grow, succeed and become a more fulfilled person.
How Much Does Money Matter in a Marriage?
Some women make the mistake of not making their own money, becoming dependent on their husbands financially. In reality, unless a person is disabled, both partners should be bringing in some sort of income. When one person in the marriage has to “suck up” to another person for an “allowance” or some spending money, the axis of power in the relationship will shift, no matter how much you say otherwise.
In part, this is because in modern western society, the value of an individual is perceived based on their income. While in some cases, it can be beneficial for one partner to stay home with the children, how many women have you ever seen being recognized on the cover of a national magazine for being the homemaker of the year? Rarely, if ever, is the true value of a homemaker recognized by anyone, and sometimes this includes their spouse, unfortunately.
And what about retirement? While one spouse is working, putting money into social security and maybe a retirement account, the other one, at home with the kids, is staring at a future in which there is no retirement check. Many an elderly lady living in a nursing home funded by government subsidies could testify to that. Not to mention that in this life we have no guarantee of anything. Who is to say the working spouse might not someday suddenly decide to take off with someone else? It happens.
Even while staying at home with the kids, there ARE ways to bring in additional income, make a financial contribution, and save for the future. In addition, getting out into the community is important, and necessary for personal growth and networking purposes.
Improve Your Marriage by Getting an Education
Every woman owes it to herself and to her spouse to educate herself and keep her intellect sharp. This can easily be done by taking the time to read scholarly books and articles, watch the news, and watch documentaries that provide valuable information. By educating yourself, you will be open to new worlds, and greatly improve your confidence. You are far more than a baby-factory/servant.
An education will help you to improve your own thinking skills, reasoning, ability to solve problems, and ability meet challenges head on.College programs are available online, and there are many ways to get financial aid for college.
You should be able to discuss current issues in the news, provide insight or expertise on topics of interest and even share insights on good literature. You can become a more interesting person, and be a source of inspiration to anyone you interact with, especially to your spouse, with just a little education.
Assertiveness Saves Good Marriages
Whether it is emotional, mental or physical, the limits of what you will put up with should be established early in a relationship. We teach people how to treat us by what we allow. To put it bluntly, not drawing clear boundaries can quickly lead to your becoming a victim of abuse. No woman deserves to be a doormat, punching bag, or even the butt of an unappreciative man’s jokes. No one should make you feel like a second-class citizen, be allowed to disrespect you or take away your rights. Going back to what was said earlier, a healthy sense of self-worth goes a long way in keeping a marriage healthy. Inappropriate behavior, especially violence, should be met with definitive and unpleasant consequences, up to and including termination of the relationship if necessary.
It Takes Two to Tango: How Constructive Criticism Helps Marriage
Finally, it is important to know when to provide a spouse with advice and constructive criticism. The way decisions are made can mean the difference between the success and failure of a marriage and of each individual in a marriage. This does not mean it is ok to belittle and browbeat your partner. It simply means that if they are getting ready to, say bring financial ruin on themselves and in turn on you, or are doing things that are self-destructive, it is time to let them know that you do not approve. Take appropriate steps towards averting the disaster or getting your partner to get some help. Sometimes caring for someone means having the guts to tell them when their idea is clearly not a good one, they are making a mistake. This is different than just being opinionated. If he has an impossible-seeming dream, you can be supportive without allowing him to totally drain the kids' college fund. There is no need to be cruel, but honestly, if a man’s ego is so delicate that he can’t take a little criticism without feeling emasculated, he might need to get some counseling. Most successful people know how to deal with and appreciate constructive criticism. A good healthy argument (not a fight, mind you, an argument – or healthy debate) can actually help a person to refine their approach to a problem and come up with a solid solution. What a great gift this would be to give to the person you love!