How to Be a Better Spouse

In relationships the world over, people often confuse being a good spouse with other behaviors. For example, being a good provider is part of being a good husband, but doesn't make you a good husband any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.

Remember that it takes two to make it, but it only takes one to break it. This article is designed to help you avoid being the one that breaks it.


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    Time. In essence, time is love where relationships are concerned. You can tell a lot about how a person lives their life, and what is important to them, by how they spend their time and money. Period. You must weigh what is important and spend your time there. Is your job or hobby more important than your relationship? How do you spend your time? How does your spouse spend their time? Being that this article is longer than most on wikiHow, actually taking time to read it might be a good start.
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    Define where your relationship is. It is critical that you evaluate yourself, your spouse, and the relationship as a whole to determine where you need to work harder. For example, is your spouse always doing the dishes? Did the same person that cooked the meal clean up? In this example it might be time to step up and help shoulder some of the chores. You'll find that by better defining your relationship changing your thinking and behavior becomes almost automatic. Sometimes just knowing there is a problem is more difficult than fixing it.
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    Change is painful. Change is never easy. Change is difficult, and in some cases can be violent and painful. For example, a junkie who is sticking a needle in their arm knows they need to change, but they cannot cope with the prospect of the withdrawal symptoms. People rarely refuse to change because they don't know how, they refuse to change because it will be unpleasant or awkward. If you don't control your life by making changes now, the changes will be thrust upon you later in an uncontrolled way. Anything unpleasant is better than something unpredictable. If faced with two evils, choose the one you know. Commit to make changes even if it hurts, because you might not get another chance to control the change itself.
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    Remember people need adventure and variety to be happy even if they won't admit it. For example, your spouse might have personality issues that make them unable to take risks, or unwilling to socialize. It is important to pick an activity, invite your spouse, and engage the activity even if your spouse backs out. Pick something that you think is exciting but were never willing to do. You don't have to be extreme. For example, if you've always been unwilling to take risks that might result in injury you could rent some ATVs (4 wheelers), put on all the safety gear, and carefully put around. You don't have to be a speed demon. Just get you and your spouse outside of the every day "bubble". Through experimenting you'll eventually find something you both find challenging, exciting, and rewarding.
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    Think of a relationship as a mechanical thing like a car. You wouldn't drive your car endlessly without checking out important things like fluids. Once in a while "check the oil" on your relationship. Together with your spouse agree to see marriage counseling or spiritual counseling even if you both think nothing is wrong. Often times both members of a relationship will be participating in an undesirable behavior without really being aware. Sometimes bad communication or other lacking relationship skills are just dismissed. For example, John never talks to his wife about anything. A mutual friend points out that John has a communication problem and his wife Jane just shrugs and says "He's always been like that, it is just how he is. I've learned to live with it". Remember that acceptance of bad behavior doesn't exempt your or the relationship from the negative effects it can have.
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    Don't stereotype your relationship. From time to time call your spouse by name, not "babe", or "honey". While pet names can be positive if used sparingly, if every time you open your mouth to speak with your spouse a whiny "Baaaaabe?" comes out first, you will eventually have a problem. Your spouse may secretly start to doubt that you can identify differences between them and every other relationship you've had. This is a bad thing.
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    Be disciplined. No one likes a lazy butt, so make sure you pull your weight. Even if you worked all day you should still offer to cook, clean, or whatever task is at hand. Don't assume that because you worked hard all day that it is fair for you to expect your spouse to automatically assume a task. Everyone likes a break. Go to bed early, and get up early. Be disciplined in your life, personal grooming, and cleanliness. Keep your self respect up and your spouse will also find you easy to respect.
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    Don't spoil your children or animals. If you are incapable of implementing rules and enforcing them, then don't have kids or pets that require discipline. You'll end up with an impossible child or pet that consistently annoys or frustrates others (including your spouse), and will often times cause the "good cop / bad cop" mentality within the family. For example, if you always waffle on rules regarding snacks with your kid, then they get a stern talking to from your spouse, you've forced your spouse to pick an undesirable position within the authority structure. Remember if your kids and animals can't or don't respect you, how can your spouse keep respect for you. Spare the rod...spoil the child. Additionally spoiling a child is a good way to raise a thug or at least end up with an adult that is impossible for others to deal with. You condemn the child to a lifetime of frustration and isolation because their behavior is undesirable for others to be around. Seriously, handle it. If you are unable or unwilling to enforce rules, then why create them to begin with?
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    Stay in shape and eat healthy. No one wants to marry someone with whom part of their decision was based around attraction, only to wake up six years later to a total jelly butt. Stay in shape and eat well. This will also help you with sexual stamina.
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    Take care of your spouse's desires and fantasies. Many fantasies which involve breaking the rules of marriage such as stepping out (open relationship), or additional partners, almost always end in tears and are NEVER a good idea. Instead, try spicing it up. If you are the man do something different for your wife that she would never expect from you. Speak differently, or try to dress up like a fireman. Whatever you do, even if your spouse laughs at you, she will still respect and appreciate you for trying to cater to her. If you are the woman try wearing a wig that is a different color than your natural hair color, and speak with a pretend accent. You both can evaluate things that might be exciting ranging from using a camera, to using sex toys or food in your interactions. The point is keep it civil, respectful, and never vent suspicion such as, "So you think I have the hots for that blond I work with, is that why you are wearing the wig?". Just keep it simple. If you can't decide, try something very basic like using whipped cream.
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    Make a list with your spouse. Ask your spouse to create a list of 10 positive things they like about you, and 10 things they don't care so much about. The 10 things they don't like don't have to be soul crushing, or seen as negative. Just see them as things that if they could change that aspect of the relationship they would. Don't pick impossible traits to change such as height, or nose shape. The effect will be undesirable. Instead target things that if your spouse worked on them they could change them (even if only a little). Both of you come up with the list then exchange lists. Don't be offended or attack your spouse about their list, try to understand their perspective. It is important to realize your spouse would have these opinions or beliefs regardless of whether they told you or not, so the list is a good thing even if it is hard to read. Besides now you have a tool that gives you the positive things they like which you can strengthen, and a list of things they don't like so that you can work on those aspects.
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    Say "I love you" and mean it. Praise your spouse for legitimate reasons. Pick things they do that you really appreciate and vocalize it. For example a man might say to his wife after dinner "I know that you work hard every day with the kids and the kitchen. I really appreciate that more than you know because I recognize that those tasks might sometimes be harder than my job." Never assume your spouse just "knows" how you feel, say it. Be polite and choose your topics carefully. Saying something like "Honey, you are just the best toilet scrubber in the world, and I really like that." would be foolish. Think, then speak.
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    Explore your spouses opinions frequently. Ask questions. Try to be a good listener rather than speaking. Getting to know your spouse is a lifelong thing that doesn't end at the altar.
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    Address mental health and emotional well being. Treat things like depression, anger, or other personality problems seriously! Mental health issues can degrade over time, and if things eventually end in divorce your spouse might wonder "where was she? why didn't she work harder to be sure I got the help I needed?". Look at nature, when things go wrong the animals don't quit. They are there with their mate to the bitter end.
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    Never cheat. Ever. No matter how good the opportunity might seem. If you can't control this behavior you need to end the relationship first. Have enough integrity to tell your spouse you can't keep your pants on and need to either get help, or get a divorce. It is okay to think someone else is sexy, just always take that energy home to your spouse. Don't put yourself in socially awkward situations. And for the record, even with a very mature spouse, having gobs of friends of the opposite sex and spending lots of alone time with those friends is never a good thing. It goes against the natural order. If you insist on having friends of the opposite sex then you better make sure you keep your spouse at arm's length when spending time with those friends. Trust is good, abusing it by constantly testing it is bad. If someone tells you they have absolutely NO jealousy where you are concerned means they are either A. lying and are very jealous inside, B. have no respect or attraction for you, or C. are cheating themselves and so don't really care what you do.
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    Recognize and try to eliminate bad habits. Don't drink or smoke too much. Never do anything like drink and drive, or any other behavior which might endanger the health of the family or relationship. Remember that jail is NEVER a good thing.
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    Be independent. Get a job even if it is boring and doesn't pay much. Never be wholly dependent on someone, it will make them eventually feel used and manipulated.
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    To forgive is to forget! If you can not forget some offense, then say so, and make plans to set things right in whatever way seems mature. If you choose to forgive your spouse then forget it. Don't bring it up six years later saying something like "this is just like the time you...". One of the things people often have trouble identifying with is that forgiveness is meant to benefit the victim, not the offender. It is meant to alleviate the burden and let the victim move on. Remember, mercy is a powerful position.
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    Remember that when you love someone, sometimes the intentions they have are more important than the results. If your spouse tried really hard to make something special for you and failed, praise them wholly and let them know you think it is even MORE special because they took a risk to please you and failed. It shows a lot of desire to please someone to try to do something outside of your means and fail.
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    Respect. Period. Always. Never curse, or call names, no matter HOW bad or angry you feel. Words are the hardest to heal. Don't say something in a bad mood or heat of an argument that you'll regret for years (or that can potentially scar your spouse emotionally).


  • Don't laugh at (or otherwise belittle) anything your spouse does to try to improve themselves or the relationship.
  • Remember that no one likes to fail. If your spouse is trying to accomplish something, help them. Be there for them and be supportive.
  • Remember your relationship is central to your life, and that you have to put as much effort into grooming the relationship as you would your own hair or nails.
  • If you have a hard time understanding someone then you should educate yourself before trying to correct them.
  • Keep it simple. Sometimes a note left in the cereal box can have as much effect as an expensive diamond.


  • Remember that love and hate are horns on the same bull. Show me something you hate and I'll show you something you could love, or have loved. Show me something you love and I'll show you something you could have the potential to hate. Don't cross too many lines or boundaries with your spouse.
  • Don't use material gifts to please your spouse except on very rare occasions. So-called "retail therapy" is not a good thing. People who are emotionally healthy can be just as happy window shopping as buying things. If it isn't a serious need, its extravaganza.
  • Be careful when suggesting counseling even if the relationship is healthy. If your spouse doesn't agree, try going yourself a few times and then invite them again.
  • Never "step out" in a relationship. It never ends well. Eventually after the orgasm is gone and everyone "sobers up" there will be sadness and bitterness, or guilt. Just don't do it.
  • Be really careful when making lists of things you like and don't like. Be gentle.
  • Be careful when experimenting. Remember that sometimes a sexual fantasy is just that. It is called a fantasy for a reason because you should never actually do it, and if you did you might find it is not as fun as it seems.

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Categories: Married Life