And be glad about it.
By Rungeen Singh
Bring up the topic of marriage and people snigger that husbands can never be happy after marriage. The next statement generally puts the blame on the wife that she does not let the husband be happy.
If this topic comes up for you and your husband, then look at your husband’s face. If he is in denial sincerely or is laughing it off normally, then he is really happy with you. But if he has a serious martyred look, then deep down somewhere he feels that the speakers are right.
But then don’t pounce on him in front of others or right after the party asking, “Why did you look like a martyr? Why didn’t you deny it?”
Such questions make it appear as if you are accusing him and the husband would become on the defensive, go into a shell and not like it at all. Instead, tell him what you feel and give him time to explain and then believe him. You can give the negative feedback privately and in polite words, clearly letting him know what hurt you. Don’t expect him to understand on his own, because his male wiring is different to your female sensitivity.
Instead, think if you have really given him cause to feel unhappy in marriage.
Before I proceed further, I would like to make it clear that I am writing about husbands who treat their wives with respect. I am not writing about those husbands who treat their wives like dirt. Marriage should be an equal relationship with both the partners together on the same side and not like master-slave or adversaries.
So, if it hurt you that your husband just made a woebegone face when his friends taunted about you, then answer some questions yourself beginning with the first question, ‘Do I want him to be happy with me?’ If ‘No’, then everything is immaterial. If ‘yes’, then read on. Ask other questions as follows.
Do I give him reason to feel sad and bad that he married me? To get to the answer for this you need to confront yourself honestly and frankly.
Do you always expect your husband to obey you? If you are honest with yourself, you will realise that you always want your way and when you don’t get it, you react by sulking, jibing or feeling a martyr yourself.
Don’t expect him to obey you always because he is not a child, neither is he your student. He is an equal partner and if you want your identity to be maintained and entity to be respected, then so does he. It would not be fair to submerge his dignity, just to be holier than thou. Marriage is not a one-up-man-ship contest. Let him hold his views and opinions even if they are different to yours. Our country has a democracy! Moreover it must be hurting a man’s ego when he is called a henpecked husband!
Now for the next question. Do you always show him genuine warmth, respect and caring? If you do, you would never hurt him, but if you don’t, you will hurt him just to prove yourself right. It does happen that a wife gets so affected by her own sensitivity, that she attacks the husband and hurts him. She does not realise that probably he is not even aware that he has created a problem. Actually you should think if you are an understanding wife!
Create a sense of trust
Moreover, do you help create a sense of trust and acceptance and believe what he says to you or the excuse he gives you? It is so normal to answer, “I don’t believe you,” but just in case he is being honest, then he would be miffed with such an observation. Moreover, consider if you have always been a model of honesty, dependability and fairness with regard to him or you just expect it from him? If you give him support, then you will get support from him.
Moreover, do you use a logical explanation when you talk to him? Men are uncomfortable with feelings and emotions. They are happier with logic and practicality. So if substantive reasons are given and pragmatically explained, he would be more receptive and understanding. Conversations thus should not be about blaming each other but about how to solve problems. You should demonstrate communication skills and discuss feelings openly.
So you should value gender differences between the two of you as well as individual differences between both, because it is not possible that he is a carbon copy of you. He will have his own thoughts, attitudes and viewpoints, and it is very relative that you are right or he is right, so the question of who is right should not be discussed emotionally. It is better to talk rationally about what is right according to the circumstances.
One of the ploys some wives use is by saying the opposite and wanting the opposite. This is beyond most men. Husbands are confused when wives show how contrary they can be. If they say something and mean something else, they are often beyond the understanding of the husband. So a wife should be clear and consistent in her way and subject matter of talking.
You should also be approachable, so that he can talk anything and everything with you like a friend, where you also accept healthy criticism instead of being thin skinned. If you are a friend, the relationship will be stronger and without rancour. So the best way would be to be honest and tell him what you don’t like, but without belittling and humiliating him.
You should also listen carefully without interrupting and try to understand him, specially topics that are close to his heart. So you should give individual attention to him, even if you are busy with housework or the children. If he feels that he comes first with you, he will be more prone to giving you priority. So it goes without saying that when he is right, then you should give him appreciation freely. Specially if he has done something special for you, or understood your psyche, then you should acknowledge it and then tell him that it is commendable.