Ten tips in this article. Here’s my self-assessment:
- Take an interest in something your wife is really passionate about. The Wife’s hobby is stamping and I just cannot summon the interest to involve myself in it. She is excited about her education, though, and I’ve tried to find ways to talk with her about statistics and to engage with her intellectually about that.
- Put the kids to bed. If by “kids” this means “the pets,” I think that duty gets spread around more or less equally between us, and the article seems to assume that she’s bearing an unequal weight of a daily domestic task. Jordan’s been hiding from me very well in the mornings, though — I think she’s found a way into the box spring.
- Learn to apologize. I think I’m pretty quick to fall on my sword when I don’t think the disagreement is worth it. It seems better, though, to try to figure out what she wants me to do and behave so as to not need to apologize at all.
- Thank her for putting up with you. Oh, I think this every day! I still can’t believe my wild good fortune in finding a woman who can put up with me. But I probably ought to announce this thought out loud to her more often than I do.
- Clean up after yourself. I’m getting better here, I think. I’m putting her breakfast dishes in the dishwasher as well as my own.
- Make time for just the two of you. I try to take her out on a date once a week, not just once a month. Maybe for couples with kids that’s a bigger challenge.
- Groom yourself. I think I’ve got that one figured out.
- Get away from the family. Maybe I need to do this more. I go to a dinner with friends from the firm and around town once a week, and she doesn’t usually go along with that, but aside from that I don’t have a lot of “guy” things that I do.
- Deal with your side of the family. Check. Her side of the family gets equal dignity when we’re making plans, and that’s making vacation plans complex again. Still, the price is worth it because we are our own family unit now, and the vacation is intended to maintain relationships with our respective families. It would be great if we had enough money and flexibility with our time to visit everyone in their homes, but that’s just not possible. So, elaborate negotiations must take place before we can make those arrangements, which feels burdensome but once we get everything figured out, it’ll all be good.
- Don’t lose your dating manners. I can brush up on this more; mainly in the arena of opening the car door for her. It feels a little silly doing that while we’re out running errands but then again, what I think of as “running an errand” she may think of as “quality time spent as a couple.”
Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan, who notes that his husbandly duties may not be co-extensive with my own. Different circumstances, I guess.