21 Things Wives Wish Their Husbands Noticed
A little recognition goes a long way.
Whether it's a pat on the back from a teammate or a congratulatory email from a boss, there's no denying that being noticed and acknowledged feels good. However, when that recognition is coming from a spouse, it's not just nice—it's necessary. That said, many people find that, as time goes by, such acknowledgments are few and far between. If you want to keep your marriage solid, it's time to make a vested effort to point out all the little things your wife brings to your life. Read on to learn the things wives wish their husbands noticed more often.
Their Tone of Voice
If you want to keep your relationship on steady footing, pay attention not just to what your wife says, but how she says it. Ignoring those vocal cues "can cause all kinds of problems in relationships," says relationship expert Cheryl Dellasega, PhD, a professor of medicine and humanities at Penn State University and author of Girl Grudges and Surviving Ophelia. "Women may think their partners are ignoring clear signals of distress or not appreciating sudden happiness because they don't care."
Their Body Language
If she's crossing her arms, pulling away from your touch, or generally trying to maintain her distance, it's important to notice that body language and respond accordingly. "Women often wish their husbands would 'read' body language," says Dellasega.
Their Sexual Cues
Reading body language doesn't just mean knowing when to back off—it's just as important to notice when she's being affectionate, too. In fact, it's essential to pick up on your wife's cues in the bedroom. "Women want their husbands to notice the pointers they give them when getting hot and heavy," says licensed marriage and family therapist Kayna Cassard, MA, MFT. Noticing her physical cues when you're getting busy can help keep that spark alive.
While sex keeps the passion alive in any relationship, intellect keeps things exciting, too—and it's important to recognize what your wife brings to the table in that regard. "Women want to be noticed for who they are and the value their intellect and conversations bring to the relationship," says Cassard.
This is particularly pivotal for women who've dropped out of the workforce to raise their children. After all, stay-at-home moms rarely hear what a lively conversationalist they are from their young charges.
Their Accomplishments at Work
Whether they've just completed a major project or have gotten a promotion, it's important for husbands to acknowledge their wives' accomplishments in the workplace, even when they're not directly tied to financial benefits.
According to U.S. Census data, 71.5 percent of women with children under 18 are working as of 2018. But just 29 percent of women out-earn their male partners. As a result, many women feel like their professional aspirations are treated as an afterthought. So it definitely pays to let your wife know that you're supportive of all of her dreams when it comes to her career.
Be sure to listen to what's going on in your wife's life without casting judgement or trying to be the one to fix it—lending an ear is often a more appreciated gesture than finding the answer. "We want a best friend and sounding board, but we're capable of solving our problems," says Colorado-based psychologist and transitions expert Elisa Robyn, Ph.D. Basically, women want their husbands to listen compassionately when they're having problems, but they don't necessarily always want their husbands to offer solutions.
Their Major Stressors
Maybe she's up to her neck in work, having a hard time with the kids, or is stressed out by an issue with members of her family. Whatever the case is, noticing what causes your wife undue stress is the first step toward helping her work through those issues. And while it's unlikely that you'll become a mind reader, knowing what's led to pressure in the past means you can spot and help address those issues in the future before they become bigger problems.
No one wants their insecurities pointed out, but knowing what those are can go a long way toward keeping your relationship healthy. Recognizing that your wife feels insecure about your ex might mean you keep those discussions of past relationships to a minimum; if she's insecure about having never finished college, you might want to make it clear that you're still in awe of her intellect regardless of how many diplomas are hanging on your walls.
When They've Made an Effort to Dress Up
Getting dressed up is a time-consuming—and frequently exhausting—proposition for many women. That's why it's so important for husbands to make note of it when their wives put in a little extra effort to look nice. If you want to keep your relationship healthy, "share your romantic and loving thoughts with her whenever they come up, especially if she's changing things up and making an effort," says Cassard.
Any Positive Changes in Their Bodies
Noticing any sudden muscle definition from a new workout or increased energy from a new diet plan can make her feel like a million bucks. "Most women would love for their husbands to notice when they've lost a few pounds," says licensed psychologist and marriage counselor Wyatt Fisher Psy.D., a leader of couples retreats in Colorado.
The Ways They Show Their Love
Whether or not you subscribe to the idea of people having specific love languages, there's something to be said for noticing the way your partner expresses her love, be it physical affection, cooking for you, giving gifts, or just trying to make you smile. Women "make an attempt to show love in many different ways," says Toronto-based relationship expert Michelle Baxo, owner and founder of Power Love Programs. "Notice and be grateful of all [of them]."
How They Put Others First
It's not always easy for women to find time to focus on themselves between careers, kids, and a busy social calendar. And while your wife is busy putting everyone else's needs before her own, it's important to make it clear to her that you appreciate just how much she gives to you and others. "Recognition of her selflessness … goes a long way," says Baxo.
How Their Relationships Have Evolved
Those arguments with co-workers, those tiffs with family members, or those disagreements with friends are important parts of your wife's social life—and it's important for you to notice them as her husband. That means paying attention when she's no longer hanging out with a formerly close friend or asking questions when she starts talking about a new colleague. Even if you're not involved in those relationships, paying attention to how those dynamics change will make it easier for you to know how to meet her emotional needs.
Is she terrified of losing her parents? Does she worry that taking time off to take care of the kids means she won't be able to restart her career? In an effort to keep your marriage healthy, recognize what your wife's afraid of and tackle those fears as a united front.
Their Sense of Humor
Women are every bit as funny as their male counterparts, and a husband should take the time to notice his wife's sense of humor. But it's just as essential to notice what she doesn't find funny. If you know she's not a fan of pranks or gag gifts, for example, ditch them before they cause tension in your marriage. And if you want a good chuckle, try these 150 Jokes So Horrible They're Hilarious.
A little recognition for your wife's talents can go a long way. That doesn't have to mean lavishing her with constant praise for every little thing she does, but making note of all those areas she's killing it in will definitely help keep your marriage strong—and will make her feel a whole lot better about those things she's not so confident about.
Their Emotional Triggers
It could be a group of loud people shouting or that ASPCA commercial with Sarah McLachlan (you know the one). Whatever your wife's emotional triggers are, noticing them can make it easier to avoid pressing those buttons. On the flip side, it can also mean knowing that you can instantly lift her mood by showing her that video of Kristen Bell crying at sloths again.
How Much Housework They Do
In the 21st century, housework is no longer seen as the exclusive purview of women, but there's still not quite an equitable division of labor in straight married couples. In fact, a 2016 study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family reveals that, even in heterosexual couples where the woman is the primary breadwinner, female partners still do more housework than their male counterparts. That's why it's so important to notice all those little things she does to straighten up, from making the bed in the morning to making sure the dishes are put away at night. And if you want to make sure you're doing your part, start with these 15 Chores Every Dad Should Have to Do.
What They Do for Their Family
Try telling your wife how awesome that meal was or letting her know that you appreciate her scheduling appointments; after all, it's important for husbands to notice the invisible work that often goes into maintaining a home. "This mental labor by women is often unrecognized," says Anna Yam, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at Bloom Psychology in California. "Husbands who acknowledge this valuable work set their marriage up for greater success."
You know that she always describes her days as stressful, but do you know what's actually on her plate on a day-to-day basis? Maybe it's managing a million-dollar client at work, having an endless array of chores to tackle at home, or being the go-to person for everything related to your kids. As her husband, acknowledging what she's saddled with on a daily basis can be a major boon to your relationship in the long run—and it will make it easier for you to help alleviate some of those pressures, too. And for more ways to wow her, try these 23 Little Compliments You're Not Saying That Will Go a Long Way.
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