Help me please my wife without buying any pills.
January 5, 2010 5:16 AM   Subscribe

2010 is the year of My Happy Wife. Oh Wives, Girlfriends and other partners, help me find things - large and small - I can do with/for her, and give her, that will help make this her best year ever.

What has your partner done for you, or given you that has really made your day/week/month/year? If you're the giving type, what have you done that really cut the grade? (And, by the way, how did you get to thinking of that great thing?)

Before we continue, let me tell you a few things about my lady.
1: she hates surprises. Really. There is no 'good' surprise as far as she's concerned, I've tested this.
2: she has rather expensive taste and we have recently embarked on an attempt to reduce the clutter in our lives by only buying good quality stuff, so random trinkets are, kind of, out.
3: she (well, we) travel quite a lot, so it would be hard to set up a "weekly massage" or something similar as we'll be on the road for almost half of this year.
4: we recently (yay) had a baby (she's 7 months old and awesome).
5: she works part-time from home in a job that she doesn't find quite as challenging as the one she had before the baby.
6: she loves jewelry (how strange!) and bags, but, see points 1 and 2 above.
7: we live in a place where there are limited 'cultural' activities like concerts, opera, plays etc (all of which we both enjoy). We usually engage in this stuff while we're traveling but now we have a baby with us and we're not quite ready to use dial-a-babysitter type services.

Okay, I hope there are some success stories and ideas out there that I can put to good use.

Thanks in advance, as always.
posted by HopStopDon'tShop to Human Relations (39 answers total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
Hire a weekly housekeeper!
posted by maloon at 5:26 AM on January 5, 2010 [3 favorites]

Twice a month, leave your wife to her own devices and take the baby to visit your friends or parents. Stay gone all day. When you return, return with takeout and continue to take care of the nubblin until bedtime.
posted by headspace at 5:42 AM on January 5, 2010 [12 favorites]

Best answer: We have an awesome 7 month old, too. Get some things that make traveling with the baby easier. We have a PeaPod (like a tent -- much easier to travel with than a pack n play), a carrier for the car seat, a really nice diaper bag (mine is Petunia Pickle Bottom, but there's tons of nice ones, especially if she really likes bags!), and a great stroller (we two -- a mclaren for quick trips and planes, and a Quinny for everything else. On sale right now at for a great price. Quality stroller you can use until the baby is 4!)

Also YOU can give her a weekly massage no matter where you are.

Housekeeper is a great idea. So is a cook. Or a regular babysitter while you're in town for a once-a-week date (what time does baby go to sleep? I like to have our sitter come at 7:30 and go for a late dinner, becuase then I don't miss time with the kid).

Does she have family/friends that don't live near by? Send her to visit them, or bring them to visit you.

Get a family portrait done with a fancy baby photographer.

Make a photo book on shutterfly or similar site (you're going to keep some photos of the baby even if you're reducing clutter! the books are way less clutter than the photos). Alternatively, get photo albums and organize the pictures. If your wife is like me, this is something she wishes she had more time/energy/desire to do right and would love to have it done for her! Or with help.

Candlelight dinner; bubble bath; flowers.
posted by dpx.mfx at 5:49 AM on January 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

For me and my partner, activities we can do together are the best presents. I'm not athletic, so sports, hiking etc is mostly out, but I can do a mean urban walk. Especially if you're in or travelling to a historic or beautiful town, exploring on foot -- especially if it's off the beaten track -- is something all three of you can enjoy together.

One of the most fun things my partner and I have done is to make an effort to visit galleries, art incubators for craftspeople, etc in our town and when we're travelling, with the intent of buying something we really like and creatively mocking things we don't. It's fun, reasonably baby friendly and can be tailored into a year-long quest to find something she loves, and each trip can always end with coffee or a meal if babysitting is possible.
posted by tavegyl at 6:10 AM on January 5, 2010

Best answer: Yes. Housekeeper. Definitely.

Your title is a concern. Is she depressed and unhappy? Gifts won't replace a "pill" and you can't make her happy. You can be an excellent and supportive partner and parent, but she has to find happiness on her own. Don't take on that responsibility, it's a lost cause. I'm a wife and a parent. Receiving gifts, big or small, the year through is nice but gifts won't make me, or anybody truly, happy. A gift loses its charm quickly if the recipient is miserable. If she's fine, and feels loved when she receives gifts, please disregard the lecture.

I think hiring a photographer to come out to your house to take some family photos would be excellent. After dinner walks for talking and strolling the baby would be excellent for the entire family -- exercise, bonding, memories, and stress release. Make a commitment to do that and your year will be a whole lot better. If she likes jewelry and bags, but doesn't like surprises, go to the stores together and pick something out together.

The best things my partner does to increase my well-being: shows genuine interest in my day and activities, talks with me, pays genuine compliments, initiates sex and is into me, shows regular affection, dedication to parenting and shares parenting responsibilities equally, plays and spends lots of time with our children on a daily basis, loves our children, supports my hobbies and interests, is very kind to my parents and friends, cleans up after himself (and sometimes after me, too), plans date nights and impromptu lunch dates, cooks dinner when I don't feel like it and never complains if we eat scrambled eggs or frozen pizza for dinner. Basically, he's a decent and loving person and partner, and you probably are too. Good luck and happy new year.
posted by Fairchild at 6:10 AM on January 5, 2010 [16 favorites]

A lie-in!

Currently writing this with my 6 month old clinging to me...It was my birthday four days ago, and part of my gift was a few lies-in for a few days. I should add that it was the best part!

Give her the gift of blissful sleep every month, week, (day?!), and she will love you for it, and be a better Mum too.

Get her to express some milk, use pre-frozen milk, or dammit just use formula, and give her some guilt-free sleep time while you entertain your little angel for a couple of hours.
posted by dimon at 6:17 AM on January 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I once dated a beautiful woman who I was incredibly infatuated with. One time, after staying at her place, I had to leave later than her. I left a note taped to the phone thanking her for the wonderful weekend we just had and remarking that "the place seemed really big without her in it."

Several weeks later, I was visiting again. I saw the note still taped to the phone. I said "that's still on there? I'm amazed."

She replied: "that note has fallen off, been stepped on, you name it--but it always gets taped back on the phone."
posted by Ironmouth at 6:17 AM on January 5, 2010 [17 favorites]

Be super considerate.

If you see something that looks like it needs doing (clearing dishes, laundry, tidying, getting her a cup of tea), do it.

That speaks louder than any words.
posted by zia at 6:25 AM on January 5, 2010 [8 favorites]

Best answer: Pay a lot of attention to how she likes minor things and do them for her. I like really cold wine glasses, for example, for white wine, and Mr. Llama will put one in the freezer for me when I'm coming home if there's a bottle ready. Just generally 'getting things set up' for me makes a lot of things easier and I appreciate it because it's not just him making up stuff that he thinks I should like, but taking a minute to notice what I actually *do* like.

So it's the personalization part that's important, not just 'girls like flowers, so I brought her flowers' sort of mentality.

Everyone appreciates it when someone watches out for them.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:47 AM on January 5, 2010 [9 favorites]

Response by poster: Ironmouth - I had no idea you were such a romantic. :)

@Fairchild - my bad, the title mentioned pills because "help me please my wife" might have led people to suggest I order all those supplements I keep hearing about from the spammers. IYKWIM.

These are great ideas so far, and I'm pleased (kind of) to see that I already have a lot of them covered (lie-ins, photographers, house-keeper, I do nights with the wee one and so on).

So, please don't stop making suggestions!
posted by HopStopDon'tShop at 7:05 AM on January 5, 2010

Do you cook? If you don't, learn how. If you do, learn a new cuisine. Feeding people wonderful food is a great sign of caring. And while you're at it plant some herbs and flowers in pots indoors.
posted by mareli at 7:07 AM on January 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you two fit the stereotype of a woman who wishes her male partner would be willing to learn to swing dance with her, enroll the two of you in a local dance class, and maybe find some clubs that do swing. If not, well, nevermind.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 7:27 AM on January 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

5: she works part-time from home in a job that she doesn't find quite as challenging as the one she had before the baby.

I'm trying not to presume too much, but...have you talked to your wife about this? Are you sure, absolutely sure, that she is okay with this decision? Is there some timeframe for her getting back to a job she finds more challenging and/or intellectually satisfying? Because, ultimately, her happiness should come from within. All the massages and housekeeping in world may not keep her happy if she's feeling stuck (intellectually, emotionally, socially, whatever) at home with the baby.
posted by Jemstar at 7:33 AM on January 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I like more of what I already like, and also hate surprises.

Materially, one of my most-loved gifts ever from Christmas 2008 was a year's supply of my favourite lipstick (I only ever wear one - like it's my signature, but more boring than that). So, the luxury of having five tubes of the only lipstick I wear (a MAC shade) was SUCH a treat - being able to have one on my dresser and one in my purse and one by the front door and one in my top drawer waiting to be used and one at work... never having to reach far for it or run out and buy another if one went missing... and every time I put it on (and I still have one left!), I think of him and am glad.

Also, along the "look better, feel better" line - having a few good pieces of quality clothing that fit my new "mommy body" and lifestyle well made a huge difference. If she's working from home and no longer needs to dress for work, or if her form has changed even if she's lost the pregnancy weight, she might be feeling schlumpy. It's easy to get stuck in-between sizes and styles, and buy cheap temporary clothing or make-do. It's a constant, low-level irritation to have jeans that sag or shirts that are now too-short or to realize that old favourited don't work for you any more. For some bizarre reason, post-pregnancy, I couldn't (and six years later, still can't) bear turtlenecks! There went 90% of my wardrobe! The thing about jewellery and purses and lipstick is that they pretty much always fit - but it's daunting to deal with body image in a store with your kid in tow. So, not only a couple of new basics, but the time to really shop well for them along with an honest friend might be a good idea at this time.

Comfortingly, I like having my favourite "expensive" teas around, and I like it better when he brings it to me in my favourite cup. I like having a good supply of my favourite black gel pens that work, and tape where I need it and stamps that are pretty and handy and I like having either a couple of toonies or a loaded gift card for coffee so I can always grab something. ("Shouldn't I have this? Shouldn't I have this? Shouldn't I have all of this and passionate kisses?" Sorry - that song resonates even more the older I get.)

Emotionally, when our kid was seven months old, I liked time to myself with nothing and nobody touching me or needing anything from me. A sleep-in every Sunday morning that I could look forward to (with the removal of baby from the house, so that I wasn't even tempted to respond) after a long bath on a Saturday night, and the ability to concentrate on a good book at bedtime... they were better than surprises, because I could count on them. It was stressful to get myself to massages or facials or events or to be flexible - I just wanted my normal life made easier, and more rest. Sleep, beautiful sleep. So yes, what Fairchild mentioned - she just might want a little of her old life, her old self back and you can't give it to her.

She might also need time out with girlfriends. It's funny how some of them scatter when you have a kid. Or old co-workers, because they fall by the wayside too and it's good to keep in touch for business reasons sometimes. Can you take time off in the middle of the week some days, so she can get out for a lunch date? Or, maybe she wants to be able to work from home with better concentration once in a while - to catch up on some jobs that she can't focus on as they are. Or, time to exercise or in my case, to walk the dog and talk to other nice grown-ups not about babies and with no interruptions.

I can think of a million more things, because they're all fresh in my mind still, and I have great empathy for her (and you). But I'll also say, I resisted the pill for almost two years, and after a nice long chat with my doctor, found that just a little time on one gave me the emotional break I needed. It was like a little gift of patience, of time to breathe - time to regroup and return as the mom I wanted to be.

Lastly, she might want some commiseration, which is also something you can't quite give. I found a few "mommy blogs" around that time, and it was such a relief to know that there were others out there "like me" - a little disenchanted with the status quo while entirely adoring your barfing, teething, pooping kid. I could read them during late-night feedings or on little breaks. I've met five of my favourite people in my life that way - and found satisfying work through it too. Now, there's a whole world of them. I'll be glad to make recommendations if you'd like.
posted by peagood at 7:47 AM on January 5, 2010 [3 favorites]

I love it when my husband cleans out the car for me. Like detailing sort of clean. Driving around with a car full of clutter is unpleasant and I hate doing the cleaning myself.
posted by chiababe at 7:50 AM on January 5, 2010


a boyfriend once bought me a new awesome showerhead. Years later I still have it and have brought it from apartment to apartment. I can't say I think of him every time I use it, but I do think of him fondly after a specially nice hot shower.

Flowers. Buy flowers once a month or more often. This is not terribly expensive but it makes you home a more pleasant place. This is especially true during the winter.
posted by sciencegeek at 7:51 AM on January 5, 2010

Get her a gift certificate to a place like Nordstrom or a high end lingerie shop (eg Diane's in Vancouver, NOT Victoria's secret). She needs a large one, $200-$300 at least. Encourage her to get professionally fitted and buy some new everyday bras that actually fit. Watch your kid while she goes shopping alone. If she is still nursing, be prepared to shell out again when she stops, but it is worth shelling out now because good bras will definitely improve her life.
posted by crazycanuck at 7:54 AM on January 5, 2010

Apologies for the crudeness, but if she likes it, regular cunnilingus. That's my wife's answer to you anyway..
posted by wackybrit at 8:53 AM on January 5, 2010

Best answer: Success story:

A Mini Cooper S.

A friend of mine went online and ordered one for his wife for Christmas. He picked out all of the accesories that he thought she would like and had it delivered.

I doubt anyone would hate being surprised with a new car.
posted by Zambrano at 9:05 AM on January 5, 2010

Best answer: Fix things that are broken.
posted by musofire at 9:16 AM on January 5, 2010

I doubt anyone would hate being surprised with a new car.
I would, and for too many reasons to list. This so put me off, I can't remember what I was going to post.....

Right: always having the car filled with gas. My SO fills up the car, and if I'm driving into the city he will proactively go out and get gas, as well as start the car to be all warmed up before I leave.

Unload and put away the groceries (or do the grocery shopping).

When you travel, ask the concierge about local spa services, or stay at a spa hotel. If you can't go out to nice restaurants because of your little one, sometimes having nice take out in a hotel after the little one goes to bed can be nice. Take out doesn't have to be Chinese in paper buckets.

Great ideas above by the way! I'd love most of them.
posted by kch at 9:19 AM on January 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

A Mini Cooper S.

A friend of mine went online and ordered one for his wife for Christmas. He picked out all of the accesories that he thought she would like and had it delivered.

I doubt anyone would hate being surprised with a new car.

Don't do this unless your wife has absolutely NO IDEA how finances run in your household. Even then, don't do it.
posted by Lucinda at 9:24 AM on January 5, 2010

Response by poster: @peagood - wow, what a great answer (not to diminish from the other excellent answers here). thanks so much for the info, I think you've got our situation figured out. And a bit of Lucinda Williams thrown in just for fun, excellent work! Appropriately, your suggestions are all hard and challenging for me and will really require me to put her first. Good job! I think I need to find some dads that want to hang out with their kids...

@musofire - double points to you for pointing out something that a) she really appreciates, b) I'm crap at doing and c) seems to kind of turn her on when I finally do get around to it.

@Zambrano - that's hilarious. (But like others have said, it totally wouldn't work.)

@Salvor - yes, yes, yes!!
posted by HopStopDon'tShop at 9:53 AM on January 5, 2010

If my husband "surprised me with a new car" I would clock him. How nice that it worked for your friends, Zambrano, but the idea that it would be universally desired by all humans is miles off.

HopStopDon'tShop, why are you asking us what your wife would like? We don't know. You know who does? HER. Ask her.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:03 AM on January 5, 2010

Ironmouth - I had no idea you were such a romantic. :)

That's the thing--it seemed like just a regular old note. But she loved it.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:18 AM on January 5, 2010

HopStopDon'tShop, why are you asking us what your wife would like? We don't know. You know who does? HER. Ask her.

Good point, definitely he should ask her, but I think it's great that HopStopDon'tShop is asking others too because not all women know what they want, or how to say so. Often that's part of why it's so great that he's doing this since after job, body and mom changes might put some women into new territory in terms of meeting or knowing their own needs. Although I would totally love most of the suggestions on this thread (except for the new car, and yes, I'd clock him too), I might not have thought of them myself were I so fortunate to have my SO ask me.
posted by kch at 10:19 AM on January 5, 2010

I love it when my husband cleans out the car for me. Like detailing sort of clean. Driving around with a car full of clutter is unpleasant and I hate doing the cleaning myself.

I will second this. Everyone loves it when their car is clean and free of dust and dirt and used kleenex and smudgy windows. Everyone. And no one wants to do it.

It's one of those ordinary little things that make you feel like your whole world is a little bit more together.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 10:34 AM on January 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: @ Sidhedevil - have no fear, I'll be asking her as well, and I'll also have to check that she's game for a lot of this stuff and guage whether they actually mean anything to her or not. It's just that I'm asking here as well as the hive mind has ideas that she won't come up with or just won't feel comfortable asking. And let's face it, there's a huge difference between me offering to take the baby away for the whole day etc and her Asking me to do it - then it's not a gift, it's a favour. Different kettle of fish...
posted by HopStopDon'tShop at 11:09 AM on January 5, 2010

Best answer: Thanks so much for the compliment - it made my day! Possibly my week! (I'm having a lousy week!) It really hit home, too. And it, and Lucinda, made me think of one more thing:

"..a comfortable bed that won't hurt my back." One of the things I do that makes my husband very happy is give him Operation Awesome Bed every night (not p*rny, I swear!). He is hard-working, busy besides, a creature of habit and was very possibly written by Nick Hornby. He has a bedtime, abides by it, and likes to read his book (alternating genres in specific rotations) for approximately fifteen minutes after it before falling asleep and dropping off with a thud. He looks gleefully upon our well-made bed upon coming home from work each day, and ticks off increments of activity until he can get there. And one of the things he does is help me wake up in a good mood every morning (also not p*rnily). And since a past question shows quality and frequency and duration of sleep was an issue... one weekend of "fluffing" your bed could do wonders.

First, though we have a cheap mattress, for now - we flip, vacuum and rotate it regularly and it has a nice mattress cover that gets washed often. If your Princess spends time in your bed, get a waterproof one! But, last year we decided that until our relationship can withstand an afternoon in a mattress store, we'd get a memory-foam mattress topper (Ikea). Things were immediately better. Now, in winter, we have added a down featherbed that I found at a thrift store for $17 and had cleaned, and it is HEAVENLY. On top of that, we always have nice clean good-smelling sheets and a fluffy duvet and sometimes warm wooly blankets (a wool blanket under the fitted sheet is also sometimes nice if the a down featherbed is too hot). New pillows (and we always use protectors) are on the list too. But every morning I make the bed (after letting it air while I take our daughter to school), so it's nice to get into at night. We both work to keep the bedroom really tidy (it's the only room in the house with minimal decor) and there isn't anything belonging to the kid in it aside from the copy of Bambi's Children we read when she wants a cuddle. We have a good rotation of proper, clean pajama suits so that going to bed in them is like wearing a uniform to a job. No dirty feet or sweatpants worn to mop the bathroom floor allowed in our happy place! The only problem with that is how it's really hard for me to leave the bed. But it's not for regimented man!

So, pretty much every morning, he gets up a little earlier than I do, does his morning ablutions and makes me a great cup of coffee, and I follow its scent down the stairs like Snoopy floating along behind his food bowl's scent. That's one of the best ways we're really, really nice to each other and I can see us being withered and white-haired and still doing it. "Begin as you want to end."

I also like musofire's idea of fixing broken things. I'd suggest hiring someone for a day or two do go down the "Honey Do" list, freeing up your time for things of different quality that may be more useful - and personally, I like being able to micromanage without emotions getting in the way, and to kvetch with my husband about someone else's work possibly not done to specifications rather than to have more small things like crooked weatherstripping to resent about the otherwise wonderful but not too handy mrgood. I'd rather mrgood do what he's excellent at - playing with the kid, making money with freelance work, giving me time to get errands run without a kid - than have him touch up paint or shopvac the cobwebs off the basement/laundry room ceiling or the million other things I'd love to boss someone around about.
posted by peagood at 11:31 AM on January 5, 2010 [9 favorites]

And let's face it, there's a huge difference between me offering to take the baby away for the whole day etc and her Asking me to do it

Thank you for recognizing this. *That's* why it's great to be asking others for more ideas.

p.s. You can get a masseuse that comes to the house. After trying that I seriously don't know why anyone GOES OUT for a massage!
posted by FuzzyVerde at 12:00 PM on January 5, 2010

Nthing all those little things - cleaning the car, bathroom, changing the sheets....

And also, if she loves jewelry, take her into a store she likes and watch carefully and then go back and buy the thing she really wants but maybe thinks is too extravagant.
posted by MiffyCLB at 12:21 PM on January 5, 2010

Response by poster: @peagood (again) - that's a pretty cool thing you and mr. good have going with that bed routine, I'm very impressed and very happy for mr. good (although I prefer the other moniker you gave him: Regimented Man). Mrs. Hop loves her bed and I could probably do with some better pyjamas, so that'll go on the list (a gift for both of us!) and there's a certain bed accessory she mentioned the other day too... (also not porny, I assure you). You've also given me another idea with your mention of coffee. You are a veritable fount of great ideas.
posted by HopStopDon'tShop at 12:52 PM on January 5, 2010

Best answer: Last Saturday Mr. Shoes sent me to the movies by myself. It was wonderful. I knew that the kids were in good hands, I didn't have to get up and take anyone to the bathroom during the film, and I got to see exactly the movie I wanted with no compromise.

Then when I came home I found that Mr. Shoes had spent the two hours doing housework. I nearly cried.
posted by TooFewShoes at 1:21 PM on January 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Pay attention to what pleases her or interests her. Little things, like how she takes her tea or what brand makeup she wears. I use this to find things to bring home to my wife, like an ad for a sale at her favorite nursery, or news of a book release by one of her authors I don't particularly follow, or even just a coupon for the gum she chews. Something that says, "While I was out doing my thing, I thought of you."

Find when the low and high points of her daily rhythm occur, be there to meet her with some perceptive, thoughtful support. I know to let my wife be in the morning to read her paper (tho I am an up-and-at-'em type) and that she needs me to take over in the late afternoon, when her energy wanes (tho I just got home from work and am tired too.)

But don't eat sleep drink her every pleasure. That quickly gets boring and cloying. Have your own life and interests. That way you'll have something to include her in. Be passionate and ambitious about something and let her see your enthusiasm. Share your inner thoughts. Let her in.

I find it is a winner to simply be a great dad. My wife says she falls in love with me each time she sees me playing and laughing with our daughters.

It's helpful to find out which love languages she prefers. Sounds like she is not a "Little Gifts" type. Mine is and "Acts of Service" type. She always says, "Forget the flowers; Fix the toilet." For me, housework is foreplay.

Another hard-earned lesson -- it's not enough to simply help around the house. Every mother has "The List" in her head. If you ask her how you can help, she has to look down "The List" and think of something for you to do. Then you become like one of her children. But if you assume responsibility for a big chunk of "The List," the part that she maybe feels less capable about or most stressed about, you take a big chunk of stress away from her.

And fixing stuff (or at least arranging to have it fixed) is classic Happy Wife material.

There you go. Celebrating 22 years of marriage this Saturday, four children, each year happier than the last.
posted by cross_impact at 1:46 PM on January 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

1. TIFFANY'S. no girl wouldn't love getting something in that tiffany blue box. you said she likes jewelry well that is THEE jewelry to get. random trinkets are out? get one GREAT thing from tiffany's.

2. massages. offer her a massage from YOU on a regular basis. get her a professional massage maybe 3 or 4 times this year.

3. she works from home? call home lots to see how things are going. if she ever seems like she's having an overwhelming day, say you have to go home. come home, take the baby and send her out for a pedicure.

4. hug her. every day. and say i love you. thats really the best thing but the most simple and easiest thing to do.

props to you for being awesome. i hope my fiance is posting this 5 years from now.
posted by mittenbex at 3:40 PM on January 5, 2010

Response by poster: @TooFew - that's a great, simple idea. It shall be implemented immediately!

@mittenbex - yup, the blue box is always a winner, thanks for reminding me. :) your number 3 is a good one, I'll have to keep that at the back of my mind. And thanks for the compliment, but of course the hard part is putting this all into action. I've actually got a list though and the specific ideas will get organised so they're spread out through the year and the more behaviour-related ones... well, I'll just have to keep reading them every day and making small adjustments to my attitude and demeanour and general behaviour and, hopefully, by the end of the year, I'll be the best husband I can be.

@kathrineg - letting her have her way? What? Heh heh, you're right, and you've nailed me on that one I must confess. I will do so, starting immediately. Thanks.

@cross_impact - congratulations! That's awesome (your 22 years and happiness chart I mean). And you're totally right about The List, I should be more proactive about that kind of stuff. Thanks for the link to the love languages, oddly enough I just ordered the book yesterday, but now I can go and check out the website, sweet.
posted by HopStopDon'tShop at 4:53 AM on January 6, 2010

Whoever up there said that your waking up in a good mood would be helpful is 100% correct. When my husband wakes up bitchy, it wrecks my whole morning. So yes!! Do that!!
posted by dpx.mfx at 5:14 AM on January 6, 2010

Also, the most awesome thing my husband can say to me is "Go back to sleep, I'll take the baby."

I honestly sleep better in that hour than I have the whole rest of the night. Something about knowing that he is up and taking care of things allows me to really sleep deeply instead of the subconscious listening for the kids.
posted by TooFewShoes at 6:09 AM on January 6, 2010

As you go through the list, listen to your wife carefully and she will leave clues as to the things she really appreciates. You may have to listen carefully though. Clues as to what she really appreciates may be subtle--especially if she likes the little things. Keep tailoring your list according to the things that she really appreciates as opposed to what others might appreciate.

For example, I am not a fancy jewelry wearer or admirer. A gift by Mr. Murrey of the Tiffany blue box bauble would be fine, but not nearly as appreciated as the fact that Mr. Murrey makes the bed every morning (a job I hate, but am oh-so-happy to have completed).

But to help you along with specific ideas, here are a more few things Mr. Murray does that really make me happy:

Task-Oriented items:
Taking the trash out of the house and out to the street
Picking up the dog poop
Keeping his cluttering "tendencies" to a minimum
Keeping the pets' food and water bowls full
Running errands that I hate--mailing packages, depositing checks in the bank, grocery shopping
Feeding Baby Murrey in the middle of the night

Emotional-Oriented items:

Recognizing and expressing appreciation for the things that I do (i.e. cleaning the litter boxes, laundry, general housekeeping)
Listening to my needs when I express them and not judging them (i.e. having difficulty adjusting to being a mom)
Encouraging and assisting me to get my needs met (i.e. watching Baby Murrey so that I can have a life outside of motherhood)
Pleasantly doing most things that I ask of him (i.e. not grumbling or complaining or rolling his eyes when I asked him -- after a long day at work-- to help me cut some wood I needed for a project I was working on)

But one of the greatest things he does is simply asking me (like you asked here) if there is anything he can do "better" to make me happy.
posted by murrey at 9:49 AM on January 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

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