Every day is filled with missed opportunities. In my experience as a husband, and in my conversations with other husbands, I’ve learned that most of us are hard-working people in most aspects of our lives—except for in our marriages. Once we hit a certain point in marriage, usually sometime after kids, we go on autopilot.
1. A Meaningful Morning Greeting
What is your interaction like with your wife in the morning? How we begin and end our days creates rhythms of life. Choose to begin your interactions with your wife with either a verbal or physical connection.
2. Everyday Expressions of GratitudeNotice what your wife does regularly for you and thank her for it.
I noticed something the other day. I made dinner (which I probably do about once a week) and when we sat down to eat, my kids said, ‘Thanks, Dad; this was great.” It made me feel good. But you know what? My wife makes dinner the other six nights a week and no one ever acknowledges it. You and your wife likely have settled into routines. Notice what your wife does regularly for you and thank her for it.
3. Unexpected Expressions of Your Love for Her
This is less about missed opportunities and more about opportunities we could’ve made but didn’t. Remember how when you were dating you’d do things just because, to let her know you were thinking about her? When is the last time you did that? Could be a gift, could be a note, could be a text. It doesn’t have to be something big, just something unexpected.
4. Having Fun with Her
When you’re young and energetic and flirtatious, playfulness is often a big part of your relationship. As life gets full and difficult and you get tired, you often lose that playful edge. As with most missed opportunities, we don’t do it because it takes focused attention. But with playfulness comes unexpected joy. We don’t play games or go for bike rides or explore the world around us because it’s useful, but because it’s fun. And we all could use more fun in our lives and relationships.
5. Facing Conflict When You’d Rather Avoid It
It might sound counterintuitive, but fighting creates opportunities for connection. Generally, when we argue, we’re in defensive mode. But what if the next time you and your wife disagreed, you decided you valued connecting with her more than being right? I’m not saying you throw in the towel on every decision; I’m simply suggesting that perhaps hearing what she is saying is more important than listening for the “weakness” in her argument so you can win the battle. Sometimes victories are really missed opportunities.
6. Making More of an Effort Than She Expects
Look, I’ve been married for over 20 years. This means that on plenty of anniversaries, we just didn’t feel like making it a big deal. But one thing I’ve learned is this: No matter how OK both of you are with passing on celebrating together, it’s bad for connection. Every year you make it through together is worth celebrating. Don’t pass it up. You don’t need to drop lots of money, but you always should do something.
7. A Loving Evening Routine
What’s the last thing you do every night? Whether you’re home or away on business, you should connect in some way with your wife. If you’re home, a simple kiss or conversation before one or both of you goes to bed is an important rhythm. If you’re away, make it a video chat or phone call. Just as beginning with connection is key, so is ending. Missed rhythms are missed opportunities.
Sound off: What other missed opportunities exist for you to connect with your wife?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your wife and ask, “What things do I do that communicate I love you?”