Most guys are familiar with the honey-do list: those little (and sometimes not-so-little) projects that your wife wants you to tackle. Even if you’re not particularly handy, taking one of them on communicates your love to her. But she has another, equally important, list she may never have shared with you: the honey-don’t list.
These are seven things she never wants you to do. If you avoid them, you’ll be strengthening your relationship by meeting her needs just as surely as if you were retiling the bathroom or fixing that leaky faucet.
1. Don’t solve my problems.
I’m still learning that Susan is more concerned that I listen and empathize rather than offer a solution. My natural tendency, from my background as an attorney, is to ask lots of questions so I can get to the bottom of things. But Susan wants my heart more than my head. From my own growth in this area, here are 4 Ways to be an Intentional Listener. Be a comfort, not a coach.
2. Don’t dismiss my feelings.
Given our tendency to want to ‘fix’ things, we men can make the mistake of downplaying our wives’ emotions.Given our tendency to want to “fix” things, we men can make the mistake of downplaying our wives’ emotions. Trivializing them as “irrational” only adds further hurt. We need to learn to tap into how our wives are feeling. That requires real listening—which is more than being able to repeat the words she used. It’s hearing what she’s saying beneath them and reading her body language.
3. Don’t go quiet on me.
As someone who’s always got lots of questions and opinions, this usually isn’t an issue for me, but I know it is for many guys. They think that saying nothing is better than saying the wrong thing. Not true. Silence communicates disinterest; engaging your wife tenderly, even if you are not exactly sure what she needs from you, tells her that you care enough to step up and try to be there for her.
4. Don’t take me for granted.
A healthy marriage is based on mutual sacrifice and service, each giving to the other and not taking one another for granted. Let her know you’re grateful; show appreciation for what she does. A note or text expressing gratitude for the folded clothes means a lot. Remember these Two Powerful Words That Can Transform Your Relationship.
5. Don’t take your eyes off me.
You won her heart, but now you need to keep it. She wants to know that she is still the one, that she still turns your head. So continue to romance and pursue her. This Date Night Checklist might be helpful.
6. Don’t let go of my hand.
In the busyness of everyday life, it’s easy to let the small things fall by the wayside, especially when there are kids in the house. But those little gestures of affection mean a whole lot, especially ones in public that show others, “She’s mine.” Kiss her hello and goodbye, hold her hand, open doors. Be a gentleman. Here are some more thoughts on How Being a Chivalrous Man Can Strengthen Your Marriage.
7. Don’t give up on me.
Every marriage faces its challenges at some stage—money, parenting, aging parents, sex, work pressures, a sense of distance or dissatisfaction. She wants to know that you are committed to her—to us—and that you are going to get through whatever challenges come your way.
Sound off: Which things on this list are the biggest challenges for you and why?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are some things you don’t want me to do?”