How To Be A Good Husband

Be strong. The most important thing for a husband is to show strength--both mental and physical. Your wife needs to know that she can rely on you in times of stress, need, and insecurity, and you will need to be mentally disciplined and physically strong for her. A soothing word and a firm but gentle hug can often solve more problems than an army of therapists.

Be a man of your word. Again, your wife needs to know that she can count on you; your children do as well. When you say you'll be there, be there; when you say you will do it, do it. Wives and children need a stable, reliable man to anchor them and provide a safe harbor in their otherwise stormy lives. They also deserve such a man: you did make a promise to them, after all, when you married her. Now keep your word.

Grow up. Your family is depending on you--not just financially, not just psychologically, but also morally and intellectually. They need a living example of a good life; they need the guidance and inspiration of a mature, upright man whose course is true. Show your wife that you are a good husband by being one; show your children how to be a good man by being one. If you are old enough to have a wife or children, you are a man, not a boy. Act like it.

Be responsible. Do not blame others for your failures and do not expect others to do your work for you. Consider how your actions will affect your wife and children, consider their interests, needs, and desires, and only then consider your own desires. Remember that your happiness is bound up with theirs: so making them happy will make you happy.

Some don'ts. Don't be overly emotional. A man's strength and integrity come from his ability to discipline himself, and to face life's challenges not by feeling sorry for himself or by complaining about his lot but by getting down to work. Don't be silly. A man may laugh and enjoy life, but he should also be capable of being serious--otherwise his wife may fear that he will not be able to lead the family through the dark forests that inevitably lie ahead. Don't forget to plan ahead. A central part of a husband's virtue is prudence: he must take the long view, regularly examine his family's trajectory, and make the small corrections now that will lead to the great accomplishments in the future.

Remember that your wife is not a man--so don't treat her like one. She is not coarse or hard, and although she is strong, she does not want to be the sole source of strength, order, or discipline in the family. She will let you be the "head of the household," but you had better earn and be worthy of that trust. She is a friend to you, so you must be a friend to her. That means listening to her far more than you think you need to. But she is not just a friend: she is much more than that. Treat her every day like the most important single person in your life. She is, after all.

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