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How to Be the Husband She Craves

Sure, sex is great, but if you really want to make her smile, try these things instead

Woman with blonde hair, holding a drink and looking at man on balcony
Buck Studio/Gallery Stock

If your wife had to say “I do” all over again, would she?

Don’t worry if you don’t immediately answer, “Of course!” The longer you’ve been married, the more it can feel like you’re both just going through the motions. She still loves you, but does she still get butterflies in her stomach when she thinks of you? Does she still grab your butt at parties and whisper, “Let’s get out of here?” Are you still able to surprise her?

I asked my girlfriends, many of whom have been married for longer than there’s been an internet, what their husbands do that never fails to make them swoon. They all said many of the same things — and it’s behavior that also makes me, a single heterosexual woman in her 50s, weak in the knees about a man.

Don’t be one of those guys who throw up their hands and say, “Women are a mystery!” We’re not. We’re simple creatures. You’re thinking of a Rubik’s Cube. You can solve us in a matter of seconds, if you just pay attention.

Listen to our “that guy was such a jerk” story and don’t offer solutions

It’s no secret that women just want a partner who’ll listen. But we also want someone who will listen to our problems and resist the urge to tell us how we could fix them. We know that’s how the male brain operates — you’re problem solvers. But when we tell you about the jerk from work who talked down to us, or the woman we thought was our best friend who recently betrayed us, we don’t need to hear how we should’ve handled the situation.

An effective diffusion technique is the "jerk destroyer" method. We just want you to make fun of the guy who insulted us. Show us you’re on our side. I recently dealt with a condescending creep at an auto repair shop, and when I told a male friend (someone else’s husband), he called the guy “an eighth-grade dropout.” I remember thinking she was lucky to have him as a husband.

Take a road trip without her

Listen, we love you. We really do. We love you so much, we want to remember what it feels like to miss you. You know those annoying people who always say, “I’m so lucky, I married my best friend?” Well, you know what best friends do occasionally? They give each other space. They spend a weekend without their bestie and don’t constantly check in. (“Are you OK? You seem mad. Are you mad at me?”)

Being married is hard. There’s this other person who’s always there, looking at you, being needy. Sometimes it’s nice to have a break. A few hours, a few days when you answer to nobody but yourself, and there’s not this dude in the house asking, “Are we out of toilet paper? Would you scratch my back? Have you seen my shoes?” Give her that gift by taking a guys-only trip with other dads or going on a weekend canoe trip or even heading out for a night — whatever. Just be out of the house and inaccessible. Better yet, encourage her to take a girls’ weekend with her friends. I guarantee you she won’t come back wishing she was single again. She’ll come back with stories and secrets that she promised her girlfriends she’d never tell a soul, but of course she’s telling you.

Make us laugh (and try to stay positive)

One of the most insane gender stereotypes that doesn’t dissipate as we age is that women will always be more attracted to muscles than a sense of humor. I’m sorry, but it wasn’t true in high school — I always went for the guy who could make me laugh over the guy who could bench-press me — and it’s not true today. There’s actual research proving that laughter is hugely important to a healthy marriage. You know what there isn’t a study proving? That the most satisfied wives are married to guys who like to whip off their shirts and say, “Who has tickets to the gun show?”

I’m not saying that if you’re funny you can skip the gym. But if there are two guys, and they’re both equally attractive and have great jobs, women will always, always pick the funny one over the guy with a six-pack. It’s not even a question.

Humor is also a survival tactic. The longer you’ve been married, the less funny it gets. You’ve got mortgages to pay, kids to send to wildly expensive colleges, aging parents to take care of, and our own bodies that seem to get a little creakier each year. But this is when laughter is more important than ever. If you made her laugh back when you were still courting her, it’s just flirtation. But make her laugh during a day when it feels like the world is on her shoulders, and it’s like giving her a full-on orgasm.

That’s the secret, fellas. After 40, our G-spot is now our funny bone. Learn how to find it, and how to make it purr with pleasure.