Almost 15 years on from getting married, this morning as I was out running and I bumped into my husband who was also running. He looked so happy, and that made me happy. It made me think about the whole idea that a happy man is someone who has a happy wife, right? Well, what about the other way around? (NB - In case you are wondering we run separately in the same area - my husband is a lot taller and faster than me so I don't want to hold him back, and he doesn't want me to run so fast that I trip over myself so we go at our own paces.)
My husband and I had an 'arranged marriage.' What this means in real terms is that we were introduced through friends! The nature of the Muslim pre-marriage requirements means no meeting (in person or electronically!) without a third person present and no physical contact. That means that as someone who was 28 when I decided to take the idea of getting married seriously I kind of knew what I didn’t want as much as I knew what I wanted. More about that another time! Back to running….
Early in 2016 I was trying to encourage my husband to start running and every time I asked (like every time for the last 15 years!) he said 'I ran enough when I was in the army.' Basically, it was me that needed the encouragement - I have found that every time we start an exercise routine and support each other we are more successful and this was my request for subtle help :-)
This year when we were living in Essaouira (an expanding fishing village in Morocco on the Eastern coast of Atlantic Ocean) I started the Couch to 5k Program with my son. Every morning after fajr prayers we would go out to run on the beach. A few weeks later my husband and daughter then joined us and they would walk. Then a few weeks on from that they decided to join us in running. I have to say it really surprised me but I was so pleased. There was no encouragement from me that time. It was a real life case of things will happen at the right time.
So here we are some time on from that and my husband loves running, or at least he hasn't stopped! And today when I saw him he looked so happy and that made me happy. Relationships are two ways, right? It's as important for a wife to work on and in her marriage as it is for the husband - imagine what happens when you both do that, right? Let me be honest here - this is something that I am still working on. But here is the thing - someone wise once said “success isn't owned, it’s rented and the rent is due every single day.” And I think it's exactly the same with happiness, contentment and satisfaction in marriage.
So what are the 5 steps I feel that you can take to have a happy husband?
1. Know who you are. Be honest with what you like and don't like.
2. Express yourself. If you have something to say then say it, say it kindly but make sure you don't hide how you feel.
3. Be encouraging. The last thing someone wants is to be with someone who is always negative. Encourage your husband (or wife) with what it is they want to do. (I'm going to write a separate post just about this because I think it is that important).
4. Find out what they enjoy. Sometimes you do things for the person you love even if you don't enjoy them. For example, as an ex design student I love art and early on in my marriage my husband and I would go to art galleries. I soon realised he didn't enjoy it so I go to art galleries with someone else. But I discovered that my husband likes going to the cinema, going for walks and eating out, so guess what we do together? The things that he enjoys.
5. Give them space. Notice how we don't run together. We are in the same environment but we are not together. Sometimes we all need our space and being on top of each other the whole time is not helpful. Every now and then we will even go out and spend the whole day by ourselves, it really helps to build bonds because what is it they say... 'absence makes the heart grow fonder.'
I'd love to know your tips for making your husband (or wife) happier. Please share them below.