Give consideration to your man’s career

We live in a changed time where men can be both fathers and have a career. It’s a balancing act, sure. My husband Bill and I discussed at length his proposal for returning to work after the birth of our first child. I was skeptical at first, but agreed that as long as he was able to keep the house in a functional state of cleanliness, it might work out.

In hindsight, I’m glad I had such an open mind. He seems to get a real kick out of being back in the workforce! It’s nice for him to get out of the house and have some social interaction; plus, there are perks for me as well. He tended to ‘fill up’ on unspoken conversation when he was just staying home with the baby. This is not the ideal situation for any woman, who yearns for peace and quiet when she returns from a long, hard day at work. Having Bill go back to his job has done wonders for our relationship in this regard (although we’ve actually decided now that it would be best if he cut down to three days a week, just so he’s less stressed about fitting in all the child/household stuff as well).

This little experiment has taught me that it is possible for men to have it all — to juggle the demands of raising a family and maintaining a career. It’s not for every partnership, but it’s worth considering, especially if he starts getting a bit naggy about it.

Laugh at his jokes

Easier said than done! Just the other day, I gave what I assumed was the appropriate degree of chuckle in response to something Bill said, and it turned out that his comment was not intended as a joke. (Incidentally, it’s good to practice transitioning from a laugh to a cough for use in exactly this type of situation.)

According to Science, there’s a gland (from memory, located at the base of the neck??) from which humor is secreted. There’s a good reason why men simply aren’t funny, and that is that the development of this gland is dependent on the presence of two X-chromosomes. Please don’t blame your man for being hugely dull. It’s not his fault. Encourage the poor thing! With practice, he might one day stumble onto a pun.

Compliment him

Men crave validation from women. This even goes for ones you haven’t met. If you see an attractive male out in public, give him a hearty wolf-whistle and watch his whole face light up with joy.

Men in relationships tend to get a bit snippy when their partners don’t notice a new tie or haircut. Do try to keep a look out for these things, and if you like what you see, let him know! Something as simple as a well-timed “you smell nice” will remind him that he’s special.

It’s important that you keep track of the frequency with which you hand out compliments. I personally find an Excel spreadsheet is useful for this. Sometimes, you might find that you get a better result when you withhold the compliment. A man’s complacency is, after all, the result of too much carrot and not enough stick (and before the PC-brigade jumps on that, I mean ‘stick’ in a purely metaphorical sense — I’m not a bastard).

Communicate openly about any disagreements

It’s fine if your man wants to negotiate for some independence, but make sure that his other, more useful traits aren’t being forfeited in the process. Consider reining him in a bit if things start to slacken in the areas of home upkeep, personal grooming, or wife-directed attentiveness. It’s important to keep a dialogue open about such things, so that you can communicate your thoughts and he can listen.

Occasionally, he might think that he has a complaint of his own. Learn to take this in your stride. Suggest a nap, or buy him a trinket.

Remind him how good it is

Females and males are naturally suited to different roles. On the one hand, females are able to carry human life, while on the other, males are quite tall. One gender isn’t better than the other — we’re just different! It’s been a long time coming, but we can all agree now that we’ve finally arrived in an era of gender equality. I for one think it’s great. You go, guys!