You are about to get schooled.
By Samantha Rodman Whiten — Written on May 21, 2023
Photo: KOTOIMAGES/ Shutterstock
After pointing out how your husband or wife is very different now compared to how they acted when you first started dating, I will now give you six little ways to help you start to like your spouse more.
You are about to get schooled.
Here are 6 ways to start liking your spouse more:
1. Stop comparing your spouse to other people’s spouses
Here’s the worst thing to do:
Your friend: “My husband just bought me a new car!”
You: “Oh yeah, well mine just bought me a blender! Ha ha! Yeesh, your husband sounds awesome.”
Here’s what you just did: (a) made your friend feel awesome (b) sabotaged your marriage by making yourself focus on your husband’s disappointing qualities (here, maybe he’s not Mr. Grand Gesture).
You can make your friend feel awesome by saying, “Wow, that’s so awesome!” You can skip the counterpoint with your own sucky husband.
Believe me, these little comments will add up in your mind and eventually you will think of your spouse as a tremendous black hole of suck.
2. Stop thinking about how your spouse “used to” act
You know what, you used to act a lot differently too.
If you finally read Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples like I keep telling you to, you will see that nobody intentionally acts better at the start of a relationship.
I mean, you do, but you’re not like, “Hey, I’m going to pretend to be fun-loving and spontaneous and not Type A to really screw with my potential partner, and then once I have ensnared them, I will revert to being shrewish and rigid.” You’re more like, “I am so happy! I’m in love! I’m finally able to relax and have fun, this is awesome and will be how I am forever in this awesome relationship!” (Read more about imago theory.)
So you and your spouse both acted a lot better, either entirely unconsciously or with the best of intentions, and now you’re both annoyed and feel like there was a bait and switch. So STOP fixating on how they “used to” act. It gets you NOWHERE.
3. Do as many nice things as you possibly can
Especially if you don’t want to, because it’s outside your comfort zone.
So, have more sex, or talk more. Think outside the box. Buy your wife a commissioned portrait of her cat if that’s going to make her smile. Or draw one yourself. Or bake your husband a cake and put tickets to a football game inside it. Or a gift certificate for oral sex. In a Ziploc bag, obviously. You get the drift.
If you do more nice things, your spouse will feel happier, because you seem more committed and invested, and then your spouse is going to be more committed and invested, and then everyone wins. And you like them more because they start acting better.
4. Spend time together without the kids doing new things
You say your spouse sucks, but maybe they just suck when you’re in the same old horrible rut. Maybe there are still some new things you can enjoy with your spouse.
Try some, without the kids. And while you’re there, act as nice as you used to when you were dating. If this doesn’t help your spouse to act his or her best, I’d be surprised.
5. Tell your spouse directly how you feel, using “I” statements
Stop saying passive-aggressive things like, “Must be nice!” when you see your husband watching his second hour of football while you Swiffer, change the baby, and do crafts with the kids.
Instead, say “I feel upset that you’re not helping me out more.” And follow this with…
6. Ask for what you want, pleasantly
“Can you please come here and help Madison finish this pumpkin craft while I start dinner?” Delivered with a smile.
If your spouse says no, go back to step #5 and give him another I statement, like “I’m frustrated that you’re not helping me.” For guys, this can be, “Hey, can we have sex tonight? I love you and I miss you.”
Pleasant is key. It may often be that your spouse has no idea how important something is to you because you don’t tell them directly and state how you feel. Give them the benefit of the doubt and see if they will respond if they know exactly what you want and why you want it.
Well, that’s it. If you try these six things, you will likely be liking your spouse at least a little bit more by the end of the week. Baby steps.
More for You:
Zodiac Signs That Are Terrible At Relationships (And Why)20 Little Things Women Do That Guys *Secretly* LoveThe Perfect Age To Get Married, According To Science5 Little Ways Men Wish They Could Be Loved — Every Single Day
Dr. Samantha Rodman Whiten, aka Dr. Psych Mom, is a clinical psychologist in private practice and the founder of DrPsychMom. She works with adults and couples in her group practice Best Life Behavioral Health.
This article was originally published at Dr.Psych Mom. Reprinted with permission from the author.