The expectations for a good wife have evolved from the 1950s to the 2020s. In the past, a good wife was defined by having dinner ready upon her husband’s return, maintaining clean and well-behaved children, and prioritizing her husband’s needs over her own.
In the 2020s, the concept of a good wife has undergone significant changes. A good wife today is characterized by independence, the ability and willingness to work, and being her own individual within a partnership with her husband, rather than being owned by him. While there are various ways a woman can contribute to being a good wife today, it’s crucial that none of these actions make her feel uncomfortable or subordinate to her husband.
What exactly is a good wife?
What may be perceived as a good wife varies among individuals; it differs based on personal views and is not bound by rigid rules. While there are generalizations, it’s crucial to recognize that being a good wife is subjective, and happiness and authenticity are paramount.
A good wife is one who respects both her husband and herself. However, certain outdated notions suggest a wife should strictly adhere to her husband’s rules, understand his needs, and maintain privacy about any marital issues, along with always looking her best—an approach reminiscent of past decades.
Online discussions about the qualities of a good wife often include sharing beliefs, selflessness, attractiveness, and unconditional love. However, these traits are not absolute requirements for being a good wife; instead, they may contribute to an unhealthy dynamic and are often more indicative of the qualities of a good partner.
A good wife is a woman who loves her husband and feels comfortable and free in the marriage
Successful and content marriages can exist even when couples hold different religious beliefs. The idea of selflessness and unconditional love can be unrealistic and potentially harmful. Such expectations place undue pressure on women, setting standards that are not prerequisites for being a good wife.
Being a good wife involves mutual effort and expectations. It’s a reciprocal relationship where a woman strives to be a good wife, expecting the same from her husband. Demanding and offering respect is crucial in this dynamic. There will be days when a good wife requires more attention or space, just as she would be there for her husband on challenging days. Authenticity and honesty are key attributes of a good wife.
Ultimately, what makes a good wife is subjective and varies for each marriage. While qualities like respect, loyalty, and kindness are generally valued, the specifics differ based on the unique dynamics and needs of the relationship.
How to be a good wife – The things that make all the difference
Nobody is flawless. Even someone as revered as Mother Teresa may or may not have been perfect; it’s challenging to ascertain. So, what defines a good wife?
If you’re seeking guidance on how to be a good wife, it’s likely that you may feel you fall short. However, this is highly improbable. Your interest in understanding the qualities of a good wife demonstrates your positive intentions and eagerness to improve.
Take comfort in the fact that your concern itself makes you quite remarkable.
In reality, the primary advice on how to be a good wife is to embrace life with openness and navigate it as it unfolds. Nevertheless, if this suggestion doesn’t provide all the insights you seek, here are a few additional tips on how to be a good wife, as per your own interpretation.
1. Take a breath
Managing the chaos when kids are energetic, the house is disorganized, you’re running late for a meeting, and your husband seems uninterested in your challenges can be overwhelming. In such situations, it’s understandable for anyone to feel stressed.
If you’re wondering how to be a good wife, consider giving yourself some grace and pausing to take a breath before responding. Often, it’s in the midst of such hectic moments that we react impulsively, and unfortunately, our spouse is often the one who bears the brunt of our stress.
2. Don’t think that marriage is a fairytale
If you’re seeking advice on how to be a good wife, it’s likely that you’ve bought into the idea of perfection. However, the concept of perfection is flawed.
The couples or individuals you perceive as flawless—the seemingly ideal husband or wife—are not truly perfect. Even if someone appears more patient or composed than you, it’s essential to recognize that these traits might simply align with their individual personality style. Rest assured, whatever you believe others have that you lack, they are not devoid of flaws; they may just be adept at concealing or redirecting them elsewhere.
3. Stop trying to be perfect
In our youth, we often believed that an ideal wife was someone who would appear in a nightgown with a perpetually youthful face and a flawless figure, an unrealistic notion that compels many women to endure continuous dieting and overworking.
This misguided ideal can lead to self-inflicted misery.
The key message is that striving to fit an image of perfection in your mind makes it less likely for you to be the perfect partner for your spouse. Regardless of your weight or physical appearance, what your partner truly desires is a content and joyful companion.
4. Make sure that you’re genuinely happy
Happy wife, happy life. If you are continually worried about being the perfect wife, you aren’t just enjoying the ride.
If you want to know how to be a good wife, then stop trying to live by the book, be Martha Stewart, or give your husband some singles for the strip club on the way out the door.
All the ways that we try to figure out how to be a good wife end up making us feel less than, out of sorts, and lead us to be a less than happier version of ourselves. A man wants to feel accomplished by having a loving partner who is happy. A good wife loves her husband and her life, not either/or.
5. Do the small things
It isn’t about being everything or doing everything. Being a good wife is about putting the time and energy into doing the small things on a grand scale.
If you find something missing in your husband, seek to fill it. Maybe he needs a pick me up, so be there to pick him up. If he isn’t feeling well, be there to coddle him.
On the days when he isn’t happy, be the girl who takes him out for a drink to take his mind off his problems. It is in the fine and small details where you find the person who really loves you.
The best way to figure out how to be a good wife is to know how to do the small things that make a big impact and make even the worst day turn around.
6. Put it on hold
As women, we are anxious creatures. Fixers by nature, we not only have to solve everything, but we also have to solve it now.
Instead of getting on it and over it immediately, go to bed mad, stew for a bit, and allow him not to talk for two days. And be secure enough to walk away and know that there is time in the future to tackle whatever is going on.
Guys are different from girls; they need time to process. The way to figure out how to be a good wife is to give him some space, create some distance, and stop pushing and pressing an issue that leads down the road to misery.
7. Just love him
This seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? It isn’t. What you say to your husband, and what he hears, are two very different things.
When you give “constructive criticism,” there is nothing constructive about it. If you want to know how to be a good wife, stop trying to fix him or make him perfect. Guys are difficult creatures.
You can’t change them, and the harder you try, the more they hear rejection. Instead of thinking, “if he would just do what I want everything would be perfect,” allow him to be perfect in his imperfectness.
You married him for a reason, he is who you fell in love with, trust your decision, and even if he isn’t perfect *according to you*, stop trying so hard to change him. The truth is you aren’t perfect either, and there is likely a lot of things he would change about you if he could.
8. Communicate the good and the bad
We all know communication is key when it comes to relationships. One quality of being a good wife is to communicate when it’s easy and when it’s hard.
Talk about the good stuff but don’t avoid the hard stuff like finances, disagreements, and other things that come up. Communicating through the hard times is what strengthens the relationship.
9. Be supportive
Support his career, his goals, and even his hobbies, but realistically. You don’t need to be a cheerleader. You do not live solely for him.
Let him know if his new love of motorcycles worries you or if his commitment to the office is taking too much time away from the family.
You can be supportive and caring at the same time. Support isn’t divided from worry.
10. Challenge him
We should help our partners be better. We want them to challenge us when we are being lazy or inconsiderate, so we should do the same. Call him out. If he ignores you for the game or says something inappropriate, call him out and let him know why you’re doing it.
You can help each other be better people in and out of the relationship.
11. Have your own time
Make sure to take time for yourself. A good wife knows when she needs a break. A good marriage doesn’t mean you’re always together.
If you don’t put the energy into your own self-care, you won’t have the energy to focus on nourishing your marriage.
12. Take the time to listen
Something we often forget is to listen. We may remember to communicate our feelings but forego hearing the other person out. Even if you strongly believe you’re right in a situation, hear him out. Listen to what he’s saying and ask questions.
Some fights can simply be sorted by understanding where the other person is coming from.
13. Show appreciation
Tensions run high in marriages. When you live with someone, it is no surprise something will get on your nerves, but don’t let little pet peeves make you forget all the things he does right.
Take time each day, even if just a few minutes, to appreciate the little things he does. Whether it is bringing you coffee in bed, surprising you with your favorite dessert after work, or helping you build that IKEA dresser, those things mean something.
14. Honesty is the best policy
White lies like, “honey, I love your new tie,” are not going to get you into hot water, but beyond that, honesty is really the best policy.
A good wife will tell her husband the truth even if it is hard to hear. She will be polite and kind with the harder truths, but will be there for it all.
15. Do your best to keep the romance alive
This is something both you and your husband need to focus on, but if one of you is stressed or busy, the other should step up. If he is overwhelmed with work, take the time to plan a sexy night in. Recreate the early dates you went on.
A good wife should want to keep the spark alive throughout the everyday routine.
16. Make an effort to laugh together!
Try not to take everything so seriously. Sure, it is important to get to business and take care of bills and things, but relaxing and laughing together brings you together like nothing else.
A good wife knows when to turn off the seriousness and just let go.
17. Genuine compliments go a long way
If you think your hubby looks sexy in his new suit, tell him. Or if he smells good, tell him. If he did a good job cutting the hedges or even remembered to get all the groceries home, compliment him. And if you think of something nice, say it.
It may seem silly, but those small compliments will make his day just as they would for you.
18. Small gestures say a lot
Small gestures make up most of married life. Most couples aren’t flying each other to Paris or going for carriage rides every weekend to keep the spark alive. Take small moments to think about your husband and make him feel special.
Anything from making his favorite meal to rubbing his shoulders or just kissing him longer than you normally would before leaving for work will do it.
19. Tell him what you need
So many couples struggle because they assume the other person should know them well enough to know what they want or need, but people, especially men, are not mind readers.
If you need more support, attention, or time with your spouse, tell him. It is important that you give him the chance to make things right and make you happy.
20. Let go of the things that don’t matter
You may have asked your husband to pick up his dirty clothes a hundred times. Perhaps he started to, but one night he got home late and dropped his dirty socks on the floor.
Instead of making a federal case out of it, choose your battles. Is this one tired night worth a fight?
Neither of you are perfect, but maybe you’re perfect for one another
Realizing that nothing is perfect is the first step to finding perfection as a couple.
There’s a lot of pressure to be the perfect wife, just as there’s a lot of pressure to be the perfect husband. And it’s hard to be a perfect couple without a lot of empathy and communication as well.
But the good news is that there is nothing awesome or exciting about being “perfect.” In fact, perfection is by the book, it follows the rules, it is predictable, and it doesn’t stray or go outside the boundaries.
To be a good wife, your man needs to be a good husband, and you both need to love each other and care for each other. Start with this, and the rest will follow.
If you follow these suggestions for how to be a good wife, you’ll do just fine. Your husband just wants a happy wife, a happy life, and someone who believes that, even in his imperfection, he is absolutely perfect.