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advice needed from Married Women-

I am married male. My wife and I married for about 2 years now. She works full time goes to school part time, I study full time. Our money situation is tight. We are extremely busy in our own little worlds. My wife is attached to me, when she is home she has to be in close proximity of me. When she comes home late, I have food ready for her. What are little things I can do to make her happy and get her thru our stressful lifestyle? I want honest advice from married women, as I would love to hear a women's point of view.
thanks in advance.

Wed. Feb 7, 10:54pm

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Warning - it's a long one......

Quite frankly you're the one that sounds a bit unhappy. Well, I can't tell if you are OK with this proximity or not, but you bring it up as one of your main points. Does your wife have her own friends and activities? or are you her sole social outlet? Do you get the feeling that she is unhappy? I must pressume so, since you are asking how to make her happy. You also don't mention what either of you is studying which can affect greatly how much time and energy you have to devote to your life and relationships outside school (which is a stressful but temp situation).

I met my husband when we were both very busy engineering students (we are now very busy engineers so it might not end after graduation after all). We each maintained a high gpa, had jobs, and endless hours of homework. 4 things saved my sanity and keep our relationship strong to this day.

1. Date night - we each set aside friday night and spent it together - romatically. No matter what deadline was looming, how much we needed to get done, etc... NOTHING gets in the way of date night (to this day I look forward to it all week). It is the one night of the week we put ourselves and our relationship first and even if it's the dollar menu and a walk along the lake, we get out and go do something. We make it a point to not talk about work.

2. Money - we communicate frequently and thoroughly about money. We pay bills the second they come in (whenever possible) and have a spreadsheet to track all our income, expenses and debt, and these days our investments. Money causes lots of relationship issues, but if you're both on the same page it doesn't have to. When you can both see where you are and exactly what you have to work with - it eliminates a lot of friction points, resentment and bad spending behavior.

3. Girls, girls, girls! I have to have 1 night every couple weeks with my girlfriends. We don't even talk about our wild sex lives these days. We just hit the 1/2 price bottle night at the local wine bar and chatter up a storm. It keeps my stress levels low and is waaaaay cheaper than therapy ;-). We support each other, empathize with each other and make each other laugh in a way our male partners can't relate to - every gals gotta have some gal pals. Sounds like this is something you'd like too - the male version that is. Doesn't have to break the bank, but I consider it necessary. In college us gals did "wierd beer" night every other week at the local pub when imports were only $1.50 a bottle. I would come home laughing, tipsy and totally recharged. Everybody needs a little time away.

4. Divide and conquer household chores. My father has sat on his @ss his entire life while my mother works her butt off to keep the place nice and put meals on the table. Work together when possible, because it's good to see each other putting in effort. She folding laudry? Just pitch right in. One of you starts dishes? Ask the other to grab a towel and dry. Try to cook together, and clean together, or casually let her know what you did while she was out (*ahem, so she knows she doesn't have to worry about it right?). It's easy for resentment to build up if one gets the perception that the other is not carrying their fair share. Don't keep it to yourself if you feel that you're overwhelmed or vice versa - share your burdens with your partner (try not to make them your therapist, but you get the idea) and a burden shared is lighter by far when two people carry the load.

But above all remember this - you can't *make* someon a happy person if they do not feel worthy of happiness. However you can work on yourself and being a great partner, so dont take too much responsibility where it's not really yours, but do work on being the best person you can be. Be healthy, be happy and be caring and the little things will take care of themselves.

Well, those are the things that are important to me and they're not flowers or chocolate, so I hope that was some of the perspective that you were looking for. Best wishes to you both!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007, 11:51 PM

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aren't you a sweet guy for asking what you can do to make her happy!

I would ask her though-most women are bound to tell you what they need help with if you ask often and seem to sincerely want to help.

Thursday, February 08, 2007, 12:10 AM

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I recommend the book "The 5 Love Languages" and I recommend you read it together. I'm not that into relationship books but my husband and I read it and it helped us understand each other a lot. The idea is that we all have things that say "love" to us. For my husband it's "acts of service." He feel loved when I make him dinner and do the dishes for him. For me it's "quality time" so I just want him to sit down and talk with me. We were driving each other crazy because he would be doing the dishes for me, thinking it would make me feel loved, and I would be mad that he wouldn't stop doing the dishes and just sit on the couch with me! Now we've learned to speack each other's love languages. Maybe you could get the book as a valentines gift.

Thursday, February 08, 2007, 12:46 AM

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Great meat and potatoes answers lasses. Here is another one. Be honest. Kind but honest. If she knows she can trust you with the bad stuff, she will know she can trust you with the good stuff also. Sometimes Gerry is busy working in his head (he is a writer, among other things). If he just tells me upfront he is busy thinking something out, I know to be quiet and just let him work. I don't spend energy wondering about his withdrawal and silence. I don't worry that I have done something and that he is angry. I don't have to worry at all. And please don't say that I should know, because I don't. All his silences and withdrawals look the same from the outside. I depend on him to not make me guess when something is wrong or not. Be honest when you are worried, frustrated, exhausted, mellow. Some of us women really look to ourselves first when something seems wrong, and you will be doing her a service by telling her upfront what is up. Chances are it is nothing to do with her at all, but she may be one of us who wil think that way first.

Foot rubs well done make everything better.

What a great guy you are

Thursday, February 08, 2007, 2:38 AM

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You are so sweet!

I could be your wife -- except that I'm not married. The most important thing my bf does is listen. Sometimes I'm so stressed out that I wake up in the middle of the night having a fit of temper or anxiety. I'm SO thankful that he doesn't get upset or think this is weird, or offer advice, he just listens in the dark and sometimes gets us some beer out of the fridge.

Thursday, February 08, 2007, 7:11 AM

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Dang, you sound like my situation. I work full time and have gone to school part time since we've been married. Some of the things that my husband does that I just love -

1. Date night - we try to go out together to a place that doesn't serve chicken nuggets at least twice a month. Being that we have a young child, I don't want to burden my family into being a babysitter. If you don't have kids, then you can go out more often. It's not just about beer and things exciting - a day trip to a different city, hiking in the mountains, symphony, a play, etc.

2. Help her out - little things, like laundry, dishes, keeping the house clean, mean a lot to a working woman. I know I feel like keeping the house is my responsibility. My free time (what little I have) I try to fine tune our home to be spotless - like something out of better homes and gardens.

3. Be interested in her - what is she studying? Can you talk with her about it? Have a discussion about her classes, or apply a different suggestion. This may be difficult depending on what course of study you're taking. What does she read for fun, avoid doing things alone.

Whenever my husband and I have to wait for something, say a dr appointment or something, we always get a paper and work all the puzzles together. We are a perfect match for each other and have often said that together we make one good, brilliant person.

Good luck!

Thursday, February 08, 2007, 7:50 AM

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OP, you're adorable. When my husband is touchy feely affectionate, I'm on top of the world. He's like this often, but there's nothing better than when he comes up from behind, encircles my waist and tells me how beautiful I am. It makes my day. Also, when he makes time to buy a bottle of wine, and we have a glass together and talks. He's not much of a sharer, but when he talks about himself, who he is, his memories and what he loves in life, I melt.

Thursday, February 08, 2007, 9:20 AM

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OP here thank you all very much I am so glad I got a woman's point of view.

First of all, I am a med student my time studying is very stressful. Board exams are getting harder by the day, and my livelihood depends on these exams. She works at a pre school center and takes classes downtown for her masters in ECE and special education. My problem is as a man, I dont open up all the time. I keep it in and that hurts our communication process. She is open and tells me everything bout her day and hw she feels and I am like things are ok, I am tired, I am hungry or I am stressed but I dont really dwell on it. Money is very tight for us. I am currently not working studying full time and she is handling the job and school at one time. Sometimes she feels overworkd feeling she has to do everything. I guess we will try to share house chores. I will take the date nite and put it into play. Oh yeah and she has no real friends here that she can turn to, she is extremely close to her sisters who are all over the US, so she turns to them to talk to when she feels the need. Sorry if I have bored you all with my problems. Thank you again I really appreciate your help

Thursday, February 08, 2007, 10:28 AM

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I sympathize with your wife. I'm newly married, and living in the city where my husband went to college, but I did not. We both work full-time but do not go to school, so we don't have such limited time, but money is still tight, as we just bought a condo. When I'm stressed, the best thing my husband can do is give me a backrub and not ask for it to be reciprocated! And, like, a 20-minute one, not like a 2-minute one. It's a lot to ask for, but on the occasion that it happens, it's really appreciated!

Your wife is probably also lonely. I get really lonely when I go to work every day, come home, and spend the evening with my husband and no one else. Girlfriends are really important, but it takes a lot of effort to make new girlfriends once you're out of college and don't live with them anymore. Encourage your wife to explore interests. The best thing I did was join a book club, but a really laid back one, where mostly what we do is eat food and drink wine, and hardly anyone ever reads the book. I found it on Craigslist, and now I have a whole bunch of new girl friends, and some I'm getting closer with.

Also, if you're strapped for cash, and you know people that would be fun to go out with, but a night on the town is looking expensive, invite people over for a potluck - could be brunch or dinner. Potlucks are inexpensive because everyone brings something. If you do brunch, you could whip up a bunch of scrambled eggs and have everyone else bring a side dish - a carton of eggs is around $2! Anyway, just a thought. Whenever my husband plans something and I don't have to put any effort towards it, and can just enjoy, it's the best thing ever! Even if it's just him making reservations. But if he actually makes plans with other people to do something and all I have to do is show up, it just makes my week!

Take care, and good luck!!

Thursday, February 08, 2007, 11:12 AM

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OP - you are not 'boring' us with your problems or you wouldn't have so many thoughtful responses :-) This is something many of us can relate to. So don't worry about apologizing until you've done something wrong, and asking for some insight and looking to take action on a situation that is bothering you is definitely not something to apologize for.

BTW, I also had a hard time initially making friends out of college. I too joined a book club I found on Craig's List and now have 8 terrific friends that I just 'click' with very well - best thing I've done in a long time. We are admittedly not much of a 'book club' anymore - we have simply evolved into a group of friends. I was a little wierded out by meeting people online, but when we got together in person we were such naturally complimentary personalities that it was just uncanny! We have a Yahoo group where we post little messages to each other frequently and it's a great way to stay connected and feel supported. I love my spouse dearly, but my friends are such a critical part of my life, and it sounds like this is something you'd like for your wife, but in the end it's up to her to reach out and meet others which can be scary (this is where you get to be encouraging, supportive and reassuring).

Also, household chores have been mentioned a few times - it really doesn't take much to keep a place looking decent. Set the timer for ten minutes and do several little tasks and you'd be surprised at how much you can do. Wipe down the bathroom counter, bag up the trash, get rid of the piled up mail, put away the clothes you didn't have time to take care of the night before, etc... nothing gets a woman in the mood faster than a clean house ;-)

And don't forget how important it is to take a few minutes and kiss!

Thursday, February 08, 2007, 12:47 PM

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you could print out this thread and read it with her, getting her input on the suggestions you've received.

Thursday, February 08, 2007, 12:54 PM

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men are from mars and women are from venus is a good book to refer too as well

Thursday, February 08, 2007, 8:14 PM

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to the OP - i'm in residency right now. good luck with med school. what year are you? 2nd and 3rd year are the worst by far. from a personal standpoint, as a married woman, it is very hard when the husband isn't working. i know you are working hard, but i mean bringing in money. when i started residency, my husband didn't have a job for several months. this sounds very traditionalist, but it feels strange as a woman to be the bread-winner. even if you verbally say you are comfortable with it, and you logically tell yourself you are comfortable with it, something still seems "off." i know your current financial situation is not permanent, and she knows that too. but let's face it, she's the one working and financially supporting you. (that and probably a bunch of student loans). do other things to let her know you are going to take care of her, even if it isn't financial support right now. manage the finances, with her help. take care of getting her car maintenance done, or the taxes, etc. keep up with fixing things around the house, the yardwork, etc. fix her breakfast in bed one day or give her a foot massage. the best thing my husband does is solve a problem before i realize it's there - for example, change a lightbulb before i notice it is out. it's the little things, then tell me about it. that may not bring you closer, but it will help her see that you will take care of her. hope that helps!

Thursday, February 08, 2007, 9:07 PM

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LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, The Five Love Languages book! It is the best realtionship book ever. My hubby and I are reading it togehter right now. It had changed our marriage. Seriously, if you are looking for tips to make her happy, read that book!!
Good suggestion 12:46!!

Thursday, February 08, 2007, 10:06 PM

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I'm going to check out that book! (not OP)

Friday, February 09, 2007, 2:46 PM

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