How to Be The
Almost Perfect Wife
by J.S. Salt
(and Husbands Who Know)

In gathering information for my book, How to Be The Almost Perfect Wife: By Husbands Who Know, I spoke with 1,000 husbands - asking them: "If you could tell someone how to be the almost wife, what would you tell her?"

Of course, it's not easy for husbands to open up and share their feelings. After all, they're men. That's why I first want to thank all the men who so bravely opened their hearts to me. May their gentle pleas help to guide you through your marriage. With that hope in mind, allow me to share with you "Three Top Tips for Pleasing Your Husband."

1. Believe in him

More than anything, a man needs to know he has your support - that you believe in him 100%. Alan, 29, on his first day of marriage wrote:

"Believe in me,
believe in me,
believe in me."

Will your husband always succeed? Will things work out exactly as planned? Regardless of the stumbling blocks your husband may encounter, he needs to know he still has your support. As Ed, 47, married 25 years, so openly requests: "Be my cheerleader. Believe that I have the talent to achieve my dreams, even if it takes longer than I ever imagined."
Married 42 years, Roland 64, offers this sage advice: "Listen attentively to your husband's dreams and aspirations. Even if you think they're unreachable, humor him. Support him. Maybe even get excited with him. Your husband will love and appreciate you because you encouraged - rather than discouraged - him. Later in life, a husband wants to look at his wife and say, 'Honey, you were with me.' Not 'If only… '"

Finally, consider this bit of wisdom from Jim, 80, a widower after 53 years of marriage: "Men are just boys who need attention and reassurance - pretty much all the time. They need you to sit on their laps, kiss them for no reason and assure them that you love them."

2. Be accepting

Charles, 38, requests: "Accept your husband as the man he is, instead of wishing you could change things here and there." Bill, 47, adds: "Stop trying to control and change us so much. We're not 'diamonds in the rough' - we're men. The same men you fell in love with and married in the first place."

What's a good way to think about just how "accepting" you are? The next time your spouse wants to do something that you think is stupid, ridiculous, or a complete waste of time or money, see if you say the words: "Honey, go for it!" For example:

"It's a fact: Every husband needs at least 2 hours a week on the couch in front of the TV - without having to answer any questions. Just to veg out." - Ray, 39, married 7 years

"When I go out to play sports or be with the guys, try to understand you're giving me something I really need. Women want flowers? Guys want to have time with each other without having to justify themselves for being away a few hours." - Eric, 28, married 6 years

"If I want to go to bed later than you it doesn't mean I don't love you. It means I want to go to bed later than you." - Neil, 47, married 12 years

"Accept that I'm not 'escaping' to work: I'm going there because I need to work. Besides, when I feel better about my work, I feel better about everything else." - Eric

3. Be gentle

Does being accepting of your husband mean you can't disagree with him or offer a "course correction" now and then? Not at all. But husbands - as "manly" as they may appear - need for their spouses to be gentle about it. As Charlie, 28, married 11 years, explains: "If you think I'm wrong, try to guide me to where you think I should be. Don't beat me up and drag me there."

Believe it or not, most husbands generally are trying their best - no matter how wrongheaded their actions may appear. So try to be patient, merciful and kind. "And limit your criticisms," says Ben, 81, "to things that really matter."

Perhaps Terry, married 23 years, sums it up best: "Be a friend who is there to lend support, but still cares enough to confront me when I make a fool of myself."

Questions for Reflection or Discussion:

" On a rating of 0 to 10, how strongly would your husband say you believe in him?
" When was the last time you told your husband you were proud of him?
" When was the last time you said to your husband "Go for it!" when you're really thinking: Why would anyone want to do that!?"
" On a rating of 0 to 10, how gentle are you when offering advice or a "course correction" to your husband?

About the Author

A popular writer and speaker, J.S. Salt spent three years speaking with 1,000 husbands and 1,000 wives, resulting in the books: How To Be The Almost Perfect Husband: By Wives Who Know and How To Be The Almost Perfect Wife: By Husbands Who Know. (To view more selections from these books, visit: Shake It! Books.

J.S. also created the National Best Seller, Always Kiss Me Good Night: Instructions on Raising the Perfect Parent by 147 Kids Who - presented in the children's own words and handwriting. His latest project? Retro Postcards on the subjects of romance and family that you can send via e-mail for free. To view the selections, click on: Shake It! Books.
Married for thirteen years, J.S. Salt lives with his wife and son in San Diego, California.

J.S. Salt is a pen name for Joel Saltzman, author of "Shake That Brain!" (Wiley, 2006).
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