The couple's happiness — and indeed, the whole families — is dependent on these factors
Here are some of the more important things I’ve learned. While each woman is different, research in marriage has concluded these expectations apply to a majority of wives.
1.) She Wants Help around the House
The popular TV series “Leave It to Beaver” launched in 1957 and memorialized June Cleaver as the stereotypical 1950s housewife. June stayed home to clean house, prepare meals, and keep an eye on her son Beaver and his older brother Wally. June also cared for the needs of her husband, Ward — preparing his meals, doing his laundry, and greeting him with a smile when he arrived home from work.
Most modern wives don’t fit this stereotype, and many never did. According to the Pew Research Center, over 70 percent of all mothers work outside the home. Many also carry an extra burden of managing responsibilities at home — not only caring for children, but also caring for their husbands. According to a University of Michigan study, having a husband creates an extra seven hours of housework per week for a woman.
How does this affect a wife’s happiness? According to Pew, wives and their husbands ranked sharing chores as the third most important key to a successful marriage. They only considered faithfulness and a happy sexual relationship as more important.
The many ways a husband can help around the house include putting his dirty clothes in the laundry, washing and putting dishes away, preparing meals, and cleaning the bathroom.
2.) She Wants Parenting Help
In spite of their best intentions, dads can come up short on parenting. Dads get preoccupied with other responsibilities and stressed about work. It gets easy to make excuses for not getting involved with the kids. When this happens, his wife’s marital satisfaction suffers. A study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies found a direct relationship between a high level of father involvement in parenting and high marital satisfaction among mothers.
Treating women well starts with treating mom well
Some ways a dad can be more involved include: listening to his wife express her concerns about the children, disciplining when the kids misbehave, taking initiative in planning activities for the kids, attending school functions, and helping with school homework.
3.) She Wants More 'Yes,' Less 'No'
Couples have different styles of conflict. All married couples experience it. Some have more conflict than others. Some are good at keeping it hidden from the public eye. Some don't try to hide it. Some couples yell and slam doors, others stew in different rooms of the house until they can calmly talk things though, and others work through their differences head-on. None of these is necessarily the right way to work out differences when it comes to marital satisfaction.
During conflict, negative interactions usually occur, and eliminating them shouldn't be the primary focus of making your wife happy. Instead, the happiest couples discover how to increase positive interactions to what researcher John Gottman calls the "Magic Ratio." Gottman is a professor emeritus at the University of Washington in Seattle, and has studied couples for over 30 years. The Magic Ratio is five positive interactions to one negative interaction.
A husband can create positive interactions with his wife by saying "yes" to her requests five times more often than he says "no." Sincere compliments, affectionate touch, smiling and laughing together also add up as positive interactions.
4.) She Wants Her Husband to Be Worthy of Her Trust
Faithfulness in marriage is more than avoiding an extramarital affair. It's about being faithful to marital vows. Those vows usually include loving each other until death. To a woman, nothing says "I love you" more than her husband showing himself worthy of her trust.
Gottman's research indicates that the No. 1 thing a wife wants in her marriage is to trust her husband. How her husband responds to her negative emotions is key to earning her trust. There are six attributes that Gottman has discovered in those husbands who successfully earn their wife's trust. These men are attuned to their wives. The attuned husband learns to recognize his wife's emotions, turns toward her rather than away when she experiences negative emotions, and accepts rather than dismisses her emotions.
He works at understanding what she's feeling, listens to her non-defensively, and opens his heart to her with empathy.