Have you ever had a high-maintenance friend or family member? That person who needs you to be attentive to their emotional and practical needs all the time and who pouts when you drop the ball—even when it’s rare? Those people will drain your soul over time.
One of the greatest compliments my husband ever gave me was that I was wonderfully low-maintenance. I don’t get my feathers ruffled easily over the little things. I know he cares and that he works hard to be a great husband and dad. So when something doesn’t go just as I’d like, my response is mostly low-key. (Full disclosure: I get plenty of other things wrong. This is just one thing I kind of, sort of get right.) Being low maintenance doesn’t mean that you have lower expectations. It just means that you handle the hiccups with less drama and more grace.
Learn how to be a low-maintenance wife in a way that inspires your husband to be a better man…
Think big picture.
It’s easy to get tunnel vision on a problem or area of irritation in your marriage and fail to treat your spouse like the pretty great guy he is 90% of the time. So he forgot to take the garbage to the curb—again. Will it be an aggravation until the next pickup day? Maybe. But does it negate the 25 things he got right this week? Hardly. Remember, there’s a right way to keep score in marriage.
Quick to listen, slow to speak.
In a moment of tension in your marriage, slow down. By simply listening a bit longer and considering your response carefully, you can avoid many unnecessary displays of drama. After all, don’t you like to be heard? We all do.
Own your happiness.
Some of the highest-maintenance wives I’ve ever observed seemed to depend on their husbands for every ounce of their entertainment, recreation, and joy. That’s too great a burden for any spouse to carry. Take more ownership of creating the joy you desire for yourself and others, and your marriage will benefit.
Stop expecting without communicating.
Even the best husbands aren’t mind readers. It’s unfair to harbor expectations that you’ve never clearly expressed, then get angry when he doesn’t meet them. If something is truly important to you—say so.
Consider his intentions when things go wrong.
When he misses the kids’ school program because his workday was especially busy, you have a right to be disappointed. But before you let your disappointment turn to anger, consider the fact that his hard work is largely done for you and the kids. Remember his heart and take it into account when deciding how to feel—and act—in response.
Do you consider yourself a high-maintenance or a low-maintenance person? How does it affect your marriage?
Dana Hall McCain writes about marriage, parenting, faith and wellness. She is a mom of two, and has been married to a wonderful guy for over 18 years.