Where the Paved Road Ends: Happy Wife, Happy Life

(Courtesy of Beth Watkins)

By Beth Watkins

One morning shortly after we got married, I woke up to an empty house. I panicked, “Did I do something in my sleep to upset him—Did I snore? Did I drool? Why wouldn’t he have told me ‘bye?’ It’s not like him to not kiss me goodbye!” I take one long look in the mirror at the wild hair-do that I had been working on all night and decided the honeymoon must be over. I was heartbroken. He later laughed and explained, “I didn’t want to disturb you. You were snuggled up underneath the covers.”

So, the first of many unspoken rules was established. I may not coherently respond, but I always get a mandatory kiss goodbye. I know, to some people that sounds a little on the high maintenance side, but that sweet little gesture goes a long way at making me happy. As my man says, “Happy wife, happy life.” He’s a very smart and happy man. I learned a long time ago that great relationships don’t just happen, they take work.

At our humble abode, he goes to work, and I’m a housewife. Not only does he have a J-O-B, he raises cattle and everything that entails. As stated in a previous article, my job title is domestic goddess. Since we are in the season in life where it’s just me and him, I have a lot of time to devote to making our home the place where there is nowhere else in the world he would rather be. Men like to be taken care of, but not handled.

Taking care of GW is easy as he eats whatever I put on the table. He likes his clothes heavily starched; therefore, most of his laundry goes to the cleaners, which makes me happy, and I get a bonus: he takes me to lunch. One week they lost his laundry bag, and since he is a creature of habit, all week long his dirty clothes routine was messed up.

They still hadn’t found his bag by the next week, and they were out of new ones. After threatening to not take his clothes to the cleaners, I did what any smart wife would do. I went to the store and bought him a new bag. When I took his laundry to the cleaners, I smiled and asked them to please do me a favor. I pleaded, “Please make sure we get the bag back. My husband is threatening to stop using the cleaners and that will throw a kink in my routine. Not only would I be slaving over the ironing board at home, I wouldn’t get to go out to lunch.”  When I picked up his laundry the next day they made sure I had two bags. Again, happy wife.

Now, there is a fine line when it comes to taking care of him, but not handling him. I learned early-on the unspoken rule, “The man picks out his own clothes.” If I were to lay out jeans and a shirt for him, that would be classified as “handlin’ him.” Not only does that phrase make me giggle, but I can’t say it without rolling my eyes. And rolling my eyes is one of his unspoken rules.

One important bit of information for a happy relationship is to always remember that men are wired differently than women.  And as great as my man is, he, like most men, does not read minds. Women who think that men should just instinctively know what needs to be done will always be unhappy. Studies show that women use more words in a day than men. So, don’t just pout and stew over something, use your words to help him know what you are thinking. But, be very aware, there is a fine line between suggesting and nagging.

The art of making a request with successful end results is all in the way you word it. As a rule it’s never wise to begin a sentence with “Why do you always…” It’s better received with “Do you mind if I make a suggestion…” Also, be careful with your words, and that goes both ways. A harsh or hateful word hurts no matter how big of an ole boy you’ve got.

One day we were working cows, and I was on the head gate. Everything was going just peachy, until a calf became stubborn and was causing major problems in the sweep. It finally got turned the right direction and was headed my way, but in all the commotion I got sidetracked and accidentally let him escape. That caused a few new unspoken rules to be dealt with. “If you are going to help, keep focused on your job, don’t be chasing squirrels,” and “If you yell at me in a tone that you wouldn’t use if it were your best buddy, then I quit and you can do it yourself. See me walking and you know you’ve got trouble.” I’m the best, well “only” hand he’s got, so he should choose his words and tone wisely.

The upside to having me as his helper is that I try to make our chores fun. I plan ahead. A well, thought-out lunch in a picnic basket, a blanket and a Bluetooth speaker made some great memories the day we built fence down by the creek.

Life is stressful enough; try to make the best of it. Look for a way to laugh, remember to flirt with each other, keep that spark alive. I love when I get my “good mornin, baby” text from GW. It always starts my day off with a smile because I know he’s thinking about me. I know being a boss is hard and at times frustrating, so I text him little love messages throughout his day so he will look forward to coming home to me. Today’s message was “I love you like a fat kid loves cake!”

“Kiss me when you walk through the door” has never had to be an unspoken rule. It happens naturally, because we both have been looking forward to the homecoming all day. They say Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, but I don’t agree. I think it’s at the end of this dirt road: where we live, laugh and love.