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Happy wife, happy life! What the research says about a women’s influence in marriage

Being a happy wife means doing some things for YOU!

Being intentional requires work, but the rewards our rich. When we are more deliberate about our decisions, our personal satisfaction soars. So – how satisfied are you with your marriage?

Studio 5 Marriage & Family Contributor Dr. Liz Hale shares four ways to be a more intentional wife.


In an intentional marriage, we do things that matter, purposefully, to make our marriage as strong and healthy as possible. And as an intentional wife, we create our marriage every single day!

Most men don’t fret about the state of their marriage unless something is clearly wrong. Women, on the other hand, tend to see marriage as requiring more emphasis and maintenance. So, as women, let’s lead with our strengths and do what we do best.

Be Intentionally Happy

It turns out that the adage, “happy wife, happy life,” has research to support it coming out of the Institute for Family Studies. In a study of 722 seasoned couples, a happy wife has a very strong and positive impact on a husband’s happiness. There wasn’t as strong of a correlation the other way around. Bottomline: A woman’s happiness is key to a marriage and key to a man and key to us, so let’s get happy!

Our happiness is our responsibility; not our husband’s (even though deep down I used to honestly think that my Ben was somehow responsible for making me happy, I’m embarrassed to admit).

So, if you want to be an intentional wife, focus on doing three intentional things every day that bring you enjoyment. For me, some of those things are a conversation with a girlfriend, listening to great music or a favorite podcast, a new herbal tea, a piece of chocolate or a Life Saver, a longer shower, spiritual reading, walking or dancing.

An intentionally happy wife magnetizes her husband in all the welcoming ways, while an unhappy, complaining wife repels him. Those are just the facts.

I believe in this theory so much that I have dedicated a part of my marriage therapy practice to coaching just women with the six intimacy skills that made a difference in my own marriage.

Be Intentionally Respectful

Respect is like oxygen to a man. Respecting your husband simply means that even if you don’t agree with him, you still honor his decisions. I thought I was being helpful when I gave Ben suggestions and tips on how to drive or how to talk on the phone. What I saw as helpful, he saw as controlling.

Respect means that we don’t dismiss, criticize, contradict, or try and teach a man how to do something better; instead, we trust him and expect the best from him. It also means we don’t make fun of him for doing things the way a man does things which is often completely different from the way a woman does things. Intentionally respect what he eats, how he dresses, when he cuts his hair, and why he takes the long route home.

One of the most powerful phrases I ever learned for showing my husband that I trust him to manage his own life (what did he do for the first 50 years of his life?) is to say, “Whatever you think.” The reason I like it so much is that it conveys my faith in him and his judgment. It is a powerful message to both of us. Even if I don’t agree with his decision to keep his Sprinter Van for now, the intimacy in my marriage is preserved. And that means more to me than when to sell a vehicle.

Be Intentionally Receptive

Receptivity is the essence of femininity. The reason receiving graciously is such an important skill in intimacy is that you and your husband bring different skills to the relationship, like the yin and yang of Eastern philosophy. The yin is feminine and receptive, and the yang is masculine and giving.

The more you’re willing to intentionally receive gifts, compliments and help from your husband, the more feminine and attractive you’ll be to him and the more he’ll want to do for you because he just can’t help himself. So, when he offers to move a heavy box upstairs for you, even though you are plenty strong to do it yourself, intentionally allow him to assist you, being graciously receptive. And just say, “thank you, you made my job so much easier!”

Be Intentionally Appreciative

The most common complaint I hear from men is, “My wife doesn’t appreciate the things I do.” Intentional gratitude has magical powers. Being intentionally grateful may be today’s most powerful point because it is a double-win. First, it shifts your focus from what you don’t like to what you do like, and since what you focus on grows, that alone makes a dramatically positive impact on your relationship. Second, by intentionally expressing gratitude to your husband, he will feel appreciated and inspired to want to continue to do more to be your hero.

Every day, look for three things to intentionally express gratitude to your husband for from taking out the garbage to pouring you an orange juice to working hard to support the family. You will have trained yourself to intentionally see more and more of what is working and less and less of what isn’t.

Dr. Liz Hale is the Studio 5 Marriage & Family Coordinator. She is passionate about helping relationships survive and thrive! She works hard on keeping her own relationships healthy and strong. But don’t stand in her way of a daily, sanity-maintaining brisk walk (just ask her husband, Ben!)

While Dr. Liz always thought she’d grow up to be a nurse following in her mother’s footsteps; but her mother unknowingly directed her daughter towards the field of psychology by having her follow her to hear motivational speakers like Zig Ziglar as early as the 6th grade. It turns out that learning early about the magnificence of the power of the mind is the basis for Liz eventually pursuing a doctorate in Clinical Psychology. (And it’s a good thing she’s a psychologist; the sight of blood makes her queasy!)

For over three decades, Dr. Liz has been passionate about her professional training and emphasis in marriage and family therapy, primarily working with couples and families within

her private practices both in Seattle and downtown Salt Lake City. As a Certified Gottman Therapist she thrives on helping clients learn new, effective ways of being in their relationships. According to Dr. Liz, communication is never the problem; misperceptions are. There is nothing more rewarding than when a client turns to her and says, “I’ve never seen it/him/her that way before.”

When asked about her greatest achievement, she enthusiastically replies it’s her happy marriage to Ben Abo which they work on Every…Single…Day (whether Ben wants to or not!)

Marrying rather late in life, Dr. Liz is motivated to do whatever it takes to have a marriage that thrives and not just survives; and she is dedicated to helping other couples achieve the same. According to Dr. Liz there is no greater honor than when a client trusts and risks enough to share their heart and soul in therapy within the walls of her office she considers a “sacred space.”

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