When things go sour, rather than looking to get a new replacement right away, we instead would focus on what we can control – how we can improve our relational mechanics. How can we be more patient towards our wife? More thoughtful? More loving? You can’t control your wife’s actions, but work on you and trust the rest will take care of itself. Here are 5 tips for becoming a better husband.

1. Every day, aim one “random act of kindness” at your spouse.

Plan for it, write down what you’re going to do, then check the deed off once it’s done. Odds are, being deliberate in this way will lead naturally to more.

2. Talk openly about your finances.

Money surprises are never good, so stay a few steps ahead and include your wife in an ongoing conversation about the budget. This does not mean monitoring her spending. It does mean that you don’t keep secrets, you value her input, and you make important decisions as a team.

3. Try some creative/imaginative ways to tell your wife how much you love her.

Don’t assume she knows. Even if she does know, hearing it from you will spark the fire. Before long you’ll realize that you love her more. Here are some tips:

– Slip a card or love note into her purse at the beginning of the day.

4. Make note of your TV watching habits, and then cut your “tube-time” in half.

Use the extra time to do something for or with your wife. Take a look at other media usage too – what does it say about your priorities in terms of relationships?

– Figure out obscure anniversaries (first date, engagement day, the day we moved into our first house, etc.) and then make a big deal of celebrating together.

– Leave loving answering machine messages when you know she’s not going to be there.

– Make the bed and put a single rose on her pillow.

– Run a bubble bath for her and keep the house interruption-free while she enjoys it.

– Color a gaudy sign and put it on the windshield of her car.

5. Be deliberate about being positive.

Take a look at your interactions with your wife: What percentage are confrontational? How often are you fighting? Do you tell one another jokes? What’s the ratio of purely informational dialogue to talking that advances the relationship? Now make a concerted effort to initiate positive, intimate, redemptive conversations. Learn a new joke every day if you have to; the point is to be proactive, not reactive.