Wise Words

What I Wish I Told My Wife More Often, According To 12 Men

What goes unsaid goes unheard. Don’t let it be something important.

Originally Published: 

While she may seem like it at times, your wife is not a mind reader. And no matter how many wonderful, flattering, complimentary thoughts about her are swirling around in your head, she’s not going to appreciate them if you don’t tell her. The old adage remains: What goes unsaid goes unheard. Don’t let it be something important.

It’s no secret that days inside a marriage can be programmed with routine. Wake up. Get the kids ready. Go to work. Come home. Repeat. And in between those daily duties, many of the same greetings, goodbyes, and quick takes can turn a bit monotonous as well. “I love you.” “I love you too.” “Have a good day.” “You too.” “How was your day?” “Fine.” It’s not necessarily an aversion to conversing with your spouse, just the culmination of exhaustion, automaticity, and the comfort of a daily routine. And that’s okay. Sometimes. Auto-pilot isn’t necessarily a bad thing — it helps you reset, regroup, and conserve some much-needed energy. But it’s not meant to be used all the time, especially in a marriage.

In a thriving, healthy marriage, communication should be active. Words and thoughts need to be expressed, with purpose, as often as possible. Especially the positive ones. As these 12 men have confessed, there are plenty of things they’ve regrettably left unsaid for years. The good news is that it’s never too late to start a conversation with the person you love. And if you’re like these guys, their thoughts might give you an inspiring place to start. From showing admiration to offering specific help, they touched on a variety of unsaid subjects. Here’s what they had to say.

1. “You’re So Important To Me.”

"After being married for seven years, I have to admit that there are times when I wish I had taken the time to tell my wife how much she means to me. I’ve learned just how essential that is in a relationship - letting your partner know how much you appreciate them and how much you love them. A simple 'Thank you' or 'I love you' can make all the difference. I’ve found that communicating these feelings takes effort. It’s not always easy. But it’s a clear way to avoid letting someone you care about feel taken for granted. Being around someone every day can leave things unsaid, which is why I wish I would’ve expressed my love and appreciation to my wife more often in the past.” - Russel, 37, Oregon

2. “Just Vent.”

“I'm a computer programmer, trained to systematically problem solve all day long. Of course, this extends into my relationship with my wife. Before she finishes her sentence, I've got a five-step plan in place, and I’m shocked that she's not ready to start executing it. In reality, she probably just wants me to shut up while she lets off some steam. She's perfectly capable of figuring out her own problems. Sometimes I should just lend an ear.” - Jack, 46, North Carolina

3. “I Admire You.”

“It’s one of the most flattering things anyone has ever said about me, and I kick myself for not telling my wife how much I truly admire her. Because I do. She’s a warrior, a nurturer, a lover, a friend, and a confidant. And she fills all those roles effortlessly. At least, that’s how she makes it seem. And that’s why I admire her. Telling someone you admire them is different than telling someone you love them. Love is kind of this ongoing connection, whereas admiration is like a peak or a spike of joy, and amazement. It’s something that I’ve rarely said to my wife, and it shouldn’t be.” - Sean, 44, Pennsylvania

4. “I Like Spending Time With You.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever looked my wife in the eye and told her that. That I truly do just enjoy being in her company. Most times. It’s something I just assume she knows. And maybe she does. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t play it safe and tell her whenever I can. It’s definitely not a natural thing to say, at least for me. But maybe that’s what would make it special. Like it came out of nowhere. Like a surprise. Spending time together is a blessing when you’re married with kids, and I wish I told her how much I enjoy it more.” - John, 40, New Jersey

5. "How Can I Help Today?”

“My wife wakes up early and spends most of the day taking care of the kids while I’m at work. And when I’m not at work, I still like to stay busy. But I find myself leaning toward tasks and projects that I want to do, rather than stuff that could help make things easier for her or the rest of the family. I don’t think I’m selfish, I just think I get tunnel vision and tend to forget that I’m a part of a team. And we play every day. There’s no offseason. That said, I regret not being more deliberate in my offers to help out. I need to start asking her very specifically what I can do each day.” — Jimmy, 38, Massachusetts

6. “You’re A Great Mum.”

“I find that, in the midst of the busyness of life and work and parenting I forget just how much my wife does and endures as a mum of young kids. When we were new parents, she would get up in the middle of the night to feed them. When they were toddlers, she would be changing their nappies while I was at work. Now she makes their lunches every day, then drops them off and picks them up from school. She takes them to swimming lessons. Makes sure they have the right clothes. It’s just so much. I wish I took more time to tell her not only that I see and appreciate how much she does for our kids, but that she is doing a great job. Being a mum can be a fairly thankless and discouraging task, but she is doing so amazingly well at it. I wish I told her that more often.” - James, 41, Auckland, New Zealand

7. “I’m Your Biggest Fan.”

“My wife is unwavering in her support of my passions. And I have some weird ones. But she sees how happy I am, and how invigorated I feel when I’m doing something I love, and goes out of her way to make sure I’m able to indulge. I do that for her, too, watching the kids so she can go to art classes, and the gym, and stuff like that, but I don’t think I’ve ever told her how much of a fan I am of her. Like, I want to cheer for her. Every time she shows me something she painted, I tell her how impressed I am. But I’ve never told her that I’m a genuine fan of who she is as an artist, a mother, a wife, and a person. I want her to know that I’d be the guy in the stands with her name body-painted on my stomach.” - Dan, 42, Minnesota

8. “You Look Ravishing.”

“Maybe not that exactly, but something other than, ‘You’re hot.” Or, ‘You’re cute.’ Something with more than one syllable to let her know that I’m still so physically attracted to her after all these years. I have tried to tell her as much as I can but, admittedly, it’s become somewhat of a stale compliment. I think it all the time, so why have I been wasting time using the same, boring ways to say it? Breathtaking. Enchanting. Exquisite. I should’ve been mixing it up this whole time. I may not be Shakespeare or Cyrano, but my wife deserves more creativity.” - Alan, 63, Florida

9. “You’re Hilarious.”

“I’ve never met a woman who makes me laugh as much as my wife. Our senses of humor aren’t exactly the same, either. She’s just a genuinely funny person. And I’ve realized that laughing is different than telling someone you think they’re funny. Laughing is a reflex. Telling someone you think they’re funny, and that they make you smile with their humor is a choice. I’m not an easy laugh, so every time she makes me I realize how lucky I am. Amidst all the laughter and ‘I love yous’, I realize how happy it would make her to know I think she’s absolutely hysterical.” - Jarome, 39, New York

10. “You’re My Best Friend.”

“I don’t know that I’ve ever said that to another person as an adult. But, when I think about it, my wife truly is my best friend. She knows everything about me. She supports me and is always there for me. She surprises me and goes out of her way to make me happy. That’s what a best friend does, right? I think the reason I’ve never outright said this to her is because it seems so implied with marriage. You might say, ‘I married my best friend’ on Facebook or something, but you rarely say it to your spouse. At least, that’s been true for me. And I regret that, because having a best friend is such a gift. Having it be your wife is even more special.” - Jay, 50, California

11. “I’m Not Mad. I Just Need To Think.”

“I’m not the most articulate person when I get upset or stressed. I tend to internalize everything so that I can organize it in my own brain before I start talking about it with anyone. I don’t think this is a bad thing, but it’s taken me too long to realize how it comes across. Especially to my wife. We both made New Year’s resolutions to work on our communication, and my first step has been to preface my times of thought by explicitly saying that I just need to think. It’s something I should’ve realized and started doing a long, long time ago. It’s helped us communicate more effectively, and it’s helped alleviate her anxiety during times when I just don’t have the words quite yet.” - Rich, 37, North Carolina

12. “We Make A Great Team.”

“When you have kids, the basic game plan is to tag team everything. You change the diaper while I warm up the bottle. You take them to school; I’ll pick them up. Stuff like that. And even though you’re technically working together, it can quickly start feeling like a singles game because you’re both checking off your own separate to-do lists. As our kids were growing up, I wish I would’ve stopped to remind my wife - and myself - that we made a great team. I think we still do, so I have plenty of chances to say it. But it’s something I wish I would’ve realized and continued emphasizing a long time ago.” - Emory, 55, Vermont

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