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What I Wish My Husband Would Say to Me More Often Right Now, According to 12 Wives

Words matter. A dozen women told us what they wish their husbands said to them more often during these very trying days.

It’s no surprise that more Americans — almost three in four, to be exact – are reporting more stress in their lives than ever before. A global pandemic, an exhausting election season, the uprooting of all our old routines. But with stress — and the sameness of spending every day at home — comes the propensity to forget things, like what makes you a great husband in the first place. It’s not necessarily a reputation staked on the grand gestures, but rather the little things that you can do and say to show your wife that, amidst the new normal of mind-numbing, day-to-day routines, she, and your marriage, still matter. A lot of that is listening to what she needs and telling her the things she wants to hear.

Listen, it’s easy to forget this. We’re all bound to be a little absent-minded these days. But, as husbands, it’s up to us to rebound and remember our responsibilities as partners, lovers, and friends. Cut yourself some slack but also remember to do the work. To aid you in this quest, we asked a dozen women what they wish their husbands told them more often right now. From inquiries about their day and to words of encouragement, what they mentioned is worth listening to and applying to your own life. Chances are, there’s something here your wife would like to hear you say. 

“What Can I Help With?”

“It seems obvious. So obvious, in fact, that I feel like a nag for even saying it. But, come on. Is there really a time when it’s not good to ask someone when they need help? I was brought up knowing that there’s always something that can be done, or helped with. So, I guess I just expect that in return. During quarantine, we both fell into our routines with work and the kids, but I don’t think that’s an excuse to just check off your ‘chores’ for the day and say, ‘Ha! I finished first! See ya!’ Of course, my husband doesn’t actually say that, but sometimes I get that vibe.” – Anna, 34, Indiana

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“Do You Want Advice, or Do You Just Need to Vent?”

“I’ve never been more stressed out in my life than I have in the past four or five months. It’s everything. Work. COVID. The election. And sometimes even I don’t know what I need to calm down. My husband is a fixer, so his go-to is always to dispense with the advice. But, sometimes I just want him to shut the fuck up so I can let off steam. The problem is, his advice is usually very good, very caring, and full of empathy. But, I don’t always want it right away. I wish he’d let me figure out what’s best for me when I need it.” – Carly, 36, North Carolina  

“I Like You”

“It’s different than ‘I love you’. We say, ‘I love you’ all the time. And that’s great. But, after being married for so long, it’s important for me to know that he still likes me. I know – and believe – that he loves me. But, sometimes I wonder if he wants me around, or to leave him alone, or if I’m annoying him, or whatever. Maybe it’s been the close quarters for the past year, but it would be nice to hear him say, ‘I love you and I like you.’ To me, they’re two different things.” – Mary, 38, Ohio 

“You’re Doing a Great Job At…”

“I think my confidence is pretty low at this point. I bet a lot of moms feel like that. I can’t imagine a ton of my friends with kids waking up every day and thinking, ‘Yeah! I’m really killing it during this pandemic!’ My husband compliments me and makes me feel special, but sometimes I wish he’d give me credit for a specific thing I’m doing, or have done. Like the other day, I fixed a leaky faucet while he was at work. It was simple. I YouTubed it, figured it out, and got it done. I didn’t want him to gush over it, but I felt like it would impress him a little more than it seemed to, and it would’ve made me feel good to know I’d surprised him.” – Mia, 34, Connecticut 

“I Got It”

“Sometimes I feel like I’m the glue holding everything together. I’ll admit, I like to be in control. And maybe it’s my fault for embracing that to such an extreme. Maybe he doesn’t realize that I could use his help or, better yet, would love to rely on him and just know that things would get done. Of course, I don’t expect him to read my mind. I guess what I mean is that if I were to say, ‘We need to go grocery shopping…’, and he just said, ‘I got it…’ I’d know he would absolutely, 100-percent take care of it. Just take it right off my plate, and add a little more teamwork into our relationship these days.” – Nora, 37, Maryland

“We’ll Get Through This”

“I’m definitely the worrier in our relationship. It’s my anxiety. It’s clinical, and sometimes it’s debilitating. I’m on two different medications, which help, but I really wish my husband was more comforting a lot of the times. Not comforting like, ‘Oh, come here. Let me hold you. Everything will be alright.’ But, ‘Hey, no matter what happens — even if everything is not alright — we’ll get through this.’ That’s what’s important for me to hear right now. That we’re a family, and a team, and that we can survive whatever life throws at us. I do believe that, but his reassurance would sure go a long way.” – Erin, 36, Rhode Island 

“I Get It”

“Sometimes I feel like I’m crazy when I talk to my husband. We just don’t stress about the same things. It’s not that he’s uncaring — he’s very compassionate, and kind, and loving. But, he doesn’t understand the things that make me scared or upset in today’s world. To be fair, I don’t understand why he’s so calm most of the time. So, to hear him say, ‘I totally get why that’s upsetting. Truthfully, it’s upsetting to me, too.’ would be just a huge sense of validation. I know my feelings are valid, because they’re my feelings. But, it would be encouraging to know that I’m not the only one freaking out about something.” – Helena, 34, Florida

“I Can’t Imagine…”

“I’m a teacher. An elementary school teacher. So, right now is probably the most crazy, fucked up time I’ve ever experienced in my life. My school is all virtual, and I spend almost seven hours every day trying to wrangle and educate 20 eight-year-old kids. I have a ‘classroom’ set up in our basement, so no one really comes down there during the day while I’m teaching. That said, even though he doesn’t normally see me in action, it would be nice for him —  for anyone, really —  to try and fathom how unprecedented and difficult this time is, and to try and wear my shoes for a day. It makes me feel devalued that he thinks I’m just down there ‘working’. Like I’m answering emails and sitting on conference calls. No. I’m trying to teach prefixes to distracted third graders who can barely see or hear me.” – Jasmine, 32, South Carolina    

“Let’s Do It”

“I lead with my emotions, and my husband leads with his brain. It’s as simple as that. I’ll come home and be super excited about something. Maybe it’s a road trip we could take over the weekend. Or a DIY project we could do while we have some downtime. And I’m just gung-ho about it. Cut to him, asking questions like, ‘Is that going to be safe?’ ‘Is that something we really need to do right now?’ ‘Do we have the money for that?’ Even if he’s right — even if my idea is completely boneheaded — the feeling of being completely deflated is just really a bummer. Just once, I’d love him to not think, just act, and say, ‘Awesome. Let’s do it.’ – Carrie, 37, California  

“How Was Your Day?”

“I think all of our days are pretty routine now. Even more so than before, because we’re at home. So, we don’t even leave the house to go and come home from work. And, let’s be honest, the ‘How was your day?’-question was more of a formality even when things weren’t weird. But, I kind of miss it. Now, when I ask it, he sort of looks at me like, ‘Uh, we’ve been in the same house all day. You know how my day was.’ Maybe it’s a yearning for that pre-COVID normalcy, but I wish we could recapture that very bland, yet comforting, magic of coming home and seeing each other for the first time in eight or nine hours.” – Athena, 36, Ohio

“You Look Nice”

“I don’t feel like this is such a big ask because, honestly, it’s not something I’d expect to hear that often these days. I don’t look nice. I’ve probably been in sweatpants for six months, little-to-no makeup, hair unwashed and in a ponytail. And I get it, my purpose isn’t to be day-to-day eye candy to my husband. But, I feel like he’s been desensitized, so that when I do put some effort in, it goes completely unnoticed. It’s not exactly crushing my self-esteem, but I’m wondering what’s going to happen when/if things do go back to normal. It’s silly, I know, but it would be nice to hear every now and then.” – Hallie, 37, Texas

“Good Morning. (And Good Night.)”

“Good morning is the big one. It’s like we just wake up and…exist. The day just starts because we’re already where we both need to be, we’re not going to say goodbye to each other and leave for work, and we’re more like roommates now. It’s usually a ‘Hey’ that we’ll exchange, and it wasn’t that way before COVID. There’s something more sincere and sweet about ‘Good Morning’, even if it’s said in passing. Like when you sneeze and someone says, ‘God bless you.’ It’s just one of those pleasantries that you don’t realize you’ll miss until you stop hearing it.” – Sarah, 32, Massachusetts