So, you might be thinking, “My husband needs a girlfriend? Girl, you’ve lost your mind!” But I promise you, I haven’t lost my mind (at least not completely…). I’m not suggesting that your husband needs a girlfriend on the side.
But I am suggesting that, every once in a while, he needs you to be his “girlfriend.”
Of course, what every husband primarily needs is a loving and committed life partner. But every now and then, our husbands need a little bit of “girlfriend treatment.”
(For the record, I think that you and I need the “boyfriend treatment” once in a while too, but someone else will have to write about that for our husbands!)
Obviously, life as a married couple is a lot busier and more complicated than life as a dating couple. And you may think that being his girlfriend is a “frill,” something you might have time and money for in the future, but definitely not today.
If that’s what you’re feeling, I want to encourage you to rethink that idea. Keeping your marriage fresh, alive and fun may depend in part on you, every once in a while, acting like your husband’s girlfriend.
I know, I know – when you’re working hard, raising children, and trying to keep all of your balls in the air, that sounds like a pretty tall order. So, given those real-life limitations, what might the “girlfriend treatment” look like?
Here are a few ideas that can work for even the busiest wife and mom. Pick one or two and give them a try.
Remember what attracted you to him, and focus on those things.
When you first dated your husband, you found some things about him very attractive. Was it his good looks, his smile, his sense of humor, the way he always made others feel comfortable, his honesty, or the way he always worked hard until the job was done?
Make a list (in your mind, on paper, or on your phone) and focus on it for several days. During that time, put the little things that annoy you about him out of your mind.
Praise and thank him.
When you were his girlfriend, you probably focused on the positives and praised him a lot. So now that you’re thinking again about the things that attracted you to your husband, praise him and thank him for those things.
Tell him what you appreciate about him. Thank him for the things that he does for you and your family.
Do this consistently over a number of days, and try to avoid criticizing him during that time.
If this feels awkward, start with something small or non-threatening – “I love the way you play with the kids when you get home from work.” “Thank you for taking care of my car so I don’t have to worry about it.”
Whenever possible, praise him in front of other people – “I’m so lucky that Joe is handy around the house. We’ve never once had to call a plumber.” “I never would have finished my degree if Tom hadn’t taken on more than his share with the kids and the house.”
(Of course, this doesn’t mean ignoring problems in your marriage or pretending that he never does anything wrong. I’m just suggesting that you take some time to focus on the positive for a few days and let go of some minor annoyances.)
Let him be a man.
Your husband isn’t your sister, one of your girlfriends, or one of your children. He’s a man, and he’s your man. So treat him like one.
Enjoy his masculinity, even if some aspects of it annoy you at times. If he wants to take care of something around the house, let him do it – his way. If he wants the two of you to do something together (dinner, movie, concert, trip), let him plan it and enjoy what he plans.
And please, don’t ever treat him like a child. I’ve seen, and you probably have too, a wife chastise her husband in public as if he was a disobedient child. That is so destructive to a marriage, whether done publicly or privately.
Of course, you can disagree with your husband or criticize something he has done, but always in private and always as one adult to another.
One of the things that makes dating so exciting is that it’s full of surprises. Often you don’t know what to expect, and everything feels new. Girlfriends want to impress their boyfriends (and vice versa), and often plan surprises to make them happy. After a couple of years of marriage, however, most of us fall into a routine and forget about the art of surprise.
So think like your husband’s girlfriend. You know him better now than you did when you were dating him – what kind of surprises would he enjoy? Plan several things over a few days or a weekend. Would he like a favorite meal, a massage, a gift, time to work alone on a project, or time for the two of you to watch sports or a movie he likes? Be creative and keep the focus on his surprise and enjoyment.
Dress for him sometimes.
When you were dating, you probably “dressed” for your husband regularly, whether dressing up to go out or wearing his favorite pair of jeans or top around the house. But for most busy women – with kids, jobs and responsibilities – those days are long gone.
No, you can’t dress up every day like you’re going on a hot date and neither can I, but we can ditch the comfy yoga pants and ratty jeans on occasion! So think about the things your husband likes you to wear, and wear those things once in a while.
Focus on enjoying sex.
Whether or not you and you husband had sex before you were married, you probably felt very sexually attracted to him when you were dating. Now, maybe not so much. Instead, you’re busy, you’re stressed and, above all, you’re really, really tired.
In addition, you may have started to believe one of the great lies of our culture – that the best sex happens in new relationships between people who aren’t married. No – the best sex can and should happen between two people who are married and committed to each other for life.
So while you’re focusing some attention on being your husband’s girlfriend, work on rekindling the sexual attraction that you first felt for him. Try taking the lead and initiating sex. Wear something that makes you feel confident and sexy. Consider trying something a little bit new or different. Use scents and music that make you feel sensual. (Affiliate links – I love this essential oil mixture, and I want to try this massage candle and this one.)
Above all, cultivate a positive mindset and plan to enjoy sex and intimacy with your husband. Almost every man desperately wants to know that his wife is still turned on by him and enthusiastic about enjoying sex with him.
If you’re not sure how to make that work (and believe me, I know it isn’t easy) some of the articles on the Passionate Marriage page and resources on the Sex and Marriage Resources page may give you some additional ideas and encouragement. You may also want to check out Sheila Gregoire’s Boost Your Libido online video course. And if you’re always too tired to enjoy sex, consider taking more control of your schedule and learning to say no.
More than likely, your husband needs a girlfriend every now and then. Do you agree? Have you tried anything like that? How did it work out? Please share your thoughts in the Comments – I would love to hear from you.
(Please note that this article is intended to encourage women in generally healthy marriages. If you’re in a very difficult marriage, these ideas won’t be helpful for you, and I encourage you to seek professional assistance in your community. And if you’re in an abusive marriage, please call a crisis line or law enforcement. Abuse is never the fault of the person being abused, and marriage tips and encouragement will not help you deal with an abuser.)
Are you feeling frustrated with your libido and your level of interest in sex? Do you feel like something might be wrong? Do you wonder if you’ll ever be able to boost your sexual energy? If you’re feeling any of those things, check out the 10-video Boost Your Libido ecourse from Sheila Gregoire, the leading sex writer for married women. This course can help you figure out why your libido or your sex life have gone way off track. It can help you answer the question, “Is there something wrong with me?” (I’ll give you a hint – the answer is no! But you may need some new information and strategies to get things going again.) I’m working my way through the course now and really love how practical the content is for busy wives and moms.
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Thank you for sharing this article. I do a lot of the mentioned ideas without even realizing I was being a girlfriend. That’s a cool idea. I make sure he knows daily how important and appreciated he is by sending little motes, text messages or call just to hear his voice. Hold his hand in public. Play around with each other like teenagers. We’ve been together 17 years and it’s been good. We are best friends and that’s so important in a marriage. Thank you again for posting this. We treat our good everyday, even if it’s just a small thing like an text message or note. They want to feel appreciated and loved just like we do.
Thanks so much, Patty. It sounds like you and your husband are both doing exactly the kinds of things that keep a marriage strong and fun over the years.
I totally agree with this article!! I’ve been married my whole adult life 25 years and my first marriage was a perfect example of getting married to young! My second marriage of 15 years to date is much more fulfilling to both of us and the last three or so years has been the best yet. Our kids are older now and we enjoy each other so much and making a marriage work is hard but thinking and acting like we were first dating is a home run for us!! Our relationship is the best ever!! Men love having a sexy wife and being paid attention to and my man deserves it to the fullest!!
Relationship Goals says
Great article. Very inspired after reading that . Thank you for sharing
Thanks so much.
Christy disher says
Everything u wrote is how.me and my husband act almost daily after 17 years. Now i see why we are best friends and have a great marriage. Im 42 and hes 51 and i sometimes still act and feel as im a school girl in love.
Hi Christy – That is so great! Sadly, I think you are in the minority, but the way you and your husband feel is the way we all want to feel in our marriages. Obviously the two of you are doing something right!
I’m so glad you’ve posted this! After having our first child, we easily got swept up in caring for the baby and house work (not to mention our full time jobs on top of all that). We work different shifts to help with child care so we really only see each other in passing right now. We’re working hard so this will only have to be a temporary situation.
My point is, it’s even more important to make the most of those little moments each day! I’ve had the thought of trying to keep things from falling into a boring rhythm between us and with your suggestions I think I can make it happen!
Hi Megan – Yes, you’re so right. Sometimes we have to do hard things in the short run that will be best for our families in the long run. But those things can make it hard to focus time and attention on our marriages. So I really love your idea of making the most of little moments throughout the day. Thanks so much for sharing it.
I love this idea. I guess I’ve already been doing some of those things that you suggested and didn’t even think about it. BTW he does call me his girlfriend sometimes in front of our boys.
Hi Louise – I think it’s great that you are doing these things without even thinking about them. You could probably give me some pointers! Also love that he calls you his girlfriend. If your boys are at a certain age, that probably makes them groan.
Nikki Olson says
My husband and I have been together for 3.5 years now. We got married after 2 years of dating and had a child right away. We have a 6 month old baby boy. 3 months into our marriage we decided we needed to find who God was and we were not displeased with doing that! As we got deeper into the bible and trying to live a life like Jesus would.. we decided our marriage was not a biblical marriage at all… So we took up marriage coaching through our church.. amazing. It helps us get in tune with God and it helped me love and respect my husband more than I ever had. You may be thinking how might this tie into this article..
It ties into it because I found that he finds respect the most when I “act” like a girlfriend to him. Because girlfriends “show off” their new boyfriends and praise them on everything. as we get further into marriage.. we forget that and become selfish.. or at least I did.. 🙁
So I am challenging myself right now to be his girlfriend in public..
For instance all men compete..
So if we are standing in a group of people and there are men around.. the last thing I should do is tease him why the dishwasher hasn’t been fixed.. instead I would brag that I am so excited my handy man is going to Fix our dishwasher! It masculates him and other men see that ..
As a girlfriend.. I would say that!
Even little things.. like lean in and hold his arm with your head slightly leaned on his shoulder.. it shows affection and love. People notice. It makes the man look like he is leader and she is secure. Again that’s a girlfriend kind of move.
Thanks Nikki. I’m so glad that you found a “girlfriend approach” that works for you and your husband.
I love this concept! What a great idea! These are all things I try to do often anyway, but when you think about it in terms of acting like a girlfriend, it makes them a little easier to understand and probably easier to put into practice. And it’s exciting for us too! Thanks for the idea!
Thanks Charlene. It does make it a bit more exciting to think of it that way, doesn’t it?
I really think that so much of it comes down to enthusiasm. We were all much more enthusiastic when dating than we are after years of marriage.
I agree. The trick is for each person to do the things she/he needs to do to maintain a high level of enthusiasm.
Thank you for this great article. Our marriage of 25 years is still HOT HOT HOT because of this very thing. I think of ways throughout the day to encourage him and have fun together. I love acting like his girlfriend and he loves it even more! I feel young.
Thanks so much, Angie. I really appreciate your enthusiasm – it encourages me to keep up my enthusiasm for being my husband’s girlfriend.