Secrets from “The Other Woman”: Secret # 1
This is the first of a two-part article. To read part 2, click here.
An old Jewish proverb says, “A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands” (Proverbs 14:1). As women, as wives, we want to be wise and learn how to build our houses, our families so they are strong and healthy. We can and should get wisdom from many sources, but I bet you never thought about learning how to have a healthy, vibrant relationship with your husband from the very person who might try to take him away from you—the dreaded “other woman,” the mistress!
What does this woman know about relationships that a wife might not know or has forgotten? What are her secrets that wives can learn and use to create a strong, healthy marriage that can withstand the temptations of the other woman?
I’m going to share with you two big secrets that the mistress knows about how to engage and win a man’s heart and life. If you learn them and implement them, you are on your way to building your marriage and home on firm foundation—so that your marriage will not be torn down.
By the way, some of you may be offended by the idea of learning anything from a mistress, so if that idea is hard for you to entertain, then think of it this way: What did YOU do in the beginning of your relationship with your husband that “won” him—that made him want to marry you?
It is usually the case that a woman marries her boyfriend and can’t wait for him to change. On the other hand, it is often the case that a man will marry his girlfriend and hope that she will stay the same and not change. So, he fell in love with you because you were doing something or things that attracted him to you—things that he hoped would never change. What were the things you did during the dating and attracting phase of your relationship? Those very things are still needed now in your marriage. (And in reality, those are the very things that another woman can do right now to lure your husband away from you.)
Others of you may be thinking that the deterioration of your marriage is not your fault but your husband’s. In your particular situation, that may truly be the case. But I’m guessing that even so, you still want to learn if there’s anything you can do to help yourself. And I want to help you figure out if there’s anything that you might be able to do to change the course of your marriage.
Alright, what are the secrets to creating a healthy marriage? I’ll cover two big secrets and give you some practical ways to accomplish those goals. Since I’m sharing these things with you, they’ll no longer be secrets!
Secret #1: Be his friend.
In looking at couples who have been married a long time—30 years and more—researchers have found that friendship and things that contribute to friendship are the top ingredients of these marriages. When comparing couples who divorced with couples who are still married, researchers have also found that one of the main differences between the two groups is that in stable marriages, the couples do things that contribute to friendship between the partners. In fact, one researcher found that 70% of couples identified the quality of friendship with their partner as the factor that affected their level of happiness.
So, what does friendship with your husband look like? What are practical things that contribute to developing a friendship?
Do you remember what it was like for you when you first met and dated your husband? When you were getting to know him? You liked and admired him as a person, and you wanted to be with him as much as possible.
To be his friend you must respect and admire him.
Nothing says “I’m your friend” more than admiring and respecting someone after you know all about them—the good, the bad, and the ugly—and you still respect and admire them! It’s been found among couples that fondness and admiration are two of the most important elements in a satisfying and long-term relationship.
Family counselor M. Gary Neuman claims that “men are much more insecure than they appear.” Neuman studied 100 cheating men and 100 non-cheating men. In his study and 2008 book entitled The Truth About Cheating: Why Men Stray and What You Can Do to Prevent It, Neuman found that 48% of the cheating men rated emotional dissatisfaction as the primary reason they cheated. The men reported being emotionally disconnected from their wives.
Most people think that a men’s cheating is all about sex, but in fact, only 8 percent of the men in the study said that sexual dissatisfaction was the main factor in their infidelity. Neuman explained that similar to women, “Men are emotionally driven beings too. They want their wives to show them that they're appreciated, and they want women to understand how hard they're trying to get things right."
The problem is that men are less likely than women to express their feelings and need for affirmation, so wives need to be affirming and appreciative even if husbands are not asking for it in words. Much research has supported Emerson Eggerich’s claim that “men need respect like they need air to breathe.” (Eggerich, E., 2004; Love & Respect: The Love She Desires, The Respect He Needs)
You can respect and admire your husband by appreciating him.
In order to admire your husband, you must appreciate his strengths. When you “see” the positive, good qualities in your husband, it is easier to appreciate who he is and what he does. Without doing this, you will end up only remembering and seeing the mistakes and weaknesses, which easily lead to nagging, complaining, and even contempt for him. In fact, researchers have found that criticism and contempt contribute greatly to the probability of divorce (Gottman, J., 1995; Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last)
In his study, Neuman found that 40% of cheating husbands said they cheated with a coworker, and Neuman explained that in the work setting, men are more apt to receive praise and acknowledgement for their accomplishments. When a husband is being admired by a coworker but is being criticized at home, the praise of a coworker can be that much more alluring.
When you think about some of your closest friends, I’m pretty sure none of them are ones that criticize you, look down upon you, and disrespect you. So, to a be a friend to your husband, you also need to avoid doing these things.
In her 1958 book entitled Advice To A Young Wife From An Old Mistress, Michael Drury wrote, “We love most those who make us fulfill whatever greatness lies in us, not those who induce us to resign it.” Drury’s point is that your husband wants to be around someone who sees his strengths and helps him to live them out. Conversely, it would be difficult for him to feel good about you if you are the one who is not only blind to the things that make him an amazing person but also demanding that he change so that he loses that greatness in him.
So don’t be stingy with your praise and thank-you’s! Let your husband hear often that you see the good in him and appreciate the things he does!
You can admire and respect your husband by forgiving his weaknesses and failures.
No one is perfect; everyone makes mistakes and has personality flaws. Friends overlook the little stuff; and really good friends forgive even the big stuff. Why? Because real friends accept you as you are—and don’t judge you as inadequate when you fail or don’t get it right.
Not forgiving and holding a grudge against someone usually means that you no longer see them as a person you can trust or be close to anymore. So, if you want to foster the friendship with your husband, you have to be willing and able to forgive and move on in the relationship.
To be your husband’s friend you must also be his companion.
Isn’t it true that you can never spend too much time with your close friends? You wish you could do more with them and be around them more. Well, your husband wants to know you want to be around him, too!
One thing you can do is as a companion is to enjoy his company. Go out and do things with him. Remember when you didn’t mind doing what he wanted to do? When you would go to Cabela’s or Home Depot with him—just so you could be with him as he ran errands? Or you would spend hours at the soccer field watching him practice? Some of you even went hunting with your husband because he wanted a partner with him out in the woods.
Have you ever noticed that two guys can spend all day watching sports together, not really say anything meaningful, and feel like they’ve really connected and deepened their friendship. Well, the companionship of enjoying an event together is what bonds them together. And if his wife does the same thing, he would consider it bonding as well. And basically, you would only spend time with someone who you like and enjoy. So, doing things with him tells your husband that you enjoy him and spending time with him.
And it’s actually the little things you do every day that tell him you enjoy him: little acts that put you next to him and tell him that you really like being with him.
Turn towards him when he’s talking to you.
Meet him at the door when he comes home.
Sit with him and watch his shows instead of going into the bedroom and reading a book by yourself.
The development and nurturance of a deep, strong, abiding friendship with your husband is crucial to a healthy marriage relationship. When life gets hard, when financial strain sets in, when you disagree with each other, when health problems come, and even when sexual problems arise, the friendship built by respect and admiration and the glue of companionship will help the two of you stay committed to each other and to the relationship.
So, remember Secret # 1: Be his friend.