101 ways to love my wife

I am marrying Winnie this Saturday. She is going to be my wife, and I love my wife.

It is less than 5 days from now, and then, it is the biggest moment of my life since my birth. Marriage is daunting, especially in Singapore. It is a big cost – financially, physically and emotionally. And there is this women’s charter which protects the women. But I am still determined to marry Winnie as my wife. To take care of her. To be her life partner for the rest of our life. But how am I going to do that? What are the ways to love my wife?

I do not expect our marriage to be perfect. No one is perfectly compatible to each other. There will be conflicts. There will be arguments. Both of us have to put in efforts to make our marriage works.

Over the past few days, I have been thinking of how to make this relationship works. How can we love each other for the rest of our life?

I concluded that it is not the big events that matter. It is the little small things that happen daily that really matters. In order to exercise my brain, I came out with 101 ways that I can love my wife. They are the do’s and don’ts in our relationship. By publishing this entry, I am committing to this 101 do’s and don’ts in our marriage. Here are the 101 ways:

  1. Saying “I Love You” every single day. In our relationship, we call this confirmation. Confirm that I still love her. Humans need confirmation even when we already know it. This is especially so in a relationship.
  2. Hug for 6 seconds every day. I read from an article by James Altucher that a 6 seconds hug daily will greatly enhance the marriage. Not too sure whether is it true, but heck. It is just 6 seconds. Not very difficult, and certainly doable every day. [Credits to Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project“]
  3. Be a listener ear when need be. I am not the center of universe. Winnie has her own problems. Sometimes, she has to rant. This is when I can be a listener ear. Understand what she got to say.
  4. Love what she loves. Winnie loves to sing. She loves to dance. She loves her friends. More importantly, she loves her mother. I have to love what she loves. Even if I cannot do it well. Loving what she loves does not necessarily mean doing it well anyway. It means giving her support, and never ever step in between with her and what she loves.
  5. Be responsible for every problem in our marriage. Both of us have to intentionally make effort to keep the marriage healthy. By being responsible for every problem in our marriage, I will never play the game of blaming. We are all equally responsible for all problems, and we have to solve them together.
  6. Respect her decisions. These include decisions for having kids. Never force my beliefs on her. However, this does not exclude me from constantly trying to convince her.
  7. Put understanding above winning.I always like to win an argument. In fact, I always win an argument. However, winning the argument against Winnie does not make me feel good. In fact, it sucks big time. However, I often forgot how much it sucks to win when I start another argument. Understand where she is coming from, rather than winning is more important.
  8. We learn new stuffs together. I am a strong believer of constant learning. I would not feel good if I am the only one who learn. We can learn on different stuffs, but we must always learn together.
  9. We dance together. Yes I do not dance. I do not even know how to start. But Winnie loves dancing. We can start off by dancing Zumba. A good way to shed off some fats as well.
  10. We sing together. I have a horrible voice. But Winnie loves singing. I can sing along with her, just to have fun.
  11. Bring her out, even if it is just for a short walk. Winnie loves it when I bring her out. It does not even matter where I bring her to. Once a week, bring her out for a walk at least.
  12. Irritate her.This seems a bit counter intuitive. Irritating is the fine line between neutral and angry. I love irritating her, especially when both of us are alone. I like looking at her irritated face. It will make me love her even more.
  13. Make her laugh. I always believe laughing is the best medicine. As much as possible, I will try to make her laugh during our courtship. I will extend this when we are married.
  14. Be a supportive husband.Support her in her decisions, even when I disagree. I am the last person she expects to disagree with her. Never make her disappointed.
  15. Exercise together.Only when we are healthy then we can live longer. Living longer means we can spent more time together. We will exercise together, jogging, swimming, and doing regular static exercises.
  16. Kiss her everyday. I like to kiss her. I hope she likes to be kissed. Kiss her once in the morning, and once before she sleeps everyday.
  17. Think before I say anything to her. Words hurt. Try my best not to say words that might potentially hurt her feelings.
  18. Go for a movie date every month. She loves watching movies. I love watching movies too. Even though it is getting more and more expensive. I like discussing the movie with her.
  19. Share with her what I read recently. I love to read. She hates to read. But she loves to listen to new things. By sharing with her what I read, she learns a little bit of knowledge, and I reinforce what I learn. Sharing also mean I care about her. I want to know her opinions on my new found knowledge.
  20. Discuss economics and politics. We have a long-standing joke about discussing economics and politics. Discussion of such serious matter is a good mental exercise for the both of us. She always have a unique view which I did not see.
  21. Tell her what is bothering me. I believe that we have to give each other feedback, positive or negative, in a relationship. It cannot be always good things, or economics/politics. By sharing what she might have done that bothers me will make the relationship better. It also shows that I care about the relationship.
  22. Let her tell me what is bothering her. Give Winnie the opportunity to tell me what is bothering her. This is especially when it is me who is bothering her. Hug her if I do not know what to say, or nothing good to say.
  23. Keep my mouth shut when she is complaining (especially about me). It is a well-known fact that when women complains, she is asking for a listening ear. She is not looking for solutions. So keep my mouth shut when she complains, even when it is about me.
  24. Hold her hands when we are outside, and give it a squeeze every now and then. I love to hold her hands. Sometimes when I give it a squeeze, she will look at me. I can see that she loves it as well.
  25. Share with each other what happen in our job. We spent 9 out of 24 hours per day at work. Shouldn’t our most important person know how we spent during that time? Moreover, she might bring in interesting perspectives that might help in my job.
  26. Declare all my relationships – friends and professional to her. Whenever we get to know someone, it is good to let Winnie know about the person as well. Describe that person to her. This is to avoid any potential misunderstandings.
  27. Never ever take my wife for granted. It is so easy to take our spouse for granted. We will only regret when she is not around. I will show my appreciation openly for her efforts in the relationship.
  28. Allow her to interact with her friends. Sometimes, I will even join her friends gathering. Friends play a very important part of our life. There is no reason why I can hang out with my friends, and she can’t. Give her some breathing air so that she can maintain her relationships with her friends.
  29. Never ever embarrass her in front of outsiders. Even when disagree with each other, never try to correct her in public. The exception is when it is clearly for fun.
  30. Tell her I miss her (and I really do) even if we only apart for 1 hour. She loves to tell me she misses me. It always happen when I reached home from a date with her. And I will always let her know that I miss her too.
  31. Always support her in her decisions with our kids, at least in front of them. Mother is the most important person in childhood. She might not always make the right decision. However, she will always make decisions in the best interest of the kids. As a husband, I need to support her decision in front of our kids, no matter what I think. If I strongly disagree, I can give my viewpoint later in private.
  32. Surprise her. Humans like positive surprises. Prepare a small gift every now and then just to delight her for the day.
  33. Be transparent on finances. I never believe in hiding our finances from each other. But this does not mean we have the right to interfere in how we want to manage our money. Respect her way of managing her money.
  34. Set a long-term goal, and guide each other towards that goal. We will decide on the type of family we should have, and both of us work towards it.
  35. Admit my mistake, and seek for forgiveness like a man. I am bound to make mistake which can strain the relationship. Upon realizing this, admit the mistake like a man, and seek for her forgiveness. More importantly, do not make the same mistake again.
  36. Allow her to trust me. Trust that I love her, and there is no grey area in relationships with others, especially female friends.
  37. Never ever compare her with wives of my friends. They are not the same, and never will be.
  38. If there is nothing good coming out from my mouth, then keep my mouth shut. I used to have the problem of saying the wrong things without knowing. I hope it is better now. This should be something that I need to keep in mind.
  39. Always set aside couple time per week. A time where there is only me and her, and no one else. This exclude sleeping. It can be any activity, like exercising, chit chatting, Zumba via Kinect.
  40. Set a “me” time, both for myself and her. No matter how much we love each other, we always need alone time. We can use this time to reflect, or just simply to be alone.
  41. Be a little less tolerant in terms of untidiness and dirtiness. Winnie is less tolerant about dirtiness than me. This means I can stand certain level of dirt but she is not able to. One way for me to respect her is to be less tolerant about dirtiness also.
  42. Celebrate little achievements. No matter how small is the achievement, we will celebrate them. Yes, we even celebrated when we can clear our bowels.
  43. Write random, small and sweet little notes. Post-its are not really that expensive. Writing random small notes to start off her day. Hide it well in her bag or purse, but ensure that she will see it.
  44. Play games with her. We love playing games. It can range from card games or even our favorite 三国杀. Playing games is a good way for us to interact with each other as well.
  45. Go for a romantic getaway at least once a year. Doesn’t even matter if it is just a staycation within Singapore.
  46. Be sensitive to her feelings. Women tend to be more sensitive than men. I will try to be more observant, and watch out for warning signs when she is unhappy.
  47. Have a time-out when there is an argument. I foresee we will have lots of arguments in the future. This also mean that we are still together for a very long time. However, too much arguments also not good. I will take the effort to have a time-out during argument. We can revisit the issue after we have cool down.
  48. Cook together. Cooking can be one of the best past time for couples. Experimenting with different food, different seasoning to cure our hunger.
  49. Make sure she is satisfied in bed. When it comes to sex, men are known to be selfish. I will be more sensitive to her needs (and her demand), and fulfill them.
  50. Make effort to plan for a fun day. Everyone needs to have fun. It does not even matter what age you are at. Schedule a day to have fun every year. It can be flying kites, going to water theme park, or anything.
  51. Kopi chat. We chatted a lot while having kopi. I get to know more about her thoughts from kopi also. I am intending to keep this tradition. Invite Winnie for kopi every now and then.
  52. Watch television with her. She loves to watch television. In fact, she got to know a lot of things from television. I do not watch television nowadays. But I should take effort to watch television with her.
  53. Watch comedies with her. We love watching comedies. From Big Bang Theory to chinese comedy. It is a good source of entertainment for us.
  54. Watch anime with her. I love watching One Piece anime even when I know the story through manga. I know Winnie is watching One Piece just to entertain me and find topics of
    discussions. I appreciate it. This is her way on keeping the relationship alive. Therefore, I must also help her to make the relationship alive, by watching One Piece with her every Sunday morning.
  55. Read out manga to her. Similar to watching anime, I love to read One Piece manga. Winnie also took the effort to be updated of One Piece as well. But she does not like to
    read. What I can do is to read it out loud to her.
  56. Lend her my shoulder if she needs to cry. There will always be a time when she is sad, not necessarily because of me. This is when my shoulder will be her support. She can cry as long as she need to, on my shoulder, as long as I am alive.
  57. Engage in intellectual discussion with her. We love to engage in intellectual discussion. It stimulates our mind. It is one way for us to interact with each other.
  58. Hold her hands and take the stairs instead of escalators. I started the habit of walking stairs recently. I will hold her hands, and walk the stairs before we are too old to take the stairs.
  59. Help her tidy up her hair after she wakes up. Women tend to have a messy hair when they wake up. Well, they have longer hair after all. I will help Winnie to tidy up her hair.
  60. Show my affections to her, even in front of others. There is nothing shy about showing affections to my wife. Make it known, but not too much.
  61. Respect her as a person, her rights to privacy. Every one will have something private which he will want to protect. Winnie is no exceptions. I will respect that right of her.
  62. Find something to compliment her, always. There is always something to compliment about Winnie. I especially like how the way she smile. Sometimes, I like how she looks when she is angry. Compliment her on that.
  63. If she does something that hurt me unknowingly, let her know that. Sharing this means I trust that she will not take it negatively.
  64. Never sweep difficult decisions under the carpet. We might need to make difficult decisions in the future. If it is very difficult to make the decision now, we will schedule a time to revisit it in near future. We will never pretend that the problem never exists, and forget about it.
  65. 10-minute every day to talk about everything under the sun. We can schedule a 10-minute block every day just to talk about anything under the sun. It is a deliberate conversation to ensure interactions daily.
  66. Focus on problems that can be solved. Sometimes, the real problem is not the issue that triggers the argument. The issue is merely a catalyst. However, there are certain things that can never be solved. Rather than spending time on them, focus on what we can do to improve the relationship.
  67. Do not self-construct stories that might not be true. It is part of the human psychology to interpret facts with self-constructed stories. “Why is he ignoring me? Maybe he does not love me anymore.” is one common example of self-constructed stories. Unless it can be verified, avoid believing these self-construct stories.
  68. Share the house chores workload. Respect her standard, even if I disagree.
  69. Cook for her. Make her stomach feel loved.
  70. Be very tolerant, especially during her time of the month. Living together is full of compromises. As a husband, I have to be tolerant, especially when she is unhappy and frustrated.
  71. Inject fun into our daily interactions. Having healthy interactions daily is good for a relationship. But it can be better. Injecting some fun into our interactions will make our relationship even better.
  72. Never ever deliberately do something that will make her sad. It might be inevitable if I have accidentally made Winnie sad. But I will never deliberately make her sad. Never.
  73. Do not try to prove her wrong, even if she is wrong. Just shut my mouth when she realises she is wrong. Never say “I told you so”. I will also give her a hug.
  74. Concentrate on her when having dinner together. Not on the phone, and definitely not on other girls. She should be the center of my universe. Always.
  75. Let her teach me what she is good at. Winnie is good at design, drawing and singing. I am completely hopeless in these. But this does not mean I cannot learn from her.
  76. Never ever mention break up, divorce no matter how bad the argument is. These words really hurt, even when I do not mean it.
  77. Share the workload in educating and disciplining our kids. Having kids is very tiring for a Mother. What I can do is to support her, and help her when is needed.
  78. Take care of her when she is sick. Everyone is bound to fall sick sometimes. This is when she needs the most care. Who is the better person than the husband.
  79. Tell her that I am so fortunate that she is my wife. This is another form of confirmation (other than “I love you”). I will say this to Winnie, and I mean it.
  80. Do not make her hungry, in any circumstances. Sometimes I will overslept. As a result, we have a late lunch. Winnie tends to have gastric if she skipped her meal. I do not want her to suffer from gastric pain. Under any circumstances, I make sure she will not be hungry.
  81. Talk things out, but always find the right time. There is a right timing for every thing. There is also a wrong timing for every thing. Saying the right thing at the wrong time spells disaster. It is my responsibility to say the right thing, but I have to choose the right timing. At least make an effort to choose the right time.
  82. Publicly acknowledge her, for her hard work, and achievements. Everyone loves to be compliment. Winnie is no exceptions. I will not be stingy with it.
  83. Learn to embrace her strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Love her strengths, acknowledge her weaknesses.
  84. Find ways to complement her strengths and weaknesses. Think about how the both of us can complement each other in our jobs, and our family.
  85. Let her know I will be home late, and who am I with without her asking. So that she does not have to be worried about me. So that she can sleep well.
  86. Protect her, no matter what happen. One of the core duties of a husband is to protect his wife since beginning of mankind. It is no different today.
  87. Pen it down whenever I missed her, like what I am doing right now. Writing down will further amplify this feeling. It will make me misses her even more. I will appreciate her even more.
  88. Bring her to my friends and business associates. Introduce her as my wife. Acknowledge her status as my wife.
  89. Carry her once in a while. Show that she is still not too heavy for me to carry.
  90. Never even think about having an affair. Nothing hurts her more than this. I never want to see her sad. I also do not want to live a life full of guilt.
  91. Make sure the toilet seats are down, and cleaned after I used it. Common issue for newly married couple. Make the toilet conducive for her use.
  92. Keep my body clean. So that she can hug me when we sleep. Do not be someone she felt disgusted to hug.
  93. Never ever say hurtful comments to degrade her. Like everyone else, she deserves her basic human dignity. Never use degrading words on her, like stupid.
  94. Laugh out whenever the situation allows. Think of something funny. This requires a bit of creativity, but it is still doable. (For Winnie only: Remember our “Broom” joke)
  95. Bring her to eat BBQ Chicken Wings. She loves BBQ chicken wings. But she always tries to keep herself from eating too many. I am the evil guy who will tempt her to eat more.
  96. Take more photos with her. She loves taking photos. I love to take photo. In future, we shall take more photos together.
  97. Look out for stuffs that she might be interested in, and show them to her. She is not active in social media, and did not subscribe to blogs. I did. I am always on a lookout for things that she might be interested in. Then I will tag her in my tweet.
  98. Give constant encouragement, especially on stuffs that she is not confident. Winnie suffers from a typical perfectionist for an artist. She always thinks that her drawings are not good enough, no matter how perfect I think it is. I will be patient, and will give constant encouragement to boost her confidence.
  99. Once in a while, splurge on our spending. Be it on shopping or dine at a nice restaurant, or going to somewhere far.
  100. Do exciting (and maybe risky activities) like skydiving with her to add some spice in our relationships. Routines can diminish flames in any relationships. I will take the responsibility to light up the fire before the flames cannot be revived.
  101. Read this list once per year. I will reflect what am I not doing, or whether have I done anything that is forbidden in this list. This should be the most important point in this entry.

No one enters a marriage and expect to separate in future. I am no different. But why are there separated couples. There must be something missing. Some things that are not done by the separated couples during their marriage. I will use this list as a guideline. It might not work as I expect it to be. It might work better than I expect it to be. But I am going to take the effort to make my marriage works. I want to make the decision to marry Winnie the greatest decision I have ever made in my life. I also want her to think that the decision to marry me is the greatest decision she has ever made in her life.