Happy Birthday Mommy! (David Takes Over The Blog)
A Birthday Surprise and my 3 Secrets to a Happy Wife
Hello you lovely Mascara and Macchiatos readers! It’s me, David, Jessica’s Instagram husband (and real husband). I’m also the webmaster here, so I’ve stolen the blog today (shhhh, she doesn’t know I posted this yet!).
Backstory: I mentioned the surprise birthday getaway plans I’m about to tell you all about to a close friend of Jessica’s and she said something along the lines of “Maybe you should write a blog about ways husbands can make their wives feel loved!”, or something like that. Now, I don’t know if this is really advice on that level, and I’m not too sure many husbands subscribe to Mascara and Macchiatos… but alas, here’s the thought process behind putting together this year’s birthday surprise:
This blog post is going to come off as “tooting my own horn” a bit, but loving my wife is something I think I do pretty well, so I thought it couldn’t hurt to share some of the ways I try to incorporate my wife’s Marriage Pro Tips.
Here’s how the birthday surprise came together:
For well over a month I’ve been shopping for pretty much an entire “weekend away” wardrobe for Jess, including two new dresses, jeans and a shirt, jewelry, 3 pairs of shoes, bras, undies, pajamas, workout clothes from Lululemon, and a new custom KaiKini Bikini (they’re still all 15% off at checkout using this link!), packed it all in a suitcase (I actually wanted to get her some nice “Instagrammable” luggage too, but I couldn’t figure out how to ship it here discreetly, and the 5 stores I drove to didn’t carry the color I thought she’d like most, but I digress), and had her open the suitcase as her one big birthday gift. On top of all the gifts in the suitcase is the hand-made “Happy Birthday Mommy” sign and the photo above printed out. And the suitcase itself was, hopefully, an obvious signal that we will be travelling somewhere.
Before you get any ideas of your own, my fellow husbands, you absolutely should not go surprise your wife with some extravagant blow-the-budget-out-of-the-water gifts if she doesn’t enjoy these types of gifts! It could totally backfire on you! And be especially cautious if her love language has nothing to do with receiving gifts.
My #1 Secret to Husbanding Well:
I think the number one most important thing I do is (try to) pay attention to the little things my wife says and does. It’s really easy to not really pay attention when someone you’ve been with for so long is just chatting about the small inconsequential things in life, especially after work when you might be tired or there is just a lot on your mind… or you just have your phone in your hand and it’s too easy to just look down and mindlessly scroll through the entire Internet ad nauseam. And it happens all the time to me (sorry, wife!).
But here’s the thing… I can always snap out of the passive listening mode and really listen – but I have to actively try (which is part of secret #3 below).
#2: Knowing Her Love Language
My wife has briefly talked about the 5 Love Languages on her blog before here. For my wife, the important thing about the gifts is not the gifts themselves; “Receiving Gifts” is not my wife’s love language (if you don’t know your SO’s love language, stop reading this right now and go figure it out here!). My wife’s top two love languages are Acts of Service and Quality Time.
So why would I lavish her with gifts? Because these gifts are (I hope) special to her. I thought a lot about them and spent hours and hours putting everything together. I looked up the sizes of her most worn clothes (she rips the tags off sometimes, which makes this step really hard!). I customized a bikini I thought she would love most – and asked the owner (Hi Taryn! 👋) if she’d custom make a less “cheeky” version of a style just for her. I looked at her pins on Pinterest for inspiration. I remembered recently when she struggled to find the right neutral-colored shoe to wear with an outfit (but honestly, I have no idea if the shoes I got her will actually work). I went in to Victoria’s Secret and asked a 20-something year old girl what type of underwear will work best for the outfits I got her (not my first time doing this BTW – and it’s no less awkward now than it was the first time - haha). I booked a trip to Miami, one of the destinations we opted out of when planning our anniversary trip this year because the car ride was too long for the kids. I orchestrated all the babysitters for the entire weekend. I made a special playlist for the car ride (yes, Will Smith’s Miami is the first track). I made a photo of 3 of the 4 things she loves most in the world (the 4th thing is coffee, obviously).
I went in to Victoria’s Secret and asked a 20-something year old girl what type of underwear will work best for the outfits I got her
All this takes tons of thought and lots of work (and sneaking around to get this all done isn’t easy either). And I know she’ll appreciate this work because: a) her love language is Acts of Service, b) I’ve done similar things in the past and she let me know she really appreciated it 😉, and c) we’ll get some much needed Quality Time.
And here’s the craziest thing: she’ll probably take half of this stuff back because she either hates it or it doesn’t fit… so we’ll trek to the mall to return things and she’ll find a better outfit or size and I’ll tag along – and this can take all day – but this time together (doing something I don’t particularly enjoy) is all part of the gift!
#3: Remembering to Actively Love Her
You can have love for someone, or you can show love to someone. It’s easy to forget to do the latter. But as a husband I try to show it Every. Single. Day. For my wife and her love language(s), that means I need to sometimes do some of the little chores that she usually just does herself. This could be things like making her breakfast in the morning, doing the dishes, making the bed (confession: I hate doing this and almost never do it. Sorry again!), convincing the kids to surprise her by getting ready and buckled in the car before she even asks them to, getting them to pause their playtime for a moment and go give her a hug and whisper in here ear “I love you”, etc.
You can have love for someone, or you can show love to someone.
The point is this: I can’t just try to show her love only in the ways I want to; it is my responsibility to make sure she feels loved in the way she needs to receive it.
p.s. If your wife’s love language is gifts and only gifts, I’m sorry about your bank account.
I think success in marriage (and so much of life) really boils down to one line in the greatest movie of all time (that’s The Matrix, of course): Temet nosce. It’s Latin for “Know thyself”. It’s corny, yes, but this line has molded my life. If you become quick to recognize your own weaknesses and strengths, and your own needs and desires, it becomes much easier to pay attention to the needs and desires of those who you love most. Why? Because knowing yourself makes you aware of what you really want in life and that will force you to actively work on self-improvement. And you’ll learn that improving the lives of those you love will greatly improve yours; we rise by lifting others. It’s selflessness through selfishness, really. And as they say…
“If momma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy.”
Now go tell her happy birthday!
So “Words of Affirmation” is like the bottom of the list of love languages for Jess, but the Instagram algorithm absolutely loves them. I’m serious… posts of hers that get lots of comments get shown to thousands of more people than ones that don’t (and # of likes doesn’t seem to matter to Instagram)! Now go say “Happy Birthday!” on her latest Instagram post: Mascara and Macchiatos!