Former president Lyndon B. Johnson said, "I have learned that only two things are necessary to keep one's wife happy. First, let her think she's having her own way. And second, let her have it." Although you may not have the political skills of President Johnson, you can certainly help your wife feel listened to and valued, which will go a long way toward keeping peace when she's annoyed.
Listen to what your wife has to say. If she is annoyed because she was late to an appointment because the car was low on gas and she had to stop to fill the tank, for example, simply listening to her recount the struggle of her day can go a long way toward calming her mood.
Check to make sure you understood what your wife said. You might say something like, "So you're saying that it makes you feel stressed out when the gas gauge shows the car is getting close to empty and you have to be somewhere on time." Active listening can improve mutual understanding, according to the University of Colorado Conflict Research Consortium.
Offer to help your wife with the situation that is annoying her. In this case, you could say, "If I notice the gas gauge is below a quarter tank after I've been driving it, I'll be sure to stop and refuel before you have to use the car." Only make this kind of an offer if you are able to follow through, however.
Apologize if your wife is annoyed because of something you did - or didn't do. Saying "I'm sorry I didn't realize the car was so close to running out of gas" can help her feel that you care about the her and the situation, even if it isn't technically your responsibility to refill the gas tank.
Communicate to your wife that you love, respect and accept her, advises psychology professor John Gottman, Ph.D., in "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work." These are characteristics of successful marriages and will help your relationship move forward in a positive direction. This communication is especially important when she is annoyed, and can help keep her mood from shifting to outright anger.
- If your wife is receptive, give her a hug and a kiss.
- Don't tell your wife, "Just calm down." Doing so sends the message that you are not interested in hearing about her problem and that it is not important.
- University of Colorado Conflict Research Consortium: Active Listening
- "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work"; John Gottman, Ph.D
- Brainy Quote: Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes
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