It’s an old saying “Happy wife. Happy life”, but, there is something to it.

It’s a great balancing act to be a great husband, and a great dad, to balance work and every other obligation you have that goes along with that.

It’s doable, if you keep a few things in mind. I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m also not saying it’s impossibly hard. It’s work. But, again, it’s the kind of work you want to do, and do well.

My suggestions for a happy, wonderful wife? Here you go:

1) Don’t step on her toes

This is key. Even if you’re the kind of hands on dad that I am, if your wife likes to do certain things, things where she believes she shines, don’t show her up. And especially don’t show her up in front of other moms. Moms are competitive, it seems, when it comes to things dads don’t care about. So even if you do it well – you make the best lunches, or read the best bedtime stories, or give the best bathes – don’t make it a competition. If she likes to do it, let her. When she goes out of town for a weekend with her girlfriends, then you can shine.

2) Sweat the small stuff

Your wife may not know it, but those big grand gestures of love that people always have time for before kids don’t matter as much when you’re knee deep in parenting. Yes, it’s nice to have date night, and time away from the kids, but when you go those long stretches where you can’t find a babysitter, it’s the little things that remind her what true love truly is.

Let her sleep in on weekends and you wake up with the kids. Tape her favourite TV shows for her without being asked. If you go to the store to buy yourself a chocolate bar that you plan on hiding from the kids, buy her one too. Little things seem small in isolation, but in the grand scheme of things they do add up. And so do the brownie points you get from them.

3) Get her to write out lists

No. Not for grocery shopping. You can write your own lists for that. I mean, get her to write out lists of things she actually wants for her birthday, anniversaries, etc.

Guessing is great for anniversaries 1 through 5. But with age and wisdom, a man knows that it’s a lot of work to find your wife the perfect gift when you have no clue what that is.

Have her give you a clue. Explain that it will ensure her happiness. Tell her that you’ll let the kids get her the “surprise” gift, but you want to give her the gift she can actually use. The gift she needs. And once you have that, then you can get her that additional crap shoot of a surprise gift – jewellery, massages, tickets to her favourite show.

But, if she needs a new briefcase for work and you know that and you can get it engraved and hide all her favourite candy in it, that will probably mean more to her.

So, ask for the list. It’s practical sure, but it’s what you do with the information that counts.

Three seemingly small things that will take you a long way towards a happy wife and a happier life. Are there more? Sure. But, patience my friends. You don’t want to show your hand all at once. It took me a long time, a quite a few mistakes, to learn these valuable lessons, and I’m still learning every day.