25 ways I will be a better wife next time, and great quotes about marriage

how to be a better wife use his and her bathrooms

It's easy to diss your ex. But, if it really does take two, what were your shortcomings in the relationship? What will you do differently next time? We could probably all learn how to be a better wife, and I'm no exception.

For marriage to be a success, every woman and every man should have her and his own bathroom. The end. —Catherine Zeta Jones

how to be a better wife use his and her bathrooms

Here are my personal goals on how to be a better wife the next go around

If I get a do-over and remarry, I hope I will be a different kind of wife. A better wife. This is how I will be in my next marriage:

  1. Be more adoring. Saying nice things to another person often requires thinking nice person about an often, and that muscle gets exercised until it changes my life, and the relationship, and the world.
  2. More appreciative. See above. Focus on the positive. Really simple.
  3. I won't nag. Women are naggers. I nagged. I'll try really freaking hard no to nag. too much.
  4. Or pick. Eek. So guilty.
  5. Separate bank accounts. What I make is mine, and what you make is yours and what we share we share.
  6. Pre-nup. It's more about the discussion than the document. But the document is good, too.
  7. I won't talk trash about his family. Even when he's going off about his alcoholic, abusive, philandering, compulsive-lying relatives, I will keep my pie hole shut. Until it needs to be talked about. Then I will find a quiet time to do so.
  8. Let stuff go. Forgiveness. A beautiful thing. More a gift to myself than him or the relationship, but everyone wins.
  9. Let lots and lots and lots of stuff go.
  10. Ensure we have enough real estate so everyone has space that is exclusively their own. Everyone needs their own space. A room of her own, ya know? The deeper point is that there are two individuals with their own thoughts, items, habits and energy. Space honors that humanity.
  11. Always earn enough to support myself and my kids by myself. Independence and inter-dependence. Not co-dependent or, God forbid, dependent. We're all adults here!
  12. Believe that my career and income are just as important to his — even if I earn less.
  13. Laugh about his annoying habits. This is really about self-forgiveness, acceptance and just fucking loving.
  14. Laugh at my habits he finds annoying. His grievances about me are just as valid as the other way around.
  15. Accept that his shortcomings — small or large — do not reflect on me.
  16. Fight fair and fast. No name calling, brawling with the goal of winning, digging up past grievances. Go to the nut of the issue, listen, compromise, hug, kiss, sex, the end.
  17. Let stuff go. Yes, again.
  18. Make sex a priority. No matter what.
  19. No intentionally farting in front of each other. Human? Yes. Also a slippery slope to being a disgusting slob in front of the person you need most to find you sexy. Boundaries.
  20. Or using the bathroom with the door open. Boundaries and mystery. Good things in romance.
  21. I won't expect him to change. Whew. That is tough, but necessary. Expectation management!
  22. I'll compromise more.
  23. And listen more.
  24. Let him have his way more.
  25. Put my energy into what is good in the relationship, and not dwell on the other things.

Great quotes about relationships and marriage

There is so much to say about how to be a better wife, but remember it's a two sided-coin, too. Every relationship is unique, but a few points stand, regardless:

“We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness–and call it love–true love.”
– Robert Fulghum

People always fall in love with the most perfect aspects of each other’s personalities. Who wouldn’t? Anybody can love the most wonderful parts of another person. But that’s not the clever trick. The really clever trick is this: Can you accept the flaws? Can you look at your partner’s faults honestly and say, ‘I can work around that. I can make something out of it.’? Because the good stuff is always going to be there, and it’s always going to pretty and sparkly, but the crap underneath can ruin you. ― Elizabeth Gilbert

Truth is everybody is going to hurt you: you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for. — Bob Marley

Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that many people enter into a relationship in order to get something: they’re trying to find someone who’s going to make them feel good. In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see your relationship as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take. — Anthony Robbins

There are a hundred paths through the world that are easier than loving. But who wants easier? — Mary Oliver

You can measure the happiness of a marriage by the number of scars that each partner carries on their tongues, earned from years of biting back angry words. -Elizabeth Gilbert

If you're afraid of loneliness, don't marry. — Anton Chekov

Passionate sex is great. A passionate marriage filled with passionate sex … SO much better. –Fawn Weaver

You know it's never fifty-fifty in a marriage. It's always seventy-thirty, or sixty-forty. Someone falls in love first. Someone puts someone else up on a pedestal. Someone works very hard to keep things rolling smoothly; someone else sails along for the ride. ― Jodi Picoult

Marriage is three parts love and seven parts forgiveness of sins. -Lao Tzu

An intimate relationship does not banish loneliness. Only when we are comfortable with who we are can we truly function independently in a healthy way, can we truly function within a relationship. Two halves do not make a whole when it comes to a healthy relationship: it takes two wholes. -Patricia Fry

Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation. -Oscar Wilde

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. -Carl Jung

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About Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.


  1. Christine Duggan on April 8, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Love this! I agree with everything you said. Those are the exact things I would change too!

  2. Erica on April 9, 2013 at 11:44 am

    I would (hopefully) do all the same things!

    Other than I haven’t decided if I do want to be a wife again :)

  3. Honoree Corder on April 10, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Great list. I would add: “I will always adore and encourage him, just like when I knew I was first in love.” Men thrive on affection and attention (just like women) and miss it when they don’t get it just as much as we do.

    • Emma on April 11, 2013 at 11:52 am

      100% agree.

  4. Luke on April 30, 2013 at 12:32 am

    Not bad, but specific minimum frequency of sex (especially fellatio) would have improved it. Likewise, vowing to A) maintain your premarital weight and B) bear a certain number of children genetically HIS would have rounded out the picture.

  5. Roach on April 30, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Sounds like you figured out mostly the right things. And too bad about your old man’s brain injury. Then again, I’m always skeptical of single moms and their “I was the victim” narrative. You came from a divorced family; it’s obvious marriage ’til-death-do-you-part was only someting you read in books. I don’t think I’d ever marry a divorced chick or a child of divorce. Too much risk.

    Whoever you get next will probably be a worse catch in all the relevant ways than your ex. Be realistic. At least your aim for self improvement shows realism.

  6. Emma on May 17, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    These bitter comments make me feel so sad. :(

  7. jordana on January 15, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Great list, your self awareness is enviable. I hope some of your readers will learn something. Next guy will be lucky!

    • Emma on January 19, 2014 at 12:16 pm


  8. Emma on January 16, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Thanks Jordana – I’m sure my ex could add to the list – and you’ll have to ask the next husband his 2 cents

  9. Sarah on November 25, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    Articles like these make me wonder, were you ever even truly married or is this a big scam? Not to rain on anyones parade but “I won’t nag. Women are naggers,”? Really? A gross oversimplification of a marrige power dynamic of women only being appreciated or valued in a single sphere. Women deserve to nag. I can see why this blog doesn’t allow a star rating of any articles, wouldn’t want to make yourself look bad, right?

  10. Dj on March 29, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    I think WE all really only need three things on a list like this. 1. Listen better. By listen I mean really look at what your spouse needs. 2. Work your ass off to be the best you while working to be the best of what your spouse wants. 3. Find that someone that actually has a similar perspective and is also capable and willing to buy into #1 & #2 for the marathon we call life.

  11. Imana Azeez on March 30, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    I disagree with some of this m. I have to lower my expectations but compromise more? Naw it was when I was true to my expectations and stop letting him get away with things did I become happy with myself and begin to see the relationship for what it was- I’m not short changing myself to let make anyone happy again. This will only result in my own misery

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