Updated: Jul 6
This one is for you, guys. Do you have a wife, daughter, sister, or best friend who gets her period every month? Are you baffled by the constant changes in mood and energy? Have you tried to figure it out for yourself, to no avail?
Maybe you have it down already- you know when to expect good moods, when to duck and cover for bad moods, and when to take advantage of her high energy days.
Regardless- you are doing the best you can. And so is she. Keeping that in mind is a helpful way to get through the hard days.
Here is your guide to Understanding your Best Girl's Cycle. Take it all with a grain of salt: you already know that every woman is different. Some have short cycles and short tempers. Some have long cycles and endless patience. Some have days of heavy bleeding and no energy. Some are amazing every day of the month. No woman is the same, and no woman is perfect. You're doing great, sir, taking care of all of these women in your life. Keep it up and keep this handy guide accessible throughout the month.
While you will get plenty of helpful information, it also needs to be restated- this guide will not apply to all women, all of the time.
Ok, let's jump in!
Day 1 - Day 7: Menstruation
Let's say it together: men-stroo-a-shon. We girls learned how to say it from Judy Blume's books. Unless you had sisters, you probably did not have to worry about it. But now you can practice saying your new word in front of the mirror and next time you talk about your wife's bleeding, you can refer to it in the technical sense and earn some major brownie points.
This is the time of the month when your best girl is actually bleeding. It will last for 3-7 days on average, and it gets progressively better. The first day of bleeding is generally pretty gnarly. She is probably in a lot of pain. The pain usually centers in the lower back and the uterus. You may find her with a heating pad or a hot water bottle pressed to her lower abdomen. She may be popping Advil so she can just keep up with life. She may also need to lay on the couch or her bed for a bit. Headaches are common the first day of her period. She is probably just trying to keep it together today, so you can help her by taking on a few extra chores (or making the kids do them!), gently rubbing her back, ordering dinner out, and suggesting the two of you get into bed early. Today is not the day to plan too many extra activities. Tomorrow will be a little better, I promise.
Each day gets a little easier. The pain dissipates, the energy levels increase, and the blood flow lessens until is stops.
Toward the end of her bleed, she will gain some energy and feel like she is almost back to normal. But she may also continue to be sleepy and need extra rest. It takes a lot of resources to shed the uterine lining, and she loses a lot of blood. During her bleed, suggest she eat extra meat to replenish her iron stores and her B vitamins, both essential for energy. Do your thing and grill some steak. She will be so happy. Also make sure she has plenty of greens to keep her magnesium stores up. She loses a lot of this happy-making mineral while she is bleeding. You can make her a cup of this every night or just remind her to take her magnesium pills (especially if her period makes her constipated).
She will have a bit more estrogen at the end of her bleed, and should feel more relaxed, optimistic, and sociable.
Day 8 - Day 13: Follicular Phase
Estrogen levels rise during the follicular phase (which truly starts on Day 1 of her period). Her body is using estrogen to thicken the uterus and prepare follicles to house a possible fertilized egg. She feels amazing during this time. She should feel confident, flirty, and glowing. The pain and annoyance of bleeding has passed, and she feels less bloated and more energized. Now is the time to plan outings, vacations, and the heaviest part of your family's schedule. She can handle it all this week! She can take your playful bantering now without biting your head off. She can let small annoyances roll off of her back. She will sleep better and have plenty of grit to get through her days. These are the best evenings for date nights (if you are her SO).
Day 14 - Day 15: Ovulation
These are the happiest two days of the cycle for your Best Girl. If she is your wife, now is the time to strike, Tiger. She is adventuresome and ready to be intimate. Odds are, she will not smack your hand away from her butt over these two days. She finds you the most attractive and she is generally thrilled to be around you for these 48 hours. If you want a romantic getaway, plan it for her ovulation phase. Her estrogen is the highest now. If your objective is to bring a little one into the world, you have the best odds of achieving your goal during this time. Her cervical fluid will be egg-white in color and consistency, and is the perfect home for your swimmers. If you are actively preventing pregnancy, stay away from each other over these two days, or use her energy to your collective advantage and go play tennis or pickleball or rock climb or something.
If your Best Girl is your sister or daughter, give her opportunities to expend her energy by being active together. Ride bikes, play soccer, do some marathon-shopping, or visit the beach or a hiking trail. Be open if she wants to talk about deep things. She probably just wants to spend time with you. Or if the ovulation phase makes you uncomfortable, schedule time for her with a favorite lady in her life- her mom, her auntie, or another trusted family member.
Day 16 - Day 28: Luteal Phase
The first week of the luteal phase, she still has plenty of energy. Some women start to feel worse after ovulation (and some even experience pain during ovulation), but most women still feel happy, balanced, and energized. Progesterone levels rise during the first part of the luteal phase, so she should be sleeping well and laughing often. If she is not, encourage her to get her progesterone levels checked with her gynecologist or her functional practitioner. If she is like many women, she still has unopposed levels of estrogen at this time and could benefit from some supplemental progesterone. To raise progesterone and balance excess estrogen naturally, encourage her to eat more yams and lots of raw carrots.
During the second half luteal phase, she is fragile. She works diligently throughout the rest of the month to prove that she is not fragile, but we all forget that she truly is fragile and has somewhat of a hard hard time doing it all. She wants to be able to handle the kids, her job, her ministry, and her relationships- but let's be honest- it all falls to crap right around this time.
Be she wife, girlfriend, daughter, sister, or friend- she just needs a rock right now. If she is in Christ, praise God. Give her Scripture, pray for her, encourage her to reach out to sisters in Christ.
In a less spiritual, more practical sense, here is a note for men: it is not you.
If she cries, it is not you.
If she rages, it is not you.
If she irritates, it is not you.
If she feels adoring and loving, though- it is you. You are amazing. Keep it up.
During the luteal phase, she is supposed to have plenty of progesterone in her system. Due to stress, crappy food, plastics, makeup, soy, and processed products, she probably has too much estrogen and not enough progesterone. Again, make sure she is eating her carrots and taking her magnesium and supplementing with her progesterone (under supervision only) if she gets a little...you know...during this time.
It's very common that progesterone levels sink instead of rising at this time.
We call this PMS.
She is frustrated and hormonal and sad and anxious and angry and confused during this time.
You are sleeping in a different room and wondering who the hell you married (or raised) during this time.
You can both get through it. I promise.
She will need the following to get through PMS without some of these hair-raising moments:
She dumps this calming mineral from her system during times of stress. Suffice it to say, most of our days are stressful. Dealing with excess hormones is stressful. We all need more magnesium. Take it together in the evenings as a tea and enjoy the deeper and more refreshing sleep that comes from sufficient levels of this miracle mineral.
She probably does not get enough protein to retain sufficient levels of B vitamins. Ask her how she feels during PMS week. Out of control? Depressed? Anxious? Angry? Something else? B6 balances mood in a very gentle and very effective way. Encourage her to take 100 mg of it daily on Day 16-28 of her cycle and the two of you will feel a bit more in sync..
Again, she is doing a million things- just like you and everyone else- and she probably is not fueling herself with enough protein to get sufficient levels of zinc. Women need about 30 mg daily. Her favorite boneless, skinless chicken breast contains only 1 mg of zinc per 3 oz.
Oysters, on the other hand, contain over 5 mg of zinc per piece. They are good for you, too. Libido and such. It's true. You both need more zinc. A supplement is fine, but real food is better. Crab and lobster are great as well.
If she lacks nutrients, or protein, or calories, she will be tired and cranky and depressed or anxious. Make sure she gets plenty of red meat, butter, bacon, eggs, and collagen powder in her tea or coffee. Aim for 30-40 grams per meal. Fill in the spaces with fruit and veggies first, and then other fun things.
The easiest way to get collagen is to grab some
and throw one or two servings into a smoothie
or even just coffee.
Having adequate fat and protein means that her blood sugar will be stable, and she should feel a bit more energized, and a bit more balanced. She will probably want to prepare these things herself, so perhaps suggest these things for the two of you, or tell her that you want to work on your own health and please won't she help you work on your own health?
Since she was created to be a nurturer, she will say yes. And she will start building her own health in the meantime.
See? You both still get coffee.
Dwelling together in an understanding way is a biblical prescription. Our fast-paced culture demands a lot of her- job, kids, ministry, social events, and looking good while doing it. These things can get overwhelming. Her hormones are very delicate (like I have to tell you!) and too much stress can create a very unbalanced physiological environment for her.
Help her learn the art of saying no. It is ok to say no to things that stress her out, or that detract from her primary job of taking care of the family. If she can worry less about pleasing people, she will be more fun to be around. Help her keep her priorities straight so she has energy to take care of you and the kids. All of that other stuff is negotiable. We womens gets a little distracted by the details and we need you to remind us of the big picture.
It's kind of true. Happy wife, happy life. My neighbor literally has this on her license plate. I applaud her cojones.
In short, life is short. Support her during the rough days in an understanding way and she will adore you even more. Of course, don't let her be a giant baby or a worse B word. But if she falters a bit on those hurty, frustrating, sad, hormonal days, just give her a squeeze and a smooch and pour her a glass of wine or a cup of tea and have the kids do the dishes. It's not you and it will probably be better tomorrow.
Life is hard enough. Grace is underrated. Ask for it, and give it.
Be kind, said the tiny canvas in the women's restroom at the Wells Fargo in San Luis Obispo, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
Also, since we're quoting stuff, try this one:
This guide is meant to be both informative and humorous. I am not advocating using alcohol to deal with your wife's moods, or for her to deal with your moods. But I do love me some Homer Simpson.
As my Other Half is fond of saying, "You've got to have humor".
This guide is at a close.
Screenshot the calendar and consider syncing it with your wife's cycle. I pray it helps her, and helps you, and helps your marriage and your family.
To your family's health,