With wives, there are some common pitfalls we tend to fall into in our marriage. Let me make it clear that not every woman or couple is the same. Some women don’t struggle with this. Some men do. I have observed enough marriages and walked alongside enough women to know that the issue I raise today is a familiar one for many. I know I struggle with this issue and think this might resonate with some of you out there as well. So what’s the pitfall? We can tend to treat our husband like one of our children. Dear Wives, He has a mom. He NEEDS a wife.
He Has a Mom. He NEEDS a Wife.
In talking about marriage, I’m often going to encourage you to own what you can and work on that. Even if you feel like your spouse is 90% responsible for the issues in your marriage, I will encourage you to work on the 10% you can claim. I also want to remind you that our evaluation often comes from a egocentric place. Selfishness is a struggle for me and most human beings that I talk to, so we tend to see the world from our perspective without walking in the shoes of another to try and imagine life from their vantage point. Therefore, the percentage that you have attributed to your spouse might be a little askew from reality.
We moms need to manage a lot of things in the household. I’m very aware that there are a variety of ways couples handle the division of labor, but here is a small sampling of the responsibilities the wife might manage in the home: organizing the family schedule, dropping off kids at school and sports activities, shopping for birthdays and celebrations, planning birthday parties, working on homework, packing lunches, taking care of the bills, cleaning the house, or planning the meals. We have a lot on our plates that we are juggling, organizing and scheduling. There is often a constant to-do list running around in our heads, and we can want our husbands to accommodate our to-do list.
Before long, we can begin treating our spouse like another person to schedule and organize. There is a reason why the “Honey-Do List” was created. We often take care of household stuff, and we can tend to micromanage everyone, including our husbands. Where we were once a lover and a friend, we now become bossy and controlling. I know we feel like the CEO of the family, but we are going to hurt our marriages if we treat our husbands like a lesser employee. We want to honor our husband as the leader in our home.
Now some of you may be saying, “My husband acts like a child, so that’s why I have to treat him like a child.” Remember what I said in the beginning. You need to work on what you are contributing rather than working your tail off to change him. I can tell you that a man will not begin acting like a man by having you treat him as a child. It is important to begin lifting him up and treat him as the man you married rather than one more person to manage in the household.
What does treating him like a man rather than a child look like?
- Appreciate what he is doing. Recognize what he does well and compliment him often, especially in front of others. THANK HIM! The men I’ve talked to are so appreciative when they are thanked for what they do. Think about it. Do you think your man is going to step up more if you are complaining about him when he is not doing what you want or thanking him when he is doing what you want? After hearing from and reading about men on the topic, I can tell you that the latter is the answer.
- Recognize that he most likely has his own to-do list. This can be frustrating because it’s not what you would like to accomplish, but it is important to him so figure out a way to make his list a priority too. Read my article “Creating Family Balance on the Weekend” to see what we do.
- Find a respectful way to communicate where you need his help within the household. Ask if he is willing rather than telling him what to do.
- Stop nagging. My parents decided to have a white board where my mom could write down what she’d like help with, and my dad can just cross things off as he accomplishes them. Therefore, she no longer needs to ask him over and over.
- Acknowledge his work life. If you think about what life is like for him at work and enter into that empathetically when interacting with him, it will be helpful for your mental space. He has a lot of pressures. He may be torn down throughout the day. Do you want to be another voice tearing him down and communicating he is not good enough? Conversely, he may be highly appreciated for what he does, receiving praise from all of his accomplishments. Do you want your home to be a place that treats him like he’s a kid, not building into his character and manhood like he experiences at work? My guess is that you want to be a safe place for your husband.
- Become a lover to your husband. Think of what you acted like when you were dating. I know the pressures of life have changed since the glory days, but there are things you can do. When he walks through the door give him a smile, a hug or a kiss. Initiate sex with him. Put on a little make-up before he comes home. Plan a date night. Read about the importance of date nights here. Laugh with him. Ask him about his life. Cuddle.
- Stop being so controlling. Sometimes being less controlling is more about how you communicate rather than what you communicate. You want a man with a voice. Stop treating him like a marionette. He is not a child that needs to obey. He is a partner that needs to be treated with respect.
Most likely your husband has had or still has a mother, and that’s not why he married you. He married you because he would like a life companion. He wants a partner. If you become more like a mom than a lover and a friend, it is going to be harmful to your marriage. If this is a pitfall you find yourself in, I encourage you to take the steps needed to change.
Here are some marriage books that I’ve read that show the great importance of learning how to show respect to your husband (affiliate links):