Why Won’t My Man Help???
This morning, I exited the house heavy-laden with an enormous pile of dry-cleaning, a cup of coffee, my huge purse, and my keys. I witnessed an interesting phenomenon – one son let the door slam in front of my face as he left the house in front of me, the other, seeing my plight when I finally made it to the car, offered up, “Oh, can I help you? Here, give me those,” and he removed the mountain of clothing from my arms.
On the way to PEP we had an interesting discussion about what “help” is – and how men are different from women.
“Coincidently,” the night before, one of these boys and I discussed a time when I didn’t know that I actually needed to ask for help from my husband. This boy has a huge project he’s working on, and I’m helping him with it. I wondered if I had done too much, and so I asked him. He’s 16, so I wanted to be respectful, not mothering or nagging… He told me it was all “cool” because I asked him if he needed the help in the first place. He said, “If you had just jumped in and started helping me, I would have thought you thought I couldn’t handle things. That you didn’t believe in me.”
I pondered this and said, “So, in your head, when I’m struggling with doing something, and you don’t help me, you are being respectful?” He said, “Of course – you might need help, and I might think you need help, but I’m not going to disrespect you by just jumping in.”
I was confused, however, this morning.
“So how is it that asking for help doesn’t earn someone disrespect, too?” I inquired.
“When Dad took those men down to the cabin to install that huge boat lift, he asked for help. Men respect other men who know what their limits are, and when they need help. There’s nothing wrong with asking,” he replied.
I said, “Women are different, to a certain degree,” I said. “I love it when I come home from the grocery store and you guys just drop what you are doing to help me unload and put away the groceries. And when I have my arms full of things, and you open a door for me or offer to help, it makes me feel very loved. I would have loved it if you had seen me struggling this morning and opened the door for me.”
“Not all girls are like that,” chimes in the 16 year old. “Oh?” I prompt.
“I opened a door for a girl who had her hands full and a guitar, and she glared at me, then she said, ‘Don’t you think I can get it?!'” he said. “It totally ticked me off.”
“Her mother hasn’t taught her anything about chivalry and allowing men to be men. Women are to be honored by men, treated special, gently, with respect as to our physical weakness. Men are supposed to be protectors – there’s nothing about this that is ‘less than’ but rather the feminist movement has confused girls and their mothers about how to be esteemed. They think that revealing skin and having sexual power is what it is all about,” I replied. “It’s also just plain polite to open a door for someone who is struggling, regardless of gender. Perhaps asking them, ‘Can I get that for you?’ would work for all?” We talked further.
Ephesians 5:28 tells us that “Even so, husbands should love their wives as (being in a sense) their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself.” 5:29-32 goes on, “For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, 30 Because we are members (parts) of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is very great, but I speak concerning (the relation of) Christ and the church.”
So, men are probably SO VERY NATURALLY good at taking care of themselves, that they needed to be told that their wives are actually PART OF THEM – so they would take care of their families well. And more importantly than that, represent Christ’s strong but loving relationship with the church and how he cares for her. Interesting.
When I had my first child, I remember getting furious and feeling extremely unloved by my husband because I had trouble adjusting to motherhood and had no one to help me. Mountains of dirty dishes, laundry, dust bunnies…you might know the drill. I didn’t know then that I needed to ask him for help. One Saturday, he made himself a sandwich and didn’t make lunch for me. The kettle of hurt feelings boiled over and I emotionally vomited all over him – he was more than surprised. He was utterly shocked.
“Why didn’t you just ask for help?” he replied, eyes wide in surprise.
“I shouldn’t have to!!” I choked out, tears streaming.
“What do you want me to do?” he gently asked.
I could have killed him.
Sarcasm, fueled by anger, stabbed my reply. “Oh, I don’t know, maybe laundry, dishes, vacuum, feed the dog, anything that puts order into our chaos??! Just act like you live here!!! There’s no, ‘how can I help you? bone in your body!'” I fumed. I wept. I felt unloved.
I was also wrong.
And about a decade later, I realized he was showing me respect. I was clearly overwhelmed by cluelessness at caring for a new baby while struggling with part-time work and balancing post-partum depression. He was putting up with digging through laundry baskets in search of socks and underwear, sometimes making him late for work, setting aside dirty dishes to wash a bowl he could fill with cereal for his breakfast, all in an effort to let me know he thought I could handle things. He didn’t help because he didn’t want to be disrespectful.
In his head, he was communicating, “I know you can do this. I’m not going to step in and demean you.”
What I heard was, “This man you married is clueless and doesn’t even love you enough to wash the dishes.”
What a lie!
Bottom line: Ask for what you need and don’t take offense if your husband doesn’t just “jump in” to do things. He can’t read your mind. And chances are, he is a creature of respect, and doesn’t want you to think he doesn’t think you can handle it.
Second tip: Don’t jump in and finish things or rescue your husband by doing things he said he would do. Don’t give help unless he asks for it. Hear this: That is perceived as disrespectful, even though you mean well. When he doesn’t do what he said he would, say instead, “I know you have a plan for taking care of this – do you mind letting me know when it will be finished, so I can stop worrying about it?” And then leave him alone. If it doesn’t happen still, offer up, “I know you said you were going to take care of XYZ. Is there anything you need from me to help facilitate getting that done? What should I do if you don’t keep your word?” **NOTE: Per Jeff’s comments below, this is what my husband told me to say to HIM – what may work better (Jeff counsels gobs of men) is a simple, “What should I do if it doesn’t happen?” that isn’t pointing a finger, nor making an accusation about trust. Thought I’d clarify since we’re getting so many hits and shares today. 3:35pm EST ***
There’s a lot to think about. Dare you to comment or share today to keep the dialogue going – Double Dog Dare you to ASK for what you want from your husband. Even if he doesn’t know how, he will most likely try, if you are specific enough. 🙂
Thankful for the journey, especially that we’re on it together.
Love to you,
Such a great post, so glad you reposted it so I can read it, AGAIN, and share it, AGAIN, and pray over it, AGAIN. I forget, so often, that he does view helping and the asking of said help differently than I. I also forget that if I don’t remember, he won’t likely remember all the time either! A work in process. Thanks for the repost my dear!
Reblogged this on the respect dare … by nina roesner and commented:
On Facebook today, we had a number of discussions going about this…
This topic has been a tough one for me. My love language is acts of service and I feel deeply cared for when someone sees a need and takes care of it for me. Unfortunately, my husband has an almost anti-serve attitude a good deal of the time, not just at home, but within the church community as well. He will help out if the task benefits him in some way, but if it doesn’t in any way help him, then he won’t do it with a willing heart (if he does it at all). And will emphatically say so. What really tears at me is when I am so overwhelmed with working full time, driving 1 1/2 hours to get home after work, picking up my 3 very young and excited-to-see-me children, making dinner, and trying to keep homework and the house in order and my husband PRAYS at dinner for a clean house. I would say that 4 out of 7 days my house is actually clean (at least straightened up, dishes done, and bathroom wiped down). There are few times when my husband will help, like if I ask him after dinner when I’m doing the dishes if he would help wipe down the table, at times he will. I always make sure to thank him. I will also be told “No, I’m not going to” more times than I am told yes.
But God really has been working on my heart and opening my eyes since reading this post over the past few days.
1. When my husband blatantly tells me no he won’t help me, it hurts me emotionally. How is that really any different than when I let him know I’m not interested in sex?
2. Colossians 3:23 says “WHATEVER you do, work at it with ALL your heart, as working for the LORD, not for man.” In examining my life, I’ve realized that I find it easier to “work for the Lord” when dealing with my kids and cleaning and my job, but my job as a wife is pushed on the back burner. Meaning my husband is pushed on the backburner. I asked myself why and I think it’s because he’s an adult. My kids need me to take care of them. My house won’t get clean by itself, so it needs me to clean it. I have convinced myself that my husband shouldn’t need me as well since he’s a grown man, capable of taking care of himself. I am wrong. God has assigned my husband as part of my “job.” At work, if I neglected any of my duties the way I neglect my husband, there would be major consequences. How is that any different in a marriage? When I have a negative attitude, lack of respect, disdain, not listening, rolling eyes, annoyed behavior, or even ranting thoughts towards my husband, that’s neglecting my duty of being respectful towards him. Maybe, actually, I was “working with all my heart” at this marriage. What our heart is full of, our attitudes will display. I’m an onion reeking with lack of respect towards my husband. I really was working for man and with 100% giving it my whole bad attitude.
My new prayer is that I will think of job as a wife differently, that I will remember that no matter how my husband acts or doesn’t act, I am responsible for MY behavior and thoughts and that I will work at this marriage with all my heart because my LORD has asked me to. And I won’t try to tackle the whole marriage at once. That I will work at little pieces of it at a time with all my heart until I feel God is telling me to work on another piece.
1) It’s not.
So. YES to #2 above. For months, maybe a year – can you do that? Just cuz I’m a believer in “earning the right” to ask someone for something. Then, after working on your end of things (HARD) for a long time, doing it for God, not for man, perhaps read Dr. Kevin Leman’s book, “Have a New Husband by Friday,” and employ some of his verbal strategies – but know that if it’s not God’s timing, it won’t matter, because God wants to grow you both. I’m living proof, that if we focus on our OWN relationship with God, and look at our husband as a friend, as a brother, who is also on his own journey, God will do things in His time. And it will make us nervous when it starts happening!! 🙂
I think you are beautiful. And deep. And absolutely a treasure to the Father. He sees your heart, beloved.
Don’t give up.
Who else will teach this to your children?
Love to you,
It truly amazes me just how clueless my husband is about what needs to be done around the house. And i’m sure i’m not the only one! In the past, i’ve thought “HOW stupid can he be to not know that the kids need diapers changed and dressed, fed breakfast, the dogs need to go out, the overflowing garbage needs to go out!!” It’s been the bane of my existence for years, and typically will set my mood for the rest of the day when i am running around taking care of everything in the morning while he sits and drinks coffee and watches me. But i’ve come to realize, it’s not his routine. It’s not his typical responsibility so he quite literally really DOESN’T know what to do, even though it is as plain as the nose on my face to me. So i ask, and ask……….and ask…….. Maybe he won’t EVER be the one to jump out of bed and take care of the kids and other household stuff that needs to be done every morning without being asked. But if i change MY attitude about it, and just keep asking for the help, our days will go much smoother and happier!
I’m not feeling well today. I did my routine up to the point that I thought he could deal. When I asked for help (and I asked nicely) he grumbled and complained that he didn’t know what to do. (He’s a chef and he had to serve up the eggs I’d already cooked and make sandwiches for the kids’ lunches.) I went upstairs to make sure my daughter was ready. As I laid down in my youngest’s bed I could hear him downstairs complaining about “what am we going to do now?” Sigh… Then when I came down he said, “You have to drive. I told you I can’t pick the kids up after school.” Really?! You ladies have a ton of patience and faith in your husbands. Mine just made me want to cry this morning. I’m in the ER right now I feel so horrible (not so bad if I stay still but they mentioned possible xrays ugh… I have a toddler with me!) so we’ll see how it goes… Thank you for all your support. It means the world.
Oh I am so sorry you are in so much pain, mom of 3!!! I am praying for your healing and for strength!!!! He may have complained a bit, but if he was helping that is a big start and thanking him for his help will probably help keep things headed in a better direction. Things are SO much harder when we are exhausted or sick or in pain!!!!
Thank You for Your love and care for this precious daughter of Yours. Let her know Your arms are around her today! Heal her of her pain! Thank you that her hubby did help some – we are grateful for that. Give her the wisdom she needs for today. Give her new eyes to see herat as You do. And give him Your love for her, too. Heal this marriage and let them shine brightly for You!!! Amen!
Praying for you, Momof3. Let us know how things turn out.
Oh, and for what it is worth, the faith I have in my husband now is a recent thing – last 5 years or so. The first 15 were spent with faith in God alone, and learning how to get out of His way.
Love to you, baby!
lol I had laugh despite the pain (my back is feeling much better but my throat is blah… I told him it was probably my overdoing things)… On the way to work I broke the news that our oldest had, accidentally racked up our cell phone bill almost $300. (He didn’t know texts out of the country cost money… We have unlimited, usually.) I did thid to give Dad time to mull and calm down. Anyway, I told him that ds was taking responsibility and what he was willing to do to earn money. As usual hubby scoffed so as he got out of the car I said, “You not only have lost faith in God but your family as well.” I said this calmly, closed the door and drove off. I thought nothing more about it until later when my back wasn’t as bad and I checked my texts. The reference to God totally threw him for a loop. When I went to pick him up we started to talk. Obviously it had been on his mind all day. He asked me when I’d started this “God thing”. I told him what I believed. Eventually I told him that if it wasn’t for faith he wouldn’t be married to me. “How so?” he kept asking. I told him about my lowest point and how I spent the night praying I’d live until dawn. I knew if I could just make it through the night I would be ok. God saw me through and I’ve never reached that low again. He sat there in silence. I wanted to say something, to know what he was thinking about that (he never knew that his eternally optimistic wife almost commited suicide) but I thought it better to just let him think. He next words were totally off topic but I knew it was ok. I’d given him a lot to think about.
Mom of 3,
WOW! god is DEFINITELY at work!!!!!!!! I am praying for your hubby to be open to God’s voice and for you to have wisdom even in your pain to speak to the deepest needs of your husband’s heart. I can’t wait to see all that God has in store!!! You have many women praying for you and sending their love to you!!!
Thanks. 🙂 My hubby is a pessimist to my optimist. Some days it drivea me crazy! He said yesterday that we had nothing but a PS3. 😛 When I asked about me dying (after the kids moved out) he said he’d be left with nothing but his PS3… which he’d probably have to give to the kids so he wouldn’t even have that. 😛 He wasn’t always like this or I wouldn’t have been interested in him in the first place. He’s become very focused on money (or lack of it… to support his family). I told him thay we had have faith that we’d have what we needed. He said faith won’t put food on the table. Faith won’t pay the bills or get us a decent vehicle. I told him tjat as long as we had what we needed we’d be fine.
Still praying for you!!! Are things going any better this week? I hope you are feeling stronger. 🙂
Wow, this is an interesting topic. I’m not done reading all the posts, but it makes me think on these things. My husband has said he shouldn’t have to lift a finger around the house because he works all day or all night, depending on the shift. So, how does that work if I’m a working, mother of three? I’m just baffled by all this. I kind of want to believe the whole “idea” of how a man thinks that’s being respectful, but “No” I don’t think so. I have many girl-friends who have husbands who help when they see things need to be done. I don’t think it’s being respectful when a man sits on the couch and barks order about what needs to be cleaned and washed.
That is a hot topic for me! A woman works outside the home then has to come home and do what a stay at home mom would do and the hubby thinks that’s ok. He works all day so he’s earned the right to slack off. It’s not like the kids are his right? Oooo Definitely a hot topic! There are men out there that don’t believe like this, I know there are. Men who believe that their job doesn’t end when their shift does because they have a family at home. Kids to help with homework and bedtime. A wife to spend time with. I just didn’t marry one of them and it sounds like you didn’t either.
Read Nina Roesner reply to my first comment. I totally wasn’t expecting the reaction I had to her words (I cried and felt touched, loved even).
Even though we know in our heads that our men love us… no matter how much we get our back up because we don’t want our self esteem to tank (It’s their attitude not our short coming.) their words still impact us negatively. I’ve told my hubby many times that his lack of faith in me cripples me. I tell myself that he doesn’t mean it that way but it still hurts. Even though he doesn’t come out and tell me I’m a lazy so and so who can’t do anything right, his lack of faith in my ability to rise above my shortcomings (and I know I have them) affects my self esteem, never the less. Like I’ll finally get a grip on one room of the house. For example, the kitchen (a bad one since I HATE doing dishes… childhood thing)… We’ll get everything cleaned up and looking nice. Dishes all done, floor swept and mopped… the counters all decluttered… and after we’re done he’ll make some remark about how he’ll have to clean “ALL DAY” next week because I won’t be able to keep it up. It makes me not even want to try! I try not to let it get to me but it does. It does. He’s not physically abusive. He doesn’t yell or scream at me. He doesn’t put me down or call me names. It’s just those little digs… Part of me has to wonder, if this man that I love and trust above all others doesn’t have faith in me, how successful can I really be?
My husband is not a man of God (he’s not even sure he believes) or anywhere near close to God whereas I do believe. I know God has a plan for me and I trust him. Like we haven’t been able to get a house. We’ve always struggled. It hit me one day that we haven’t EARNED the right to have a house. That when we get a handle on the life we have and appreciate what we have THEN God will let us have a house. He thinks that we just have a sucky life and we’ll never get anywhere (have I mentioned he can be pretty negative? :P).
Anyway… I’m babbling. *chuckle* A bad habit of mine. I hope something I’ve said makes sense. If not just ignore me. lol Right now I need to get up and make the kids their afternoon snack. (It’s fruit day and I promised them a treat… Brownies and Berries. It’s like a pizza only with a brownie “crust”, cream cheese “sauce”, berries and an apple jelly glaze. They don’t get baked goods often so I thought since I had berries to use up this would be fun for them. 🙂 Off to bake!
I’ll be thinking about this blog and comments for a while to come. HUGS all! (Thank you Nina for your words. I really did feel the love and caring in your words. I cried but in a good way.)
Mom of 3,
I hope you’ll feel the love and prayers of many women who care about your struggle and pain and who are beside you on this journey!
I believe that feminism has sold us a pack of lies – one of which is that we must have two income households. I do work because my husband asks that I work a little bit. But I think we have essentially saddled ourselves with both Adam’s and Eve’s curses! What were we thinking!??! A person can only do so much! Most women who work, (80% in fact – even those who claim to have an egalitarian marriage) come home and do all the housework and completely handle the children on their own. This is definitely a recipe for problems and total overload.
I do look to my husband as the leader and head of our home now (based on Ephesians 5:22-33 and Genesis 3). But he values and desires my input and perspective greatly. How can he make the best decisons alone? He can’t! Now, he actually puts my feelings and desires above his own and truly makes decisions based on prayer and his belief of what is best for the whole family in a very selfless way. He knows my faith and trust are totally in him and he doesn’t want to let me down. A wife has a HUGE contribution to make and her feminine view of the world is essential to making great decisions in the marriage. Usually, my husband goes with what I want now because he loves to please me. But if we can’t agree – I trust him to make the best decision and trust God to lead me through him.
Hang in there, precious wives! This is a hard journey and it is very difficult in places – impossible really – apart from God’s power. But God has so much more in store for you than the place of misery where you sit today!!! My prayers are with you!
Oh, Momof3, that’s a hug from the Father! 🙂 He loves you so very much!
And btw, I’m coming over, save me some of the desert! 🙂 JK, but know I would just to give you an in-person hug from Him.
Which brings me to the most important thing I am led to say to you – in addition to what I wrote earlier, 1 Peter 2 is all about suffering for righteousness sake, when we do what is right, and yet are treated badly for it…and then 1 Peter 3 begins with “Wives, in the same way…” and goes on to share how we can influence an unsaved man.
Baby, we are NEVER more like Jesus than when we are loving (and respecting) those who do not deserve it. I do not pretend to know what you should do, but our Lord does know what your husband needs – and He may decide to use you as an instrument in facilitating that, or He may work it through someone else, but He needs us out of His way. 🙂
I was talking with a girlfriend yesterday who left her husband over different but just as painful circumstances – and she was weeping because she was fully convinced that her break was in obedience to God – and she’s been practicing respect for many years…and doing it well… but He still has learning for her.
I think the most painful thing for us, as mothers, is to realize that our son or daughter’s calling may very well be to witness and influence the sex trade or drug addicts or prison inmates, and then when we understand that many of them will have to “work out a testimony” that connects them to these cultures, our blood runs cold. I would never wish for that for my child, but what if that is what God had planned?? Would I actively choose to stay in relationship with my child while he stumbled, fell, crashed and burned if it were God’s will for His testimony to work out this way? UGH. Yes, yes, of course, but oh, how hard would that be!!!
These same things apply to our husbands – they also have a purpose. They are also precious to God. God’s ways are not our ways, but I have to know, have to trust, that if my God allows this pain in my life, He is doing it for my own good – otherwise, if He is not allowing it and cannot put a stop to it, which He sometimes does, I’ve seen it – well, then I’ve got a wimpy God, then, don’t I?? I’d much rather know and trust that my Lord carries my suffering for me, that He sifts it prior to it landing in my lap…and then I know there is learning also for me. 🙂 He is worthy of our trust, even when we don’t understand it all.
Don’t give up. Ever. Perseverance is what breeds wisdom and mature faith. AND… it develops your relationship with God, which is where you will get the strength to do the next thing, and while you are doing this, even in a marriage that is NOT of your dreams, you will find the Father fills the hole in your heart you are trying to fill with that guy you married… 🙂
Love to you, baby!
Glad you are on the journey!!
And one more thing… you aren’t supposed to be alone on the journey. 🙂 Titus 2:3-4 is very clear about having mature Christian women walking with you as you grow. 🙂 Your husband can’t help you feel better or know all of what to do – but your girlfriends know how to love well. No gossiping, but venting and encouragement seeking is totally allowed! Especially if you have chosen these girls well, and they encourage you to do what is right, so that God’s Word will not be maligned. Just yesterday, we were talking through the Scriptures about what a warning comes for those who encourage divorce!! I am praying for you, dear heart, that you have these kind of ladies in your life – and if you don’t, that He will drop some in your lap in the coming weeks. 🙂
Oh!! And it’s really important to let him help on HIS timetable – which WILL be slower than yours! Let him do it at the last minute – it’s ok. And then THANK HIM!!!! Do NOT criticize his help or he won’t want to help again! Let him feel like a success and like he’s your hero – that will motivate him to be willing to help again!
Isn’t that treating him like a child? He’s an adult. He shouldn’t need to be coddled.
If he were my child, I would correct him. Since he is a grown man, it would be insulting for me to tell him when and how to do things. I respect that if I ask my husband for help and he says he’ll do it – he’ll do it. He may not jump up in 2 seconds, but I have learned if I am patient, he’ll handle it and I have a lot less load on my shoulders. Now that I am patient and respectful, he helps with all kinds of chores around the house with a smile on his face! I have the marriage of my dreams now! He does laundry without me even asking – like last night! And I feel cherished, adored, protected, loved, beautiful, peaceful and overflowing with joy these days because my husband is the most loving, godly man now. God has changed us both SO much!
But if I told him he put the dishes in the diswasher “wrong” or that he didn’t fold the shirts right or complained that he didn’t do things fast enough and sighed in exasperation or if I took over and did it after he said he would do it – he would have thought I was impossible to please and likely give up trying. When a man sees he can delight and please you – he LOVES that feeling! He LOVES to see your smile! He loves to know that he can make you happy. And he is motivated to help again. If he never sees you smile, and knows he can’t make you happy – he feels like a failure as a husband and gives up hope. If all he gets is more grief, he figures he could get grief and complaining by doing nothing without nearly as much effort, so that’s probably what he’ll do.
Lord, I pray for each wife here, especially Caroline and Mom of 3 and all of those who are hurting, anxious, feeling alone, unloved and completely overburdened. Help them to hear Your voice and find the peace, joy and abundant life that can be theirs through Your power! Give them the light they need to see today to take the next step of this journey. Give them Your supernatural wisdom. Give them Your vision and perspective. Help them find their power as godly women to build up their husbands and marriages. Give them the courage to follow You even if their husbands don’t change right away. Help them be faithful to You and let them see all the adventures and miracles You have in store! Change them, change their marriages, change their husbands and let them bring great glory to Your kingdom and draw many to Christ!
Amen Peaceful wife and Melanie! This is huge!
I feel so much for the wives who are hurting deeply on this issue right now. I have been there. Before I learned to respect my husband, I often only got 2 hours of sleep per night because my baby was nursing and was sick often and it would take me an hour to go back to sleep every time I got up with her – which was often every 2-3 hours. I was depleted, exhausted and having a nervous breakdown. I would BEG my husband to get up with her every night for a week to break the night waking. He refused. He was renovating our house and working full time and said he was too tired. He also said not to let her cry it out because he needed to sleep. WOW! I was SOOO BEYOND ANGRY!
If I could speak to the wives who are full of anger, frustration and contempt for their husbands – I would say… until he hears and feels your respect for an extended period of time – he probably won’t care about your feelings, your desperation, your frustrations, your hurts and your anger.
It took me a year and a half of studying for literally hours most days about respect and making EVERY effort to learn to respect my husband to really get the hang of it. And as he felt more and more respected – my feelings eventually became much more important to him. But it was a process that took time.
If he can see or hear contempt – he will probably not care about your needs! If you can try asking with a smile on your face and in your voice, and hold the smile for a few seconds after asking – and you act like you actually have faith in him and he is not the scum of the earth to you – things will go better. But if he refuses, you must keep up the respect – it will take time.
If he says you have too much on your plate – I would suggest that he may be right and you might want to ask him what he suggests you drop and then do everything you can to do that and thank him for the helpful wisdom and leadership.
This January, I brought up my insomnia to my husband. I had asked him before about turning off the tv at 10 but he wanted it on until 12. He knew I couldn’t sleep until 1-1:30 every night. He would never stop watching tv in the past. But when I approached it this time (after 3 years of respect) – he heard me. He thought about it and researched options for a few weeks. But finally he apologized and asked what I needed and he turns off the tv earlier now. He cares if I slept well now.
He didn’t care about my needs or my sleep for the year and a half that I was nursing and working 24 hours/week and completely worn out, bitter, angry, resentful and ungrateful. But he cares VERY much now and will do anything to meet my needs now.
So, it is not a quick fix. It is a process. It takes a long time but it is WORTH IT!
I read your reply and I was so upset! As your husband he should care about your feelings. No playing up to him… I believe that if someone takes vows to “love, honor and cherish” they should do these every day of their lives. My sociology teacher said that his marriage was based on 100%. A partnership isn’t 50/50, he said. If you both go into it giving it 100% then you’ll both benefit. These men (mine included) think their 50% is to go to work and provide and that’s enough. They don’t respect their partner. Mine figures since “I” wanted to stay home and raise our children (conveniently forgetting HE wanted me to stay home too) then it’s my “problem” if I can’t handle it. I’ve talked to him about it but he doesn’t change for long and he’s influencing the kids. Which he should be, as their father. Just not like this… 🙁
Anyway… my point is that we shouldn’t have to go to extraordinary lengths to “earn” their respect. It should be something they’ve given as gladly as we’ve given it to them. I do things all the time to try to make his life easier but he’s not willing to do the same… He acts more like a child in the aspect that I have to “lead by example” to get him to help out with anything.
Mom of 3,
You are absolutely right -he SHOULD care about my feelings. All husbands should care about their wives’ feelings. Just like all wives SHOULD respect their husbands. But reality is that when a husband feels beaten down and disrespected he is NOT motivated to love and care about his wife. And when a wife is feeling unloved and alone she is NOT motivated to respect her husband. Someone MUST make the first move to break this awful cycle. Both have legitimate needs that are not being met. Both need the other to be the first to be the mature one and obey God and get things moving in a healthy cycle. If a husband is full of God’s Spirit and close to God, he will be empowered by the Spirit to love unconditionally and meet his wife’s needs regardless of his own needs being met or not. But if a husband is not close to God and not empowered by God’s Spirit – he will react in the flesh, just like a wife will when she is not Spirit-filled.
There are very few Spirit filled men of God who feel continually disrespected by their wives. Either they started out close to God and it’s fairly easy to for a wife to respect a godly man – or they had the respect of their wives while they were immature to help them grow closer to God.
My disrespect creates interference for my husband and makes it much harder for him to hear God’s voice. He is responsible to God to love me like Christ loves the church and gave Himself up for her and my husband and will answer to Him one day regardless of my behavior and attitudes, but we are one in marriage and what I do affects him greatly. And I am responsible to God for my respect and willingness to follow my husband’s leadership regardless of my husband’s behavior and attitudes with the exception that I don’t follow my husband into sin.
My respect is like a megaphone that makes God’s voice much more clear for my husband to discern. My praise, admiration and encouragement are gifts that God uses to help my husband become the godly leader and man that God desires him to be!
I should probably clarify – when I would beg my husband for help a few years ago. He felt completely attacked. I would say, “Why don’t you ever help me? You don’t care about me! You don’t care about the kids! All you do is work on the house! I feel like a single mom!” He was trying to build me my dream house and was extremely exhausted himself. If I could have asked in a way that wasn’t so vicious – maybe he would have felt like it was safe to come near me! 🙂
Maybe I’m an exception to the rule, but I’m not sure if this totally applies to me. I don’t think I would ever withhold help from my wife under the guise of respect. To be honest, most the times that I don’t help out is either:
1. I don’t really notice the mess or the situation. My brain doesn’t work that way. Household chaos goes unnoticed to me, so it doesn’t dawn on me that something needs to change until its pointed out.
2. I’m lazy, tired, or feel burdened with my own responsibilities. This might not be the best excuse, but its true. I might notice an area that my wife needs help, but I neglect it to satiate my own preoccupations.
3. I feel its my wife role in the marriage to manage the house. That might sound chauvinistic, but I think it really is more inline with the content for the commentary. My wife and I have agreed an certain roles in our marriage and we make a really good team. Mind you, her role is to “manage” the house, not clean it. So if I’m delegated the task of cleaning the dishes or bathing the kids, then I will do so happily (usually).
Any combination of these factors can be involved at any giving decision, or lack there of, to help around the house, but I would say that the majority of the time, I simply need to be reminded that I need to help, or that my wife needs help, because I’m a man and sometimes I just need to be told what to do.
I agree though, that I would feel disrespected and inadequate if I was always being offered help with the tasks assigned to my role as a husband, but I’m not sure if that translates to how I respond to my wife. Not all men are created equal, but I feel this is my situation.
My husband’s response to asking for help is, “You wanted this.” (this being a stay at home mom) while he sits on his butt playing video games. He’ll complain about the state of the house (I’m not the world’s best housekeeper but I try!), not having laundry (he leaves his clothes all over… walks in and drops them wherever. I cleaned the livingroom the other day and found sock balls under the couch and tv stand, in the one corner too.) or whatever else he deems not up to par. He’s not abusive about it. But there are little digs. He’ll only help when I’m really, really in dire straights. Like when I’m having company over. I don’t see any respect or show of faith (he scoffs and gets this “ya right” look in his eye when I tell him I’m going to keep up with things or lose weight or whatever I want to accomplish.) in his behavior. If I were to behave like you say I should I would only become a workhorse in this house where no one respects me. They barely do now. 🙁
Momof3 – I’m so sorry! I’ve been where you are. I totally have been where you are – and it is so very hard… God is bigger than all of these things, however, and I am so excited for you and the journey you are on. I love that you share your thoughts publicly – God will use this bravery to influence many women in years to come – we’re all working out our own testimony. I am praying for you, baby. I KNOW how hard you work, I know how much it hurts, but if you are willing, there’s gobs of learning in the future, and better than that, relationship with the Father. Knowing whether or not to “overlook an insult” (Prov 12:!6) or walk through conflict with someone who sins against you (Matt 18) relies completely on our relationship with the Father and how much we trust Him. Start there. Work that. Study and read and eventually all of this will start falling into place. His Word is True, but His ways are not our ways – and the voice of the culture is so strong we don’t even recognize when we’ve been misled. I’m an equal partner in my marriage. My husband asks me what I think about things. He is my absolute best friend on the planet… and I remember many years ago when I wondered if our relationship would survive. I rated it a “2” on a scale of 1-10. TEN was “great.”
Hang in there, lovely. Persevere! The race is long, but I sense He has a plan for you, but one where He needs to trust you in the small things before He will give you the bigs. 🙂
Love to you,
Reblogged this on Sherri Wilson Johnson – Sharing Jesus In My Own Unique Way and commented:
Just when I thought I understood how the minds of men worked…
It’s true. My man *asks for help* on a regular basis. Hey babe I need to you to… could you do me a favor… I know the “shocked” look after an emotional spew. My mans actually said “do you feel that is a respectful way to approach me? Do you really feel you should be speaking to me this way” to which the obvious answer is no but I still can’t quite bring myself to say that to him in the moment because it’s pretty obvious to both of it that I’ve come completely unglued and am not going to be functional for a bit. Usually because I’ve waited too long to speak up because somewhere in my head I’ve got it in stone that I can do it all.
What happens if, when I ask for help he says “naw, I don’t want to” and thinks he’s funny or “you’ve done it until now you can do it again” or “its your fault, you shouldn’t have done *this* or *that* instead and filled up your plate too full” (I try not to do this but sometimes it doesnt work out that way). By the way, its not like I nag him, I only dare ask for help a few times a year because I ‘know’ what his response will be anyway.
My guy’s a big ol tease and there are times that I have to point out that because I’m already coming up on the last straw, this is not a teaching moment nor is it a joking moment. Seriously you big ol tease, I can’t do this, I need help. (he seems to like when I acknowledge that he’s as funny as he’s trying to be) Should have means nothing after it’s all come apart. I think what you could say is probably the hardest thing to say. “regardless of what I did wrong, I’m asking for your help.” I typically find in the ‘stuck’ situations I’m stuck because there’s a fire I don’t want to have to walk through. A boundary to be crossed. It sort of sounds like because this is new to him he’s still screwing around ‘humbling’ you and seeing if this is something real and lasting or if it’s really going to outlast the times where it doesn’t feel good to have to be humble and ask for help and admit that you really do NEED help. He’s picking up the vulnerability you’re offering and forcing you to hold the credo even under a situation that could become confrontational if you went with the emotional spew pattern. He’s turning up the heat to see if you’re serious maybe.
Thank you for your kind words – please know that GOD is the one who created this message, and please take note of Jeff’s comments and my response. God is so very good, all the time, and He wants to help us get it right if we will just let Him!! 🙂
Amazing how God is using your blog to speak to me! My husband and I had a revelation last night on these exact topics!
Love this post! This whole area of respect is a frequent area the Lord wants me to grow in. Being self sufficient is natural for me, which boils down to a very large portion of pride. And as I’m trying to conquer the world, I would be so frustrated with my husband, wondering why he won’t help (I thought the words the very words you used today!). It would have never occurred to me in a million years that it was translated to respect. Though when I do ask for help, (and I try to be sweet and respectful without feeling or trying to manipulate and that’s hard) very seldom will he do it. Or he waits until the very last possible second to do the task. I don’t give laundry list of things to do like I used to, it overwhelms him and sets us both for disappointment. So I’ll give one task that I’ll ask for help in. And even after the reminders you list here, nothing happens. So I feel a lot of times that I’m setting myself up for disappointment still.
Don’t give up, Felicia!!! Congratulations for working on learning to speak the language of respect – the relationship you have with God, the relationship your husband has with God, and the relationship the two of you have with each other is volumes more important than the sink getting fixed. These things take time to learn – I’m STILL learning!!! I will be until I croak. Our husbands have their own journey and it is important to let God do His thing, and have our own relationship be so deep that we know when to help, and when to let things work themselves out, regardless of the consequences, and all the inbetweens! 🙂
Love to you!
I FINALLY learned that I have to ask for help from my husband but never really understood why. Thank you for enlightening all of us! This should be required reading for all new wives … actually all wives! And I’m sad about how feminists have twisted things and deceived so many girls and women. Thanks for all you do, Nina!!!
Good insights here Nina. The only piece I disagree with, as a guy, is the comment “What should I do if you don’t keep your word?” The way men hear this is “I don’t hink you are trustworthy.” I’m sure that isn’t what you mean by it but that’s the way most guys will hear that.
Otherwise, keep up the great work of helping us relate better to each other.
Jeff!!! THANK YOU! It’s good to point out that what works for one husband, doesn’t work for another. My husband actually told me to say this to him when I expressed (respectfully, I hope!) that I didn’t know what to do when he didn’t follow up. He told me to: 1) ask him again as if it were the first time, and to 2) ask him, “What should I do if you don’t keep your word?” when I’ve asked him again (as if asking for the first time) a couple of times. So maybe for many men, the above wouldn’t work – for my husband, I think he wanted to be reminded a few times, then reminded that he’d given his word or something. 🙂 He’s also told me to 3) let it go or take care of it myself, depending on how important it is – but never to be demeaning or critical in my response. 🙂
I’m so glad you brought this up, because some men are even offended by being asked a second time, and so the wife should definitely ask, “How do I best ask/communicate/follow up/etc., about XYZ so I don’t frustrate you or get upset myself?”
I’ve been told that the, “I know you have a plan for this,” comment matters greatly – we’re communicating confidence and trust by doing that. Is that your experience?
I think there are many nuances to respect – as there are many different men – and I REALLY appreciate you helping us clarify this!!! 🙂
Blessings! And thanks again!
Very timely! We just moved into a new house which had been unoccupied for 2 1/2 years and there have been some plumbing issues. Rather than nagging him about calling the plumber, I simply said nothing. There had been some small leaks before and it appears that some things were missed when the plumbers were working on things the first time. The “old me” would be venting about the lousy the job the plumbers did which would inadvertently tell my husband he was stupid for choosing that particular company. Instead, I’ve said nothing. The problem started over the weekend and I got a text from him at about 9:05 Monday morning telling me he had called the plumber and someone would be out the next day.
The problem is in my kitchen ceiling so it makes functioning normally a bit of a challenge. I’ve been able to hold my tongue (thank you, God!) and he keeps apologizing for the chaos and actually thanked me for continuing to prepare meals and keep at least most of the kitchen neat and organized despite the drips!
In the past, this would have been a major blow-up for us. I would have vented frustration all over him which would have communicated – erroneously – that I thought he was a lousy provider. This time around, I responded differently. He noticed the problem and told me he would call the plumber first thing Monday morning. I simply said, “Thanks for being willing to take charge of this!” and that attitude has made all the difference.
WELL DONE!!! And your comment spurs him to further action, instead of deflating, demeaning, and destroying him as a man. Oh, the power of our words – thank you so much for sharing this with us today, Titus girl!!!
Love to you,
WOW! I am going to have to read this post several times to try to get these profound insights to really sink in. This explains A LOT! THANK YOU for sharing your son’s words. I had no idea!
Wow! This needs to be read again and studied and printed out.
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