I often provide counseling for men and women individually. I get to hear a lot of their concerns and complaints about what happens when their relationships go sour. Both sexes seem to have their own set of grievances. And in my counseling for men, there are some things that come up quite frequently. Here are five of the things you should stop doing to your husband if you want the relationship to stay strong.
- Stop calling him only when you need something or want him to stop on his way home to get something. You can do this on occasion but if the only reason you call is to give him a job to do, he’ll start resenting it. Seeing your name pop up on his phone will because a source of dread, not joy. He might even stop picking up your calls because he doesn’t want another chore. Make a point to call him just to say hi, and see how his day is going.
- Stop talking during the game or when he is busy. Save it for later. I recently sat next to a couple at my son’s soccer game. The dad clearly wanted to watch the game but his wife seemed intent on doing anything but watching the game. She also seemed intent on not letting her husband enjoy the game either. She talked nonstop about the most inane topics imaginable. The guy tried to be polite while she talked at the side of his head for the first half of the game. He finally got smart and handed her a sucker which kept her occupied and the talking stopped. So, two lessons her: Don’t talk during the game and when you do talk, make sure it’s worthy of the other person’s time.
- Stop complaining about stuff your husband can’t do anything about. If you tell him you’re cold at the grocery store, it sounds like you expect him to do something about it. If there’s nothing that can be done about it, what’s the point of going on about it. Men get tired of hearing complaints about things they can’t fix. If you’re cold, put on a jacket.
- Stop complaining in general. I’ve talked to lots of men who tried to do nice things for their wives and regretted it almost instantly. One man spent hours cleaning house while his wife was gone and thought she’d be pleased when she got home. When she did come home, her first comment wasn’t “Wow, the house looks great!”, it was “Why didn’t you put the vacuum away when you were done?” If you’re going to look for things to criticize when your husband tries to go above and beyond to help out, you have yourself to blame when he stops doing those things. When you notice your husband doing things you want him to do, acknowledge the effort and keep criticisms to yourself.
- Stop asking his opinion on things and then doing the opposite anyway. This gets really annoying for men. You ask whether he thinks you should go with choice A or choice B. He picks choice B, then you say, “I think I’ll just go with choice A”. This basically says that not only do you not care what he thinks, but you’re willing to go out of your way to let him know you don’t care what he thinks.
Gary Watson is a Solution Focused Therapist in Grand Rapids Michigan. He provides counseling for men, women, couples, teenagers. He can help with anxiety, depression, stress, college and work stress, relationship problems, and more. For more information, please visit the website at www.turnaboutcounseling.com.