I really to want to do things that please my wife, Susan. I try hard. But sometimes I miss the mark.
When I do miss the mark, Susan might feel like I’m ignoring her, I don’t care, or that I just “don’t get it.” And when she feels that way, then I get frustrated because I’m not meeting her expectations even though I have a pure motive and good intentions. As a result, I think, “Forget it, I’m not doing that anymore…she’s just ungrateful.”
Your husband may be experiencing the same thing. He really does want to make you happy—he just doesn’t always know how. So, here are 6 ways to get your husband to do what you want.
1. Ask him. You may think, “Why haven’t we gone on a date lately?” Or, “Why doesn’t he ever help the kids with their homework?” Well, if you want him to do it, just ask him. Men cannot read minds. Sometimes we just need you to ask us.
2. Ask him in a kind way. When you do ask your husband to do something, he will be more responsive if you do it with kind words and a kind tone. Instructing him like you instruct the kids may not work very well. For example, avoid saying things like, “After work today, you need to mow the lawn.” Instead, try, “Hey honey, I know you’ve got a busy week, but do you think you could mow the yard sometime before Friday?
3. Keep it simple. You’ll probably be disappointed if you tell him five things you want him to do today. Instead, I’d suggest that you just ask him to do one or possibly two things at a time. If you have more things he needs to accomplish, then see #4.
4. Write it down. Sometimes the best way to communicate with your husband doesn’t require words. Instead of nagging your husband 10 times about the pool that needs cleaning, simply write it down. You can leave a sticky note on his mirror, send an email, or even text him. For me, Susan knows that an email works best. That way, I can read it and put it on my to-do list. Writing things down is also a great alternative when you have multiple items you need from your husband by a certain time. He’s probably capable; he just needs a written list to refer to sometimes.
5. Prioritize. Tell him, perhaps on a scale of 1 to 10, how important it is. For example, my wife may want me to talk to our son right away about an issue at school. But unless she tells me it’s time sensitive, it may not be on my radar as something that needs prompt attention so I decide I’ll get to it in a few days. Or, my wife may really need me to fix the kitchen sink because it’s leaking. But unless I’m told that it’s a pretty big issue and important to tackle right away, I may assume that fixing the sink is just another thing that needs to be added to my Saturday chore list. So be sure to tell your husband if something needs immediate attention; don’t assume he already knows.
6. Express appreciation. I encourage you to be appreciative in the moments when your husband does what you asked. Even though you may think it’s something he should do without you asking or without praise, thank him anyway. “You are the man! I really appreciate you doing that for us” can work wonders. These 10 Things Husbands Want to Hear from their Wives or 10 More Things Husbands Want to Hear from their Wives may help you get started. When men feel appreciated, they will have more incentive to do other things when you ask.
Important note: It’s probably obvious, but the things I’m suggesting here are not so that you can manipulate your spouse, it’s so that you can communicate with him more effectively.
What are some other ways you’ve gotten your husband to do what you want in your marriage? I’d appreciate any thoughts of yours in a comment below.