Stan was fed up. When he called for a marriage intensive, he stated, “She treats me like I’m her child – Always telling me what to do.” Only married three years, she was just as frustrated as he was. “He’s always telling me what I ought to do. Its like he thinks I’m an idiot.”
Stan and Jackie are like so many couples we have worked with over the years in marriage intensives. Each spouse has difficulty fully hearing each other. Both struggle with understanding their spouse’s intentions.
Helping Your Husband
When your husband tells you a story about what is going on at work, or about some conflict with others in his life, you probably want to help. When he thinks out loud through a challenge or problem, you want to do your best to try to help him solve it. Your intentions are good.
More often than not- when a wife begins to help her husband by offering solutions or taking action to solve the issue for him, he does not receive it as help. Most husbands instead feel it as if their wives are bossing them around or being critical. Your “helping” is actually creating problems in the relationship.
Fixing Your Wife’s Problem
When your wife tells you a story about what is going on in her world, or about some conflict with others in her life, you want to help fix the problem. When she thinks out loud about an issue, you want to do your best as her husband to fix the problem. Your intentions are good.
More often than not- when a husband begins to help his wife by offering solutions or taking action to solve the issue for her, she does not receive it as help. Most spouses instead feel as if their husbands are bossing them around or being critical. Your “fixing” your wife’s problem is actually creating problems in the relationship.
How Best To Support Your Spouse
Your spouse does not want you to “fix it”. What your spouse wants most as they are expressing themselves is not help, but your support. Keep these things in mind the next time your spouse presents a problem in their world:
- Be Physically Present – Hit pause, set down your phone, turn off the television or device and give your spouse full body attention. Have every cell in your body focused on them.
- Listen Well – God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason. Use good listening skills by intentionally sharing some of what they are saying back to them. As they hear you say their own words back to them, it will help them begin to solve their own issue.
- Give Support – Empathize with them over the issue in their life. Let them know that you are just as frustrated as they are about this. Tell them that you are sorry that they are going through that and that you love them. Use affection and affirmation in how you support your spouse.
- Ask Permission First – Before taking any action to help or fix the problem, ask their permission first. Before offering advice about what they should do, ask them if they are open to hear some ideas that you have. Only give advice or take action if you have their permission.
- Follow Up – Check back with them in the next day or so about how it is going for them. Show that what is important in their life is important to you. If they tried something to resolve the issue, let them know you are interested in how it worked out for them.
It was a tough day working through many relationship issues, but Stan and Jackie have been doing great for over a year, since their marriage intensive.
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This article was written by Roy and Devra Wooten, authors of “The Secret to a Lifetime Love”. Learn more at www.LifeTogetherForever.com © Roy and Devra Wooten 2017. All Rights Reserved. You may replicate this article as long as it is provided free to recipients and includes appropriate attribution. Written permission for other use may be obtained at Secret@LifeTogetherForever.com.