Here’s a marriage tip – stop telling your spouse what to do! Do you have the bad habit of telling your spouse what to do? In my marriage coaching, I’ve noticed that a lot of couples tell each other what to do. They give orders and commands to each other like, “go to the store and get some milk” or “clean up your mess” or “pick up your clothes off the floor”.
Telling your husband or wife what to do may seem innocent and not harmful but it could be damaging your relationship and marriage. Even if your spouse never complains about this, they probably don’t like it because no one wants to be told what to do. It puts you in the place of being a servant with your spouse being the king or queen of the castle. Telling someone what to do is very condescending and demeaning.
Telling your husband or wife what to do may seem innocent and not harmful but it could be damaging your relationship and marriage.
Another problem with telling someone what to do is that you place yourself in a position of superiority over them. You take on the role of the parent and your spouse takes on the role of the child. A parent can and should tell their child what to do. It doesn’t work so well with your husband or wife. Instead treat your spouse as an adult who is responsible for his/her own choices.
Here are three things you can do instead:
- Make requests with a time element. Instead of ordering someone to get their clothes off the floor, try asking them instead like this: “would you please pick up your clothes today?” Don’t forget to include the time piece too. They need to know when you would like them to do this task. When you make a request, you are asking a question. Your spouse now has to freedom to choose his/her reply. They can say yes, no or make a counter offer.
- Give suggestions. If you have an opinion about something your husband or wife is about to do that you think might have negative consequences, instead of telling them not to, make a suggestion like this “let me suggest you not do that because it might get you in trouble”. Another way to make a suggestion is to provide an alternative way of doing something. “You can do that if you want, but it might be easier if you did it this way.” Once again you are not telling the person what to do but simply offering an alternative to their plan. They are now free to choose what to do. By the way, if they don’t follow your suggestion, don’t make them feel bad by saying, “I told you it wouldn’t work”. They already know they should have followed your input; you really don’t need to rub it in.
- Wait until they ask for your advice or input. If your husband or wife comes to you with a problem, instead of offering advice focus on listening and understand and supporting them. Wait for them to ask you what you think they should do. If they don’t ask, that’s ok. You are letting them choose their own course of action. When someone feels supported rather than told what to do, they then feel free to ask for your advice.
When someone feels supported rather than told what to do, they then feel free to ask for your advice.
I hope this is helpful. For more on this watch https://youtu.be/6CTgc1qwPy0
If you’d like to learn how to ask your spouse for help, check out this article: https://turnitup.coach/wp-admin/post.php?post=94&action=edit
Please let me know what you are struggling with in your marriage.