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How to Not Nag Your Husband

18 May 2013

(Guest post by Dan Coombs)

I think that some of the most helpful advice and ideas Rachel could share with her readers are things she does to be a great wife. But since she can’t say these things herself without sounding presumptuous, I’ve taken it upon myself to share some of Rachel’s wisdom with you all (and I’m pretty proud of myself for managing to hack her account on my first try).

Here are some things I’ve picked up from my wife about how to get your husband to do things without nagging him. In the same way that women want to be treated lovingly by their husbands, men want to be treated with respect, and Rachel is really good at talking to me in a respectful way.

She starts with, “Can you do me a huge favor…”

Never mind that she’s already done way more than me and it’s about time I pitched in; never mind that it’s something I should have thought to do on my own; Rachel’s use of these magic words gives me a way to feel like I’m serving her each time I do the smallest task. She even asks me to do her the “favor” of cleaning up the messes I make. This is the opposite of nagging.

She always thanks me for the things I do

Again, it’s as if every household task was her responsibility and I’m just being the ultimate gentleman by taking some of the load off of her. I never sense that she counts up the amount of work she does for me and weighs it against what I do for her. Take for example the fact that every week Rachel plans our meals, makes the grocery list, and does our shopping at the local market (I HATE shopping). And yet when I drop her off she thanks me for the ride! Never mind the fact that she’s doing me a million favors and I’m not even hanging around to carry the groceries. She’s just thankful. It makes me want to serve her more.

She tells my I’m cute and gives me hugs and says “You’re so great!”

Hmmmm…and now that I think about it, that seems to happen a lot when I’m doing the dishes or working in the garden. She must think that me doing chores is really attractive. Maybe I should do them more often.

She recognizes and respects our differences

Rachel thinks the bathroom needs cleaning about twice as often as I do. She also is much more concerned that everything gets put in the spot “where it goes,” whereas I just want to make sure I can find it when I need it. This could cause a lot of tension in our marriage but Rachel understands that we are different people with different values so she doesn’t try and force her priorities on me. I am of the opinion that most men, when they see something that needs doing, will step up and do it. The reason men don’t do more housework is that they rarely see that it needs doing! Rather than acting like I’m some kind of moron, (“Can’t you see the floor needs mopping?!”) Rachel expresses her requests recognizing her personal preferences (“I would really like to have the dishes done before our company arrives.”)

She laughs with me when I make stupid mistakes

I can be really dumb. I’ve been sent to the store with a list of two items and forgot one of them. I leave the milk out, I misplace my keys, I leave to pick-up dinner and forget my wallet. When I let Rachel down, she could easily shake her head and give me that look that says, “How could you do this?” or, “I’m so disappointed in you.” Instead, she laughs it off with a “Men are so silly” or an “At least you’re cute!” It makes a huge difference.

She asks for permission to do little things

Of course Rachel doesn’t need my permission to buy a present for our nephew or try out a new kind of cooking oil (most of the time it’s not even a serious request), but I sure do feel good when she says it. She could easily tell me, “Let’s have fried rice for dinner” but by asking, “Can we have fried rice for dinner?” she lets me be involved in the decision and gives me the chance to say yes to her. It’s like she’s looking for any little opportunity to remind me that she appreciates my leadership and is willing to follow me.

These are just a few of the things Rachel does to treat me with respect…and that’s really the key issue. Using these recommended “tricks” as a way to manipulate your husband into doing more chores is the opposite of respecting him. But even if your husband isn’t doing a lot to earn your respect, working at communicating your expectations or requests respectfully will be much more effective than nagging.

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