I have always loved watching and reading romance stories. If you’ve ever watched or read one too, you probably know that the male protagonist is basically the same man presented in various settings. He is gallant, courageous, noble, and protective of his woman (swoon!). He takes every opportunity to kiss her, tell her she how lovely she is, and do everything in his power to remove any and all discomfort and difficulties from her shoulders. Who wouldn't want a man like that?!
When I met my husband, he actually was just like that. He would give me his coat when I was cold, walked me home from work at night to make sure I was safe, always paid for our dates, and brought me dinner when I was too busy to eat.
So when I found myself years later frustrated and asking myself why I was the only one doing housework, I couldn’t see how I had gone from princess to Cinderella.
If you can relate to feeling like you are carrying all of the weight and doing all the work in your relationship, here are 3 tips to get your man to step up.
Stop Being So Helpful
I used to get so annoyed when my husband would sleep through his alarm. I would have to go in and wake him so he would get to work on time. I didn’t like feeling like his mom.
One day I realized that no one had ever asked me to do that. I had assigned myself that role. It was making me feel resentful and it was time to stop.
So one day I just stopped waking him (with prior warning). And you know what happened? He slept through his alarm and was late for work. But then he never did that again.
As Laura Doyle says, life lessons are so much more effective than wife lessons.
Today, I am careful not to take on any responsibilities that will make me resentful. The intimacy in my marriage is more important, and I don’t want anything (especially anything as silly as an alarm clock or housework) to get in the way of that.
Doing this takes faith that your man is capable of taking care of his own responsibilities. It means you will stand for his greatness as a man and believe in him rather than doubting him.
You could argue that you already have a lot of evidence that he really is lazy or incapable. That’s probably how you ended up doing so much in the first place. I know because that’s what I used to think. I was surprised that when I made space for him to take care of things and let go of my expectations, he stepped up and proved me wrong.
After all, you wouldn’t have married him if he was completely incompetent, right? Believing in someone is the greatest gift we can give someone, so why not give it to your husband? He will probably surprise you!
Before, when I was frustrated to be the only one that ever did the laundry, I would complain about it. I would huff and puff while dragging around the heavy basket in front of him in hopes that he would realize that he should step up and help. This achieved nothing for me.
When I learned about the 6 Intimacy Skills, I started to experiment with expressing pure desires in a way that inspires. Instead of complaining, I had to get really clear on what I wanted. Not what I wanted him to do, but what I wanted to do that was within my control. Usually, I just wanted to sit with a cup of coffee for ten minutes and relax.
So I started to say to my husband, “I would love a break from the laundry”. Many times, he would tell me not to worry and he would do it for me. That was great, but then I would get upset he didn’t jump up and do it immediately. So I would tell him to forget it and go on to do it myself. This was just working against myself. I was still hanging on to control and fear that he wasn't going to step up.
Pure desires are pure because we let go of the timeline and all control of how that desire is met. It means that if my husband folds the clothes instead of hanging it up like I do, I thank him. It means that I trust that he will honor his word and do it, even if the bin sits there for days.
This is how I choose dignity, trust, and intimacy instead of allowing little nuisances to damage the relationship. It all starts with getting really clear about what you want. Is it a break, some help, or some self care? The more purely we can express the desire, the more inviting and inspiring it is for our husbands to step up.
Related article: How to Never Argue with Your Partner Again
I don’t know about you, but it's very easy for me to find things to complain about. Its pretty much a talent of mine.
It has to be a daily and conscious choice for me to search out what I’m grateful for instead. This is especially true in my marriage.
Whenever I feel myself starting to mumble inwardly about being the martyr that has to do everything for everyone, I pause and remind myself that no one ever asked me to be a martyr. I set myself free.
Then I ask myself “how do I feel and what do I want?”. This empowers me to be my best and dignified self while honoring my needs and desires. It also empowers my husband to know what he can do to make me happy and inspires him to want to do so for me. He enjoys being my hero, especially when I acknowledge him for it. I enjoy it too!
Some questions to consider:
Have you assigned yourself responsibilities that your husband is capable of doing himself?
Is that making you resentful and costing you intimacy?
Do you have unmet desires that you could express in a way that inspires?
What are 10 things your husband is doing well as a man?
How could expressing your gratitude shift your mindset?
How could consistently expressing gratitude to him change the culture in your relationship?
I hope you find yourself inspired to experiment with giving your husband new opportunities to step up as your hero.
Standing for you,
You may also enjoy: The Secret to Finally Getting Your Husband to Change
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