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Couples are supposed to be teams, right? Division of labor (and time, and chores) can be one of the biggest points of contention in a relationship.
Whether you’re planning your wedding together or you are “reminding” him that it is trash night 15 years into your marriage, chances are that you have had –and will have– disagreements about him pulling his weight.
Many of us also have those days (okay, weeks) when we don’t openly disagree over our marital responsibilities. Instead, we nag and wonder why he isn’t spending time with us. Or we get ourselves all riled up and suffer feelings of isolation or under-appreciation, but never say anything. Eventually an argument sparks about something else and we begin to read the laundry list we didn’t even realize we were keeping.
We might be keeping the wrong lists and shifting the blame unfairly, though. Sometimes, we are asking for too much. In the process, we set ourselves up for disappointment and our guys up for failure.
Ponder these 5 signs that you are over-burdening your love:
He is Making Up For Someone Else
In some cases over-burdening is less about you asking him to do too much and more about you asking him to take on responsibilities or roles that simply aren’t his.
If you need an opinion on flowers or décor and he’s clueless, forget getting angry. Just call someone who is more suited for the question. When you skip out on cleaning during the week and freak out before company comes over, don’t put the pressure on him to fix it.
Men are naturally “fixers,” but there are somethings they just can’t do –and shouldn’t! Don’t ask your husband to do what only a parent or a girlfriend can do. Not only does that put undue pressure on him, but it also implies that you’d rather he be someone else for you than be himself. Ouch.
Watch that you never confuse your expectations of God with those of your beau, too –that’s a stumbling block many of us encounter. He can’t be your source of confidence, joy, or peace. The Lord might use him in those ways at times, but remember who’s who!
He is Expected to Meet Standards He Doesn’t Know
Has your love ever said “I’m not a mind-reader!!” in frustration? Pay close attention. Not only are men and women different in the way they think and communicate, but individual persons are too. It’s unfair (and even damaging) to expect your husband to meet standards he didn’t set, know about, or agree to.
Keep in mind that your way isn’t necessarily the only or the right way, either. Rather than asking your husband to do the dishes and then getting mad when he leaves them to dry on the counter, say thank you. That’s how he does (and dries!) dishes. Nothing wrong with that.
For more serious issues, be more specific. Or, after the heat of the moment, ask him about his approach. Maybe there’s something you don’t know.
He Just Can’t Remember the Task
How could he forget (again!) that you want his towel folded, not hung?!
That sounds silly, but we really do ask questions like that at times. And they are ridiculous. If your guy can’t ever remember to do something that you’ve asked then it probably isn’t something that seems important to him.
If it’s important to you, speak up kindly. Explain why it matters. Ask him how you can help him to remember without nagging. Sound extreme? Chances are that whatever you’re upset about him forgetting isn’t worth asking him to do in the first place.
He Doesn’t Have Time for Anything Else
You made dinner, packed his lunch, and did his laundry earlier. So that means that since you covered all those responsibilities for him, he has no excuse for not fixing that broken desk tonight. Right?
It’s easy to think that “putting him first” means choosing to do the things for him that you value. Likewise, it’s normal to assume that he ought to do the stuff that you value in order to put you first too. We all have different love languages, though. We all have our own ways of putting each other first.
There’s a problem when you begin to assume that if you put him first in this way, he must do the same for you in that way. For example –that’s just a backwards way of putting yourself first by expecting him to do so!
A shared schedule is a part of a shared life, and you both should have a say over what is penciled in. Never expect him to do your bidding and do it on your clock. Ask. If there’s a reason for the deadline, discuss it rather than demanding.
He Doesn’t Really Have a Choice
My husband loves when I say “would you want to [get me an ice cream, take the dog out, etc.]?”
By “loves” I mean that he laughs. And almost always says “want to? No. Will I? Yes.” As women, we have a tendency to soften the appearances of things. Rather than sound demanding or bossy, we often use words that are passive.
Unfortunately, those words can easily become passive-aggressive. When your husband knows that you sweet, innocent little question, if not answered properly, will result in a fight, that’s an issue!
Love doesn’t control, threaten, or brow-beat with sugar-coated phrases. Give your guy the option to say “no,” “later,” and “I have another idea.”