You will only stop what you accept is bad behavior. Your husband can tell you that you are mothering him but if you make excuses, it won’t change. You are not his mother but is wife. You can’t expect this man to be a partner to you and “man” up if you are the one calling the shots. What if he at the end of the day isn’t the man for you. Maybe you thought you could force him into what you wanted him to be. You know this happens the second you leave him, they find the one who has mastered their influence without calling the shots. Your man needs influence, not a parent.
Now from your email let’s dive into a few of your reasons for “mothering” your husband:
- He doesn’t know how to do things
- He’s always forgetful
- He acts like a child
- He needs me to tell him what to do
How did you knowing all of the above things marry this man and then expect him to all of a sudden be this man you needed him to be. Let’s break down each excuse for you.
- He doesn’t know how to do things
This could be from running a home, to paying bills. This is called skill sets. The best way to empower your man is to encourage him to get the skill sets that he lacks. This doesn’t need to be in the form of like you said yelling at him, berating him, or telling him how he can’t do something. He is his mother’s child, not yours. You do not need to do any of that and expect him to respect you for not respecting him. All men don’t come with the same lessons learned in life. If you were honest with yourself this is more about you than him. It’s not your job to raise him. He is not a project. You should have encouraged him prior to marriage to get certain skills necessary for the home you wanted. If he wasn’t able to run a household, does he have uncles, or other male friends that can mentor him? Did you go to counseling where you could have respectfully spoken about these things you saw? If so did you give him space to correct it? If space was given and you saw he wasn’t progressing why did you marry him? The fact that he’s bringing up you mothering him is that he is tired of it. No man wants to feel like his wife is raising him. He may know he lacks certain skills but he doesn’t want to be yelled at them for them. Either encourage him to obtain the skills or y’all need to have a conversation. Imma have to be real, there is a woman who can speak to these places that he lacks and will have him get it together that won’t include berating him, calling him stupid (as you have said you constantly do), or yelling. Ask a child who gets yelled at all the time, it doesn’t bring out the best in them. I know you thought love would make him change, but sis it ain’t and it won’t!
- He’s always forgetful
Okay, so are a million other folks in the world. What he is going through isn’t uncommon. I am forgetful at times. It irritates my husband to no end. He has never tried to be my father or disrespect me over this. I think to be honest that you have lost respect for him since its taking him to long to get it together and you need to be honest with yourself about it. I talked to several men before giving you this advice and none of them have thought that your behavior will trigger him to be more mindful. They all along with me agreed it would make him do the opposite. I don’t care how long you have been together you both have to change or accept its no longer working for you both. He may not need to be in a marriage not just because you keep yelling or treating him like a child but because he may not need to be in a marriage until he figures out what he wants from life.
- He acts like a child
I don’t know what will make him be more of a man but I am sure he was like this prior to marriage. I am quite sure you thought you could fix it and it’s not being fixed. The main things is does he take care of his home.? Does he work and contribute to the bills? Does he take care of you? If his childish ways which could be about him just being more relaxed than you in your high-strung (your words not mine) behavior is that you may not be equally yoked. You may be too serious to match his ways of enjoying life. Or maybe he’s more childish than you wanted and end of the day if he’s not changing, mothering him won’t change him into what you wanted him to be. How can you think negative reinforcements will make him more positive?
- He needs me to tell him what to do
Does he really? Or has he gotten used to you telling him what to do? This matters. I can’t tell you how your relationship should progress but I can tell you that what you are doing he’s not liking it. If he was writing me I would tell him to talk to you about it and if you don’t change and counseling won’t work so he can tell you to stop in a forum where you won’t get offended, then he needs to decide if he can stay with you AND like this for the rest of your marriage. I am telling you the same. You have the power to change your approach. You have to ask yourself if he never changes his ways, and you don’t, do you think that both of you can walk in marriage and be joyful with it the way you coexist now? Can he if he’s already said he doesn’t like how you treat him walk in the love and honor of you for the rest of the marriage? We are talking to death do you both part? Can he be with someone who constantly puts him down forever? To keep it real, he shouldn’t. I know you didn’t want that answer but its true. Can you be with someone you have to mother forever? Nope and you shouldn’t have to. Somebody has to put it on the table. You change and he changes and you can meet. Or find out neither one of you can change and won’t change and go your separate ways.
If you both can’t take the time to work on yourselves together and apart than you can’t stay like this. Think about if this was your friend who said her husband was feeling this way, would you encourage her to stop? I would hope you would. If she said but….you know right well it can’t continue like this. NO ONE wants to be in the situation you both have made. You both had made excuses as to why it needs to be this way but you both forget one important part:
Marriage should be a contract that both parties are getting their needs met. No marriage should feel like they aren’t being supported or feel loved. No one can feel loved where on party is controlling. I know you were saying that you feel like you do control. This whole happy wife, happy life doesn’t mean the wife can say or do and make commands and if that husband wants to be happy he should go along with whatever you say or do. Happy wife, happy life should start with a wife that comes in the situation already happy. She should be happy in her own skin. You have said you aren’t. Maybe you are taking on your husband as a project because you need to find something fulfilling for yourself. If you aren’t getting from him the things that should be making you better, you both are already losing. Relationships and power couples isn’t about money. It’s about having a partner that makes you find the joy in life. He makes you want to achieve more in life and vice versa. If he’s being beat at home mentally and emotionally and vice versa since in essence you are beating yourself trying to whip him in line too, this is a sure way to lose. You both need to count up the cost. Do you want to be in a marriage together? Marriage is about partnership not dictatorship. If his momma couldn’t raise him, neither will you.
I am never stating a couple should break up. I am saying you both need a reality check. There is no way love can grow in a hostile environment. Being yelled at and treated like a child is not good to foster this manhood you want from him. I actually am glad you don’t have kids. If this is how you would treat a child, you will need parenting classes too. No child would want to feel loved just for the sake of you yelling. You wouldn’t speak to kids this way but yet you do it your husband and expect a change? Speak to him better or realize you can’t due to his lack and do something about you. You are only responsible for your actions. If you spent more time on what you needed to do instead of his lack you might find your answers. If he is left alone and things fall, let it be because he allowed them to fall. It’s not your job to catch him in all things. Some of this manhood walk you want him to walk in will happen when things slip. Even as a parent some things I allow my kids to fall in with my guidance so they can learn. It’s not my job to make them perfect. It’s not your job to make your husband perfect.
You can stop by:
- When you feel yourself about to yell, walk away. Be quiet. This is going to be hard but you can do it
- Only interject if he comes to you-again hard but you have to do it
- Talk to him and not at him-you can better results from a sweet answer than a bitter one
- Let him fall a few times. Protect the things that are yours alone but let him slip up a few times and he will get it
- Encourage him when he does great things. Turn this negative talk into positive ones
- Find ways to be a couple again. I would do a few things he likes to do in return he will want to do some of the things you want
- Find your internal happiness
- Find your passion. Passions in life brings out the best in all of us. When I was a stay at home mom, complaining about every little thing, I eventually found my passions. I didn’t have time to worry about another adult
- Keep in mind he’s your husband and not your child. With another adult you speak twice. Tell him how you feel, if he disregards it twice, do what you need for you. Don’t tell him what to do. If he can’t be led by you speaking to him in love, that’s more of the issue than him simply not doing whatever it is you want him to do
- Personal counseling for you. You need someone to speak to you about healthy boundaries. You have none right now. Even if you think it’s for his good. Your power stops at the end of your nose. You have to be willing to understand that and stop trying to fix him. Healthy boundaries and healthy conversations.
Just because you both have created this environment doesn’t make it right. I know plenty of counselors that could tell you the next level of steps. When that man gets sick and tired of you he will show you. However you been sick and tired of his ways too. Either find a way to respectfully bring out of him what you need and vice versa or what is the point? Why lay down to the person you low-key don’t even like or respect? Respect isn’t about doing what’s right for the other person alone. It’s about looking at my partner even on the days they get on your last nerves and saying I want what’s best. What’s best for my partner isn’t even what I want for them but what they need from you. We can’t keep loving others our way. They need what they need and how they need it. You may need to find that out. Can you both love and give love the way you both need it and lay down this pretense of what you are going to give. Love is about give and take without compromising yourselves. You both have a lot of areas to grow. Its going to take active work. Oh and I know some folks once their partner tells them they don’t like something go into the “oh he don’t want me to talk to him like this, I’m not going to say anything at all to him.” This is wrong. This is passive aggressive.
LOVE IS… being willing to have your life complicated by the needs and struggles of others without impatience or anger.
LOVE IS… actively fighting the temptation to be critical and judgmental toward another while looking for ways to encourage and praise.
LOVE IS… making a daily commitment to resist the needless moments of conflict that come from pointing out and responding to minor offenses.
LOVE IS… being lovingly honest and humbly approachable in times of misunderstanding.
LOVE IS… being more committed to unity and understanding than you are to winning, accusing, or being right.
LOVE IS… a making a daily commitment to admit your sin, weakness, and failure and to resist the temptation to offer an excuse or shift the blame.
LOVE IS… being willing, when confronted by another, to examine your heart rather than rising to your defense or shifting the focus.
LOVE IS… making a daily commitment to grow in love so that the love you offer to another is increasingly selfless, mature, and patient.
LOVE IS… being unwilling to do what is wrong when you have been wronged, but looking for concrete and specific ways to overcome evil with good.
LOVE IS… being a good student of another, looking for their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs so that in some way you can remove the burden, support them as they carry it, or encourage them along the way.
LOVE IS… being willing to invest the time necessary to discuss, examine, and understand the relational problems you face, staying on task until the problem is removed or you have agreed upon a strategy of response.
LOVE IS… being willing to always ask for forgiveness and always being committed to grant forgiveness when it is requested.
LOVE IS… recognizing the high value of trust in a relationship and being faithful to your promises and true to your word.
LOVE IS… speaking kindly and gently, even in moments of disagreement, refusing to attack the other person’s character or assault their intelligence.
LOVE IS… being unwilling to flatter, lie, manipulate, or deceive in any way in order to co-opt the other person into giving you what you want or doing something your way.
LOVE IS… being unwilling to ask another person to be the source of your identity, meaning, and purpose, or inner sense of well-being, while refusing to be the source of theirs.
LOVE IS… the willingness to have less free time, less sleep, and a busier schedule in order to be faithful to what God has called you to be and to do as a spouse, parent, neighbor, etc.
LOVE IS… a commitment to say no to selfish instincts and to do everything that is within your ability to promote real unity, functional understanding, and active love in your relationships.
LOVE IS… staying faithful to your commitment to treat another with appreciation, respect, and grace, even in moments when the other person doesn’t seem deserving or is unwilling to reciprocate.
LOVE IS… the willingness to make regular and costly sacrifices for the sake of a relationship without asking for anything in return or using your sacrifices to place the other person in your debt.
LOVE IS… being unwilling to make any personal decision or choice that would harm a relationship, hurt the other person, or weaken the bond of trust between you.
LOVE IS… refusing to be self-focused or demanding, but instead looking for specific ways to serve, support, and encourage, even when you are busy or tired.
LOVE IS… daily admitting to yourself, the other person, and God that you are unable to be driven by a cruciform love without God’s protecting, providing, forgiving, rescuing, and delivering grace.