Ask Toi: My Husband Says I Mother Him, How do I stop this behavior?

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.

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The Complainer

Let me just say and acknowledge that I used to be the one that got on everyone’s nerves with complaining.  I mean as much as I blamed everyone else for the inability to deal with it, the truth of the matter I was the Debbie Downer that no one wanted to be around.  I used to sit around and say well if “they” can’t deal with me that’s on them, this is who I am.  Sound familiar?  You can’t blame folks for no longer wanting to be in your space when your space is dampened by negative vibes and foolery. It’s like hey, you don’t ever have a good day? What does it take for you to smile? Is your life hanging in the balance, no?  Are you ever going to be okay? I can only imagine the things my own husband thought even if he never said it. I get it when I hear others do it because I hear my old responses.

So fast forward to these last few years, I have one, gut bunched myself.  I checked me.  My mom always taught me everyone ain’t telling the same lie.  They may variations but when you hear the same exact thing, there’s truth in that story.  So instead of dragging those around me with misery I checked myself and quick. I one went to counseling to deal with those underlying issues we think is dormant until they aren’t.  Secondly I looked at life from a different perspective.  There are a thousand and one things that can go wrong in your life, but my responses was the only thing that mattered.  So the blame game stopped. I took stock even in the worst of an argument, I took stock.  What did I do?  How could I change me instead of having a laundry list of the things the other person could have done?  For the record this is years of change, not last week.

I got happy or should I say I found real joy in life.  How can I be the best mother and wife if I am consistently draining those in my own home first?  A good gut check will align you in the way you should go.  So now it’s humbling and annoying at the same time when I hear people complain.  I get real quiet and begin to make space.  I can’t entertain those negative people.  In the last few months I have had one friend that I have hung around that has even challenged my interactions with friends.  I can’t do the friends that have a negative response to the most mundane thing.  For instance I sent a friend a card, they were like why did you send it to me.  I had already made it personal with lovely encouraging words, etc but instead of just reading it, they got it, didn’t open it and was like why this and why that.  I immediately took a mental note.  Listen, my friend I’ll call her K has shown me that friendships should be light.  You should be able to send messages back and forth and enjoy the company.  You should be generally happy instead of the “I wonder what issue this person will bring,” type of relationship.

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So I want to first thank my husband who brought up my negative talk to me.  Our mates know us.  When your mate says your annoying, a complainer, a nagger, you can be mad all you want the truth is in the message, learn to receive it.  I took the message and instead of getting mad, and complained some more I got it together.  There is more laughter in our home than disagreements.  Even disagreements don’t last that long. Trust me even I am have taken notice to it.  Also there is a lightness that makes things flow better even in the most difficult situations we have faced.  People think that trouble doesn’t come to us but that’s the furthest from the truth, we are just handling it better. Secondly I want to think K who has been so refreshing and not just K but a lot of my friends I wasn’t able to receive real love back and forth the way I needed to because of my own hindrances.  I feel like my relationships have gotten better for those who are on the same wave length and the others need work.  Some of that work may be from me and some from the other side as well.  We shall see.

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The time you spend complaining and living in a complaining state takes too much time off of your life.  I think to be honest is where I started doing the daily days that I post on my personal Facebook page.  There is something to be grateful for, something to celebrate, something to be better for.  Learn to tap into that.  I now have to be sure my kids don’t take on any of negative behaviors. I make sure to call it out and show them rather than tell them what gratefulness looks like.  I think our home has been in a better place.  As a wife and mom it’s up to me to set a tone as a covering over negativity in it. I hope that my own blunders will help a person to be the best version of themselves.  I know that negativity is a learned behavior and you are ultimately responsible for what comes out of your mouth.  People do NOT want to be in your presence when you are a cess pool of complaining.  Life and death are in the tongue and even the death of the closeness a relationship can be is in your tongue.  FYI just because someone has been around you for so long, is not a good enough reason to continue in your ways.

Let me leave you with 5 examples and if you meet these 5; do some inside work:

Example #1:

You get a text, do you just go with the flow or question why a message was sent without checking the message first? (reading is fundamental, question what needs questioned but you don’t have to question the sender on every thing it could be just informational)

Example #2:

You get invited to a dinner, instead of going with the flow you make comments on restaurant selection, talk about yourself the whole time, etc (PS you could have stayed home and not come)

Example #3

You are in a group text, you make the church announcement that you don’t do group text and that you are tired of being in them but you get mad when you are no longer invited to the next group text or no longer privy to the information in it (you could have muted the conversation to check back later)

Example 4

You get a gift with no card, your first response is “no card” instead of saying thank you and then the next response is “why would you come with no card” (the card could have gotten lost in transit, or the gift may have not needed one)

Example 5

You are getting a group gift and instead of stating how much you wanted from others, you offer to them for them to give what they can.  Your friend gives 10 your response is “I seen how you been spending lately, this is all you have? (you can’t clock other folks money and what they should or shouldn’t be doing with it)

 

These types of responses over time will not get you invited to the next function.  You can’t get mad when you are constantly left out after the continual rude, insensitive, negative vibes are being given.  FYI outside of the gift one I have used these responses in the past in one shape or form.  This way no one will get in their feelings of you used what I did or said.  However if the shoe fits, please wear them and adjust.  No one and I repeat NO ONE has time for any of the above mess.  No one wants to be drained of negative space when around you.

Be better not to save a relationship but because deep down even you get sick of you.   Continue reading The Complainer

Ask Toi: How do I encourage the love of my life to do the old things they once did?

This is a very sensitive subject.  Often times women and men can lose their way when it comes to keeping the spark lit.  One of the things to keep in mind is to look at what may have happened that has your baby not being what you want them or expected them to be.  Has there been a lost of any sort?  What about changes in atmosphere?  These are things to consider.

One thing to do is communicate.  Long gone are the days when a mate, a boo thing, your love, your bae is supposed to just know.  That isn’t fair. Things change and if you are in the middle of a miscommunication the best way is to get on track with realistic expectations.  This means what do you want?  Be clear but also be prepared to give. You may find that you have stopped in an area(s) as well.  While you are focusing on what you aren’t being given it may be that you too got some giving to do as well.

Talk about it.  Tell them what you need.  Don’t use words like you fell off, you aint, you suck, I can’t stand… This should be understood but trust me when I say that there are folks doing the most and it’s so super true.  Be careful what you say and how you say it.  Then get to the root of the problem.  If your bae is really a good bae and you approach it right you both can come from this with a sense of renewed love.  Love is beautiful and it can give those lovey dovey feelings that everyone has told themselves is supposed to happen but if you aren’t careful you will forget how much work it takes to get the light of love burning.

So whatever you were doing for your bae, keep doing.  Dinners, do them. Flowers, do them.  Date night monthly, do it.  Also be the change you want to see.  Encourage your partner to be the best version of themselves by you doing the same.  A solid individual that feels like they got their act together personally can contribute to the “we” part of their life too.  So get back on track by using tact and work through together.  Also be sure that you and your bae physical, emotional and especially mental needs are being met.  This doesn’t mean that they need to be met by you.  The idea that we need to put on or perform for our mate has to be dispelled. I read a comment where a young lady asked for others to pray for her that her boyfriend will keep liking her and accept her.  Although I believe in the power of prayer, your boo to continue liking you is a bit much. Relationships do change.  However someone having to be prayed to accept is not the will.  Acceptance should be how you and your bae got together.  This is why I never encourage men or women to change themselves for their mate.  This will create something for your loved one that isn’t going to be kept up because it may go against the very core of who you are.  It’s like wearing heels everyday trying to kill yourself when you are a real sneaker girl is crazy. However sliding your pretty feet in a pair of heels every now and again and especially on date nights is a better compromise.

Renew your love this Thanksgiving

It’s so easy to not pay attention to the ones around you.  In my house growing up on Thanksgiving we would share with one another the things we are grateful for.  In some larger families this could be awhile.  It’s easy to get caught up in negative things about your spouse, you boo, whatever you call them.

Thanksgiving will be filled with many wonderful things other than a “Pattie Pie.” Take some time to appreciate the one you go to bed at night with.  Most couples are doing what most people are doing and that’s sometimes strictly surviving. However as you’re looking around at the table, take the time to say I love you. Someone wishes they had your portion and you are too consumed with the negativity to appreciate it. Let’s do better!

If you’re a new couple it may come easy as with newness of the relationship may have you in that new glow.  However I can remember the days when even in the newness of a relationship there were difficult times and a smile was hard.  Think about the countless men and women who don’t have someone or lost someone.  Sometimes we take for granted the simplicity of love. Love doesn’t mean the world will be okay.  It does mean that your little world can be better.  Why be with someone who all you do is complain about them and complain to others about them?  This is craziness.  If the love you claim you have is this hard, you might be in the wrong relationship. Yes relationships take work to keep sparks etc alive but if its hard for you to agree with someone every single day-you might need to re-evaluate things.  Being in misery is not where it’s at.

This year write your mate a love letter and share before the day is done.  If you’re not much of a writer, then gift a small trinket of appreciation.  Sometimes maybe that smile that has been long gone will do as well.  My husband and I used to split a piece of pie after the kids had gone to bed and cuddle.  It was a small gesture but it meant the world.  Nothing says love like sharing that last bite.  Whatever you do, don’t leave your mate out.  You can host the best party, serve the best cocktail and go to bed with an empty heart because your mate didn’t even say thank you.  Don’t let that be you this year.  Don’t let it happen.  Show love.  They say charity starts at home and it’s true, make it count this year with the one that you love.

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