Marriage is a partnership like any other, but we do not all understand it in the same way.
If you always have to remind your husband to do everything, it essentially means you haven’t set the rules of your partnership. The real question is, do you even have any rules when it comes to your relationship?
At the beginning of a relationship, it often seems that you don’t need to have any rules. Men often believe it is perfectly normal for women to do everything.
They behave as though they are guests in their own home – always expecting to be served and always surprised when they have to clean after themselves or do anything else around the house.
Many women realize this only when they already carry a large part of the burden of housework and family obligations.
If you don’t want to be the only person you can rely on in your family, and you’re tired of reminding your husband to do everything, this article is for you.
You will learn how to make your life easier, improve your marriage and share responsibilities with your husband without resorting to ultimatums, fights, threats, and all those not-so-pretty means of an argument.
Here are some practical tips on effectively changing how your husband behaves and treats you.
Define and Set Your Personal Boundaries
Personal boundaries are an expression we often hear, but few women know what personal boundaries are in practice. Let’s see it through an example.
Let’s say your best friend asks you to lend her a small amount of money. You’ll probably tell her that’s fine and give her the money without a second thought.
Now imagine that same best friend asking you to dye your hair pink. You’ll tell her no without thinking because it’s your hair, and she doesn’t care what color it is, right?
This means that she crossed your personal boundaries in this second case, and you felt it was only natural to say no to her.
People who do not have clearly defined personal boundaries have a big problem saying no, even when asked to do meaningless things.
Let’s see how it looks in marriage. Let’s say you both work and come home from work tired. At home, you have numerous responsibilities regarding the children.
Your husband goes to bed and rests without thinking. This automatically means that the children are left to you. You take on all the responsibilities around children even though you are tired.
A person with healthy personal boundaries would get very angry with her husband in such a situation.
Maybe she would do everything that needs to be done around the children.
But then she would let her husband know that she would not tolerate such behavior on his part, also stating what the consequences would be if he kept behaving like that.
Maybe your husband refuses to talk about the problems you have. That’s also one way to overstep your boundaries.
A person who does not have healthy boundaries will silently take on more and more responsibilities until, one day, they explode with anger. And when that happens, your husband and children will point the finger at you for going crazy like that.
Suppose you recognize yourself in this second pattern of behavior. In that case, your husband is probably used to being able to behave as he wants because he has the impression that you will endure everything.
How to Set Your Boundaries?
First, decide for yourself what is acceptable for you to do in the house and what part of the duties you expect him to do, without reminding him.
Make a list and, if possible, go through it with your husband, and try to agree on how to share the responsibilities equally.
When you have a clear definition of who is doing what in your family, it is time to define the consequences if any of you do not follow through.
It can look like this: “if you forget to take the children to sports, I won’t prepare dinner that day, and that responsibility drops on you,” or “if you forget to go get the groceries, I will forget to put your laundry in the washing machine.”
No matter how petty or silly this may seem, it is crucial that you introduce consequences for any breach of the agreement. If there are no consequences, why should anything change?
Why would your husband do anything if you can do it yourself and all he has to put up with is a minor criticism here and there?
So, when you define consequences for inappropriate behavior, you must strictly stick to the agreement and be consistent.
Suppose you want him to take you seriously. In that case, you can also introduce divorce as one of the possible consequences of his not respecting the agreement. But, do that only if you are really ready to divorce him.
Decide Whether You Want to Be His Partner or His Mother
A man who waits to be told what to do is actually behaving like a child waiting for instructions from his parents.
It’s not normal that in a relationship you build together, you have to ask for everything, even when it comes to obvious things.
It can start from bizarre little things, like when you leave the grocery store with your hands full of bags, and it doesn’t occur to him to take them from your hands until you tell him.
He may even get angry if you don’t remind him to do his own stuff.
Will he also watch your child drowning in the sea and wait for him to shout, “Daddy, pull me out of the water,” or will he wait for you to tell him what to do since he cannot perceive the situation himself?
Of course, no one can read your mind, but there are still things that mature, healthy, emotionally stable people take for granted.
Apart from the fact that this kind of behavior is not fair, it is really deeply destructive for your whole family if you allow your husband to remain in the role of an incompetent child while you take on all the responsibilities.
Imagine coming to terms with the fact that you have to remind your husband about every little thing.
And now, imagine that something happens, that you have to be in the hospital for a couple of weeks. What will happen? Who will take care of everything then?
There is no scenario in which it is ok that you take the role of the mother in the relationship and thus enable him to be a little irresponsible child who needs to be reminded of everything.
Don’t Fall for Stereotypes
Many people around you can tell you things like – “they are men; what do they know.” Or “it’s not a man’s thing”, and things like “the family belongs to the woman.”
What such people tell you is actually to keep quiet and suffer. But you can do better than that.
No stereotype can be stronger than love. If you have a partner who loves and respects you, it will be enough to draw his attention to how much this behavior bothers you.
Even the best make mistakes.
Maybe he just got too cozy in the relationship; maybe he was under stress. However, such situations are easily resolved.
But if your husband really saw in you only an ideal replacement for his mother, it will be very difficult to change anything in your relationship.
Remember, you deserve love. You don’t have to be a housekeeper to your husband or your children to save your family.
Love doesn’t hurt; pathological relationships that look like love but have nothing to do with it do.
Do you want to spend your life with someone you must constantly remind to do everything? Is that really the best you can do?
Remember how it feels like to be loved. If no recent memories come to your mind, that can be a sign your marriage problems are more serious than you thought.
Love means respect, care, nurture, and understanding. How much of these do you get from your husband in general?
The truth you will eventually face is a dedicated husband who cares for you and your kids will never leave you to carry all the burden of life difficulties alone.
So, have you allowed yourself to end up with a man who doesn’t love you enough, or is he just the type who needs to be told everything?
Hint: there’s no such type, dear. You have to stand up for yourself.