Kate’s post “He’s Not a Kid” got me thinking about how I acted earlier in our marriage. There were absolutely times that I was not the man who Kate needed. If I’m honest there were times that I was being a kid. As Kate admitted, there were times that she treated me like a kid, but there were lots of other time when she probably could have.
No man wants to feel like their wife is treating them like their mother did. When we hear the nagging, complaining, and unmet expectations we feel lousy. Combine that with feeling like your mother just moved in and is treating you like a kid and it stinks!
Maybe you’re expecting the “man up” speech from me, but you’ve heard that one before. This time I’m going for the practical. What do you do when you hear that nagging voice and finger wagging look comes across your wife’s face? How do you respond?
4 Ways you can you feel like a man when your wife is treating you like a kid
1. Don’t Attack
There is a reason that she is using that tone of voice and telling you what to do. In this moment you can either yell back or act out of love. When you yell at a child they throw a temper tantrum. Throwing your own is not the way to prove to your wife that you are the man you want her to see.
Proverbs 21:23 Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble.
2. Respond with Actions First
When you feel that bristling at the back of your neck, the tone of voice is about to drive you nuts. You have three choices: Aggression (yell back), Passive aggression (ignore it) or Action (go do what needs done). Only one of the 3 will actually benefit your marriage! So, ask the question (if you need to ask) “What can I do to help right now?”
If there is some reason why you can’t do something that moment, then give her a specific time you will. Don’t say “Ok, I’ll get to that in a bit”. Instead say, “Ok, I need to finish this, it will take me 15 minutes then I can do that.”
3. Address It Later
After you did whatever it is your wife was mothering you about, go back to the conversation. I know that is probably the last thing that you really want to do. If you hear your mother’s voice coming out of your wife’s mouth on a regular basis then you need to address it.
You don’t (and shouldn’t) address the words directly, remember what Proverbs says. What you can do is ask how you can meet her need before she has to ask with those words.
Guys, here is a hint; your wife does not want to sound like your mother. You need to find out what the signs and signals were that you missed in order for her to make things escalate to that level. Maybe you already know what they are. If you do then you need to let her know why you are not doing it. Maybe it is a job you hate; maybe it is something you don’t care about. Maybe it is even something you need to ask for help with. These are the things we need to address. This will not get better by stuffing it and ignoring it.
I know that won’t be a fun conversation, but if you start focused on her needs you have a chance to make a positive change in your marriage. Tell her you want to figure out how to avoid her getting so frustrated, then talk about ways you can make that happen.
4. Appreciate the Positives
Don’t forget to recognize and appreciate the things that your wife does for you that you like, even the hard things. If in step 3 you asked her to communicate her need in another way, they you need to let her know how much you appreciate it when she does those things!
Is there a time that your wife talks to you that you feel the opposite of childish? When her words make you feel manly? Let her know! Tell her how much you appreciate her words!
Are these steps easy? No, but I promise they will work better than either the passive aggressive, ignore it response, or the over aggressive, yelling response. Give these 4 things a try to see if you don’t find your man card again!
Have you had to address this with your wife? Let us know what worked and what didn’t in the comments
Photo courtesy of Adam Borkowski and © photoxpress