Does your spouse roll his/her eyes every time you make a suggestion? If yes, you may need to determine if you are giving too much unsolicited advice to your partner. Amy Morin, LCSW, over at The Marriage Counseling Blog says that offering too much advice to your spouse could be seen as nagging and could be harming your relationship.
I work with a lot of people who have the best of intentions when they offer their spouse advice. However, despite their attempts to be well-meaning, it can often blow up in their face. It’s important to recognize when your advice can be helpful and when it may be harmful to the marriage.
Amy just hit the nail on the head with that one!! Lamar and I are both guilty of this. For me, I need a lot of work with trying to tell Lamar how to do things, as if my way of doing them is the “right” way, or the most “efficient way.” He does not need step by step instructions on how to take care of the kids and perform tasks around the house. He is a grown man that is perfectly capable to doing those things all on his own.
Likewise, I keep telling Lamar I am a grown woman (in my mind I am saying a grown a– woman.) And some of his suggestions on how to do things are frustrating. Sometimes I say: “How did I ever learn how to cross a street, drive a car, or navigate around the city in the 30 years prior to meeting you.”
Amy Morin cautions couples against offering too much advice to their partners as you could make your spouse feel like they are a child and you are the parent. Eventually all of this
suggesting nagging will lead to frustration and resentment in your relationship.
If you think this is happening in your relationship, Amy suggests the following
- Realize that your way is not the only way to do things. Amy suggests that you stop trying to control how things are done and let your spouse do things his/her own way.
- Stop trying to fix things for your spouse and let him/her deal with the consequences. Stop trying to remind your spouse of their schedule or trying to plan their day for them. If your spouse forgets to do something or is late, then let him/her deal with the consequences.
- “Change the way you deliver the message.” Instead of starting your sentences with phrases like: “You should…”, switch it up and say things like: “What do you think about…..”
And the following things have worked well for me as I work on this very same issue in my relationship:
- Realizing that it is exhausting trying to control things. When I stopped trying to tell my husband how to do things and how to take care of the kids and when I stopped trying to do every thing my way (because of course it was the right way), I felt some relief. I let go of all of that stress and responsibility that I was actually putting on myself. I have a perfectly good and capable husband that can take care of things.
- Having more respect for my husband. And having faith and trust in my husband. I married a wonderful, smart, man that is totally capable of leading his family. Treating him like a child is disrespectful.
- Communicating how his suggestions annoy me. Instead of letting resentment build, take some time to discuss with your spouse how you feel. It may not change things right away. But eventually, your spouse may start to think (am I really helping or nagging.)
- Realizing that my spouse means well when he makes suggestions to me. Now don’t get me wrong…he still annoys me with some of the suggestions. But this helps me keep things in perspective and sometimes it helps me see that he is looking out for me.
In the end, I think communication is the key. You definitely don’t want to create a situation where you and your spouse can’t tell each other anything.
BMWK family – have you dealt with this in your marriage? Please give us some tips on how you resist the urge to be a “know it all.” Or, how you deal with a “know it all” spouse.
like what you're reading?