All the hens I know do it in some form or fashion in their marriage relationships: Undermining our husbands. Find out 5 ways I was undermining my husband and why I’m determined to stop and build him up instead.
It’s sometimes a lot easier to tear down and undermine the people we love instead of taking the time and making the effort to build them up. After 15 years of marriage, four kids, a house, and two cats I seem to find plenty of ways to undermine my husband’s thoughts and feelings while struggling to keep our house operating from week to week.
We all have bad days and even worse moods, but this pattern can have a devastating effect on marriage relationships and how supported our husbands feel in their own home. Some are overt and some are thinly veiled, but I’ve identified 5 things that I was doing in my marriage to create a nasty pattern and how I’ve decided to stop it in its tracks.
Keeping a List and Checking it 1,000+ Times
Santa’s not the only one with naughty and nice lists. I am a great list maker. Know which list I am the best at compiling? A list of every annoying thing my husband has ever done and every mistake he has ever made. Before you start thinking Mr. Rooster is just married to a dragon lady, let me assure you I am NORMAL chicken. It’s just human nature to forget the way that doughnut we just ate tasted and remember every single detail about the day our husband gave us with a toaster for our anniversary. No matter how hard you might try, you can’t help but remember past wrongs whenever the bloom is falling off the “love” rose. We may have even forgiven wrongs committed by our spouse in the past, but short of some science fiction mind swipe- you’re not ever going to forget.
Want to do know what you can do though? Refuse to bring it up ever again. This is the part of the story where I usually fail but I’m ready to fight-like-mad to fix. We might not have control over the memories that enter our brains, but by God, we have the ability to control the words that come out of our mouths! If you are like me and struggle with regurgitating old wounds while in the midst of arguments then think twice before doing it anymore. Bringing it up over and over again could be doing more damage to your marriage then the original event/harsh words/etc. ever could.
If you’re in the heat of an argument and your best defense or evidence is an incident that occurred 10 years ago, chances are you don’t have a great foundation for your position.
Woulda, Coulda, Shouldas
My second favorite past-time (besides list making) is concentrating on all of the things that I find distasteful, frumpy, or obnoxious about my true love. He should wear different shirts to the football game, he really could shave that part of his neck that is scruffy and scratchy and he would rather sit at home watching hours of the most ridiculous shows on T.V. then go out to eat with friends. I like to think about all of these things when we are arguing or there’s an undercurrent of tension in our home. I figure it’s ok because I never actually “say them” out loud.
But, is it?
Marriage is a game of give and take and sometimes we want to change things about our spouse to make them fit some perfect image that we think would make us happier. Who doesn’t want to be married to their dream guy? But, when I am concentrating on my husband’s negatives, I don’t leave a lot of room in my brain for focusing on his positives.
We’re really good at finding greener grass but really bad at fertilizing our own lawn. When I find myself thinking about the things I would change in Mr. Rooster, I am going to make a conscious effort to stop and think of three things about him that I couldn’t live without. If we spent three times the amount of brain power concentrating on our husband’s positives rather than negatives, I bet we’d even start remembering why we liked those guys in the first place!
Mum’s the Word
Often called the “cold shoulder” or the “silent treatment”, I am a master at shutting down verbally. BUT ONLY when it suits me. Sometimes it suits me in the heat of battle and I shut down all communication to “win” an argument that I am seriously “losing”.
Other times, I deploy this tactic when we’re not even fighting (that’s when it’s called pouting I think) and I’m just not happy with the way the world is spinning. We tell ourselves that we are just trying to avoid more conflict and harsh words, but is that really the truth? Silence can be used dismissively. It says that the person it is directed towards is not in control of the situation. That whatever they want to communicate is not as important as your need to withdrawal.
If you’ve ever been asked by your husband what is wrong and you’ve replied with “Nothing” there is a possibility that your husband has felt belittled or undermined. While there are always times that it would be better to say nothing at all then to speak hurtful words you don’t mean, make a conscious effort to evaluate the situation the next time you are tempted to hold your tongue. Will doing so improve the situation or are you just using the silence as a way to gain the upper hand or to punish your spouse? Too many times I’ve chosen silence over civil conversation and I’m determined to reverse this trend and talk things out with my husband sooner rather than later.
The Bestest Mom- EVER!
I am a super parent and know EXACTLY what to do with children regarding all things and in all situations. This, of course, is only the case when my husband thinks we should say, do, or decide something different when parenting our kids. For the most part, Mr. Rooster and I see eye to eye on a lot of things: We like the same movies, we both love the outdoors, we share the same last name…
BUT, when it comes to our kids, I am always ready to jump to the conclusion that I know a better way or have a higher parenting I.Q. I’ve been known to scream “I don’t care what your father said, that is NOT how you clean your room” on many occasions. It doesn’t really matter whether he’s picking out church clothes or mending a scratched knee, if I am around I am convinced I can do it better.
Most of the time, I make my superiority known after the fact. I’ll ask Mr. Rooster to help get the kids ready and then question why he’s putting plaids with stripes. Not only is this demeaning to my husband (who is a really great father and tries really hard btw), it’s demeaning to my husband IN FRONT OF MY KIDS! I know I have let this pattern get bad when the little monsters start running to me AFTER they have already asked their father’s opinion. What does that say to my husband? I’ll tell you what it says! It says that my husband’s best is not good enough for his own offspring. I’m determined not to say that any more! Sure, my kid may end up taking school pictures in his awful holey Batman t-shirt, but my marriage will need a little less saving.
He’s Got the Moves Like Jagger
I like Mr. Rooster to romance me. I think it of it as one of the top duties in his “husband” job description. He should plan fancy dates for us and remember my favorite perfume, and tell me I’m beautiful, etc. etc. etc. Basically, if there’s any romancing going on, my husband should be the instigator since he loves and admires me SO much! Right?
Wrong answer. We’ve been married for over 15 years and seen hundreds of married couples and I am here to tell you, your husband needs to be pursued. When we leave all of the romancing and pursuit to our husbands, we are inadvertently denying them of something that we expect to receive all the time…admiration. You know how great it feels when your husband remarks that he likes your new dress or that you look sexy? That’s how he feels when you say the same things to him.
I’m not advocating anything rude or unseemly, but I’m ready for a change. Instead of getting upset that Mr. Rooster doesn’t ask me out to dinner for our anniversary, I’m going to ask him. I can plan a romantic weekend getaway at a local bed and breakfast just like he can! Ladies, its time we became the pursuers (just a little) instead of always expecting to be the pursued. It might not make YOU feel cherished to worry with the dating details but it will make HIM feel like a million bucks!
Do you struggle with showing your spouse respect or find yourself undermining your husband? Share your experiences and if you’ve been working to stop.