For example, for years, it’s been my responsibility to manage our rental properties. Now with 3 young children to bathe, feed, change and teach, it is a huge drain to my emotional energy to manage tenants and maintenance of our properties. Rather than trying to do it all myself, I asked my husband to take over. He agreed happily. Since then, he’s been doing an excellent job, and I have the relief of knowing that he will make the best decisions for our family. I don’t need to ask him to give me the rundown of what he’s doing for the properties. All I do is ask, “Is there anything I can do to help you?” The pressure is now off me, and I don’t have to worry about it. And even if something goes wrong, I don’t have the pressure of knowing that the responsibility falls solely on my shoulders. It’s his responsibility.
3. Hold back when I want to direct my husband.
For me, I’m learning that it’s more about what I don’t say, than what I do. And, I’m finding that holding back when I really want to direct or tell my husband what to do, might actually be communicating more love and respect to him than words ever could.
For example, one night we were grilling dinner, and as is usually the case, it was my job to prepare the sides in the kitchen, and my husband was going to grill the meat outside. We’d decided we wanted to eat at 5:30pm, so around 5pm, I started prepping the sweet potatoes and corn to bake inside, but I noticed my husband wasn’t starting the grill.
Rather than nag him, over and over, to start the grill. And then telling him that he never times the meat cooking correctly, I asked myself, What’s the worst that could happen? Well, the meat won’t be done until after the rest of the dinner. We might be really hungry by the time dinner starts.
Well, we can have some snacks then.
So starting that night, I made a conscious decision to not direct my husband.
I didn’t say a word.
Eventually, he started the grill, and we ate dinner a little later than normal, but it was fine. Since I hadn’t blown up at him, or critiqued him, it was a happy, peaceful vibe at the dinner table, and we all had fun. We even laughed! (Like, a lot.) The best part was I didn’t have to take on the role of being the “boss” of everyone in the house, as I might have previously thought I needed to. I don’t need to assume that role of being “the nagger”. The fact is, I don’t enjoy that. And, it’s not helpful to anyone.
As I continue implementing this lack of directing my husband, I’m realizing that I actually don’t need to nag. When he knows that I’m not going to be reminding him, it seems like he’s actually more likely to initiate the tasks on his own. And again, if he doesn’t, the responsibility falls squarely on his shoulders.
This happened recently when we were leaving on vacation. We were going to be staying in a beach house, which meant we had to bring almost everything with us, from shampoo to charcoal to paper plates to food. Before we left, rather than calling the shots, I asked my husband what he wanted me to do. He said he wanted me to handle the interior, and he’d take care of putting the boat on the trailer and getting the outside stuff together.
Suddenly, it became so easy. Once I knew what my job was, from him, that was all I had to worry about. And because I wasn’t nagging him to get his stuff done, he just… well, he just did it. Let me tell you, my friend. This was our very first family vacation where there wasn’t a single solitary argument, disagreement or miscommunication. We got 3 boys 4 and under (including a 5-week-old at that time) down to the beach house with all our stuff for 5 days without a single ounce of tension. It was glorious!
And it all came from me learning to take his direction, and not fighting to direct him and tell him what to do.
4. I focus on being grateful for what my husband does everyday.
In the show, Furman focuses a lot on what she loves and values in her husband. And in this process, I’ve tried to start doing the same. And it turns out, it’s really helping my attitude about everything. When I focus on how hard my husband works for our family, I’m less likely to be mad when he leaves his dirty socks on the floor. When I think about how he still thinks I’m beautiful (despite 52 pounds of baby weight), I’m not going to be annoyed that I have to take out the kitchen trash again.
As an admitted control-freak, type-A personality, this has been a huge change for me. But I simply go into each day, asking myself how I can best help my husband. And how I can show him my respect. And love.
Once I realized that I’m thankful for who my husband is, I stopped valuing him based on what he did or didn’t do. I started valuing him for the person he is.
5. I make my husband feel important. (Because he is.)
My husband works his butt off all day, so that I can be home with our kids. My husband loves me unconditionally. When I think of it that way, why wouldn’t I want to make him feel important? He is!
Once I decided that I wanted to make my husband feel special, it just started coming out in my actions. I’d bring him his favorite peppermint tea in bed. Or, I’d pick him up some new loafers at Target, because I noticed his old ones were getting raggedy. I’d let him sleep until 8:30am on a Saturday, while I get up with the kids at 6am. Of course, with our 3 little ones, I’m not always able to do all of this. But the point is: the gratitude is there. If not in my actions, then at least in my mindset.
This article originally appeared at She Just Glows, published with permission.