Let Him Help

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."--Ephesians 4:29 A couple of days ago, we talked about the seeming dearth of men leaders. I think they're out there. They just might be in hiding. My husband gave me a clue as to why.

Like most women, I want my husband to help in the home. At the end of a long day with the kids or at work, it is helpful to be able to a second adult to share the load. The problem, however, is me. I want him to help, but he has to do it my way. Why can't I just be glad he's helping, period? Too much correcting on my part, and he just doesn't want to help anymore. Why bother if it's just going to be undone or re-done anyways?

I admit I am a bit on the Type A side. I have certain ways of doing things, like washing dishes, preparing meals, etc. They have been developed from trial and error, and after awhile it's easy to think that it is the only way to do things. However, our husbands don't always know all these little routines and systems that we have set up.

And so, I have learned two things from this. First, let him help. I don't know why I think I need to do it all by myself. Sometimes that's the hardest step for me. I like to think that I can do things on my own. Maybe some of you don't have this problem, but I know that I do. (Can you say "control freak"?) Second, let him help...his way. On Saturday mornings, when he takes over with the kids, I work hard at not saying anything if I come home and the dishes are still undone and the house is in a state worse than it was when I left. I bite my tongue and just walk away. I am learning to be glad that he is willing to be involved, even if it isn't the way I would do it.

I've wondered why so many men don't appreciate those "helpful" suggestions. Maybe it's because when we do that, it makes our husbands feel incompetent, like he's a kid. I know I'd resent it if I was treated like that. If my words undermine his authority when he tries to lead and help, then no wonder he doesn't want to try. Some husbands may even do the opposite when we nag. That's an issue they need to deal with too, but we do have a part in it when we annoy them with our constant put-downs or dissatisfaction with their help.

If something has to be done in a certain way, I have learned that I need to be very specific with directions. If possible, it is even better if I can explain why. Otherwise it just seems like I'm neurotic. I cannot expect him to read my mind and just know. I wish it worked that way, but it doesn't.

At the very heart of it, marriage is about accepting that even though we are one flesh, my husband and I are not identical. (That would be scary if we were!) It's okay if we think, see and do things differently. When I began to accept that, I noticed our marriage started moving forward again. Sometimes it is the very differences that make for good marriages. It's learning how to leverage them that is the challenge. However, I know those differences are good for our kids. And when we let them help in the home in their own way, it might be that boost of confidence our husbands need to step up to the call of leading our homes.