So not too long ago I fell into an old marriage trap. I gave my husband advice. Did you ladies know men do not like to receive advice from us? To them it sounds like criticism. I know this, but, alas, I got tripped up when he actually asked me for my advice one day.
He was writing a professional letter. It went down like this:
Him: "Do you think this letter looks OK?"
Me, after reading it: "Oh, yes, but what about adding something more specific here."
Him, in a barking tone: "Well, I'm not trying to write something in depth here. I just want to keep it simple."
Me, in a sarcastic tone as I walked away because I hate to be barked at: "Well, then it looks perfect."
Except my anger ... at first at him, "Why would he ask me for my advice then snap at me when I gave it? WTH?"
Then, I remembered what I learned in “For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldhahn. It is vitally important for a husband to feel his wife respects him. Many women unknowingly emasculate their husbands with all of their “advice-giving” and “help.”
So, when I gave hubby my two cents worth, I thought I was trying to "help" him craft a better letter. (He did ask, didn't he?)
But instead of help, he heard criticism and me saying what he wrote was not good enough. And he was stressed because he was trying to hurry up so we could all watch a movie together.
So, why in the world did he ask me what I thought? He was seeking validation. A much different request than one for advice.
This can be a tricky topic -- I don't want you to think we should never give our husband our opinion. But we need to be wise to the appropriate times to do so – especially if we happen to have a lot of opinions! In this case with my hubby, this letter had nothing to do with me -- so I didn’t need to give my opinion. Plus. He is fully capable of handling it on his own.
Have you ever noticed your husband getting upset about something you tried to "help" him with or tell him how to do better? Maybe something with the kids? A repair around the house?
His anger is a clear sign your “help” has made him feel “less-than.” It makes him feel like you think he is not smart enough to figure it out himself. And there is nothing he wants more than for you to respect him for his abilities and judgments. Which we do! We don’t mean to make them feel bad … we are truly just trying to help!
So, how do we respond to our husbands when they flat out ask for our advice? If we want to be sure to maintain respect and invite a peaceful response from them, we might say, "Whatever you think." or "I'm sure you'll make the right choice." or "Looks good!" or "Do you really want my advice or are you just thinking out loud?"
Instead of tearing them down, this builds them up and shows them we trust them and believe in them. (Because we do!)
We don't always have to be right, ladies (even though we would like to think that we are!).
As always, contact me if you’d like to talk more about this! In the meantime, I hope this helps.