Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How to motivate your husband

I've been with Husband for 4.5 years (married for just over one year). I am in no way an expert on men or even my husband, but here's what I've learned about how to motivate your husband to do something....

You don't.


You can't.

Don't even try.

You cannot force someone to do something. You can't create motivation in someone else. I've tried nagging. I've made "honey dew" lists. I've screamed. I've cried. But when all the dust settles, nothing has really changed. Because you can't change your husband/boyfriend/partner. And that's the issue that I think many women face in marriage. The "I love my husband, but...." issue. There's always a but. But I wish he could pick up after himself more. But I wish he sent me flowers at work. But I wish he didn't smoke. But I wish he had different friends. But I wish he cleaned more. But I wish he worked less. If wishes were horses... well, you know the rest.

You can't change anyone but yourself. When you met your husband, there was obviously something that made you like and eventually fall in love with him. The key is to focus on that. Maybe he's a really great cook, but he hates cleaning. Don't try to force him to do half the cleaning chores, but instead ask him to cook the meals. Maybe he doesn't send you flowers all the time, but he does compliment you a lot. Focus on those things! Accept the person you married and remember that you married them for a reason. Don't try to change them.

Husband and I did premarital counseling before our wedding, which we loved! One of the big things that came out of those sessions was to accept the person you were marrying for good and bad. There are things that drive me nuts about Husband and while I am human and I do wish some things were different, I know that I can't change it. And trust me when I say I learned that the hard way sometimes.

That's not to say that I don't have my moments even now - I've had some epic temper tantrums in our year of marriage. One recent one started when Husband put peppers in lasagna (I hate peppers, but of course the peppers weren't the real issue). Sometimes I need to remind myself that I can't change him and there's no point in trying.

One other key point that we learned while doing our premarital counselling was that some things are more important to one person than they are to the other and that's what can cause issues. If something is important to me, I want Husband to do it, but he could care less, so he doesn't. And this is really what it all comes down to. Husband doesn't care if the vacuuming is done or if there are papers laying around on the dining room table, but I do. So why should I make him do something that will make me happy, when he could care less? Just like I don't care if the car is clean, so he knows not to ask me to take it to the car wash.

That's not to say that you can't have a certain amount of expectations, such as not leaving dirty clothes all over the place, but just be realistic. Remember who it is that you fell in love with and focus on his good points. Life is too short to be negative.

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