There’s that heat rising up in my face again. The diet coke is foaming.
“I need your help!” I yell at my husband.
His face is aghast. Almost slack, like he’s seeing a creature from the black lagoon.
He springs into action, his shoulders slumped – all sense of manhood ripped from him by… his wife. The one woman who God purposed to encourage him, to point him to the Savior, to boost the spiritual-leader-ness inside of him.
Then my shoulders model his when I realize what I’ve done. I look back – Where was the root of this? How did this begin? All I needed was a little help!
The error, though, wasn’t in the words, “I need your help!”
5 Ways I Disrespect My Husband When I Ask for Help
1. I tried to do it all alone to begin with.
Asking for help is needed, especially in marriage – a team sport. Too often when I need help, my independence kicks in.
“I don’t need help. I’ve taken care of myself most of my life.”
“Well, he’s not here to help me the rest of the time, so why give him the courtesy of helping me now?” (Wow, I’m such a peach, huh?)
Or, autopilot is simply on. I’m used to doing XYZ, so I just do it without making room for anyone else.
Now, what if I told you that all of the statements above actually have to do with our relationship with the Lord?
Uh huh. That one hurts. When we try to go it alone, we’re first saying that we don’t need God. We’re capable alone. All of a sudden, that lie emerges.
Staying connected to the vine is the first way to correct this error.
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me (John 15:4, NIV)
2. I’ve been hiding my real feelings.
Back to our marriage – how has my communication with my husband been lately?
I bet the answer is, “Not stellar.”
When little things irk me, like that off the cuff remark about my lack of athleticism or giving me a look when I pull out a late-night snack, and I let it go, am I really letting it go?
Hopefully, I’m in a place to be in on the joke myself and not take everything so seriously. Because really, my clutziness is hilarious. I can manage to rip off a fingernail (like, the bed of the nail) doing laundry. And I always eat something at night because three kids means I don’t eat enough during the day. But snack after snack in the evening looks like I might have a little problem haha!
But if I’m in a hurting place where I need a little more sensitivity, am I expressing that? Or, am I thinking, “That shouldn’t bother me, so I’ll pretend it didn’t.”
If I’m not letting my husband in, even with a simple, “Babe, I know I’m ridiculous, but can you lighten up a touch? Mama’s sensitive tonight,” how can I expect him to understand me?
3. Wrong time and place.
Whew – I feel like I just went through this with my husband. Before a “big weekend,” we always try to communicate before the weekend.
What is this going to look like?
What happens if I need help and you’re busy?
What are some ways I can step in to help you without us getting in a fight over it in the moment?
When we don’t do this, neither of us know what to expect from each other and one of us lashes out – a harsh word, a cold shoulder, venting on our guests… all things that only increase the disrespect.
4. My tone is rude and degrading (you knew it was coming).
My husband is not my child! I should never treat him like a child by giving him “the look”, “the evil eye”, the “mom voice”.
Likewise, commanding him to do something or giving him an ultimatum only shows him I plan to take control of this marriage, that he’s not good enough to lead, and that I don’t believe him to be a capable man.
Seeing the disrespect in our eyes, body language, and voice only pushes my husband into passivity or anger – the two things I want the least from my husband!
5. Not saying “Yes” to the help he offers.
Conviction here! My husband actually does offer to help me. A lot. But it’s never in the way I want to be helped! Sometimes, I just need to communicate the help that I need, but other times, I need to say “Yes!” to the help he’s offering.
Do I need to control every little thing he does? Must I always be right about where things go and how the baby is dressed and what route we should take? If he’s offering to help, I want to say “Yes!” and “Thank you!” instead of, “No, that’s OK” whilst mumbling (if only you would do this instead).
I know I’m not alone in this! I’d love to hear if you have a number 6 to add to the list.