According to a recent article in Parenting magazine called "Mad at Dad," 46% of moms get irate with their husbands once a week or more. Those with kids younger than 1 are even more likely to be mad that often (54%). About half of the moms describe their anger as intense but passing; 1 in 10 say it's "deep and long-lasting."
The Parenting article points out that mothers feel the division of labor in the home is way out-of-whack: 31% of moms say their husbands don't help with the chores -- in fact, they generate more. This statistic certainly rang true for Alicia. She said, "Him not helping me with everyday chores and taking care of the kids has taken a toll on me over the last year to the effect of being on anxiety medication and an antidepressant."
Well, according to Ben Martin, author of The Father Life, the most glaring issue in the post was an obvious lack of communication. Many couples love each other very much, but for some reason, the message that she needs help around the house just isn't getting through. So Ben reached out to Cory Huff, from aGoodHusband.net, for some communication pointers and advice for husbands and wives caught in the cycle of frustration.
HOW TO COMMUNICATE NEEDS
Timing. There's a time and a place to communicate needs. Trying to have a conversation with your husband about his marital and parental obligations in the middle of the fourth quarter of a football game, or during an intense game of Halo 3 on Xbox Live is probably not good timing. Telling your wife that you want to have a guy's night when she's in the middle of preparing the kids to head out for school -- same idea. Get rid of distractions.
Verbal. Telling your spouse you have a need works well for some. Their spouse hears that there's a need and they go to fulfill it. This doesn't work too well for me, as I am often in a rush or distracted, and when I'm not, it's usually late at night and I don't process very well. For my wife, however, it works out great. There will be many times when she does something nice for me and I will ask how she knew to do that, and she'll tell me that she remembered me saying it -- in passing, a week ago! I am terrible at that sort of thing, but it works well for her.
In Writing. Many times, my wife will ask me to do something multiple times and I just forget. I'm not a verbal reminder kind of person. I need it in front of me, so I will ask her to email it to me. At first, it seemed rather silly for her to email me her needs, but the email honey-do lists give me easy, task-oriented steps to take in order to fulfill my wife's needs, and I can take care of the list early in the morning when I'm full of energy and awake. If it's something that needs to be done later, I will set a reminder on my cell phone or write a note to put in my pocket.
Show. Sometimes when my wife has done something that she feels is deserving of praise, she will take me by the hand and show me what she did. She'll do the same when something is broken and needs fixing. I see the thing, realize that it's broken, and I know, because she took the time to take me there, that it is important to her as well.
HOW TO UN-FRUSTRATE A FRUSTRATED LIFE
Men like to fix things. Part of what makes them feel accomplished in a marriage is being able to attend to his wife's needs. Both men and women run into issues if there is not clear communication about needs. If a husband does not know about a problem, he can't fix it.
Some women will complain that their husband shouldn't have to be told that he should be helping out around the house. I agree, but you should keep this in mind:
Unless they're told that it's broke (and told in a way that they recognize as being told), they will think everything is fine and they needn't do anything. You probably didn't think your guy was lazy when you married him. He didn't become lazy, he just hasn't recognized the changing priorities.
Sometimes very efficient wives intimidate their husbands. I know plenty of men who have told me that they have tried to do laundry, feed the children, or clean the house, but failed. Why did they fail? Because when their wives found out how they were going about those chores, they freaked out. For some men, it becomes easier to just do nothing rather than risk getting yelled at for trying to help.
These two points aside, men should realize that when it comes to the house, the responsibility is equally there between both parties.
In short, guys, you should be looking around for ways you can help your wife out. Find the right time, and then ask her, in a way that she understands, what you can do to help her. Then find a way to make sure that you remember it. Ladies, you should be communicating with your man when there are not distractions present, and outside of emotionally charged moments. Learning these tricks will help a great deal with un-frustrating your life.
Want to get inside the mind of men? Get to know Ben Martin in our momlogic community and he'll give you the scoop!