“He just never seems to help around the house,” said Sam. “I’m always doing chores while he sits in the chair or plays with the kids. And he’s always on his computer or his phone.”
“So how does that make you feel?” asked Nicole.
“I used to get angry and yell. Then I just felt so mad all the time. And after not changing for a couple years, now I just feel so discouraged.”
“I understand that feeling,” said Nicole. “But let me ask you something. You say he plays with the kids? Does that make it easier for you to get the dishes done after dinner?”
“Yeah, I guess it does. But I’d rather if he washed the dishes.”
“You’d rather that he wash the dishes than spend time with your kids?”
“Well, no, but I just hate doing dishes all the time.”
“Me too! Man I hate doing dishes! I’ve had to learn how to do dishes as I go so they aren’t so overwhelming. And I’m trying to teach the kids to clear their spots and help with what they can. That way, if there’s a night where I just don’t want to dishes, I don’t have to. They won’t be overwhelmingly piled up by morning.”
“Yeah, if everyone helped, it would go so much faster.”
“And what if on those nights that you don’t feel like doing dishes you just relaxed and just enjoyed being with your husband?”
“Like sitting and doing nothing?”
“If that’s what he’s doing, yeah. Why not?”
“Well, nothing productive gets done.”
“So…Oh. I don’t have to be productive all the time, do I?” asked Sam.
“I think it’s important to keep your house and certainly have a standard for doing it. But relaxing every now and then is ok, too,” assured Nicole.
“If I’m really being honest, I just feel like he’s almost working against me in getting house work done. I can seem to get over it for a day or two at a time but it doesn’t last. I’m just discouraged.”
“I know it feels so discouraging. You work really hard. You said that your husband playing with the kids helps you get the dishes done. That’s something that’s really helpful. He also relaxes after work to decompress after work. And he goes to work all day.”
“Well, I want to challenge you to focus on those things. Instead of making a list of all the things he does wrong, why not give him credit for what he’s doing right? What if you gave him affirmation verbally – like “Hun, thank you so much for playing with the kids every night” – and physically – like putting your hand on his arm while you talk to him or just sitting close to him – for the things he does well.”
“I will sound silly.”
“Sure, at first, the words you say might be different than words that you normally use. But whatever you pay attention to grows. So as you notice more things he’s doing well, you’ll be able to affirm the things he’d doing well. And you’ll get to see how he responds to the words you use and you will get practice and not feel silly anymore.”
“I think I understand what you’re saying,” said Sam. “But won’t I just be giving him a free pass to do whatever he wants and not help me like what I really want?”
“It might feel like that. But here’s another way to look at it: you can’t change him. You’ve probably tried and things don’t seem to change and you’re left angry. You can, however, change you. And your attitude. And what you think about. No, I’m not saying to become a doormat. I’m saying to change your focus from the bad things to the good things. The more you think on the good things the more good things you will find. And this isn’t expecting him to change or thinking this is a way to manipulate him. It really is about changing how you see the situation.” Nicole smiled at Sam who still looked unsure.
“But what if nothing changes?” Sam asked, desperately.
“Not possible. If you truly start to do this, to make this change – you will change. Your attitude will change. It will be a journey. It will not be over night. But it will be a change you can see.”
We have the power.
The power to choose.
To choose between seeing negative or positive.
To affirm the good or dwell on the bad.
We have the ability to speak the truth of what our husbands are doing well.
Which will help us to see our joy increase.
And as we pay attention to what is positive, and good, and truth – those things will GROW.
You will see more of those qualities come out in your husband because you will be looking for them.
Whatever you pay attention to GROWS.
Listen, I bet you’re wondering about the help that you’re needing. Just because you pay attention to more of the positives doesn’t mean the negatives will just go away. Remember that all you can do is change you. And I promise, that I will talk about how this attitude will give you a great footing for approaching your husband. It’s coming. Right now, remember, you is what you can change.
And whatever you pay attention to GROWS.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
What could you change in your attention today? Dare you to try and dare you to share!
Be sure to check out The Respect Dare blogging team – Nina, author of The Respect Dare: 40 Days to a Deeper Connection with God and Your Husband and Debbie, especially for parents of teens, tweens, and twenty-somethings, and you can subscribe to me in the sidebar. And connect with me on twitter @LeahHeffner and on faceboook on The Respect Dare community page.
*links to amazon are affiliate links