How can I say this gently? Women sometimes negate how impactful their words can be, especially towards their spouses. There is validity in recognizing that words can hurt, and being educated about what you can say instead that gets the same point across, but in a more loving way.
I find that in many conversations I have with my husband, my intention to help him, ends up communicating to him that he’s not enough.
I don’t do it on purpose. In fact, I’m most times oblivious to it. But what I’ve learned lately, is changing my wording can make all the difference in how he feels when I communicate something.
I was in the cafe the other day, and was unintentionally eavesdropping on a couple having a conversation about finances. The woman was sharing her heart, but to any man, it could easily come across as degrading and making them feel like they aren’t enough.
Example of their convo:
What she wanted to explain – They need to save money and cut costs because her husbands job isn’t making ends meet financially.
What she said – “It’s frustrating your job doesn’t make enough money for our family. I’m constantly thinking about cutting costs, and it’s stressing me out. What can be done to change this? Help me to understand why this is happening.”
What he might have heard, judging by the look on his face – “You aren’t enough.”
Now, even though she was sharing her heart, the way she went about it wasn’t the best. What she could have said was…
“I so appreciate you going to work everyday and providing for our family. I’m a little nervous about our finances, though, because we aren’t quite making ends meet—is there anything we can do about that?”
Do you see the difference?
Sometimes, in relationships, we unintentionally hurt one another with our words, and over time, it can take a toll on our marriage. That’s why it’s always good to self reflect on the words we use to make sure they are uplifting instead of deflating.
Why women have the tendency to critisize instead of encourage
Men can sometimes be passive, which causes women to feel the need to take control where they assume their husbands don’t have a situation under control.
It’s a typical reaction from the woman, to the lack of action from the man. Most often we get stuck in these cycles. Women have to overcompensate because men don’t do their part.
While it depends on the situation, usually both parties play a role in this dysfunction. The important part is to do something about it.
I address both men and women here on the blog, but my husband usually writes for the men, given he has first-hand experience.
Even though men are just as capable of deflating us with their words, or lack thereof, today, I am only addressing a woman’s role.
Here are some ways you might be unintentionally degrading, disrespecting, or deeply hurting your husband with your words.
Words women use—or lack thereof—that could be deflating a man’s manhood
1. Not Saying Thank You
Men, whether they let on or not, love to please you. Everything they do, they do it for you—take Bryan Adams word for it.
So when you don’t show your appreciation when they are doing everything for you, then they start to wonder—why even bother, anything I do is still not good enough.
This is a common frustration of men in relationships. They don’t feel appreciated. In their minds, they do everything they can, but the reaction they get says otherwise.
What should we do to fix this?
Well, writing from experience, you should apologize. I know, it’s not easy. But it’s a place to start. If you feel that you have been doing this to your husband, then own up to it.
I had to do it, and I still do it. Sometimes multiple times a week. I get so caught up in trying to help him be better, I neglect the fact that I need to say thank you and be grateful for the things he already is successful in.
That doesn’t mean I ignore my feelings, or never lovingly point him to better himself. But it means that I give God first dibs on his actions, pray for him, and thank him for the amazing husband he is.
An example could be something as big as thanking him for working and providing for the family, or as little as taking out the trash. Both are just as important to his heart and his sense of purpose.
Check out my marriage book recommendations.
2. Talking to them as if they were a child
This can sometimes be subtle, but we still do it!
Our husbands already have a mother, so they don’t need another one, even though on many occasions it may seem that way.
Men hate it when we act like their moms, but they are sometimes pathetically helpless when it comes to things like laundry or cooking food. All the things their mother did for them, they most likely can’t do themselves.
Ladies, the only way to stop this from happening to your son, is to make him do his own laundry at an appropriate age. Or perhaps teach him how to cook! God help them.
As for your husband, the best you can do is try and word things differently.
Don’t talk to them in a degrading way. And while you’re at it, don’t talk to your kids that way either! I am a firm believer that women set the tone for the home’s environment, as well as the outcome of the day.
We have some kind of special power like a superhero. So don’t misuse your power. Set a calm and loving tone for your household, not a stressed one.
When it comes time for PMS, my advice is to go on an island vacation once a month—that’s the only solution.
You could also read about my story with PMS and what I do to help it.
3. Critisize or tell them how they need to be better
I get it, as women, we intend to help. But sometimes the help can come across as “you’re not good enough,” like the example I gave at the beginning of the article.
So what should we do when they obviously need help but don’t know how to help themselves? Well, there is a way.
Depending on the spouse you have been blessed with, there are a few scenarios that come into play. My husband, for example, is quite persuasive. Mix in a little stubbornness. In other words, we are both stubborn a** with opinions. It has made for an interesting marriage, but I’de rather have it that way than for us to let one another get away with mediocrity.
We challenge one another. BOTH of us. It’s SO good and healthy to allow one another to do that. I believe that God intended marriage to be that—to make one another better.
But there are also instances where we don’t healthily apply this. It’s when good-willed help, becomes deflating criticism.
That’s why you should read what men need so that you can better understand how you can challenge your man, but also avoid demeaning him.
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4. Not put your trust in their abilities
I hardly struggle with this one because I’m very proud of all my husband’s abilities. But what I suck at is telling him that. I think it ALL the time, but forget he can’t read my mind.
From that he gathers I don’t think he’s capable. One day he told me, and I was shocked. Here I had him in such high esteem in my mind, but he had no idea.
I decided I needed to change that. So every chance I get, I tell him how amazing he is, how grateful and thankful I am. How proud of him I am.
It’s words like that we often neglect to say in the everyday mess of life. But imagine how better your relationship might be; how capable, encouraged, and brave your husband might feel when you rise above and start using kind words.
I can’t imagine that you want to deflate or disrespect your man intentionally. But sometimes we have to check ourselves to make sure our words are encouraging them so they feel accomplished in providing for their family.
Start today and see what happens 🤷🏼♀️
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