Photo credit – Maral Rabbit Photography
A woman asked this question recently – and I think it is a great one to discuss.
Women tend, in general, to jump in to help their husbands or other people – because we see it as “the loving thing to do.” Men tend, in general, not to jump in to offer unsolicited advice or help because they often believe that would be “disrespectful.” So when a wife offers unsolicited help or advice to her husband, and he refuses it – she may be tempted to think that he is being prideful. (Of course, this may happen in reverse, as well. I am talking in generalizations here – but there can be different dynamics in different marriages.)
But let’s step back and realize that we don’t know other people’s motives or their hearts. Other people may have perspectives that we are not privy to. So, it may not be that a man is “prideful” for not accepting his wife’s attempts to help him. He may feel that she doesn’t believe he is capable of doing what he is trying to do and he may feel insulted by what she believes she is doing to be “helpful.”
Let’s see how a woman might experience a similar scenario:
- Imagine that you have a newborn and you are nursing your baby because you believe it is the best thing for your baby’s health. Now picture that your mother tells you that formula would be better for your baby and that your baby will never get enough nourishment because she thinks that you cannot possibly produce enough milk to sustain your baby. Imagine that your baby is well within normal weight limits and that your baby is healthy and you are having no problems with nursing. How would you feel about your mother’s unsolicited advice and “help”? Would it be prideful for you to make your own decision about whether to breastfeed your baby or not?
- Imagine that you are cleaning the bathroom and your husband comes in and and grabs the sponge and spray bottle out of your hand and starts cleaning himself? What if he also criticizes your own cleaning abilities the entire time as he is taking over the job you were doing? How would you feel about your husband’s “help”? Would you be prideful to be unappreciative?
- Imagine that you are in the middle of ringing up a customer at work when a coworker comes over and steps in front of you and finishes the transaction while you were handling things just fine yourself and didn’t need or ask for help. How would you feel about your coworker’s “help”? Would it be prideful of you to expect to be able to do your own work without your coworker stepping in to do your job for you?
Perhaps we can appreciate that what one person perceives as being “helpful” may actually feel insulting to the one receiving the unsolicited advice or help. Could it be prideful not to ask for help when we need it? Yes. It definitely could. But there may be other ways to look at situations at times – and that is what I would like for us to try to do. Let’s seek to understand our husband’s perspective rather than judging him as having evil or sinful motives first.
Here is a recent 4 minute Youtube video I did about how to tell the difference between being controlling vs. actually being helpful to our men:
GENERAL DISCLAIMER ABOUT MY BLOG – if you have really serious issues in your marriage, if your husband is very dominant/controlling/abusive, you are struggling with mental illness, your husband is struggling with mental illness, you or your husband have an active addiction, you tend to be extremely codependent, you are extremely passive and tend to be too afraid to share your needs with your husband, or you are severely emotionally scarred – my blog may not be a good fit for you.
I would suggest that you find a godly, you can get to know and trust one-on-one to help walk you through your situation. Sometimes women in these situations mishear me in dangerous ways. I never want that to happen. I want everyone to find the healing that is in Christ – if that is through a different source, I am fine with that.