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“Wouldn’t a Husband Be Prideful for Not Accepting His Wife’s Help?”

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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:

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. 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:

 

RELATED:

What Is Respect in Marriage?

Husbands Share What Is Disrespectful to Them

Signs Your Husband May Feel Disrespected

The Respect Knob

 

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.

20 thoughts on ““Wouldn’t a Husband Be Prideful for Not Accepting His Wife’s Help?”

  1. Nikki,

    Thank you for sharing, as well – perhaps my response to LMSdailly115 might be a blessing?

    Sometimes we think that if we serve our men enough, they will come back to us faster. That is not usually the case. We can serve too much – especially if our motives are to make them love us more or try to make them come back or to control them… that is usually not going to work! Trust me, I know!

    Men are not usually drawn to their wives by us DOING lots of stuff for them. They are more drawn by our peace, joy, contentment in Christ, etc… But ultimately, we are seeking only to please Christ in what we are doing – and to bless our husbands. But we can trust the results to God.

    Much love to you! And a huge hug! 🙂

  2. Firstly – you are sooo cute April!!!!! 🙂

    This is so helpful. I have been trying to see how I can help in a difficult season of transition for him where he has become so distance and lost in his own thoughts. Uff. It has been so weird. I was worried that I was not being “helpful” because I have been learning to give him space (I keep having to re read why your man needs space and separation paradox blog articles lolol to stay sane – thank you for those). But it is hard because I keep wanting to do something. Anything! I just want to be part of the plan and jump in with ideas and be helpful because I feel like two are better than one… and the power of two and I have good strategy ideas and contacts… Hmm… I tried one suggestion which was shot down and I gracefully responded with “sorry if I offended you” and dropped it. I am getting so good thank the Lord 🙂 But it is sooo hard to rewire my brain. So thank you for the reminder and your video that they don’t need help the same way we need help. Your messages are always so timely. I will get busy doing other things on my list and stay prayerful and joyful as I wait for him and God to work things out.

    Big hugs xxx

    1. Happy Wife,

      I know that it feels SO BACKWARDS and unloving to us as women sometimes to give more space and back off. It feels like the wrong thing to do to let them handle things themselves. We want to help! But – many times, it is the respectful thing to do to let them handle their stuff themselves, even if it feels awkward and like emotional/spiritual contortion to us at first.

      Praying for God’s wisdom for you, my dear sister! And for healing for your man.

  3. April, yes, with my son, he is older, so that line has definitely changed.

    Good insights. I guess I was wondering if in a case where it could appear that you were being unloving by shifting behavior if it would be best to kind of address it (quickly and with emphasis of trusting his ability and capability) vs. not saying anything about it. As opposed to when we are making positive changes that our men are going to totally embrace happily right away (as in giving them more space, smiling, admiring, respecting, etc.)

    But, I can see where that might not be a good idea, too!

    1. Jennifer,

      There may be some men who would want their wives to talk about this – but, based on the feedback I have received from a number of husbands on this issue, most of them say – “Just change. Don’t talk about it.”

      Here is a post where you can read some of the comments on that topic. 🙂

    2. Jennifer,

      It is possible it could be beneficial to apologize BRIEFLY if a wife realizes she was coming across disrespectfully. But I would keep it very brief. Like – “Honey, I just realized that when I do X that I thought was helpful, it may not actually feel very helpful to you. I’m so sorry! I’ll let you handle that. I know you’ll do a great job.”

      1. Yes! I like this, this is kind of what I had in mind, but wasn’t able to figure out how to say it as briefly and respectfully as you just put it! Thank you! And, I can see how the wording I had originally wouldn’t go over too well and could put a husband on the defensive. Thanks for continuing to dialogue so that I could see what an appropriate handling of it would be if the wife felt led to say anything at all.

        1. Jennifer,

          Of course, God may lead a wife to say things differently from my example – but maybe this example might be a helpful place to begin to prayerfully approach this issue.

          Much love!

  4. Wow, April, I needed this today. God’s wisdom flowed through your post in a great way. Yesterday at church the pastor asked my husband David to share his testimony at church next week. I am thrilled about this as he has such a powerful testimony that glorifies the Lord. Yet, I already am being controlling about it. I encouraged him that he has such a powerful testimony and I’m so excited for the Lord to be glorified. I was giving him ideas yesterday of what he could share, and he thanked me. But when he said he will probably just share what he does when he is at the shelter, my heart was discouraged. Only because he shares in such a general way that people can’t really see the depth of how the Lord has redeemed him. I need to pray and give this to God, and trust that God will be glorified with however he shares. Will you pray for me that I am godly and encouraging and not controlling or fearful.

    1. Amber,

      Of course I will pray for God’s wisdom for you -and for your husband – that you both might honor Him with every thought, word, and motive. I am sure God can lead your husband to share what He desires him to. And – I am sure God can give you wisdom about how to best encourage your husband in a way that would be most helpful to him.

      Much love to you!

  5. Wow, I absolutely love this. It has been difficult for me to pinpoint over the years why my husband gets so up in arms when I “try to help”. I never realized that he might see my “loving help” as disrespect. I read him the first few sentences of this blog about the difference between men and women and we were both amazed at how true these differences are. We discussed how I will try to be more aware about offering unsolicited advice and how he will be more aware that if I slip up and try to “help”, he will try to remember that I am just trying to be helpful and loving. Thank you!!!!!

    1. TheDaintyChef,

      That is a really critical piece of information that often creates so much conflict! We make assumptions – “He is being unloving.” “She is being disrespectful.” And we don’t realize, “She is trying to be loving.” “He is trying to be respectful.” Then we miss each other’s hearts and assume evil motives and things spiral downward from there.

      So glad this was helpful. Thank you very much for sharing your husband’s thoughts. 🙂

  6. Thank you for this video. This week and last my husband has been on holiday (he’s a teacher) while the kids are on holiday. I am working though. He has taken on the role of cooking and food shopping which is quite unusual. I have been tempted to come in and give advice, but have stood back and let him go. He has come up with great ideas. Pre chopping veg and meat for 3 days worth of stir fries and curries, making pizza dough ahead of time for lunch time pizza. The kids are loving his food and although there is more mess for me to clean it’s been reassuring to see that his ways work just as well as mine if not better. It’s left me feeling quite relaxed actually.

    1. Anonymous,
      That is awesome! Great job allowing him to do things the way he wanted to do them and I’m so thankful you all enjoyed his efforts. Thank you very much for sharing!

  7. Good post. Some of my best marriage moments have come from letting go,from not helping, especially when it comes to the kids. They are mostly grown now, but when they were younger I had a tendency to want to control their dad, to supervise him, not unkindly, but just because I thought he needed help. That kind of “help” however is a no confidence vote, it is disrespectful, it implies distrust. It would be different if I had a reason to distrust him, but he was always good with the kids, I was just a bit of a control freak. It annoyed me when their clothes didn’t match, when they didn’t eat healthy, when Dad let them watch too much TV. When I finally learned how to let go and how to stop helping him to be a dad, it was a big relief for me and his confidence grew. By the time they were teens it was wonderful, because when I had had enough, I could walk away with complete confidence, and hubby would really step up to the plate and take over. Men often like to feel important, needed, to come to the rescue once in a while.

    1. insanitybytes22,

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. I can definitely relate! I had similar issues earlier – but then when I learned to trust Greg, even when he did things differently – and saw how he plugged in and began to really lead our children and myself, I realized this is a GOOD thing!

      God puts two parents in a family because we help to balance each other out.

  8. I primarily keep up our home but my Husband is great at helping me if I ask. Sometimes he just takes initiative without my asking….like he takes out the trash constantly. I have noticed we do things differently but he still does a good job. He knows I want to help with different things and it’s a standing offer. He asks me if he needs help with something so I am not offering as much verbally. He told me, ” Honey I know you will help if I need it”.

  9. Those are awesome examples, April!! This is an area I have struggled with. I am trying to put this in practice with my male relatives and friends now that I am single. I am amazed how much more peaceful I feel than when I was bossy and saying things like You should do it this way and of course they respond so much better!

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