Sometimes we wives feel compelled to remind our husbands of the things on the to-do list:
- It’s time to brush your teeth.
- Honey, did you read your Bible yet today?
- Babe, did you make sure to put gas in your car?
- Sugar, have you read the proposal ACME sent to you at work?
- Have you talked to your boss about how rude your coworker was yet?
You may have the best of intentions. You may think you are being helpful. I sure did! But does your husband view the reminders as helpful or does it feel disrespectful to him? That’s the real question.
Most husbands don’t enjoy receiving lots of reminders of things they need to do. It makes them feel like their wives think they are incompetent.
Is this area a struggle for you?
Does my husband need my constant reminders to function in life?
I sometimes like reminders these days because I have so many things on my mind and I tend to be forgetful sometimes. So I ask my husband and kids to remind me about certain things, I leave myself notes, send myself emails, and set my phone alarm for everything to try to avoid missing something important.
Some husbands may appreciate certain kinds of friendly reminders. That’s fine if you have an agreement about that! This is an area that will be unique for each couple and it may change over the course of the marriage depending on circumstances and personalities.
Turns out my husband is totally capable of handling his adult life without me giving him a lot of reminders. He uses his phone and has his own system to handle things.
If you obsess over what your husband is supposed to do even though he handles things well and doesn’t want reminders, today may be a good time to back off.
He doesn’t want to be your little boy. He wants to be your hero and your man. Thank him for doing such a great job taking care of you and let him do his thing.
Men are drawn to people and places where they feel admired, appreciated, and respected. If he feels like you are treating him like an incompetent kid, that can be a turn-off.
If something is his responsibility and you know he doesn’t want reminders, you just leave it on his “side of the table” and let him deal with it. You don’t have to say anything about it.
Obviously if there is an emergency, you may need to step in and help. But generally, he will appreciate you letting him run his own life and take care of his responsibilities. That is respectful and it demonstrates your trust and faith in him.
Respect, trust, and faith are essential ingredients for a strong marriage.
You probably wouldn’t enjoy it if your husband constantly chimed in and said things like:
- Don’t forget to brush your teeth.
- Did you change your underwear today?
- When was the last time you had a shower?
- Did you read all your work emails yet? Have you responded to each of them?
- Did you call your parents this week?
(Unless you asked him to help you remember these things. Thankfully, I have not gotten that forgetful yet! Ha!)
Examples of not giving reminders to my husband:
If I feel tempted to tell my husband how to drive or which way to take and he knows the way, I just need to think about something else, enjoy being with him, and trust him to handle the driving instead of trying to tell him how to drive.
Of course, if he wants my help with a map or directions, I can share respectfully and politely. Or if I saw something on the news about the Interstate being shut down for hours because of a wreck, I could respectfully share that information with him. He would probably want to know about that if he hadn’t seen the report.
If I know he missed an exit and I know my husband would appreciate me telling him, I can say, in a friendly way, “Hey, Honey, was that our exit?” And then he can handle getting back to it unless he asks me for assistance.
Otherwise, I don’t usually pay much attention to where we are going or which way he takes, I just enjoy the ride and am happy to be with my man.
A reader’s suggestion
Here is something one of my amazing readers shared (with her permission):
My husband uses his phone for reminders and has a notepad by the back door. As “to do” items come up we just add them (like changing filters in the A/C unit, etc…). Very few things do I feel compelled to remind or nag him about.
This system works well for us. He crosses it off as it gets done so I don’t need to wonder or ask if I don’t already know.
From April – I LOVE this idea! Things get done. The husband feels respected. The wife knows what’s going on. There is harmony and all is right with the world.
A non-controlling approach to my marriage nurtures intimacy
My husband is inspired to be more competent as I step back and trust him to handle the little details. (Unless he is dealing with mental health issues, significant sin issues, or addictions, then I may need to reach out for help.)
My goals are:
- Only share if I need or desire something once, generally. (There can be exceptions, of course. But even then, I try to share in a friendly, respectful way, not a confrontational style.)
- If it is something he knows about already, I let him handle his own issues and I don’t interfere or remind him.
If he is ordering things for the family, I may ask in a friendly way sometimes about what he ordered or when things may be arriving just to keep myself in the loop. But I don’t dictate to him what he should do.
I’m there to:
- Bounce ideas off of.
- Share my perspective and opinions.
- Appreciate all he does for me.
- Enjoy him.
- Admire him.
- Be thankful for him and his leadership and abilities.
- Encourage him.
- Respect him.
- Honor him.
- Cooperate with his leadership
- Inspire him.
- Bless him.
- Help in ways he appreciates.
- Honor the Lord!
However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.Eph. 5:33
My teenage son doesn’t need as many reminders these days either.
I’m having to learn this all over again with my son as he is 18 now and just started college. So I am having to step way back and let him soar or fall more and more on his own. It is hard to step back, sometimes. I’m not saying it is easy! But it is necessary and healthy for him—and for me.
If I would like to make a request or a suggestion to my husband, the way I ask, my motives, and how often I ask makes a big difference. I have several posts about things like this that may help. Here are a few!
17 Tips on How to Ask for What You Desire Respectfully
6 Ways NOT to Ask Your Man to Put His Clothes Away
Any wisdom anyone would like to share from the trenches? We’d love to hear your suggestions and encouragement!
I usually try not to remind him of daily tasks. But I am sure I forget at times and overstep. There are other times when I ask him to do something and he does want me to remind him in case he forgets. (For example, getting the fall decor down from the attic.) But I feel like a nag when I remind him, so I often let things go or wind up doing it myself. And then he will ask why I didn’t remind him. LOL. So there definitely needs to be a balance. And I am sure every husband has different limits.
Bridget A. Thomas,
I think if there is something you would like to request of him, it’s totally fine to ask respectfully. “Hey, Babe, would you please pull the fall decorations down for me sometime this week? That would be so great!”
Yes, there does need to be a balance. And certain husbands appreciate reminders in some areas but may feel annoyed by reminders in other areas or really frequent reminders.
Thank you for the insight! I will try to pay attention to this during the week and see how it goes! 🙂
Bridget A. Thomas,
You’re welcome. Nagging usually implies mentioning something multiple times. This would be a great thing to talk about and say, “I never want to annoy you with unnecessary reminders. But I do want to feel like I can ask for things respectfully. What are your pet peeves? Are there certain things you don’t want me to remind you of? What things you are okay with me mentioning if I don’t nag?”
Great idea! I will try that! ❤️
My husband has actual memory issues among other things, so he often asks me to remind him of things. I try very hard to be friendly and respectful about it though, and to balance giving him those reminders without actually being a pest.
Day to day things though, like brushing teeth, I can’t even imagine doing that unless he very specifically asked me to. Perhaps because I grew up in a home where my mom was the total queen bee, I tend to be very careful about that.
Where I can run into trouble though is when he says he is going to do something that I think is a bad idea. I have yet to figure out how to mention my concerns without it feeling like I’m being bossy.
Yes, for husbands with certain situations like memory issues or ADD, they may need a wife to help with some administrative things like scheduling or helping them remember to do certain things. If both spouses can agree on a respectful, friendly way for the wife to help with reminders, that is ideal. I love that you try to be friendly and respectful. That is awesome!
If he had Alzheimers or something significant, perhaps he may need reminders like that, but you’re right, most adults wouldn’t appreciate that kind of level of attention to their daily routine from someone else. It can feel really smothering or like the other person is being controlling, and it is icky to be on the receiving end of that, as you have seen firsthand.
So with this, it depends on a whole lot of issues as to how a wife can best handle it. It’s a great topic for a post. I may try to do that soon. But some general things to consider may be:
– Is it really a big deal? If it is not, then it may not be worth addressing it. If he is going to spend $10 over what I would like him to spend on shoes and we are not destitute, I probably won’t say anything.
– If it is sin, that’s a problem. If he wants to get drunk with friends and drive, if he wants to look at porn, if he is doing something that could put him in a very precarious situation with another woman, if he wants to do something illegal, if he wants to lie on the taxes… In those situations, I do need to speak up. I may say something like, “Honey, what you want to do here concerns me very much. I don’t want to tell you what to do. I know you’re a grown man and I respect that. But it is going to be pretty difficult for me to trust you to lead our household if you go through with something God calls sin. Please don’t do this. You’re a better man than this and I don’t want to lose any respect for you.”
– Is it is a matter of different priorities, personal convictions, or perspectives? If so, then I could say something like, “May I share my thoughts on this idea, please?” Or “I would rather we not do this. Could we do that instead, please?” Or, “I’m not really excited about this idea. Is there another option?”
There is also the concept of submitting under protest where a husband makes a decision the wife doesn’t like, but it is not sinful. She respectfully shares that she thinks it is not a good idea, but that she will honor his leadership and cooperate with him if he truly believes that is best for the family and it is what will most honor the Lord.
Of course, there are many other possible issues that could arise, as well. But those are a few that cover a wide range.
We do have a voice. We are to use our godly influence. But we are not to force our way. That can be a delicate balance.
Here is a post that helps a lot, too, in my view. How to Influence an Unbelieving Husband for Christ – but it is a beautiful approach with believing husbands, too.
Let me know if you need more resources. Thanks for the comment!
Hi Ladies, This is very challenging for me and not sure how to handle it. My husband has ADHD and it is bad, he will not take medications, which I agree with, he will not read about it for helpful suggestions. I am an RN and have given patients some ideas, I have tried to put things in place to make it easier for him. He just won’t do it. Everyday I am sucked into his ADHD because he forgets or loses something. I have recently stopped helping him look for items he misplaced but when we are going somewhere and he has to look for the keys or his phone……many times we will get down the road and he has to turn around and go back to the house because he forgot something. I am at my wits end. What do I do besides pray?
I/we need help..although he doesn’t think he needs help.
I am quite familiar with ADHD and have seen amazing results with medication as a pharmacist. I definitely understand the desire not to take meds and to handle it in other ways.
One of my favorite resources is Dr Hallowell. He doesn’t talk about being a Christian but he specializes in ADD/ADHD and has the condition, himself, as well.
He has a lot of great resources for children, teens, and adults with ADD/ADHD. He also has a book called “Married to Distraction” for spouses to help them.
If your husband has a significant case of ADD/ADHD, it is extremely stressful on him and the family, particularly if it is untreated and if he is unwilling to learn about the disorder.
But I believe you can read this book and glean a lot of helpful ideas from it even if he doesn’t want to read about it. What I really love about Dr. Hallowell’s approach is that he views ADD/ADHD not as a disease, but as a brain that works very differently with special gifts and weaknesses. He tries to help people harness the gifts and manage the weaknesses so they can live productive lives.
Your husband may not realize how much better his life could be if this is how things have always been. I invite you to check out the book and resources on this site. Of course, please compare anything he says to God’s Word.
You can’t change or fix your husband. But you can be the helpmeet he needs. In a case like this, you may need to be a lot more involved than most wives with reminders. Not in a disrespectful way, but in a way that says, “We’re a team and together we can tackle ADHD and have a wonderful, God-honoring life!”
Much love to you. Praying for wisdom for you and for a soft heart for him to learn about this and the options he has that will help him thrive.
Thank you for responding. I have the book Driven to Distraction. Everything is packed up right now because we are moving. I will look for the marriage book. God has to have a purpose for this. Your words are wise. Thank you
Yes, God can absolutely use this to bring beauty and blessing as you seek Him. Praying for His comfort, discernment, and Spirit’s power for you both.
Much love to you!
You are most welcome. ❤️
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