I’ve “expressed my feelings” gracefully instead of saying something stupid that could be misinterpreted as a personal attack/insult towards my wife.
There’s one question that stands out in my mind over all the other questions I’ve been asked about my journey to becoming a better husband. It’s been asked at least six different ways, but boils down to:
Are you just being a doormat?
I understand the question, particularly given my emphasis in the book on doing more with a good attitude instead of worrying about who washed the last dish.
I asked myself that same question more times than I can count. (And I’m pretty good at counting….)
I get that it might appear to some that I am just a “yes man.” That when my wife asks me to jump, I first jump and then ask whether that was high enough.
But, no. No, I’m not just being a doormat.
Discovering this was a real tipping point in my journey.
I don’t just need to be a doormat to have a better day.
I’ve said “no” to my wife since I started getting off the couch.
I’ve asked for a break or two.
And I’ve expressed my feelings at times when I’ve been frustrated.
But the way I’ve done it is different.
I’ve given before I’ve asked.
I’ve deposited several times before withdrawing.
And I’ve “expressed my feelings” gracefully instead of saying something stupid that could be misinterpreted as a personal attack/insult towards my wife.
But more important than the answer was discovering an assumption within the question that helped push me to the right side of the tipping point.
In asking whether I would just be a doormat, I was assuming that, given the chance, my wife would walk all over me.
So, sure, by going through all of this I became vulnerable.
I mean, think about it for a second… I’ve been a terrible husband for a while.
What if she decides she had enough? Half of marriages end in divorce, right? Which half do you think the lazy and selfish husbands fall into?
So when this started, there was more than a small chance that she would eventually get sick of me, right?
If that were to happen what do you think “Exhibit A” would be in the divorce proceeding?
I’ll give you a hint: hold down the “control” button on your keyboard and hit the “p” at the same time.
So maybe I shouldn’t have blogged about it, particularly using “Confessions of a Terrible Husband” as a name…. And maybe I shouldn’t write a book by the same name either…. But I am.
Because I discovered a problem with the question.
By wondering whether “I would be taken advantage of” by doing more and more and more, I was really asking myself whether “my wife will take advantage of me.” By asking if I were a doormat, I was really asking whether my wife would step all over me.
When I asked it that way, my answer quickly became “No.” She would never intentionally do that.
Once I got “beyond the question,” I became a better husband.
And guess which half of marriages husbands who make an effort to do more with a good attitude fall into?
Sometimes the right answer to a question might be found by exploring the question itself.
I explore this in a little more detail in the book, since that format lends itself to a more thorough exploration than a short blog post. But since it has come up more than a few times, I wanted to address it briefly here in what may be the longest post yet…
What question is keeping you from becoming a better spouse? Maybe there’s something wrong with the question.
Photo: Flickr/ PixelLine
This article originally appeared on ATerribleHusband.com.