You’ve probably heard the phrase “If mom isn’t happy, no one’s happy.” But an unhappy husband is just as difficult to handle. As it turns out, there are things we wives can avoid saying that get under his skin.
1. “We need to talk.”
Carter Bailey, a 27-year-old husband from Texas, said unless you want to trigger your husband’s “fight or flight” response, you’re much better off saying what you need to say without starting with this line.
“Otherwise, you are setting him up to spending every single second between that sentence and the moment you talk worrying about what he did wrong or what went wrong,” Bailey said. “If you want to scare him into an anxiety-ridden day, go ahead, but that’s a cruelty that should be reserved only for the most heinous criminals.”
2. “Are you sure I can’t help?”
Bailey said that when your husband tells you, “I got this,” he means, “I got this.” Asking him again if you can help is like saying, “I don’t think you can handle it.”
“If you absolutely must offer your services again, say something like, ‘OK, sweetheart, if you need any help, come get me and I will do whatever I can,’” Bailey said. “It’s emasculating and looks like low confidence in your man to say, ‘Are you sure?’”
3. “Did you do …?”
“If he’s trying to rewire the house (and) he’s not an electrician (or worked with it before), and he’s forgotten to turn the breaker off, by Odin’s beard, just say, ‘You forgot to turn off the breaker, I’ll go turn it off for you real quick,’” Bailey said. “Don’t constantly nag him about, ‘Did you do this… did you do that…?’ He’s a man. If he hasn’t taken the time to go through all the steps, he needs to learn the hard way — unless of course he is working with 120v of potentially heart-arresting current.”
4. “Do you think we’re romantic?”
According to Bailey, this line screams, “I don’t think you’re romantic anymore.” Bailey suggests finding better ways to encourage your husband to be the romantic partner he once was when you were dating.
“The joy of receiving flowers or candy or a romantic date night is just diminished when you overtly make suggestions about what he should do and when,” Bailey said. If you really want to jump start the romantic bone, try being the romantic one. See what happens when your husband receives flowers from you for a change.
5. “Kids, don’t listen to your dad.”
Never criticize your husband’s parenting in front of the children.
In researching his book, “Being the Strong Man A Woman Wants: Timeless wisdom on being a man,” author Elliott Katz heard men say how important it is that a woman not criticize her husband’s parenting with the kids around.
“If there’s a problem, talk about it privately,” Katz said. “If you criticize him in front of the kids, he will feel undermined and may withdraw from parenting responsibilities — and you’ll feel like a single parent.”
6. “Would I marry you again? Does lightning strike twice in the same place?”
Don’t criticize your husband in front of friends, even jokingly, Katz said. It won’t motivate him to change. It hurts and will turn him against you in other ways.
7. “I should have married rich.”
If your husband is working hard and doing his best to earn a living, don’t criticize his ability to provide for the family. Not only is it hurtful, he may wish he had found someone more supportive, Katz said.