We’ve all seen a sitcom before, so we know the stereotype about men in relationships—they’re lazy, gross and do absolutely nothing helpful. I really hate how some TV shows make that kind of man seem like marriage material. You’re looking for a partner, lady! Don’t settle for a dude who’s going to turn into an extra kid. That being said, it is true that in many relationships, there’s one person who winds up doing more of the family and home work and one person who has fewer responsibilities at home. This happens even when both people in the relationship are working full time and have equal responsibilities outside of the home. If you’re the one in your relationship who’s working overtime at home and you’re ready for a change, here’s what to do to get your man to do exactly what you want.
I hear a recurring complaint from many of my girlfriends. It goes something like this, “I asked my husband to clean out his closet yesterday and he didn’t do it!” Of course, the specific chore changes from girlfriend to girlfriend, but the general sentiment is the same—I asked him to do something and he didn’t do it. My advice here is to ask him in stages. Instead of telling him on Saturday afternoon that you want his closet cleaned immediately, start prepping him for the chore a week or two in advance. Ask him when he thinks would make the most sense to schedule a closet cleaning in the next week or so. Let him pick the time. Ask if he thinks he needs any tools or materials to complete his chore and when he thinks he’ll get them. In the case of closet cleaning, it might just be garbage bags or maybe some closet organizers. This kind of prep sets him up for success in terms of actually starting the chore and getting it done. Plus, it turns him into the agent who’s in charge of the task and not just the guy getting asked to do it by his ladyboss.
This one may seem small, and it certainly is subtle, but it makes an impact. There’s a difference between asking someone if they “can” do something versus if they “will” do something. Technically, answering “yes” to if they “can” do something and then not doing it isn’t lying. You asked if they were able to do the task and they said they were able, but never committed to actually doing it. However, answering “yes” to if they “will” do something is a firm promise. I know this sounds like a nitpicky grammar thing, but I swear there’s something in the human brain that registers the difference and one way is actually asking your man to do something and another way is simply not. You’re going to have a lot more success if you ask him!
When your guy does something right, let him know how much you appreciate it. Positive reinforcement is so much more effective than negative reinforcement or punishment. Plus, it’s more pleasant for everyone involved, too. Compliment how he did the task you wanted and be clear about how grateful you are that he did it without you having to nag him. Keep the praise going for the day of the chore and several days beyond, even if that sounds excessive. It will motivate him to do more of what you ask in the future and start a great cycle for you two.
One of my girlfriends bristled at these tips because she said they feel like manipulation. I say they work and cut down on fights. And it’s not like you’re brainwashing your dude. You’re using motivating techniques and clear communication to help your relationship. What’s bad about that? What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments.