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Wifey Wednesday: When His Habits Drive You Nuts

It's Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you follow up either by commenting or by writing your own post and then linking up!

Does your husband do something that drives you nuts? Something you wish he would quit?

Maybe he's on the computer constantly. Maybe he watches too much TV. Maybe he eats way too much or he eats the wrong stuff.

You don't want him doing all these things. So what do you do?

Well, we're in the middle of a 6-week challenge to transform your marriage by meeting his needs. You may think that sounds sexist and unrealistic, but give me a chance and hear me out! Do these things for 6 weeks, and you'll find your attitude changing, and your husband changing!

1. Thank your husband once a day for something (try to make it something different each time)
2. Compliment your husband to your mother, your children, your friends, whatever, within earshot of your husband, every chance you get.
3. Do not nag.
4. Do not give the silent treatment.
5. Make love with relative frequency (say at least 2-3 times a week).

But one of those ones you may be struggling with is #3: do not nag. What if he does something which is absolutely awful?

Well, let's talk first about attitudes and what you don't do. First of all, your job is not to change him. I've written about this a lot before, and if you click on the Wifey Wednesdays link at the bottom of this post, all the other Wifey Wednesday posts will come up and you can read some of this advice. But if you're expecting your husband to change, and withholding love and acceptance from him until he does, you're dooming your marriage and yourself.

Men thrive on appreciation, not condemnation. If they feel like you don't accept them, they're going to retreat into work, or into the computer, or into sports, or something. And remember that if you're waiting for him to change to be happy, you're placing your feelings in someone else's hands. You need to take them back. Make yourself happy. Go to God. Find things you love doing. Don't depend on him for that.

Okay, now that that's being said, let's look at this bad habit again. What if it is something that hurts him, like eating too much? You obviously want him to stop, even just because you love him. But our tendency in this case is to nag. We tell him he should stop. We buy him books on how to stop. We remind him what he promised. We start sulking. Why isn't he listening to me when I love him so much?

Get off that roller coaster, honey. It's not a good place to be. Nagging shows a man that you don't think he's capable. And it drives him nuts. So keep your mouth shut.

Now you're probably thinking: if I can't nag him, and I have to accept him, then do I just have to live with this problem?

No. Not at all. But you have to look at it differently. What you've been doing up until now, likely, is expecting him to change on his own. If this is a habit he has, or an addiction, he likely can't. It's become ingrained. So if he's going to quit, you need to break that chain. And here's how you do it.

When it comes to food, you probably do most of the cooking, right? If he doesn't eat well, stop buying junk. It's really very simple. Learn how to cook healthy, low-fat meals. I make amazing chicken dishes that taste wonderful that my husband loves taht really aren't bad for you. Use skim milk in your cooking instead of whole milk. Reduce the salt and use garlic and herbs instead. Don't use so much oil. Put applesauce in your muffins instead of margarine. He won't know the difference. But it's better for him.

And start serving vegetables inside your dishes, rather than just as a side dish. Make stews and casseroles. And then stop buying cookies and pop. Buy low-fat ice cream or sherbet for dessert. Buy lots of fruit.

You have more power than you realize. So you take control, and he will eat better.

Now what about the other things, like computer use? Again, you have more power than you realize. The reason he's on the computer is because it fills a void. It helps him relax and it fills his time. But if the time is filled by something else, he won't be on the computer as much. So fill up the time.

If you want more family time, plan it. Plan for a movie night with your husband and kids, and make it fun. Pop popcorn, get lots of blankets, and choose a fun movie. Get out board games and play with the kids. Go for a walk. Go skating. Go bowling. Once a week, do something as a family! As long as you're together as a family at least once a week, it may not even matter if he's on the computer so much. But don't expect him to take the initiative and turn the computer off and suggest something to do. Plan it, something that he would find fun!

Or, better still, start inviting people to dinner. People that he likes. When they come, chances are they stay until 8 or 9. (Or later. Once, when the girls were babies and getting up at 6 in the morning, we had friends over and it was 12:30 and they still made no effort to leave. It was really awkward).

So you can all socialize and get to know each other and have fun and laugh and your husband is a part of it.

Take the initiative yourself. Make your home life fun and healthy, and don't wait for him to do it. You just may find his habits don't bother you as much, and you're getting that needed family bonding time in!

With most things that bother us, the solution is not to convince him to change; it's to change the dynamic in our house ourselves, and he will likely follow along. That's what our six-week challenge is about; changing the dynamic. Don't do what you usually do. Show him appreciation. Show him acceptance. And then see what happens!

If you show him that acceptance and appreciation, and then you take the responsibility to change things you don't like (rather than waiting for him to change), the whole interaction in your marriage will shift. You won't be expecting things out of him anymore; you'll be expecting them out of yourself. And he will feel much more appreciated.

So can you do it? Whatever it is that he does that bothers you, can you change yourself so that it isn't as much of an issue, rather than constantly nagging? Or can you decide to set it aside, recognizing that in the bigger scheme of things, it's great just to be married to this man, even if a few habits he has are annoying?

I pray that you can do that! Because life would be so much better if we freed ourselves just to love.

Now, what advice do you have for us today? Have you ever had to confront your fantasies and throw them aside? How did you do it? Or do you have something else to tell us? Write your own Wifey Wednesday post that links back to here, and then leave the link of THAT POST in the Mcklinky below. Thanks!

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At 9:17 AM , Blogger Michelle said…

I love your message today, thanks for the inspiration! I look forward to it every Wednesday :)


At 9:33 AM , Anonymous jrmiss86 said…

Does this work as well when it is his bad attitude that bothers you. I feel like lately my husband has had a chip on his shoulder. He is always in a bad mood in the evenings. I am not sure what is causing it and it is driving me batty!!
I am not sure how to bring it up to talk to him about it and find out what if anything I am doing to cause it.


At 3:20 PM , Blogger Terry @ Breathing Grace said…

I'm late, Sheila, but I'm here!

Interestingly enough, it is a habit of mine that drives my husband nuts that I used as an example today.



At 5:04 PM , Blogger Cara said…

I wouldn't necessarily call it a bad habit, as much as an expensive hobby. It used to drive me crazy that my husband would spend so much time and money on RC helicopters! I kept praying about it, hoping and half-expecting God would give me the go-ahead to nag him and demand that he stop.

God never did. Instead, He asked me to be supportive and encouraging. It was a tall order, and took a lot of effort on my part, but I finally succumbed. Years later, my husband was offered an amazing job at just the right (God's ordained) time. Part of the job description? They needed someone who could expertly fly a large RC helicopter. :) God always knows what is best.


At 5:09 PM , Blogger Sheila said…


What a great story! I may just have to use that as an illustration at a marriage conference some day!


At 6:19 AM , Anonymous Muriel said…

A very interesting post that already gave some discussion in our household.

My husband is overweight and he is very, very much into computer games.

I do agree that there are things we as wife's can do to help our husbands, like cooking healthy meals and making sure there a better alternatives to salty, fatty snacks. But I think that the first thing we should do is PRAY. Talk to God about the situation and ask Him what He wants you to do.

Because when we spent a lot of time making very healthy food, and he still gets himself the snacks and ice cream he likes on the way home, and he just eats to big a portion of the nice home made food you spent a long time on making, but he would be just as happy with ordering in a pizza and than you get into a fight about you wanting him to help with the dishes.

Or if you invite people over for dinner and he than leaves in the middle to go play his computer game, which he told you he would do but you invited the people anyways, thinking he wouldn't really leave you with the company and the dishes.

Than it really won't work! Been there, done that! If you only do it to expect to see a change in your husband, it will just make it worse.

So have a start by asking God first if you should do anything and if so what.

I pray for my husbands health daily, but we have been married for 5 and a half years now and he gained about 40 kilo's and has zero interest about starting a diet or exercising. I make healthy meals, but he just gets himself the things he likes. And I am at peace with that, cause only God can change him.

Likewise his computer games: He plays a lot, but he when ever his family needs him he is there. So I just pray that every thing in his life will get the right priority. I think that he spent to much time on the computer, but again only God can convince him.

And God does answer prayers, my husband started to ask me to make him some cut up fruit as snacks and he started listen to the bible while he is on the computer.

It also helps to put things in perspective. We all have bad habits and things that we let take to much of our time, like knitting in my case ;-)
But really, every thing that takes priority in our life's before God and the things He called us to do is wrong. I prefer to work really, really hard on my own weaknesses and not to focus to much on my husband's apart from praying for him


At 7:12 AM , Anonymous Lisa Marie said…

Nice article.

Interesting food for thought! I'd love to say I agree on it all, but I'm not sure it would all work for us here. Hubby is an avid computer gamer, and, frankly - planning family time or having people over doesn't guarantee him stepping away from the pc. It often means that I end up doing things with just the kids.

BUT there's a lot of things *I* have to change about MYSELF before I should complain about him. (Plank in eye, etc).

I actually decided that joining him in his gaming would be the best way for us to relate. Although not the ideal solution, I'm sure, it's allowed us to enjoy some great times together, have something in common to chat about, and gives us something to do.

I appreciate your article - and am sure that I can pull some great ideas to strengthen our marriage from it! Thanks! :)


At 7:56 AM , Blogger Sheila said…


Great point about prayer! Thank you so much for making it so well for me.

I just want to add something, which you covered, but I want to make even more explicit. You said that when you pray for your husband, you pray that God will make his priorities right. That's such a great attitude.

What I find is that often when women start praying about issues like this, their prayers tend to be more, "God, make my husband exactly like this...", or "God, change my husband." That kind of prayer doesn't work. It's nagging God instead of your husband! What we need to do is surrender our husband to God and ask for the best in our husbands' lives--the best as God defines it, not as you define it. That's why your prayer that his priorities would be in line with God's is exactly right. You're praying that God will have His way with him.

A great book on this is Stormie Omartian's classic The Power of a Praying Wife. It shows how to pray God's best and God's will for your husband, and helps you to get out of the way, and lowers resentment all at once!

So thanks for reminding me of that important point. It is not that I forgot; it's just that sometimes I'm wary of mentioning things too quickly, without a lot of explanation like I did here, because even prayer can become negative in a marriage if it isn't done in the right spirit.

Lisa Marie, you know, I've met other women who have done the same thing--"if you can't beat 'em, join 'em", so to speak! And it's actually worked at building them closer. So good for you. It may not be ideal, but it is creating a shared experience and a shared hobby, and that's more likely to make him feel connected, and less likely to retreat!


At 1:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

I also joined my husband in his video games. I think it was a really great move and recommend it to other wives who have husbands who game. We play WOW and have set raid nights. Wifes of husbands who play a game like this should find out the raid nights if they are trying to plan company coming over and avoid these nights.

I also think that if a wife can get involved in a game like this it is also a good thing because there are other people your husband is playing with. There are other women on there and you don't know what they are saying to each other, or what guild mates are discussing with him about marriage and women. If you are on there and living up to proper wifely behavior (not coming on to other men and getting involved in raunchy discussions, being supportive etc.) then your presence and marriage will be on the minds of these other people, you will not be invisible and forgotten.

You should also do your best to study the game and not be fail. It would be embarrassing for your husband if you are terrible, and might come between you if he gets invited to things and you have to sit out because you are ruining the game for other people by getting them killed.


At 1:17 PM , Blogger Sheila said…


That's so interesting! A number of women have said now, both here and on the Facebook page, that they play video games, even though they initially didn't want to.

It reminds me of another recent Wifey Wednesday when I encouraged women to be involved in their husband's whole life, so that they weren't cut off from others. When the people that your husband hangs out with sees that he has a strong marriage, you're both so much safer.

So thanks for that comment!


At 9:03 PM , Blogger Ellen said…

I am also a WoW wife :) I have always viewed my husband's gaming time the same as any husband that enjoy's watching sports - so the same as any wife would sit down and watch a game with the husband, I sit down and play the game with him! I really enjoyed this post, there is so much to be said about what I can do to change MY attitude - and it reflects on everyone in the house! We can only change one person in our marriage, and that's ourselves :)

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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