When your husband doesn’t clean up even his part of the mess but just leaves it for you to do or plays video games instead of putting the kids to bed or wants you to notice the yard work he did but never says a word about all the work you do, it can get irritating.
When he makes plans without checking with you, forgets to tell you about them, then disappears when he knew he was supposed to help out with moving the furniture, it can make you resentful.
If your guy sleeps through middle-of-the-night feedings, expects sex whenever he feels like it, and seems to want you to solve all of his problems like the world revolves around him, it’s not only exhausting, it’s lonely.
But there is a solution.
Here’s how to get your selfish man to be giving so you can get a break.
1. Ask Yourself This Question
Rather than complaining when your husband appears selfish, consider turning the complaint into a desire and expressing that instead. One way to figure out what you want is to ask yourself, “What would I have that I don’t have now if he weren’t so selfish?”
Maya and her husband were separated when she learned from her twelve year old on the way home from school that her husband had planned an out-of-state trip during spring break. Her blood boiled as she realized that he had assumed she would be taking care of the kids that entire week alone and hadn’t even bothered to give her a heads-up. She angrily formulated a nasty rant in her head as she drove home.
But by the time she got home, she could hear her Intimacy Skills coach’s voice in her head, inviting her to think about what she wanted and to express her desires in a way that inspires.
So, instead of saying that he was being selfish and inconsiderate and that he needed to take responsibility for his kids instead of expecting her to always be the responsible parent, as she had planned, she sent a very different text: “I saw that you have the same Spring break as the kids, which is great because I would love a couple of days off from being a mom that week.”
He texted back, “I can’t take them because I’ll be out of town.”
Releasing her expectations, Maya summoned her inner Girl of Fun and Light and replied, “Maybe we can just give them the key to the house and the liquor cabinet and tell them to do the right thing?”
Her husband sent back a laughing emoji and said, “I’ll see if I can set up an overnight at grandma’s.”
And he did.
Turns out her “selfish” husband was happy to accommodate what his wife wanted when she told him clearly what it was instead of complaining that he was selfish and inconsiderate.
2. Pretend He’s Not Selfish
You have lots of evidence that your husband is selfish.
But since nobody can be 100% selfish, that means he’s at least 1% not selfish. In other words, he is at least 1% unselfish or maybe 1% generous. And chances are he’s more than 1% unselfish or generous.
If you would love to have an unselfish, generous husband, that means you have the opportunity to create that experience. Because what you focus on increases.
Instead of focusing on how he never replaces the toilet paper roll when he uses the last piece, can you find evidence that he’s actually a giving person?
Maybe he supports the whole family with his paycheck. Maybe he spends time helping the kids with their homework. Maybe he helped the neighbor take down a tree that time.
Simply changing your mantra from “You are so selfish!” to “You are so generous!” or “You are so considerate and thoughtful!” then gathering evidence to support your statement is a powerful way to change your experience.
Like one woman who decided to wait until her husband did something–anything–that she could then say he was considerate about. Sure enough, she “caught him” making a new pot of coffee after he had just finished the last of it. She suspected that he was probably making it for himself, but since she also had a cuppa, she chose to see it as an act of thoughtfulness, and told him so. She was surprised when her husband looked at her as if she finally got him.
What proof can you come up with that your husband is what you want him to be?
3. Stop Doing Everything
If you’re feeling overburdened because you’re responsible for everything at your house, you’re not alone. I remember that awful feeling.
It feels like you have no choice when you look around and the only other adult in the house is playing Call of Duty and eating Oreos out of the package on a school night while you make the lunches for tomorrow.
But what if the reason he’s not helping out much is because you already did everything?
For me, it was a major paradigm shift to look at things that way. I had dubbed myself the queen of grown-up responsibilities, but I just made that up.
It’s embarrassing now that I thought if I didn’t monitor the trashcans, the oil changes, the insurance payments, and the retirement savings that we’d be buried in garbage with broken-down cars, no insurance and no money in our old age.
Now I don’t think about any of those things. My husband does all that. And the dishes. And the laundry.
So it was me–I was the one who took on too much responsibility, which made me feel overburdened and, in turn, critical of my husband for just coasting along.
I was the one who sold myself down the river. So all I had to do…was stop.
Once I did, my husband seemed a lot less self-centered and willing to pitch in more. Especially because I was in a better mood.
What could you stop doing to give your husband the opportunity to help out more? It can be scary to try, but the thrill of finding out I wasn’t alone after all was well worth it.
What evidence do you have that your husband is unselfish and even generous? Please post in the comments below.