Not Your Mother

So often I hear women complain because they have to ask their husbands to do things. They complain that they have to remind them—sometimes repeatedly—to put their laundry away or do the dishes or help with the kids. The list of transgressions that they recite is then followed with a line similar to, “I should be his wife, not his mother!” or “I feel like I have two small kids and a big one!” You get the idea. What is really at the bottom of all this frustration is that these women expect their men to be like women.

Because another woman would see that the dishes needed to be done, or the laundry put away. Their sisters, mothers, or girlfriends would automatically know that the kids need to be bathed and put to bed and they would jump right in and do it. But men are not women! Often, we literally don’t see these things; they aren’t big priorities to us and, as far as we know, the world won’t end if they aren’t tended to immediately.

That is not to say that men don’t care about their wives… which is the avenue most women will immediately drive down in a situation like this. We, men, do care about our wives. Just because your husband doesn’t jump up from dinner, rush to clear the table, load the dishwasher, fold the towels in the dryer and take on pajama patrol with the kids, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love you. Not being aware of these things doesn’t make him evil – it just makes him a man.

Honestly, women can get their men to do things for them if they just treat men like men and stop expecting them to be women. Ladies, you need to do some things differently with the male than you do with a female. In my seminar, I spend a whole session on “How to Get a Man to Do What You Want.” The first thing I explain is that you have to ask, and no, that doesn’t make you his mother!

This is a real challenge for women because they think, “But if he really loved me, I wouldn’t have to ask!” Like by some cosmic force, men are supposed to automatically know what you want. Then for some strange reason that is known only to the female brain, a woman will make the leap and reason, “Well, if I have to ask, especially more than once, that makes me more like a mother than a wife!” Nonsense. Just because you have to ask, even several times, it doesn’t mean that you are his mother. Of course women cry out, “Well, that’s what a mother does!” Using that crazy logic, you could just as easily say the following: Prostitutes have sex with men so if I have sex with him, I’m a prostitute. It’s flawed thinking.

Seriously, ladies! You need to chill out on this one. Your husband is a man and men need to be asked and reminded. That doesn’t make us evil – it just makes us men. We also need to be asked without insults and a good incentive program works wonders with us too! (Which, by the way, are the steps I detail in my book and seminar.) Listen, God made men this way. The Bible says right off the bat that it was not good for Adam to be alone. He needed a helper, so God created Eve to be his helper. That implies that he needed her help to do things. And I’m sure it wasn’t lifting the fallen trees in the garden. Maybe it was more along the line that Adam didn’t notice the fig leaves lying on all over the ground that needed to be swept up or the fact that the peaches needed picking and the pantry was empty. What if it was God’s original intention that Eve was created to be the one to remind him, to ask him, to help him out, to guide and direct him? Would that change the way you see your role?

We need you wonderful women in our lives to help us with the things that we just don’t see; the things that don’t come naturally to us. But expecting us to intuitively be like you just ain’t gonna happen. Wives need to learn how to get their husbands to do things by asking for what you want or need, asking more than once, asking the right way, and using bartering, incentives and a language we understand. We love that stuff and you can get us to do most anything for you. That makes you our helper not our mother.

By the way, we don’t want you to be our mothers either… in fact, the thought of having sex with our mother really creeps us out! We want you and need you to be our wives and our helpers, just like God intended.

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119 Responses to “Not Your Mother”

  1. Albert says:

    Mark,

    I sent you an email about this very same thing to your radio show yesterday and you read it on the air. I can’t believe how much a like our messages are to each others. I’m so glad that I get what you talk about and see things the same way.

    God bless your ministry and I hope it continues to grow radically for many years to come.

    • Sahn Dam Deiter says:

      I am glad to have heard men do not enjoy or are not responsive when we as women do harm our relationship with our husbands or men by expecting a girlfriend in our mate. This is my mistake made constantly without knowing it the requests come out so strong and I forget that we mates are not the same gender arranged by our God! Ashamedly I enjoyed our friendship we shared as men and women than now we seem to be each other’s roommates or just parents and forget that we are never meant to be the same as each other. That is what is wonderful about the male species. Then the only socially acceptable thing would be to tend to spill our emotional needs with others like our moms, and sisters or girlfriends rather than for myself expecting my husband to be my girlfriend, although it would be nice to have someone sharing our emotions and excitement with, it’s not the end of the world if they’re not there. Sometimes practically stopping first before speaking then practicing what and how to say to our mates our needs and expectations. It is not ever a perfect execution but we try our best to get our point across to our mates without hopefully without hurting our spouse’s feelings. God bless all of the christian marriages especially!

  2. alyssa says:

    I dont think you have the right to say what is at the bottom of this issue with women. Why because you are not a woman. I think you are a great leader Mark but Im not sure women are likely to listen to you on this one. Telling us to not feel this way when we do feel this way seems futile and insane. Are you getting anywhere telling women this. Im not sure. I do think we need to figure out a way to move past those feelings and do what your suggesting as fas it relates to getting men to do what we need them to but telling us our feelings are crazy is just RUDE. You dont get it because you are a man. If we feel this way we should work it through with women. That at least is fair. I think you are expecting us to be men by telling us not to feel this way and we are not men. Dont expect us to be men and we wont expect men to be women.

    • Courtney says:

      I think you are missing Mark’s point. He is only trying to say to try and see it from a man’s point of view. He’s right, closing the toilet lid, taking out the trash, empty the dishwasher is not at the top of their priority list!

      When was the last time that your priority list held changing the oil on the car, mowing the lawn or building that shelving unit in the garage?

      We need to first understand that guys dont think like us and that we need to add an element of patience to our mindset.

      • Jennie says:

        I’m not sure it’s just a man / woman thing. Culture may have dictated certain ways things have been done in the past, but I think sometimes it is just simply awareness. Too many families have both parents working to simply let those assumptions and cultural habits continue. Somehow, I was fortunate enough to marry a man who watched his mother work all day then come home and fix dinner and stand on her feet the rest of the night cleaning, doing laundry etc… while her husband/his dad came in from his long day at work and sat down. He didn’t think it was fair and basically looked at household stuff as a shared responsibility, not him “helping” me. Not to say that there are certain responsibilities that he and I have sort of naturally gravitated to being “ours”. He’s the neat “pick up and straighten” guy and I’m the “cleaner”. I generally look after the cars, taxes and our investments. (I was a banker in a former life i.e. before kids). I used to find and arrange for the babysitters, but I had the relationships with them, he didn’t. I used to work part time on Saturdays, just so he could have a day to himself being dad. It forced the kids to know that there was someone other than mom they could go to for the supposed “mom” stuff and he sort of got a glimpse into my days.

      • Dawn says:

        THanks Mark, I have done your seminar, and my frustration is that my husband refuses to help if I ask him, it is like it’s out of principle he will not do it. I know you are going to say, How do you ask? I initially say “Babes, please pick up your shoes and put them away” while we are in the bedroom, I have just tidied, it would take exactly 20 seconds to pick up and put in cupboard. He walks away and says “Just now” then proceeds to spend the next hour and a half sitting outside smoking and reading his book!
        If something needs fixing, the same thing – “Babes, the tap is leaking” probably about 7 times in 7 weeks, then when I freak out and start fixing it myself, or raise my voice, he tells me I expect it done immediately!! Why is it not part of man’s brain cells to remember the other 7 times?? After all, men must take responsibility must they not? The things he should be responsible for also do not get done! DM

    • 0481 Red Patch Wife says:

      Alyssa,

      Wow…obviously you have misunderstood Mr. Gungor! As well as you have NOT read his books, attended a seminar, nor seen any of his DVDs. So, before you get all high and mighty about “understanding women” on that soap box of your’s – try educating yourself fully on his message!

      And honestly, the male brain does work EXACTLY THAT WAY! How do I know? I had a failed marriage, and now a very successful one (thanks to implementing the tips and tools of Mark Gungor). I can see in comparison that he is right. It isn’t just about us changing our way of thinking, there are other parts of the seminar that are the same about guys!

      Mark Gungor tries to help give both parties in the couple INSIGHT into each others minds so that way they have an understanding of how the other person feels and thinks, so that way they can communicate on a better level!

      Seriously, before you start all of your mindless squawking about us women, educate yourself! You would have known all of this if you had previously educated yourself further on Mr. Gungor’s message. I would greatly appreciate if you would educate yourself before speaking on behalf of the entire female population, because I DO understand what Mark Gungor is saying. I use his tips and tools daily in my marriage, and we just had our 5 year anniversary, so I think we’ve been doing pretty great since we both use his DVDs and books.

      And to answer your question you asked Mr. Gungor, YES HE DOES GET WOMEN TO LISTEN, UNDERSTAND, and utilize the tools he gives us to create a better marriage! I know many women who have nothing but wonderful things to say about Mr. Gungor! Please do not speak on behalf of all women until you fully know what his message is.

      Deo juvante,
      Pyretta

      • alyssa says:

        i have attended his seminar, and listen to his show, watch him on tv, and I still disagree with what he said in this blog. I use alot of his advice too I just dont agree with what he said in this blog

      • missy says:

        No one can say what is best for ALL women, not even you. If you CHOOSE to do everything around the house while your man sits in the recliner watching baseball, it is just that: A choice. Just like men CHOOSE not to participate in household obligations. Mark is a smart man, but he does get things wrong from time to time, as do we all. I don’t know if anyone realizes that, but it is possible for people to be wrong every once in a while.

    • Tiffany says:

      Alyssa,

      Are you married or are you just in a relationship with a man?

      The reason I ask is because nearly EVERY demension of your relationship changes with a man when you go from dating to being married. I’m not just talking about when you have kids everything changes, but there is an extreme change when you go from spending your time with someone to pledging your life, your love and your support to one person for the rest of your life.

      My husband and I do have our challenges due to his past relationships, my past relationships, the emotional abuse we both endured growing up, the sexual abuse I endured in nearly every relationship I had before I met him and the list goes on including the fact that we got pregnant 7 months into our relationship. While sitting in one of Mark’s seminars, my husband kept nodding his head and nudging me when Mark would explain the man’s point of view, as if to say, “honey, please take note – this is what I want you to know, but have previously had no idea how to express it to you.” I even nudged him in the same loving manner on some things. We put the advice into practice, and even though at times we forget, Mark’s advice has really helped change our relationship. Sure we still have our fights, but they’re not as frequent or as bad as they used to be. You really have to believe in something and put it into practice with the right additude, frame of mind, and heartset. If you’re doing it just beacause someone told you to do it, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. If you want to put these things into practice, you need to do it with a loving and understanding additude, realize that sometimes both you and your mate will forget to put some things in practice, and do it because you love your mate, you have respect for your mate and you really want the best possible relationship with your mate.

      Be positive about it. I’ve been asking my husband to do things instead of demanding and talking to him instead of trying to make him read my mind and we’ve really grown a lot closer and our love has become deeper. Each day we fall more in love and grow closer, which reflects on our daughter while she’s growing up.

      My husband has even realized that I will think about everything all at once, have to have things in order before we move, before we take trips and basically before we do anything. This is just me being my womanly self.

      I would highly recommend that you take the flag page test and get the book that goes along with it. Once you get the results from that you will see your mate in a whole new way and your mate will see you in a new way. When you know what motivates each other, try putting Mark’s advice into practice again. Maybe then you will see a change.

    • Ruth says:

      I agree with Alyssa. Completely. This entire article/post sounds almost vitriolic toward women and seems to strongly want to give a “pass” to men for just about anything they don’t feel like doing. Since he’s comparing this whole thing to kids/mothering, well, when we raise kids we don’t ever give them the kind of grace-period that Mark is extending to grown men (who SHOULD know better). Wanna know what’s at “the root” of this issue for women? Not women expecting me to be women (as if we’d really want that…) but men not being expected to grow up and be men. No, we do not want to feel like we have just another lazy teenage boy in the house who has to be prodded to do what is right in front of them. Mark, here’s some logic for you — manly kind of logic you should be able to follow: the armed forces take in lazy, pimple-faced teen guys all the time and in a few short years are somehow able to “magically” turn out MEN who don’t have to be prodded, nagged or reminded to be neat, tidy, orderly and responsible grown MEN. ‘Splain that. No one would ever accuse the military and its drill officers of having turned out a bunch of WOMEN…having turned a group of guys into ladies who care about how neat their room is and how neat their appearance is. Nope. We respect the military — why is it that if its a wife looking for basically the same attributes, we’re accused of “sissifying” men???? Here’s why. Its always easier to blame a woman/wife in the name of nagging. I look around and see a culture of men shirking their responsibilities as leaders in the home and instead being lazy, couch-bound sports watchers or video game players. No wonder their respective wives don’t respect them or have given up and begun treating them like just another lazy teen in the home. Men are to be the head of the home and as such need to turn off the tv and the computer games and start acting as such.

      • missy says:

        And it’s so true…men who want to be respected need to be WORTHY of respect. You don’t walk into your place of employment and DEMAND that everyone there respect you because you are a man. But women are expected to do this in the home! If you are the “leader” of the family, you need to act like one! Otherwise, you are just another child.

        • sarah says:

          are you ladies christian women??? i mean, are we talking on a spiritual level here, or is it all about who’s right and who’s wrong. cause i tell ya, right and wrong has never brought Life into any relatinoship. I too, struggle with the times when my husband is not helpful and when i have to remind him over and over again of the things that have to get done. But i think that if a woman is not willing to try to understand a man ie her husband, than she shouldn’t get married to begin with!! Let alone, respecting, loving unconditionally, edifying someone into improvement. Yes, there are times for confrontation. i have had great responses with ‘mild explosions’ on my part, but they had to be respectful of who my husband is, and his role in the family. Part of a man’s makeup is that if he’s not respected he’ll withdraw and feel so insecure that he won’t even think he can be helpful or productive. The way we say things are super important. i understand your points regarding what p. mark wrote about, i think his main point though wasn’t so much how the wife interprets the situation but that if we can get a peek at how things work in their heads we’ll be more patient, adopt a strategy and stop being so childish about it. let’s not be selfish, and so what if i have to die to myself to love my husband into the man i know he can be???
          PS. we are thankful for the army,but the army doesn’t have to love and cherish until death do us part. can’t compare what’s not comparable. Marriage is the only institution that came out of the garden of eden. it’s my choice to value it more than our differences.

        • leena says:

          Believe it’s hard to just respect your man. We’ve been married for 8 years have four kids the oldest is 6. My husband once was firred and second time laid off from work, all because of being late to show up. At the same time I was responsible to get up at night every time when the kids were crying. I had to make sure everything is taken care of in the house even oil changed on time in cars.
          I was raised in the house when man is taking a responsibility and woman is here to help him. My life is a totally different story…
          My fourth baby was just 5 mos. old, when I had to go out and find a job. My husband is so passive, it’s hard to express. It’s almost impossible to make any reason with him. Just recently we had to pay huge fines, due to his behavior. And last week received a letter from bank that if we won’t pay $4,0000 in 30 days the house will be reposest. How can i live with all of that and still respect him? We did go on Mark’s seminar and have his DVD, but………

        • Jeff W. says:

          When a father tells his child “You will show your mother respect!” he says that because that is what he wants. Whe the mother says “Go tell your father you love him!” she says that because that is what she wants. Scripture turns that around and says UNCONDITIONALLY “Husbands love your wives. Wives respect your husbands.” This is not a suggestion, & there are no exceptions. To say “he needs to be worthy of respect” is the same as saying “she needs to be worthy of love”. A man needs respect in the same way that a woman needs love. A husband telling his wife “I don’t love you” is the same as a wife telling her husband “I don’t respect you”. We are commanded by Christ to give LOVE & RESPECT UNCONDITIONALLY. Both must co-exist in the marriage for success, each partner must have the freedom to be human(fail), & forgivness must be as plentiful as air.

      • el says:

        wow, well said! i have several children and tried to have them understand the need to work as a team. my son really thought i was unreasonable and asking for too much. of course if it is a baseball team or a football team…a male mind then understands the meaning of teamwork.
        cooperation was too much to ask for the home though.
        well he joined the military and guess what? he was put in charge of a group of guys and it was his responsibility to make sure they did their chores and whatever else they were expected to do. if they didn’t, then he had to do it himself or force them.(sounds like moms options) he spent many a night up all night making sure things were done.
        did it stick? during none military hours, only partly.
        i really think respect has a more prominent factor here. men want other mens respect more. they put more effort into their workplace, fun with their buddys, planning hunting trips …telling tall tales…
        they want the respect of their wives, but many men don’t honor their wives enough to put effort into their marriage.
        my husband was a minister. and he is probably one of the better guys around. he felt if he put all efforts into doing Gods work, then God would take care of the family. kind of like how missionaries put their children in boarding schools so they could freely go on their missionary trips. God gave them children, entrusted them with these babies, but somehow it didn’t click they were worth their time as well.
        i don’t see that in the Bible, but men decide their own priorities.

        my experience, is that if it is not one thing its another. if it is not ministry then it is some other noble cause he takes up. it definitely sounds better than losing them to the tv or video games, but i still lost a part of my life, that i really don’t believe was asking for too much.
        and no, i did not start out a nag. i am certain i was one of the more compliant, understanding people around. yeah, even the personality tests agree. but because i was easy to put off, it became the style of our marriage.
        the thing is, he does not like being put off. he does not like me treating him the way he treats me.

    • Megan says:

      ALYSSA,

      You’re feeling upset at your husband for not thinking of these things? Poor diddums. Not. Why? Because you want him to be something he’s not!

      How selfish.

      ‘Feelings’ are not something to be ‘worked through’. They are to be daily taken captive and MADE to obey God (2 Cor 10v5), renewing our mind through time listening to God’s view on the matter (Rom 12v2). It doesn’t just happen. You MAKE it happen.

      Now, granted, MAKING our feelings change is incredibly difficult to do. But you know the EASIEST way to experience a change of feelings, is through a CHANGE OF PERSPECTIVE.

      Which is what Mark is providing. He gives us insight to SEE differently, which makes us FEEL differently and have compassion. Seek to SEE your husband with GODs eyes and you will find that his inability to remember your requests will no longer bother you, because you will have God’s responses, not your messy selfish human ones.

      This way, when your husband DOES do something helpful, you praise him for it. And he’ll likely do it again! Start small.

    • Sue Potgieter says:

      Well I disagree totally with you. Mark has spoken real sense here. Since I understood how different men are to us (thanks to Mark telling us what it’s like as a man) I have found that life with my husband is so much easier. Learning about men and women’s brains and how we are wired differently was an absolute revelation! Now I understand why he behaves sometimes like he does!! Brilliant stuff Mark.

    • Patricia says:

      Alyssa you are off the mark(no pun intended). I too felt the same way towards my husband when unexpectedly I saw a video of myself at my daughter’s sweet sixteen and was appalled at how I treated my him. Without going into detail I realized that I was making selfish demands of him to expect that he knew what I needed without letting him know. We wives need to realize that our men need our loving input to show them how we see things. I understand now that his 3 hours of watching a sports(which I cannot understand) is his way of enjoying life with his buddies. Guess what? I get him for the other 21 hours of the day. Coming to this realization has strengthened our bonds of matrimony. Try your working with your husband,Alyssa. The rewards are eternal.

  3. LeeAnna says:

    Thank you for the insight Mark, however, asking your man “more than once” and “reminding him” can become “nagging” and men really despise that. But I do agree that you need your man to stop and look directly at you with his full attention when you are asking or telling him something important! Your ministry is wonderful, you’ve helped me tremendously, thanks!!

      • missy says:

        It’s really hard to “ask” for something more than once without getting an attitude. Anyone, man or woman, would find it hard to do this.

      • el says:

        is being hurt an attitude? how about feeling unappreciated? feeling worthless? crying and asking, begging to feel my lifes work, taking care of him and 7 children was somehow considered a job well done.
        i have been encouraged knowing i did it for the Lord ultimately. and He appreciates my efforts. and truly my children are worth it, but i am saddened to think they did not see Gods best in their parents marriage. it had been very, very important to me to show Gods plans as being doable and successful and blessed.
        i still have to look at my husband in the face though, and i struggle to remember to separate the pain he caused me from the unconditional love i should have for him. i have to remind myself it is in the end his weakness that he could not treat me as i needed to be treated. but also in the end, he cheated himself. i wanted to be a better woman, and overcomer in my own weaknesses, but he refused to be a part of that when a needed a partner. so what he had as a wife was not all i had hoped to be, just a portion of the potential God had for me.
        life would have less struggle if we truly were thankful for eachother. life has its own problems to deal with, without adding childish selfishness.
        attitude. when men call us as having attitude, with their own attitude, who is he listening to spiritually?
        is the head of the household listening to our Father? if not Him, then whom? himself? or the one who promotes strife?
        where is the love in these christian men? my husband was a minister so i have heard more than most probably of marital struggles within the church. sex is more important than love to them. sure they want to be loved and respected as well. but far more effort is put into getting sex. sadly, if they could only comprehend, being loving, considerate, selfless, Christlike, would certainly get them much more intimacy and better, much better intimacy.

  4. Annonymous attendee says:

    alyssa,

    With all due respect, I understand where you are coming from on this one, BUT this message of his is not the complete message that Mark delivers. I just finished attending his seminar less than 3 hours ago and I have to tell you that it was absolutely wonderful! All I ask is, that before you finalize your thoughts on Mark or his message, either read his book or attend a seminar to get the whole story, not just the piece you see here. He truly has an amazing way of putting things into perspective.

    • missy says:

      He might be “wonderful”, but does that make this message right? That is a fallacy, just as the fallacy Mark disputed in his blog.

  5. Valerie says:

    I agree with Alyssa. In addition, your sense of humor will definetly work with men but I have to admit I was about to stop reading this because you sounded like an insensitive jerk! I agree that woman do need to acknowledge that men are different, no doubt. We do need to embrace our differences! But if you want women to listen to you Mark, you had better “chill out” yourself and get a woman to soften your writing.

  6. Laura Lin says:

    You know, I don’t have a problem with the fact that my husband doesn’t see these things. I don’t have a problem with the idea that I have to ask. I DO have a problem with two facts: that he devalues my doing them and that if I do ask – even once – I’m nagging and disrespecting him. And no, it doesn’t matter how I ask – the very fact that I ask is, as far as he’s concerned, disrespectful. If I do it myself, by myself, and it takes longer than he thinks it should, I’m bad wife. If I ask for his help, I”m a disrespectful wife. The no-win situation is what bothers me.

    • Tommy says:

      I think your husband has some growing up to do and also needs to take a good look at his relationship with you.I do not think he is being a man and a husband you deserve.I think what needs to happen is you need to have a backbone and tell him that he better shape up or throw his butt out of the house.He sounds so un-appreciative of you and it makes me sick.It just goes to show you how some men can give the rest of us a bad wrap.I am sorry you are in this situation and hope one day soon your husband will grow up and show you how you are to be treated properly.

    • Rocksee says:

      I have this too. I can’t even ask him a question without getting a bad attitude from him. What do we do, Mark, with these no-win situations?

  7. alyssa says:

    Wow, my earlier comments certianly hit a hot spot with some people. Anyone out there have any suggestions on how to deal with a man who has self sufficient and independent at the top of his flag page. Its like the man thinks I owe him the moon and he doesnt have to do anything. Im not married yet but I dont know whether to keep going.

    • Brandy says:

      Sounds to me like this guy of yours doesn’t appreciate you and you should keep looking and praying for the man God has for you that will love you and you will respect him likewise. Anything you see before marriage, you can only expect to exponentiate after – you want those to be good things that get great. Some things get better, but this issue is not one of them. There are a lot of things women take lightly without really understanding them. There’s a lot of reasons for that. It’s also why there are so many books out there for us like “Battlefield of the Mind”, “Sexually Confident Wife” and “Lies Women Believe”. It’s because it’s a well-known fact that we as women tend to over-analyze and expect things that aren’t real. It has a lot to do with the whole female-power movement and the things we have heard and been taught in the last 50-60 years. Women never treated men the way we do now 100 years ago. I’m at fault, too. I constantly believe that thought that “my husband should know by now”, and yet I am only setting myself up for disappointment. How do you avoid disappointment? Know the facts and don’t expect things that are not real. I agree that understanding our men more will help us be better wives. I look forward to attending one of Mark’s seminars soon (loved Pastor Ed and so far love Mark, too). I would also recommend Love and Respect by Emerson and Sarah Eggerichs. It really opened my eyes, and my husband appreciated that so much. It’s a daily challenge, but I believe God every day to help me renew my mind and think before expecting (it’s an assuming thing, and we know where that gets us!:).

      Blessings to you.

    • Tiffany says:

      Don’t count his being self sufficient and independant as weaknesses, these are his strengths and his motivations. If you try to keep him from being self sufficient and independant, you will not have a very happy man on your hands.

      I’m only guessing that the two of you are complete opposites. I am from fun country first, then from perfect country, control and lastly peace. My husband is from peace country, then control, perfect and lastly fun. My husband’s first two are competent and strong willed. If I send any signal that he is not qualified to do something, I have a very unpleasant man on my hands. But when I encourage him and tell him that he is doing well and I believe in him, you wouldn’t believe how happy he is and how willing he is to do things for me, for himself, for our child, for us, and for our family as a whole.

      I am creative and the life of the party. If at any time he smirks at my art work or ideas or tells me that I’m too hyper or need to grow up, he crushes me and I just want to crawl in my own little hole. But when he appreciates my art and my flamboyant and outgoing personality as who I am, then I am willing to go above and beyond for him.

      Don’t count him out just yet. Instead, let what you see as weaknesses be his strengths and let him shine. He will be such a pleasure to be around. Let him be himself and you be yourself. Two totally different people CAN live together and make things work. Where I am weak, my husband is strong. Where my husband is weak, I am strong. Could you imagine the power struggle that you would face if both of you had the same strengths?

      Take it one day at a time.

    • Rocksee says:

      I’ve been married to someone like that for 21 years. If I were you Alyssa, I would turn around and run from him as fast as you can and never look back. It doesn’t get better when you get married, it only gets worse.

    • Sue says:

      so four years later, Alyssa, are you married? Is it to Mr. Self Sufficient? If I had seen this post in 2009 and I would have told you to not to settle, break up with him, and upgrade to a better model.

  8. james says:

    My problem would be a little different. I do laundry, I wash clothes, I put the kids to bed. Not all by myself every single time, but I do as much as my wife of nearly 12 years. And sometimes more. Just this past week, i ironed uniforms for our 3 children for school. They each had enough to last through Wednesdaay. I overslept Thursday morning, and when I did get up, take a bath, and rush out the door for work, my wife was mad that she had to iron one pair of pants and fix breakfast for the kids.(We both work, I have to be at work at 7, she at 8), When I over sleep, I ask her, why didn’t you just get me up? Her reply will be that she is not my mother, I am a grown man, I should get up on my own. I know a lot of men who make fun of me for how much I do around the house. Yey, it doesn’t bother me to do it, and I don’t even want praise. But I feel like the more I do, the less she does, and the more she demands and is upset when the pendulam swings the other way.

    • Melissa says:

      Too often people just don’t work together – regardless of gender. Some people are just so selfish. I think one question that people should ask of potential spouses is: “When there is a task at work that is not really assigned to anybody, but anyone is qualified to do it, and it must be done, what do you do?” If the answer is, “That’s not my job,” RUN AWAY FAST!!!!!!

    • missy says:

      It just goes to show you, this is not an issue of “man” or “woman”. It’s not biology or nature. It’s how a person was raised and what their own personal values involve. James, I am sorry for the situation you are in. Many people (men, women, or indifferent) are often stuck in a relationship that is one-sided. It’s just plain selfish behavior. Women cannot be expected to just suck it up and do it, and “ask nicely” for others to do what is their DUTY, and neither can men. I commend you, James, for providing an outstanding example for your children, as well as us here in the forum. It just goes to show, women don’t have to be happy with the “place” they are given by their husbands. And you shouldn’t either! What would happen, theoretically, if you, James, “asked” your wife “nicely” to contribute around the house? I suppose you would get the same response that some women get: “You don’t appreciate all that I do around here.” etc. Am I right? It’s a selfish person, not “a man just being a man” or “a woman just being a woman.” Would you agree?

  9. TamaraM. says:

    W.O.W. WOW!! I really don’t know how to put this but, james i think your gonna have to pray about that sitiuation. There has to be something more deeper than just the attitude shes giving you. if your relationship does not have god in it that’s the problem. But, if it does than god should be addressed about it. And go to a local and trusted pastor who knows about your situation and can help you out. OR if you tried those things ask Mark Gungor for help. After all he is a MAN. : ) LOL!

  10. Duane Albano says:

    My wife and I have been married for 24 yrs. this February. Although we love each other and are committed Christians, we’ve struggled a lot with some of the challenges Mark sights. Our friends loaned us Mark’s conference DVDs to watch. My wife and I sat and started watching them one evening, and realized what a revelation it was. During one of the seseions, my wife turned to me and said,” Now I get! It’s not your heart, but your head!” My wife knows that I’m no slouch sharing house work, and actually I like cooking and cleaning toilets. Yet, it use to befuddle her that I wouldn’t get to things she requested right away. I would prioritise things with other things in my mind, and her requests may not land at the top. Sometimes in the process, I would forget, and that would get us in a vicious cycle of disrespect and unlovingness. At her admission, she used to question my heart, and at times she thought I was being spiteful. We’ve both laughed through the DVDs, and now we’re both better equiped for it. The bottom line is, like Mark said, we must be committed to “doing the right thing”. In marriage, and I know, you WILL have trouble! If either spouse is not committed, for marriage is a covenant relationship, doing the right things, then it’s a heart issue. Truth will set you to perform what is right.
    James 4:17
    Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do
    it, to him it is sin.

  11. Dissapointed says:

    I just returned from a marriage retreat where your DVD was played. I agreed with alot of your messages, but i will have to say, i really did not appriciate the way you portrayed women. It was very difficult for myself and my husband to watch your DVD and take your messages serious when you would talk in that high pitched whiney voice and end your sentences with the blah blah blahs…i found it very rude and condicending, and i really was suprized that you kept doing it! The first time or two it was kind of funny, but after hearing it over and over i was very dissapointed! I think had you left that out, it would have been great, but to me that really ruined it all! When you were talking about respecting your spouse and all those other things, yet you were making women sound like whiney, annoying and naggy, and it just really suprized me! I know you were shooting twords being funny, but i just really feel that you took it a little too far…and i know i was not the only woman at our retreat who felt that way, we were all just sitting there feeling very made fun of, and we felt we were watching someone try to be a stand up comedian rather than a pastor trying to help us strengthen our marriages! You seem like a wonderful pastor with great intentions on helping people, and i would love to watch more of your seminars, but only if you can tone down the impersonations.

    • Tiffany says:

      Have a light heart.

      Did you also see Mark sit there and talk about what men were like when they had their “nothing box” open?

      I can guarantee you that Mark has pure intentions – and, his seminar is called LAUGH your way to a better marriage. When you bring laughter into a discussion that is really hard to talk about, it makes the air lighter and is intended to keep the tension at bay so nobody feels attacked – man or woman.

      I myself laughed at times when no one else was laughing, I had a good time and even saw myself in the “woman” he portrayed.

      • missy says:

        I’m glad you saw yourself in that woman, but not all of us are the “typical” woman. Some of us avoid being the “typical” woman at all costs, but are still portrayed as such and treated as such.

    • missy says:

      That’s because, most of the time, Christian people and society want to make everything the woman’s fault. It’s all us. We’re the problem. If we want our men to treat us a certain way, we have to treat HIM a certain way. The catch-22 is, we start out treating our husbands a certain way, and we only stop because we see that we are catering to the needs of our men and not having OUR needs met. I’m sorry, but in most situations I see, it’s the MAN who needs to change. We don’t need to just “suck it up and deal with it.” We have the right to be “honored and cherished”, just as much right as they do!!! So quit blaming women for all the world’s problems, and do what’s RIGHT!

  12. Sandra says:

    I was laughing as I read this blog, because it reminded me of a conversation that I had with my husband and my brother. I was telling my husband that I was frustrated that he did not take the garbage out to the trashcan. I had bagged it and felt he could at least take it out. (it was sitting by the back door) I had seen him walk past it a couple of times while I was cleaning the room. His reply was that I did not ask him to do it and I had quickly informed him that I was not his mother and asked why I had to ask him to do it? Could he not see it needed to be done. Well, he said that he did not see it. I thought this was insane!!!

    My brother was taking this all in and asked if he could share his opinion. I said sure and we both turned to him. My brother’s opinion was that he felt that if I had bagged the trash and made it to the back door, that I could have just as easily walked my happy butt out the door to put the trash in the trashcan!! I thought, there is no winning this war!

    It is sad that the little petty things affect us but they do. I was given 2 different insights into a man’s mind at that moment and still felt frustrated at the end. Thanks Mark, I appreciate this blog, and you are right, men just don’t think the same way as women!

  13. Jason says:

    It’s great to see someone speaking up for men. So many times “marriage counselors” make a living on men bashing and in doing so creates a super high standard that women put on men. We make love more about the cosmetic stuff rather than “the two becoming one flesh”. Thanks for speaking our language Mark!

    • missy says:

      Why shouldn’t you be held to high standards? You WANT to live a mediocre life? The trend, Jason, is that men think they should be held to a low standard, while at the same time placing IMPOSSIBLY high standards on their wives! WHO has to pick up all that slack? WE DO. If marriage is not a partnership, then one person is the dictator and one person is the “loyal subject”. Which do you think most often ends up being the loyal subject? And society encourages these values. Wonderful! I didn’t ask to be born a woman, and yet I’m punished for being a woman.

  14. Susan says:

    When my sweetie and I first started out, I used to notice empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls and empty egg cartons sitting out by the front door. I asked him about it and he said that was to remind himself that he needed to pick up those things at the grocery store. I laughed because it actually made sense! (We have since graduated to a written shopping list pinned with magnets to the refrigerator.)

    What I have found helpful over the years with my sweetie is to recognize the things he actually enjoys doing around the house and make sure he has the opportunities to do those things. He most definitely does not enjoy washing produce or chopping onions, so I don’t ask him to do those things. In the kitchen he enjoys sitting down in front of the garbage can and peeling vegetables, so when I cook and I want his company in the kitchen I set aside those kinds of tasks for him. He notices before I do that my car needs washing and he’ll take care of it without me even asking him.

    I’ve noticed, too, that when I ask him to do something, he may have his own timetable for doing it which may not be my timetable. That pile of stuff in the living room that is designated “donations for Goodwill” might annoy me a little, but if I mention it once in a while and just trust him, I know he will eventually take care of it.

    I admit that he is pretty good about things like taking out the garbage. When he does not take it out then I simply step in and do it.

    Yes, he leaves the lid up on the toilet. Yes, he likes to pretend the kitchen trash is a basketball hoop and he misses it with the banana peels. If I thought about it there are probably other things he does that annoy me. But I have to admit that when our relationship started I was (and probably still am) the one with hangups about how things *should* be, and his sense of priorities in terms of household tasks was probably healthier. I made a lot of fuss over things that I have come to realize weren’t worth stressing out over. I am 50 now, but I grew up and lived most of my adult life very dysfunctional and emotionally crippled. My man has brought me steadfastness, balance, tranquility, and a sense of security. To this day I wonder what it was he saw in me that made him decide to stick with me. I cannot even begin to describe how what he has given me so outweighs those every day little annoyances.

    I guess that is what every relationship is about. Is what you are getting out of it more than worth the annoyances that you must put up with? Because if no relationship was worth those annoyances, we’d all end up living by ourselves!

    • missy says:

      You are one of the lucky ones! It seems your husband makes great effort! I just tend to believe that if we, as wives, are expected to make great effort at “asking nicely” instead of demanding, then our husbands should make the effort to respond to our requests in a respectful and loving manner (i.e. not “okay, if you’re going to nag me about it!”) I believe that the wife deserves the same respect that the man DEMANDS for himself. If you’re not getting it, you’re not giving it. From your post, I can tell that you and your husband respect each other, and that your husband is worthy of your respect because of his efforts. Some of us are not so lucky.

    • Greg R. Thiel CFLE, MA & Author says:

      Well said Susan! That’s why I tell my premarital coaching clients that if they don’t want to get annoyed with their spouse, then they should marry their clone. And in the end they would still get annoyed – because we’re all trying to do the best we can with the skills we have.

  15. Julia says:

    All I could think about when I read this post was the following article from my local newspaper:

    Area Girlfriend, Boyfriend Achieve Perfect Mother-Son Relationship

    After dating for nearly three years, area couple Peter Mazursky and Janet Hyams have finally achieved the perfect semblance of a mother-son relationship, sources close to the pair revealed Monday.

    “My little pumpkin would practically be helpless without me,” said Hyams, 28, whose role in the adult relationship has slowly transformed from romantic lover to maternal caregiver over time. “I have to supervise almost everything he does, from making sure he gets up in the morning, to reminding him about his doctors’ appointments. I even have to pick out his clothes for him when we go shopping together.”

    Added Hyams, “I don’t know how Pete would survive if I weren’t around.”

    The couple—who met in 2005 and have been living together since Mazursky was evicted from his apartment—have not always had it so easy. In the beginning, their interpersonal style still contained many troubling elements of a mature relationship, including periodic moments of independence, mutual equality, and even occasional sexual contact.

    Luckily for the pair, this early period of instability quickly began to break down as arguments over Mazursky’s irresponsibility and Hyams’ controlling personality gave way to the codependent harmony they now share.

    “She takes care of me,” said Mazursky, 26, unconsciously looking to Hyams for approval. “With Janet, I never have to worry about stuff like picking up after myself, or remembering to brush my teeth before I go to bed. Plus, she always makes all of the big decisions for both of us, which is nice.”

    Since falling into preprogrammed roles from early childhood, the couple have seen their relationship undergo a number of significant changes. Sexual intercourse, once a favorite and frequent pastime, has steadily dropped off in regularity, ceasing altogether earlier this month.

    “We don’t have to be having sex all the time to be happy,” said Mazursky, who by this point has entirely sublimated his libido under the weight of his projected need for a maternal protector. “Right now we are focusing on other things, like losing weight. We have a system worked out where I can only eat cookies with Janet’s say-so, and if she catches me eating one without permission, she gets to ‘ground’ me from snacks for a week. It’s so great to be able to share that level of intimacy with another person.”

    “My old girlfriend Jessica used to let me eat all the cookies I wanted,” he added. “We just didn’t have the same kind of bond that Janet and I now share.”

    Hyams’ maternal duties include always paying the rent for Mazursky and then hounding him to get a job, performing basic household chores to make herself feel useful and needed, and monitoring Mazursky to make sure he doesn’t exceed his allotted three hours of video games per day. In return, Mazursky’s duties include playing touch football with his friends, giving Hyams someone to subconsciously feel superior to, making the bed after being yelled at to do so, and allowing Hyams to lick her finger and wipe smudges off his face before they go outside.

    “When we first met, I knew there was something special about Pete—he was like a big teddy bear you just wanted to tuck into bed,” Hyams explained. “That’s not to say we don’t still have our problems. Sometimes he throws a tantrum when he doesn’t want to do the dishes, and I have to discipline him. But when he falls asleep with his head in my lap, it’s all worth it.”

    Mazursky agrees.

    “I’m really happy with Janet,” he said. “Not every guy’s got a girlfriend who calls him from work to make sure he’s had lunch. I guess I’m just one lucky kid.”

    “I really love Mom—I mean, Janet,” Mazursky added.

  16. missy says:

    These things don’t come “naturally” to us, either! We, as women, are taught from very young ages to care for the house. The men are not. For example, it was MY job to clean the bathroom in our house, even though my brother was the one who peed all over the toilet. I was expected to clean up his pee. When I asked why my brother and I didn’t have to “share” bathroom duty, my mother made excuses for him (he doesn’t do as good of a job as you, his *only* job to take out the trash, etc.) He didn’t do his laundry, my mom did it! I had to do my own! He would be asked to clean his room same as me, but they had stricter standards for him than they did for me because he was a “boy”.

    I saw this phenomenon in action in my own home growing up, I know what happens. Women aren’t naturally inclined to be clean. My daughters weren’t born with some natural desire to keep their rooms clean, the dishes washed, and their laundry put away. Women are TRAINED to do these things, whereas MEN are not. The men who are raised CORRECTLY are, as are the men who go into the military. My husband has EXCELLENT cleaning skills, he was in the Air Force. Plus he didn’t have a mother that did everything for him, like many men. Cleaning doesn’t come NATURALLY to anyone! They can be TRAINED to want the kitchen clean and the laundry folded, and they darn well should be! Men and women aren’t naturally different in this way; they are TRAINED to be different.

    Don’t give men a direct pass to shirk their household responsibilities, especially when so MANY women nowadays are working out of the home. I believe, that when we “ask” our men to clean, and especially when we “ask” them “repeatedly”, we are accused of being nags! So not only are you perpetuating the laziness of men, you are perpetuating the stereotype of “nagging wives”! Thanks a lot!

    Ladies, we are not required to be our husbands’ mothers! They are very capable of cleaning up after themselves, even if they need to “learn” to do so. Unlike their mothers, you need to “train” them to do so. Why on earth should they get away with putting a spoon in the sink when they can take 2 seconds out of their day to put it in the dishwasher, just as well as WE can! They are not as helpless as they would have you believe.

  17. Lisa says:

    This is such a major issue in my marriage and in so many marriages of my friends! If I let it, it will drive me right into the bitter barn and cause me to lock the door. Of course my husband’s response when that happens is to figuratively disappear until I am happy again!

    I think the real issue here is not so much who does what in the household (although I do believe that all who live in the house should participate in taking care of it) but what are the needs I have that aren’t being met? If I am exhausted from what I’ve done all day (and for women I think exhausted usually means emotionally as well as physically) I can’t expect that my husband will see that–it’s often not as obvious as I think it is. So I can make the choice to explain that I need a little rest and could he please clear the table or play with our young son or whatever for a while. He may want some time alone, too, but I also know that he loves me and if it’s within his power to do what I’ve asked, he will. My problem is that I expect him to see and understand what is wrong with me and fix it, which is more the role of a parent. So when we women spend all of our time nurturing and caring for others, who nurtures us? Personally, I know that need is at the root of my problems with all this, and I am trying to continually go to God in prayer about it. And maybe that’s what Jesus meant when he told Martha she was worrying about so many things and she should be like Mary, spending time with Him. I pray that all of us who are struggling to have fulfilling marriages may get better about including God in these kind of issues, too. I know that satan would certainly like to see us all fail.

    Peace.

  18. Jay (a pilot also) says:

    Once again, you give men the excuses they need to be un-loving an thought-less. READ THE BIBLE MARK UNGER ! Stop labeling selfish behavior as just “Man behavior”
    Sin is sin, it is just self centered. THe more you talk about your “man excuses”, the further you get from the WOrd that describes as the “new SPIRIT FILLED man”.

  19. melanie says:

    IT SEEMS TO ME THAT AFTER FEW YEARS A HUSBAND SHOULD KNOW WHAT HIS WIFE EXPECTS FROM HIM FOR THE MOST PART. I KNOW WHAT MY HUSBAND LIKES TO EAT, WEAR, T.V. PROGRAMS AND SO ON. I’VE LEARNED THIS FROM BEING WITH HIM. OF COURSE WE ARE GROWING AND CHANGING AND WILLING TO TRY NEW THINGS,BUT STILL THERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT HE DOESN’T CHANGE, AND I KNOW THIS. AND I AM NOT THE ONE WHO HAS AN EYE FOR DETAIL, IT’S HIM !! IF WE AREN’T CAREFUL THIS ALL CAN BECOME AN EXCUSE FOR NOT STRETCHING IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS. MEN AND WOMEN ARE DIFFERENT,THANK GOD BUT MEN ARE NOT STUPID. THEY LEARN WHAT’S EXPECTED FROM IN BUSINESS,SPORTS,ETC. AND THE MARRIAGE SHOULD BE FIRST ON THE LIST, NOT SOMEWHERE BELOW THESE OTHER THINGS.

    • el says:

      i agree with melanie.
      men should become students studying their wives, as should women, studying their husbands.
      and marriage should be second only to God.

  20. Megan says:

    Considering all the comments of “you need to see more of his work”, I’m starting to wonder if these blog posts aren’t just teasers for his products…not saying that’s a bad thing, but it seems to cause confusion/paint an incomplete picture of his message.

    That said, I do think he sells men short in the responsibility department and is encouraging the man-boy epidemic we see plaguing society. As one poster so brilliantly put it, nobody says the military is turning men into women when they expect them to be neat and conscientious. This post is old though, and maybe he’s changed his stance on it.

  21. Troy says:

    Mark,

    I really don’t have a comment other than I enjoy dropping by your website and have for quite a few years. My comment is about the ‘Not Your Mother’ article. It seems that I am the one having to do all the asking whether it be for help with cleaning up the dishes to “could you please pick up your stuff?” She also has a dog that sheds quite a bit. I really get tired of asking her if she brushed him recently as I’m picking the hair off the stove and/or dishes so you can about imagine how the floors are. It doesn’t quite take an act of congress to get her to pick up his lawn ornaments but close. I do most of the cooking, all the outside chores from mowing to gardening to snow removal, all my own laundry and whatever of hers or our daughter’s clothing that I think I won’t ruin in a regular wash cycle or drying, and I do a good share of taking care of our daughter from playing, taking her for walks, bathing to putting her down for a nap or all night. I pay all the bills (house, utilities, phone, insurances, internet, etc) eventhough she is a professional that has started her business a mere 2 years ago. I feel disrespected and have mentioned that to her. After close to four years, it gets very, very, very old. Needless to say, the asking has gone to telling to yelling. After the birth of our daughter nearly 3 years ago, sex has become a once or twice every couple of week thing as well.

    Anyway, perhaps you could point me to an article that may discuss how the male doesn’t want to be the mother.

    BTW, we both attended your Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage seminar in Bismarck, ND as well as attending the DVD series the year before you came the first time. We did the Flag Page at that time but never went further with it other than seeing what each other’s data was. We’ve sat down with Pastor Maury and have been to a counselor outside of the church as well.

    Whoever said marriage is tough wasn’t joking.

    Troy

  22. Ruthie says:

    What happens when the husband is left alone at home with the kids, let’s say because the wife went to a women’s conference and when she returns home there is a mess. Now the wife is very upset and wants to yell, just run out and whatever she learn or wanted to apply from the conference just went out the window.

  23. Ruthie says:

    I know that my first comment may seem sarcastic but really think about it? I’ve been married 33 years and still I remind my husband and now my adult children of many things but only when I choose to.
    During our first year, my husband wanted to invite his parents over for a home cooked meal, obviously I was doing the cooking. “Sure honey” I said. That Saturday morning we both got up and attended to getting the apartment ready, he quickly went outside to pick the little bit of leaves that were scattered and I was cleaning the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room and laundry. He had a pile of clothes and a pair of shoes on the floor at the entrance of our bedroom which was in plain view of the living room.
    I didn’t say a word while I did all the cleaning and started to get dinner ready while he spent most of the day outside talking with the neighbor.
    When my husband came inside and saw the pile of clothes and shoes on the floor, he asked me why that was there, his parents were coming soon and he didn’t want them to see that. I said, what are you talking about? He repeated the clothes and shoes on the floor. I again questioned him what he was talking about. He thought I was being funny. I said to him, I didn’t put them there therefore I don’t see it. Lesson learned, I said “if you expect me to pick up after you like your Mom, think twice because I married a man to love me and be by my side not for me to be your mother. It actually worked.

    • Greg R. Thiel CFLE, MA & Author says:

      Good for you Ruthie! Don’t enable your spouse, unless you want them to become dependent on you. Also, I frequently remind my dating singles to “really” get to know their dating partner before marriage – rather than complaining about their spouse’s behaviors after marriage.

  24. Melissa Ross says:

    Mark,

    I am sorry, but I disagree with one of the “methods” that you think is ok to use to get a man to do something. I may be misunderstanding what you are saying, but this is what I get from it. That it is ok to tell a man that he cant have sex with you until he ——-, whatever the “thing” is. What I get from the Bible is that the only time it is ok to with hold sex is when both partners are doing it for a specific reason. If I am misunderstanding this please clarify. Thanks :)

  25. Cristie says:

    Wow! Totally insightful, Mark! Thank you! It dawned on me after reading your article that I can just say “Hon, if you can put the dishes away & pick up the kids toys, I will be able to finish what I’m doing & we can sit together & watch that show that we DVR’d.” I can say it out loud & politely and not under my breath in a “not so polite” tone while trying to do it all myself! Duh! Why didn’t I think of that?!

  26. Sandy muise says:

    Mark,
    I only have received one set of DVD series as I am in Canada and shipping is crazy,but I truly love your insight on things and I think you seem to be far for both parties. I haved learned a lot,I thought it all was my husband and I could never get why he just did not get it lol but it is so true it is all in how we ask and yes over and over but men don’t have an issue doing things for us and they appreciate being asked nicely. I like the topic Not your Mother cause I have said those exact words and so many other quotes stated in the brief notes above. I enjoy how you state things in your topics they are helpful in my marriage,I will be married for 11 years this year and I have tried to make my husband a women so may times and I have tried to do your suggestions and I do get aot further with my husband. Asking as you would like to be asked is only right.
    Thank you Mr.Gungor I look forward to reading and watching more of your lessons in marriage. My husband certainly appreciates you we both love your humor and a way to laugh your way to a better marriage.
    God bless you in your ministry.

  27. andrei says:

    Someone mentioned the army, and how men function there. One of the dynamics at work there, especially in boot camp, is that you are repeatedly told/ordered what to do, loud and clear. Plus some motivating mechanisms. Clarity of expectations, procedures repeated redundantly, until they become second nature, work in the army. Of course we don’t want a drill sergeant at home (:o>)

  28. Laura Elle says:

    Hi Melissa

    Withholding sex from a man is talked about in Mark’s book, but only in the context of major marital strife such as infidelity and/or his persistance with destructive habits. And then its usually coupled with a period of seperation to jolt him into reliazing what he’s doing to his family. Major strife.

    In regards to sex and training a man, it NOT about withholding until you get what you want. Instead it’s about ADDING when you do get the desire result. One would expect that you love your husband and will happily enjoy sex regardless of whether he took the trash out or not. However if you ask him to take the trash out and he does, rather than saying nothing (because honestly, us girls know, it-was-a-minor-chore-and-he-should’ve-done it-without-having-to-ask-anyway), but praising it up! Giving him lots of compliments, saying how much you love him and how helpful and amazing you think he is. And then add on the little perks that only his wife can do ;) It’s fun! This makes him feel SOO GOOD when he does chores. And he’ll be further inclined to do it more regularly. You will likely have to keep asking, but it won’t be a problem over time as he’ll happily do whatever you ask, especially because it’s a way he can be assured that you think he’s the best man in the world. As long as you remember to keep telling him that! (And don’t get frustrated if he doesn’t do it perfectly. As long as he had a go. You’ve got years and years of marriage to slowly build up the tasks) And trust me, you want a husband that feels he is doing a good job.

    See it as an investment. It pays back good dividends in time.

    This is how I did the dishes with my husband:

    First couple of months, I’d hug him from behind while he did them (he was suuuper slow, so standing there drying felt like eternity). Whisper cute things in his ear, felt him up. He loved doing dishes then!

    After those months, I asked him to rinse the dishes as he went (I’d not said anything about suds in the beginning. Yes, I went through 5 towels every time we did dishes, but I was just happy that he was doing them!). And I praised that every time.

    By about the second year, I asked him to be a bit quicker, and I sweetened the deal with rewards ;)

    Now I have a husband who does dishes perfectly, rinses them and does it quickly. He’ll complain if I’m not in the room when he’s doing dishes, so I shuffle things around and make the kids lunches for the next day and other stuff so I’m in there with him. Chores make lots of room for flirty fun :D

  29. vladik says:

    Thank you mark for your great insight for my marriage. I read this blog and then I read it to my wife and it really helped her to see a better point of veiw on all this. We are newly weds by the way and are excited to learn more of how we can make our marriage life better everyday! So far things are going great for us My wife loves me and I love my wife like crazy. I listened to alot of your radio talk shows and the advice you give was really helpful to us. Your awsome pastor mark…….

    p.s. I love the movie princess bride

  30. Pastor Luke says:

    Hello Mark,

    I want to add a few thoughts to this article from personal experience. I am a modern man, I enjoy technology I live in a city I don’t have a garage or a man cave to go bang metal things together. I live in a cold climate and have to shovel snow maybe once a week, my lawn could fit in my living room and it takes me 15 min to do the little yard work i have to do in a week. I rent my house so any major repair work is left to the paid professionals. In other words if I simply did the traditional things that men feel are “their” jobs I would be doing very little in comparison with my wife. I found that it was out of a deep untouched selfishness that I was unwilling to see things around the house. I was more concerned with my own needs than my families. I have to say this part of your article really bothered me …”know that the kids need to be bathed and put to bed and they would jump right in and do it. But men are not women! Often, we literally don’t see these things; they aren’t big priorities to us.” If you are a dad and you don’t know that its time for your kids to go to bed, if you don’t know its time for a bath, if you are not involved in their bedtime routine you are missing the point of being a dad. Your priority should be your family, especially your children. Not all men do this but sometimes these men don’t notice what needs to be done because they are on the computer, their phone or watching TV. If that is the case put those things away and take a look around, you would have to be blind not to notice your wife holding one child with chocolate on their face while trying to do the dishes while the other is saying, mom, mom, mom, mom, I need help with my homework. There are many things I agree with in this article, that men are not as observant, but often that is an excuse that men use to be lazy. I just don’t want men to read this article and use it to justify their lack of motivation to help around the home and to continue in an unchecked state of selfishness.

    A concerned Father, Husband and Pastor.

    • Joy says:

      wow – well said, but you got me fired up again and I was so ready to be peaceful and respectful toward my husband. . .hmmm
      I need more time to think and pray on this. Joy

    • Sue says:

      Very well said. It made me think, what IS dad doing that he doesn’t see it’s time to put the kids to bed? If it’s ok for dad not to see it’s bedtime because he’s busy watching TV, then it should be ok for mom not to see it either because she’s on the computer, so who’s making sure the kids are getting tucked in and saying their prayers?

      When I go back and reread that section of the article, it breaks my heart to hear that a father’s own children would not be a priority to him.

  31. Phil says:

    Took me a long time to read through the entire blog, but certainly gives some insight into the variety of issues being dealt with in marriages out there, and also the varied attitudes about the man’s role in marriage.
    I do think Mark provides some excellent insight into how differently the typical man and woman think. The typical man thinks of one thing at a time, while a typical woman thinks of many things at once, with many of those things intertwined. Men do tend to prioritize things simply, “if I don’t do it, will cause serious injury?” This puts MOST things on a lower priority. Women typicall worry about details and men just want the headlines. Men need respect and women need love. As others have pointed out, give each what they need and you are more likely to get what you want.
    Obviously there are exceptions to these generalizations. Take for instance the comments of Troy, who has reversed rolls with the typical husband and wife issues of housework.
    In all of the relationships described though, certainly selfishness is at the center of most of the challenges we face. In a very real sense, true unconditional love is the opposite of selfishness, and Christ pointed out that all the law and the prophets can be summed up as, love your God with all of your heart and mind and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself. If we can learn to let God love others through us, a love that is given without expecation, then we will be much happier in our own life, and we will have a profound effect on those around us.
    Mark’s messages give us understanding of how the opposite sex thinks, and tools to help us communicate more effectively, which can help a great deal in a relationship where there is a genuine desire to communicate. And understanding how your spouse thinks will help under any circumstances.
    However, in a relationship that is mainly one-sided, and the selfish attitude is defended with righteous indignation, I might suggest arranging for a mentor for your spouse. A godly person from your local church that you and your spouse respect who can meet with them on a regular basis for coffee/lunch. Ask a few people and see if you can’t get someone to “volunteer”. They can discuss life in general, with a focus on their relationship with God, and how that relates to their relationship with their spouse. This has to be a gradual thing where a trusting relationship can be developed first, and then lots of life questions are asked. Asking questions and listening intently and sincerely to the answers is a fantastic way to get to the root of the issues. Sharing your own issues will help open the doors to discussion as well. Note that the mentor will get as much or more from this relationship as your spouse. Be sure to watch how close you get to the mentor during this time. This is about your spouse learning from the mentor, not about you getting sympathy from the mentor.
    That is my two cents.
    I hope that God blesses you all, and your relationships.

    • Joy says:

      Phil – Great insight. Thank you. I do need to show my husband more respect. I think that’s been lacking and then of course, no love coming this way. Respect is key. Thank you. Joy

  32. Malcolm says:

    Fortunately for me, my wife hardly ever asks me to do something and she is very patient when I keep leaving the screen door open, forget to buy stuff she asked for etc. Other wives can be like this too, if they understand the need.

  33. Reuben says:

    Funny, but true! I don’t know why women think that men are mind readers. I can remember more than one argument my wife and I had, simply because she didn’t ask, and when she did is was like she was dictating to me.

  34. Teresa says:

    It seems to me that there are two main issues: unsaid expectations leading to expectations on each other that weren’t agreed to, and consequences. If a mother’s son did not complete the job requested, she would follow through in some way. When a husband doesn’t complete a job, how can a wife follow through without feeling like she’s taking on a mother role? In the first scenario, she uses her authority over that son. But she doesn’t follow through from a position of authority with a husband.

    As for my husband, I told him when we were newly married that I would not wash any clothing of his that wasn’t in the basket. That way I wouldn’t get it wrong but I also wouldn’t feel like I had to pick up behind him all the time. There was no malice intended and he has enjoyed just knowing what was expected.

  35. rufaro says:

    ok we get it but is it okay when i have to ask nicely and still not get any help from my husband.
    it is so frustrating to accept that they are man and are not expected to do some of these things and we have learnt to accep that but trust me its more frustrating to ask nicely and be ignored.

  36. Nancy says:

    Also cI would like to add that because we are helpmates, that makes us stewards over our husbands and our children. They should become better because of us, not worse. A good tree bears good fruit.

  37. Brooke says:

    I do not agree with this blog either.

    I get really tired of everyone making excuses for behaviour.

    He’s cheap because he’s dutch, she’s hot tempered because she’s a redhead, he can’t see the dirty dishes because he is a man.

    At the end of the day it’s not what you are but who you are and the choices you make.

    I know lots of men who are very helpful around the house without being asked to. If it’s a “man thing” how are they capable of that?

    If you want help with the dishes on a regular basis because you know it is important to your wife…you will. Simple as that.

  38. Vivian Hohman says:

    Thank you. This helps me understand my husband better and how men think. I will not be as upset with him for seeing or not seeing things the way he does or doesn’t. I see now too that I don’t see things like he does and can get him upset with me also. It works both ways. We have been to a video seminar of yours and loved it. I think we could use a refresher course though off and on!

  39. Linette says:

    Is it unfair to expect my husband to make sure the basement door is locked at night after he has given my 14 year old a task that required he use a door that is not used on even a weekly basis? What about a screen in a window being pulled down? Seems my 17 yr old told him there was not and never was a screen in it and he accepted this. My husband told me this in his explanation when asked. Window was left open all night also. And yes all 3 of these family members are men.

  40. Venise says:

    I appreciate hearing this in this way, it does help a lot to know how to communicate, lovingly, and puts things in perspective. There are though, some men who no matter how sweetly you ask, they consider it an interruption into what they are doing, or waive you away, saying I know, I know. That’s when the frustration sets in.

    Now what?

    I don’t believe in nagging, so I either have to do things myself, or just let it go and get over it, which for me builds resentment.

    thanks for your website it is helpful.

  41. Troy Roberts says:

    I agree!! It isnt because I dont want to help, I am “situation blind” to what is going on. I love my wife and love doing things with and for her.

  42. Kim says:

    Ok, I need some help with this one. I felt like you wrote it just for me! The part about men needing to be reminding about the “obvious.” Well, what is obvious to us women. “Do I really need to remind you to pick the peaches before they rot?” Ugh, It is so utterly frustrating for women to not understand why they have to point out what is so plainly obvious. I ask this question in sincere honesty….why don’t men see the obvious?? An exhausted wife at the end of her rope with kids that still need to be bathed and put to bed? That is just one example. I really need to have a man’s wiring explained to me so I don’t get so frustrated and come to the time-honored conclusion that he just doesn’t care about me (which is where I have been for several years now, and my husband and I are now in counseling for) Mark, I think women really need to understand the wiring of men. Thank you ~ Kim

  43. Robin says:

    Mark, I have followed you for the last 4 years. We did your bible study then and I so understand my husband better now, I know he has an empty box and might not be thinking about “nothing”. I have a small problem I want to address about your blog today. I agree he does not think of me as his mother but he treats me that way many times, but that is not the problem. The problem is we have this couple we hang out with and they are about 15 to 20 years younger than us, this wife was in ministry with my husband for about 8 years and I love her dearly she is not the direct problem, but when she even speaks of needed something done anything my husband jumps to help her. Everyone around, my kids, his family all notice how he acts when it come to her. I can ask to get something done and its like talking to a wall. I take care of my self and work out every day and love my husband very much but I want the same attention as he gives to this young woman. I have tried talking calm and tell him my heart and nothing, when I get mad and pout it makes everything worse…Can you give me any suggestions??

    Need help!!

  44. Robert says:

    That was great, and refreshing. I am a single man and a pastor with two chrildren. I had a wife who wanted control and was very abusive. She found a non Christian man to move in with her and I was out. I believed God wanted reconciliation, but it wasn’t to be. She did finally marry the man she was living with. I am not blaiming her for everything, I have learned a lot over the years and I thank God for sending men with Godly councle. He has forgiven me for my part and by His grace I have the two most increadable children in the world. Both walking close to the Lord. I am praying and waiting with my eyes on the Lord for the helper He might have for me. Thank you Mark for your enjoyable insite and convaying it in a way that many lack words for. Bless you.

  45. Felicia says:

    The part I dont understand is why don’t men ‘see’ ? Why aren’t the ‘home, children things considered priorities? If it’s night time and kids need to be bathed, why isn’t it obvious? It then becomes expected for the mom to do those things, just say if she doesn’t ask, why can’t man just know to step in or ask if any help is needed…

  46. Felicia says:

    The part I dont understand is why don’t men ‘see’ ? Why aren’t the ‘home, children things considered priorities? If it’s night time and kids need to be bathed, why isn’t it obvious? It then becomes expected for the mom to do those things, just say if she doesn’t ask, why can’t man just know to step in or ask if any help is needed… I think about just everything from the car to the kitchen, from my husband to my children…ijs

  47. Joy says:

    great points. . .I will think more on this
    Also, I know I need to quit taking my husband for granted and appreciate him more. Any tips on how to get back that loving feeling? On both sides. . .Unfortunately I think I’ve been so witchy at times that he’s lost the love for me. Any advice? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Joy Cocks

  48. Catherine says:

    I am not sure what I want!
    I want God to help me learn how to play well with others. I want my ex to know God and give his life to Christ then give up all his bad habits. (I don’t mean leaving clothes on the floor or dishes piled in the sink, I can clean circles around him and it doesn’t bother me) I want him to care about my health. And then maybe when we get grand babies we can visit them together instead of having to split their time.
    But I’m still not sure if that’s what I really want.
    I’d like God to let me know where to go from here!!!!

  49. Tisha says:

    Mark you are right. Married now 11 1/2 years and I can say what you are suggesting works. I’ve changed my approach with my husband in how I ask for things and how I remind him of things and have seen amazing results. I had to pray and really ask God what I was doing wrong becuase I wasn’t getting the results I wanted initially. When He showed me that is was my approach and also that I had to be specific, Wow, did things begin to change. For example: I used to say can you help me around here? He would say what do you want me to do? I would say, look around. He really did not see what I saw, I could see this lost look in his face. Now I say….Honey (yes he is still honey) can you help me by doing a,b & c? Once he does it, I say thank you and let him know how much I appreciate what he did. I don’t get caught up in the fact that it wasn’t done the way I would have done it, or that I had to remind him about b & c because once he did “a” he forgot. But I just rejoice in his willingness to do his part.

    • Tracy Medling says:

      hahahaha I needed to hear this – and the part you added about forgetting b and c when he finished a is spot on perfectly right! holy cow! I needed a change of heart to see he really isn’t TRYING to be difficult – he’s just not a woman – good thing!!! THank you so much for sharing!

  50. Dee says:

    The flip side of women saying “I should be his wife, not his mother!” is when a wife asks her husband for information and this situation arises: Husband does something or goes somewhere and wife asks for information, such as “Where are you going?” or “When will you be home?” or “I don’t want you to do that.” and husband comes back with, “I don’t have to tell you stuff, you’re not my mother.” I would love to see your take on that one, Mark. I appreciate how you can explain the differences between the genders with such appealing humour. Thanks.

  51. Kimberly says:

    My husband & I have been married 23 years. We used to have a problem with this issue until I explained to him that, when I ask him to do something, I mean that I want it done right now. If its not something that needs immediate attention I say “could you eventually…” I disagree that men don’t want mothers, though. I think men really like being taken care of. I’ve spoken with many widows who confess they will never marry again because all older gentlemen want is a nurse!

  52. Linda says:

    There was a women who shared her thoughts on this and I think that when you think small. You don’t tend to get the big picture. I don’t see where you were saying that the way we as women take our feelings so seriously enough that we would think you were saying that we are crazy. Or that you are making light of what we as women feel. I am one of those women who go directly to the I am not his mother, or because I have to remind my husband over an over again of something I would think is seriously enough to remember. I thank you for this insight, we don’t (women/men)think a like. And to keep from getting frustrated or feel like he does not love me because he does not care enough to remember or do something without my having to tell him over and over. I need to just remember that he does not and can not see things what ever it might be through my eyes. So again thank you, I am open minded, not small minded. So there for I see the big picture.

  53. Jim says:

    Wow this hits a sore spot. As a single dad of 15 years, with a son about to graduate high school, I have thought about dating again. One of the things that I say up front is that I won’t be a woman’s girlfriend. I am not gifted in telepathy (the “If he loved me, he would just knows” is in my opinion a lie from the pit of hell.) If she doesn’t want to put in the effort of understanding men, then she will reap the rewards of an unsatisfying relationship, just not with me [I have read 6 or 7 books on how to understand women, but when I ask women that I date how many books they have read about understanding men, the average is less than 1. ] Women who complain on dates, I think will complain in relationships. So complaining about the food, the service, the weather, without finding something good in it results in no callback usually (Jesus could have complained about the churches in the book of the Revelation to John, but he started with what was good.)

    • Katy says:

      Excellent! Having been divorced and remarried, I can honestly say that approach will go a long way to prevent major problems before they even start. However, if a woman had not read a book about men, don’t write her off. It may not have even occurred to her. This is one where YOU will have to ask HER to do something. If she thinks she knows enough to skip the further education, THEN you can write her off. :)

  54. Corie says:

    I learned a long time ago that I can’t expect, I have to ask.I also learned that when I get a big sigh from him as though I had asked him to take a second full-time job I tend to stop asking and just do it myself.

  55. kristi Mabe says:

    My name is Kristi (obviously a woman!) and I hear and understand (with my logical mind) everything that you are saying. It all makes perfect sense and I get that men are wired differently than women. The thing is…i can’t help but FEEL (very different than THINKING) that I am being a nag or his mother when I have to ask numerous times for something to get done. It’s easier said than done to “chill out”, which dismissed our sometimes intense feelings of “him not caring”. If I have to “chill out” then he should be making the effort to try a bit harder to “remember” to do something the first time it’s asked. Men wouldn’t put up with this type of micromanaging at their office jobs for sure. The person they have to ask more than once to complete a task would certainly be fired over time! micromanaging sucks…to put it bluntly. Oh, and…we don’t want to make love to our kids any more than as you guys want to make love to your moms! Most of the time I feel you are fair to both sexes but in this article I feel we are supposed to “chill out” and the men sort of get off the hook a bit. step it up guys…we didn’t get married to do it all ourselves for sure. I am not always so angry about these topics but this is coming off a morning where my husband decided to sleep in and I was left to take care of the dog…something we both agreed isn’t “fair” since I am the one that takes care of the dog all week…every day. thanks for listening.

  56. Ellen says:

    I live in Africa & my husband is based in the US. I agreed to this arrangement on the promise that he’d do all it takes to make it work cos he wants his children brought up in the African culture. Been married for 2 years & expecting our first baby together. Now, do I have to always remind him to communicate more as has been the case despite relapse promises of improvement on his side. He might have busy schedules as a doctor, but I seriously believe that if he truly love & cares, I don’t have to remind or beg him to call as often as he should. Now I’m having a second thought about this living arrangement.

  57. Julie says:

    The only thing i have to say about this is that if a woman has to repeat herself a few times (which i will accept) then a man should not complain about his wife “nagging” him. I think men need to understand that if he needs to be reminded of something a few times by his wife because he cant do it the first time, then don’t call her a nag!! It works both ways!

  58. yola says:

    I totally agree with your message. Men and women were created differently. We are wired differently. Men are more problem solvers and women are emotional creatures. Yes at times women do tend to treat their men as females than the men that God created then to be. Men aren`t mind readers, women must learn to be straight with men, get to the point and stop beating around the bushes. A guy has to be told of your wants and your needs in order to fulfill your desire. And this is my take on it.

  59. PBJellyfish says:

    The problem with this is, according to him, it’s “my job” to clean up everything. It isn’t that he doesn’t notice; he notices before I do. He just won’t do it. Cat puke on the floor? He comes and gets me. His work bowl dirty? Comes and gets me. He won’t wash his own things, even.

    I’m not the tidiest person, I’ll admit, but it’s a lot harder to care about a home when someone’s showing a lack of respect for the place by just dropping things everywhere and calling it “woman’s work”.

    I approached him on it, and he insisted I agreed on this arrangement. As far as I know, I agreed to care for the house, not to be a mother.

  60. Deborah says:

    You’re right about the fact that I am not his mother. BUT – he’s not a little boy either – he’s suppose to be a man. You say – ‘he’s not a woman’ – well, I’m NOT a man either – so quit telling me to act like one. I don’t want to be his mother or his FATHER. Most men just need to grow up and take responsibility.

  61. Liza says:

    Yes, women and men are different and women should stop expecting men to act like women. Then also of course, men should stop expecting women to act like men: bear with insensitivity, rudeness, ill manners, laziness, passivity, etc. etc. etc. Hope you get the message.

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