Studio 5 Relationship Coach Matt Townsend and Wasatch Therapy’s Julie Hanks, LCSW, share their thoughts on getting through the holidays without the typical run-ins.
From the man: (Matt’s point of view)
This is one area where couples tend to look at what their partner does wrong rather than what their partner does right. Don’t let housework become an issue that pulls you apart from each other. Use these suggestions to overcome cleaning contention.
1. Don’t assume that just because your partner doesn’t help, he doesn’t care. Be cautious of making your partner feel like they can’t do anything right. This will quickly lead to withdrawal and lack of interest.
2. Manage your expectations. We all come from different backgrounds which creates different assumptions. Have a conversation about your expectations and discuss what you each think is important and which jobs you want to do.
3. If you need him to do something, get his attention. Get eye contact and actually say, “Can you help me.” Don’t assume that he knows what needs to be done. Say what you need. Sometimes you may think that you shouldn’t need to say it, “If you loved me, you’d just do it without me asking you.” This thought process carries a lot of faulty assumptions. It assumes first of all, that he knows what needs to be done, secondly, that he knows you want him to do it and third, that he doesn’t love you. Instead of coming to a negative conclusion, just ask for what you want.
4. Give your partner a choice. Men want a choice of what they do, how they do it and even when they do it. If you have chores that need to be done, give him a list and tell him, “Hey, I have seven things that need to be done today. Would you please choose three of them and get them done by noon so that I can relax with you?” Leave him the choice about how he will help you.
5. When you see that he does something well, point it out and praise him. Show him your appreciation.
From the woman: (Julie’s point of view)
Women often complain about their husband’s lack of help or enthusiasm for the holiday preparations. Husband’s are often puzzled about why wives get so stressed out about shopping, decorating, and baking. Here’s why women get stressed and solutions to get your man to help with the festivities.
1-Women feel responsible for the “intangibles” of family life (e.g. maintaining relationships, fulfilling family expectations, setting mood & tone, giving meaning to family traditions, a sense that they are adding value)
Get your man to help by…Sharing what your holiday traditions mean to you.
(“It’s important to me to keep in touch with friends and family through sending yearly Christmas cards.” “Baking cookies reminds me of holidays with my grandmother and helps me feel connected to her.”)
2-Women want to fulfill their own & other’s expectations (which often creates stress)
Get your man to help by… listening to your husband’s feedback that challenges your assumptions about the way things “should be”. Allow your spouse to help you find more realistic expectations.
(“Maybe we don’t need to send out Christmas cards every year. Maybe every other year would be fine.” “Do we really have to make homemade gifts for the entire neighborhood?”)
3-Women feel like they should be able to “do it all” & have difficulty asking for help
Get your man to help by… Ask for help directly, specifically, & with a time frame.
( “Will you help put labels on the Christmas cards by the end of the weekend?” “Will you be in charge of buying gifts for Brooke & Darin this year?” )
You can contact Matt at the Townsend Relationship Center. You can find them online at www.matttownsend.com. Matt is conducting an upcoming Date Night.
An Evening with Matt Townsend
Saturday, January 16
7:00pm to 9:00pm
$20 per couple
Location: Noah’s in South Jordan
To register call 801-747-2121
To get in touch with Julie, you can visit www.wasatchfamilytherapy.com