When I had my first child, I knew exactly what to expect from that child and from my new role as a mother. What I did not expect was my husband’s reaction to my new role. He would pick fights and grasped for some ounce of control. We actually got into an argument about breastfeeding. He wanted a say in something—in anything. I later realized it probably feels better than being totally ignored. When I turned to my own mother for help, she looked at me sternly, pursed her lips, and said, “Now, you have TWO children.” Yes, my husband was much like a second child might act when a new baby is in the house. He did everything short of jumping up and down, waving his hands and saying, “Hello! I’m here, too!”
No one is saying it’s easy. But what I am saying is that your husband will ask to be treated as more than the baby maker. And later, you’ll want to treat him like a kid and put him on the chores list, but try to refrain. Drs. Laura Berman and Willard Harley suggest a few ways to nurture your husband.
So, what to do when your husband is like one of your children?
I’m not kidding. This might be my favorite. Studies show that casually drinking with your husband is a bonding experience. You will feel like you’re letting loose a little bit by doing something adults do. Be careful though, too much does more damage than good.
This is really simple, and you already know this, but I’m going to remind you anyway. Remember to say good morning and good night. Better yet, remember to kiss him good morning and good night. Remember to kiss goodbye when he leaves and hello when he comes home. This acknowledgment will go a long way in making your husband feel wanted.
Like in children, positive reinforcement goes a long way. “Thank you so much for emptying the dishwasher. It’s a huge help.” Even if you really mean, “Oh, you finally emptied the dishwasher after being asked twelve times and the sink is overflowing? Gee, thanks.” The reality is, most men don’t care about cleanliness. I know, I know, this is a gross generalization and stereotype and I envy you if your husband is the exception. However, it doesn’t occur to most men to put their clothes somewhere besides the floor. When you praise them for it, they remember it and will do it again. Heck, throw in a sexual favor.
Men never really grow out of their teens. Sex fixes a lot of stuff. That sounds oversimplified, but it provides a foundation of intimacy and affection that will help you through the hard stuff. Even though it’s the last thing on earth you feel like doing, close your eyes and picture Channing Tatum. But seriously, tell him what to do. You’re going to need him to work for it, because let’s face it, you’re NOT a teenage boy. You’ll think it won’t, but your body will take over once the pleasure begins…and he’ll like the dirty talk.
What do you do now when your husband is like on of your children?