It dawned on me that I’m a micromanaging spouse early one Saturday morning. It was a fresh morning with nothing on the calendar. My husband kissed me in the kitchen, and I swiftly started firing questions: “Are you going to fix the closet shelves today? Oh, you probably want to exercise first.” He looked at me with weariness in his eyes.
Why did he look at me that way? I was just making good suggestions, right? I thought I was helping him. But helping means we come alongside a person to offer support; a micromanaging spouse attempts to control or lead her husband down a certain, pre-approved path. Sometimes, when you think you’re suggesting what your husband should do, you are actually micromanaging. I bet your husband thinks you are too. Here are 3 areas we tend to micromanage with our “shoulds” and what we’ll gain when we stop.
Area #1: His Health
“I’m going to do this diet. Do you want to do it too? It would be easier if we did it together.” True statement, but it’s also my backward way of changing his health habits. I also ask him if he wants to start a certain exercise plan, or I’ll only buy healthy snacks and not the ones he put on my grocery list. All of this adds up to: “I don’t think you are healthy enough. You should be healthier.”
Area #2: His Free Time
When my husband isn’t working, I suddenly think of all the things he could be doing and I start making suggestions: house chores, errands, or even getting outside versus staying inside to take a nap on a beautiful day. Let’s face it—deep down, I think I know better as to how he should spend his time.
Area #3: His Relationship with Our Kids
Quite often, I try to step in when I feel tension or misunderstanding building between my husband and one of our kids. I try to “fix” things or even distract everyone. I even try to manage their reconciliation: “You should apologize to her before bed.”
The biggest problem with micromanaging your husband is the unspoken message that he isn’t capable of making his own choices. Even though you don’t mean it to be, it feels condescending.
The biggest problem with micromanaging your husband is the unspoken message that he isn’t capable of making his own choices.
Free Him, Free Yourself
We have enough to manage as moms, wives, employees, and friends. Being a micromanaging spouse is one thing you don’t have to do anymore. This frees up your time and energy to focus on your own choices and growth. It also frees you from unnecessary frustration when your spouse doesn’t do what you want him to do. And it actually frees your relationship from the restraints of unmet expectations, which can strangle a relationship over time.
At the heart, it boils down to trust and letting go. I can make the shift to trusting that my husband is a grown man and a good person. I can trust that he can make his own choices. Whether I think they are good or bad, or just different than mine, those choices are his.
I can let go of the person I want him to be, and let him be who he really is. I can let go of the “image” I want to have of “us” and “our family” and let it be what it is. And most importantly, I can pray and surrender it to God’s control. And I believe God is guiding him in ways I never could.
In what areas do you want to stop micromanaging your spouse?