Never Asked My Spouse to Help and Wedded Wed Link Up!

While I’m taking a four week break from blogging, I’m sharing some older posts from way back in MM’s vault. This was my very first post that kicked-off a series I dubbed the “Top 10 Mistakes I Made in Marriage.” It was published way back on October, 10 of 2010! Whoa, can’t believe it’s been that long! And don’t worry, I’ll be sharing the other 9 posts (at least links to them) from that series during this blogging break, so I hope you stick around!

The System

Since my husband and I just celebrated our 23rd anniversary {back in 2010}, I think I’ve earned the dubious distinction of knowing what not to do in marriage, and I’d like to share my lack of wisdom with you! 🙂

I know it sounds strange, but when I was a child, I didn’t know that you could actually ask someone to help you. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s had this disability. It all goes back to a tried and true system that my mother taught me and my sister—and my mother probably learned it from her motherand her mother probably learned it from her mother, and so on.

“The System” was a strategy that would get you what you wanted without uttering a word!

Here’s how my mother’s system worked: My mother would be quietly working away in the kitchen, but if she remained alone in the kitchen for long, things would get a little noisier.

If no one “came a runnin’,” then things would get a little louder.

At some point, my mom would begin to stomp, this was followed by “motherly fuming.”

And if all else failed to get our attention, cabinet doors were slammed so hard the neighbors thought the “New Madrid Fault” was at it again!

Naturally, if my sister and I didn’t get our mom’s point by then, we were either deaf, in a coma, or volunteering to be put in one!

Ironically, my sister and I never brought to our mother’s attention the fact that she wasn’t verbally asking us to help!

We just knew that this was “The System,” and in order to be true to rules of “The System,” all she had to do was just expect us to help her.

Are you familiar with “The System?”

When my husband and I were married I decided to put this time-tested system into practice.

However, this time something new happened … someone questioned it!

Can you imagine the nerve?!

Not only did my husband question my mother’s strategy, he actually had the audacity to NOT like it! <Gasp!>

I mistakenly believed that my husband should just “magically know” when he needed to help me. I expected him to start doing something, anything, to help me when he heard my loud banging and dramatic sighing!

It wasn’t until a marriage counselor told me that my husband had a right to know what I expected of himthat I actually needed to say the words—that I realized my mother’s system might be flawed … just a little!  😉

Now, whenever I need help, I ask for it! I don’t feel guilty for asking him either {well, I try not to!}. I don’t bang the cabinet doors. I don’t fuss and fume. I simply open my mouth and say the words, “I need help, please!”

Trust me, all of you “System” users, it really works!

So tell us …

How has “The System” hurt your marriage, or how has avoiding it helped your marriage?

 

What fears do you feel when you need to ask your spouse for help?

 

Signature - Beth Blessings

 

 

 

 

 

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  • JosephPote

    This post made me laugh, Beth! It is amazing how much we have to learn in those first few years of marriage.

    I do think we all sometimes slip into thinking out family should know what we need without our having asked…it makes no sense…but in a moment of frustration it’s easy to think we have the right to expect that…

    Thanks for sharing! Hope you have an awesome break!

  • Mary

    Good stuff! I think women in general fall into the trap of “The System” because we believe that everyone around us will just automatically do what is on our mind at that moment. Thanks for posting this and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Interesting question – and I have a different take on it because until I became too ill, I did most of the household chores.

    I never used The System. It goes against my training and ethos – to wit, never complain, because things could always be worse. Where you are is what you need to deal with, and allowing emotion into stuff like division of labor at home is a waste of energy.

    That attitude does make it hard to ask for help, and that has caused friction – my wife felt that not being asked for help was a de facto rejection of the contribution she could make. I see the point, and I did, in the end, try to moderate my methods.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2014/07/pluck-out-critical-eye.html

  • Gaye @ CalmHealthySexy

    Hi Beth – This post is both funny and sadly true. My sisters and I have discussed that we never learned growing up that you could/should talk about certain things – like asking for help or saying how you felt about a certain thing. Even well into adulthood we didn’t discuss or do certain things (that would have been positive if we had said or done them), not because we were trying to avoid them, but because we didn’t know that people typically say or do those things (if they want to be emotionally healthy)! And yes, our mother did have something akin to “the System.”

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  • I needed a good laugh and this just gave it to me. I’m sure I’ve done things like this, but to see it in writing is just too funny. Great message, Beth.

  • Gentle Joy

    I recognize that “system” and I agree – it doesn’t work! I learned that my husband doesn’t even get “hints”…. and whereas I knew that we both “knew” we needed to do work in our home…. he didn’t “get it”. Thank you for a great post, written in a fun way. 🙂

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