Thursday, October 10, 2013

Step Nine: Leading by Example and Pulling Your Own Weight

I expect a lot from my husband- not necessarily because it's my husband or even because he's a man, but because he's my partner. I work hard and I need someone who's going to work hard beside me. The best way to encourage Mr. E is to show him what I want. 
Now, this is much different from doing the things I wished he would do and grumbling about it. I'm not talking about holding a grudge against your husband and shouldering the work yourself. I mean leading him in service by showing him how you want it done. 
I've found that a big roadblock in a couple's relationship- whether living together or apart- is communication. That's a whole other blog post, but the essentials are the same: you can't expect your significant other to inherently know what it is that you're expecting, no matter how many times you've done it in front of them or with them or to them or whichever way. If you want something done specifically, take the time to show him. 
This idea applies to a lot of relationships- as evidenced by my mother. When we were old enough to clean the bathroom on our own she didn't just hand us a sponge and tell us to go at it, no matter how many times we had peeked at her scrubbing the tub. She wiped the mirror and rinsed the sink right there along with us so we had tangible evidence of what we were doing and why. From then on we had no excuses for an inferior scrub-job since she had shown us exactly how to do it.
The same is true for your husband! Leading the charge against the ever-piling dishes, or the leaning-tower-of-laundry shows him what's important to you- that you're not just asking him to do a chore because you're angry or bitter that he's doing something else. When your husband feels like the both of you are participating in a project (whether it's cleaning house or looking at finances) he's more likely to enjoy it because no one wants to do those things alone.
Pulling your weight in all manner of things "together" encourages communication and fosters strong relationships. It's kind of a guilt trip all on its own (without the nagging) because it shows him (not tells him) your work ethic and the standards you hold yourself to. Ideally, if you're keepin' it honest, he'll know it's expected of him too.

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Mrs. E