There is no such thing as motivation, there is only self-motivation. The more or harder you try to get someone to do what you want, the more likely you fail. Even if you succeed, extended or final results may contradict the worth of your efforts. (It’s the same with child-raising, too.)
Everyone is guided and makes decisions according to their self-interest. Often called the universal motivator, it enables every individual to guide their way through dealings with others. Knowing full well their own interest, they can stick to it, trade off separate interests in favor of more mutual interests, or they can relinquish getting their way by allowing the other person to get their way.
By following Rule 2, wives can avoid many kinds of minor ill-effects that compound over time and rub raw the self-interest of hubby and with repercussions for her. Minor disturbances in self-interest can cause major resentment in husband without wife noticing it or becoming fully aware.
A man’s reactions to a woman’s complaints have far reaching results that women can’t anticipate to protect their self-interest. In that regard more than any other I can think of, men are strange ducks. They lack understanding suitable for wives to predict outcomes, perceive what comes next, or keep their relationship or marriage evenly balanced. Consequently, I promote the use of Rule 2 as critical to wife-think in the matrimonial arena.
Rule 2: Don’t complain. When you complain, he is automatically not okay until he proves to himself that he can do nothing about it, which reduces it to guilt and men avoid, fix, or forget guilt. Fixing your download of guilt is not satisfying, although what and how he fixes it may provide some satisfaction.
Wives use complaints four ways, as they try to directly motivate husbands or shape manly self-interest to agree more closely with woman-think.
1) By unloading wifely problems as complaints to husband, she expects hubby to be motivated to relieve the pressures if not solve her problems. Because of her love, it’s a privilege for him. It’s a price he feels burdened to pay for liking her and her living with him.
2) Wives expect husbands to appreciate them more if they report about matters they used their personal ability to resolve before hubby had to get involved. In short, she may just be reporting what happened to her today. Such reports, however, can register with husband as complaints. Especially if anguish surrounds her report of what happened and what she did or couldn’t do about it.
3) She seeks to impress him with her acuity, aptitude, discernment, or usefulness. She’s as effective as he believes in her abilities.
4) She’s a constant complainer. Nothing is ever right in her eyes, and she proves it to herself by continually reporting how accurately she can distinguish right from wrong, what is and what should be, and especially about her lack of respect of faith in other people. It’s the worst expression of the female ego with several debilitating effects on her life as wife, mother, friend. It weakens the spirits of those around her. It makes her less effective as the indirect leader, the heart and soul of the home. It elicits sympathy but little else—especially not manly admiration— for her inability to find relief and solace within herself.
Hearing her complaints, hubby may consider himself better qualified but ignored, figure out a better solution was available, or conclude she didn’t trust him to help. In that event, she upstages him with too much emphasis on what she believes and contradicts what he perceives and may believe. It amounts to short-circuiting her personality and making her unlikeable to husband and probably any man.
Man-think differs from woman-think.
She likes to talk about happenings in her life. Men don’t want to hear about troublesome things about which they can do nothing. If unable to do anything, whether routine disclosure or complaint, hubby takes it personally. Why is she telling me this? What does she expect me to do? After many such incidences, husband’s resentment sets in.
Women know how guilt motivates them and presume it works the same way with men. NOT! Men either fix what they can or they ignore any guilt she may be flinging. If he presumes that he is or should be guilty of malfeasance in her eyes, he absorbs it prepared to take action. However, if unfixable or no options are available, men forget it; they neither harbor nor are self-motivated by guilt imposed on them by women. Oh, a loving husband may do it for awhile out of his sense of duty, but the negative sense of it eventually boils into resistance, resentment, and can end in retaliation.
The main point is this: Negative reports of what happened to her today can carry messages that husband isn’t doing a good job of supporting her. He should do better, but he’s unable to read her mind or know what to do about what she expects.
Even her innocent complaints can be received different from what she intends. Wives are good at reading their husbands, at perceiving the effects of wifely speech. However, husbands who love their wives become virtually unreadable when faced with a woman’s complaints.
Such men are often caught between the rock of uncertainty of what to do and the hard place of doing their duty. Both issues have a demoralizing effect. Inability to take action when it’s needed, and how to satisfy himself doing the right thing.
Example: Wife says, “The lawn is so ugly; can you mow it today?” He forgot. It hits him as guilt that he had to be reminded. He resents it and can find no satisfaction in doing what she expects. Once he finishes mowing, he finds satisfaction in his achievement. Whether or not it outweighs his earlier resentment is moot. Too much resentment piled up from poorly worded complaints can stifle a husband’s ambitions to continue as wife expects. (Example of a better and indirect way for her: “Do you still intend to buy a new lawn mower next year?” and his mind clicks over to this: Durn, almost forgot, and he heads for the old mower with good expectations for next year. She’s more likeable for having reminded him of his future expectations and satisfactions.)
Wifely complaints are usually heard as surprises and neither men, leaders, nor husbands like surprises. Surprises inform negatively that husband has a duty to do something. It’s not his to figure out; your complaining directly advises him to listen to you, and it doesn’t put your best foot forward.
Wifely complaints register that she’s unhappy. But men seek to neutralize complaints rather than make someone happy. Wives often follow husband’s satisfying actions to resolve their complaints with further complaints until wives are happy with the solution, which is usually more than how or what he fixed. They aren’t really happy about the results he produced. He’s satisfied, but she’s not happy with it.
It’s the beastly side of the female nature. When wives identify what they want done, it’s to make her happy with the finished ‘fix’ that she envisioned or expected. When he fixes what she wants done, he satisfies himself. Her ‘happy’ and his satisfaction are very different, often conflict, and too easily keep her on offense and him on defense. Just the way simple complaints are worded and expected to be ‘fixed’ to please her can create an unfriendly environment for husbands.
Example: The dryer doesn’t work. He replaces the belt and notices that it squeaks a little and plans to buy some lubricant for the new belt. He says nothing but she hears the squeak and, frustrated at hubby’s obvious incompetence, calls the repairman who adds lubricant. Husband explodes when he learns of it.
Complaints are not innocent. They stimulate adverse effects for you. Any complaint implies husband may be guilty, which men don’t live with and must shed or forget, which causes husband to pry into your thinking, which can confirm his guilt if he detects that you complain about him, which means he has to do something to ‘fix’ your complaint, which may or may not solve your problem. After many complaints, out of frustration—or to shed too much guilt flung at him—he may just flee to some other thing of interest or distraction. Maybe work longer hours, work his secretary overtime for more closeness, just get away, go get a drink, or chase a gal.
It’s an unfriendly position for a man and even harder to accept very much of it. So, your frequent complaints tend to corrupt his marital spirit. Continual complaints pressure him to think of separation, independence, freedom, another kind of woman. Doesn’t mean he will proceed along that line of thought, but marital solidarity weakens from your endless complaining.
And you say, but how do I handle something that doesn’t work or needs attention? First, don’t presume to know and don’t tell him what or how to fix it. If you need help, don’t pass on your opinions until he asks. Gently mention that something needs attention and you depend on him to fix it. Let him prioritize his schedule, investigate, and then get more details from you, so he can figure out what he should do. He likes to figure out the details under his own ambition to satisfy himself. Making you happy is secondary.
Second, use that innocent approach until you learn what husband is like and how and what he appreciates from you when you need help or to fix something. If you need help, he expects to fix whatever it is without your help until he asks you. If you know what he should do, you can do it yourself. Why ping on him? He’s busy with more important things.
You will probably read that and think that I alibi for men. Nope! I am just telling you how the male mind works when women complain or try to tell them what to do or how to do it. With husbands, either she can fix it or not. If not, then let him do it until he asks for info or help.
A wife’s constant complaining prevents a man finding satisfaction in his marriage. OTOH, when a husband figures out that he should do certain things to be a good man, he earns satisfaction with himself, which makes his marriage satisfying. Seldom, however, does it originate with complaints by someone else, especially his woman.
When he figures out that someone of interest to him needs his attention or help, he tends to follow his conscience to do his duty. When he accepts the responsibility of marriage, his duty becomes that of satisfying those for whom he’s responsible. Not making them happy necessarily but satisfying himself that they should be satisfied by whatever he does on their behalf.
A wife’s complaints interfere with that process. Oh, she knows what their marriage needs. But complaints about ordinary things and daily events show her to be incapable of handling the necessities of living together. And that degrades her from superior to something less as a satisfying mate.
Consequently, the constant complaining of wives—which is a popular habit according to modern men— tend to drive a couple apart more than together. (Example: Many divorced men say, “I just got tired of her s***!”)
Example: Wife and husband disagree and face off to decide who gets their way. Husband says my way or the highway or some other threat. Wife suddenly finds that her self-interest values their relationship over his announced threat. Whatever caused their disagreement in the first place is now displaced to other parts of their self-interest. They now compete, which wives should avoid because it brings more complaints to light.
Reserving the privilege of naming ‘what’s right’ is an integral part of the husband’s self-interest. Smart husbands don’t motivate the wife to accept the husband’s way, they depend on her self-interest to know what their relationship needs at any particular moment. It works that way from his presumption that he’s the boss because she married him.
It’s a fine line. When wife tries to motivate husband to match her self-interest, he releases signals that he doesn’t respect the wife enough to let her make decisions on the matter at issue. OTOH, leaving the decision up to others and their self-interest and self-motivation displays respect of initiator for the decision-maker. But that’s an ideal that is hard to come by for many couples.
This is another fine line. Some claim that the husband motivates the wife. It’s technically incorrect, because the wife has free will and the freedom to decide to agree or disagree with the boss. IOW, she gets to rely on her self-interest as she adjusted it when they married. Specifically, to cooperate rather than compete with him and to not be caught trying to lead him.
Wife’s smiles tell husband that she is okay. Lack of her complaints tells husband that he is okay. Another okay awaits the conscientious wife who can live by Rule 3, next.