Don't Tell Him What to Do
Have you ever been in a situation at work or with your parents or at school/college where you feel like nothing you do is right? You’re trying your best, giving it a good shot but it feels like everywhere you turn, you’re being corrected, criticised or told to do it again, the way someone else wants it done? Or you just want to go to the beach or do your own thing and someone is constantly telling you that you can’t.
Take a moment to think about how that feels. Everyone expects a little bit of constructive criticism here and there or some restriction when you’re growing up but I’m talking about when it’s beyond that, when it’s relentless. What’s that like? Does it inspire you to keep going in spite of it or does it leave you feeling beaten and broken? Is it hard to stay motivated to try your best because you feel like it’s pointless - it’s not going to be good enough anyway? Did you feel like you were slowly going crazy and you couldn't wait to be in a position where you didn't have to answer to anyone anymore?
What about those times you make a decision and are about to take a certain course of action and then that same person tells you to do exactly what you were about to do anyway - or they have to comment on every little thing you’re doing?
Difficult and challenging experiences like these are something we all go through. They are also our teachers. In this case, it teaches us how it feels to have someone constantly trying to control what we are doing. It also teaches us how to find ways to rise above it. Most of all, it teaches us what we should avoid doing to others.
This is the primary reason why it’s best not to tell your date, boyfriend or husband what to do. It is disheartening, frustrating and ultimately, it destroys intimacy. Reminding him of his mother or teacher does not do anything to arouse his desire for you either. It’s not your place to tell him where he can and can’t go or instruct him on how things should be anyway, based on what you would do. He is not you. He’s his own person who has every right to do what he wants to do without being told that if he does, it’s the highway. (I’m talking about good guys here. I am certainly not referring to addicts or violent men)
This is the very thing men fear most where commitment is concerned. It’s not the commitment itself, it’s being with the wrong girl who nags him or tries to control him to the point of making him desperately miserable.
There are always going to be times in marriage, where he’s going to want to do his own thing like fishing, golf, watching the game or flying helicopters for fun. The more you allow him the space to do these things, the more he will adore you for being so supportive of him. In turn, he's more likely to want to make you a priority over these interests because he's feeling good about himself and the relationship. The more you nag him or complain, the more distant he will become and he'll disappear to seek solace in those interests.
I hear the crowds shriek, “But I don’t want to be with a man who’s married to the golf course or his fishing trips! I want a man who wants to spend time with me!”
This is where the dating process is so important. You allow him to do what he wants to do: set dates, times, places, ask for exclusivity, marriage, etc and also to pursue his dreams and interests. You then have the opportunity to observe what he does. If this fits in with who you are and what you want in a man, great! If it doesn’t, he’s probably not the right guy for you and maybe you should move on. (Keep in mind though, you don’t want to be living in each other’s pockets either. He’s going to find you a lot more interesting long-term, if you’re also doing things you love to do.) The other benefit is that he'll be crazy about you because you're not trying to control him and you’re appreciating his initiative and efforts. He will feel secure that you’re not going to be a control freak in marriage, he will naturally want the relationship to progress to something more serious and he'll continue to go out of his way to please you of his own accord.
When you’re in a relationship, it’s the little things day-to-day that make a difference. We all want to feel valued and this is especially true for men. He wants to feel like he’s making you happy, providing for you and taking care of you. When you show appreciation for what he’s doing, he feels a deep sense of satisfaction. It inspires him to want to do more of the same. If you criticise or belittle him, it’s hurtful and demoralising and he’s eventually likely to give up trying to please you and the vicious cycle continues. Sometime we tell ourselves we are being “helpful” not critical, but in essence, you’re being controlling without even being conscious of it.
Doesn't it feel better anyway when he does things because he wants to and not because you've forced him to do it?
If this isn’t enough to convince you against nagging or criticising, ask yourself how effective it’s been in the past. Has it changed his behaviour long-term? Has he given up and done it your way once but then gone back to what he wants to do anyway? Do you feel intimately connected when you’re arguing about these things? Are the arguments worth it? Do they escalate into something much worse that had little to do with what started it in the first place?What trumps all the advice on why shouldn’t you tell a man what to do?
It simply doesn’t work!