After working 10 hours at my day job, on my way home, I had to branch at the grocery store to buy food stuff for the family. I am so tired. On getting to my driveway, I sighted my husband’s car. Oh, he’s home before me as usual. I parked my car and started taking the grocery inside. I saw Dapo sitting down and relaxing. I greeted him. He stood up to respond and chatted with me for a couple of minutes and continued what he was doing. I asked him to assist me with the groceries from the car. Guess his response…… “Woo, I’m tired. I just got back from work not too long ago”. I looked at myself and had to ask myself, where I was coming from? You would think I was coming from a party.
Then I had to go to the kitchen immediately. Cooked and cooked and cooked. When food was done, Dapo strolled to the dining table, ate his portion, stood up and went back to catch up on “Trump”. I even tried to engage him in a conversation, he partially responded. I brought his attention on the fact that he did not even say thank you or compliment the effort I put into the food. He responded and said….. “must I say thank you all the time?” Is it not just food?
This is the life of a wife that is not acknowledged or appreciated by her husband.
In fact it is certain that at some point in one’s marital life, you are bound to take your spouse for granted. As a result, conscious effort has to be made by both parties to ensure that they do not take each other for granted. When a woman (or man) begins to notice that her spouse doesn’t appreciate or acknowledge her act of kindness, she should try as fast as possible to nip it in the bud before it snowballs into bigger issues.
Another factor I have noticed is the “traditional expectation factor”. What is/is not expected of each other in marriage. Just like the scenario painted above. It is expected in a relationship (at least in a Nigeria setting) that a woman, no matter what, should go to the kitchen after her day’s work no matter how tired she is. It is an unspoken rule. So what does she need to be thanked for? It is her duty anyway………right?…..No! Not right and it is not fair. When a woman comes from work, she is extremely tired and by going straight to the kitchen, she is being selfless putting aside her own needs to take care of others. As a result, she should be appreciated. A lot of men are married to women who made it a rule that they do not go to the kitchen during the week. The man has to fend for himself. In their household, it is OYO- On Your Own during the week. So if a man has wife that makes it her duty to go to the kitchen everyday post day work, he should be grateful and vice versa.
How Do You Not Take Your Spouse for Granted- Just like any other relationship, by not assuming and expecting. When someone thinks that it is expected of the other to do something, there is a tendency not to be appreciative at times hence taking the act of service given by the other for granted.
Always say thank you, thank you and thank you. Simply saying I appreciate you and your hard work.
How to Manage An Unappreciative Spouse
From studying self and other people and likewise from listening to other people’s story, I have noticed that a lot of women in their quest to submit to their husbands, they have become enablers.
What is an Enabler? – Meriam Webster dictionary, defines an enabler as one that enables another to achieve an end; especially: one who enables another to persist in self-destructive behaviour.
So what do you do if you find yourself in this situation?
Communicate, Communicate, communicate- I always believe in the power of communication. From counselling Nigerian couples, I have noticed that some of our home bread hubbies don’t understand some fundamentals of healthy relationship. This is not meant as an insult but just an observation. They don’t know that a simple “thank you”, “this food taste so good”, O my, dear you’ve been in the kitchen this long?’ or “sorry”….all these go a long way.
Don’t assume- have you heard that “assumptions are the termites of relationships”. Ask and it shall be given on to you that’s what the holy book says, right? Don’t assume he is aware of his actions. Speak with him on expectations in regards to gratitude. Some ladies laugh at times when I tell them they should say thank you after a beautiful love making session with their spouses. And it should go both ways by the way. I wonder why they laugh…..try it and see the effect. Now if communication doesn’t work then you have to go to plan B.
#1- Withdraw the Act of Service (momentarily) – The thing about people who take others for granted is because a lot of things have been given to them on a platter of gold. If you take away the gestures sometimes these can serve as a wake-up call.
#2- Get Yourself Busy– Find something productive to occupy your time with. A lot of people think others who give them attention is as a result of idleness. I spoke to few of my girlfriends who I know have dealt with this issue before. Believe it or not, all of them practiced withdrawing the act of service or reduced the frequency and the guy realized it, asked them what was going on and in a very subtle non-confrontational manner responded that when they did it, it was not appreciated hence the withdrawal.
#3- Pursue Your Passion- Again, this ties up with #2 a little bit. For instance if you’ve always wanted to know how to sew. You can enrol for a class in it. Focus and follow through. 1) this keeps you busy (as stated in #1) and 2) it shifts the attention from him to you (at least for the time you will be busy).
Enough said for today. I wish you all the best as always. Until next week when I bring you sweet wife palava again.
Question of the day- for some of us that have passed through this and managed it, can you please share your experience in the comment section below? Remember, you might just be helping someone and touching lives.
….And oh by the way, thanks to all that have been sending me emails and sharing their real life stories with me. It is much appreciated. Ciao 🙂
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Tolusworld Profile- Tolu Dairo MD. MSc. A motivational speaker and writer who uses her passion for career/self-development, positive parenting and healthy relationships to inspire to live their dreams.