There are times in most marriages when things feel out of balance. Maybe it’s a busier season for one spouse than it is for another. It could be a result of tasks around the home, managing the children, or a demanding career. Whatever the reason, there are times when one person is incredibly overwhelmed, and they are barely keeping their head above water; times when they could sure use a little bit of help. Sounds familiar?
I’ve certainly been there. There have been times when juggling the kids, the house, my aspirations, and my career have been a bit much. Those are moments when I just want to sit in a hot bath and forget about everything for a few. And, do you know what my biggest mistake has been during those times? I did not ask my husband for help. I know, it seems stupid, but it’s true. During those seasons of increased responsibility and stress, I would neglect to ask for help from the one person who vowed to stand by my side, for better or worse. Now, what sense does that make? Isn’t he there to help?
I think some of it is certainly foolish pride. I want my spouse to think that I have it all together. I can manage the kids, and my 9-5, and my writing career, and my sick mom. Yep, I can do it all. I wish somebody would imply that I can’t! Clearly if he thought I couldn’t handle it, he would just offer up some help, right? I mean, would my partner in life just watch me struggle and suffer without extending a helping hand?
I married a good guy, so I know he would not just watch me struggle. But, I also married a man who genuinely thinks that people aren’t in need of help, unless they ask for it — even if it’s his own wife. In his mind, it seems pretty obvious that I would reach out when I need assistance because he is right there. After all, he won’t refuse to help me. I’m his wife. In his world, if you need help you just ask. It’s really that simple.
But you see, I think differently. I find myself wanting to say, “Surely you must see that I’m tired and that I need help. I mean, I can’t do everything by myself.” The problem, though, is that when you act like you can do it on your own, your spouse may buy into the act and just let you do it on your own because you seem so good at it (even though you are suffering silently). They may have moments when they wonder how you are handling it, but unless you tell them otherwise, they let you handle it.
I have learned to just say, “help, please.” I have learned that my husband cannot read my mind, and even if it seems like he is being insensitive, he really isn’t. He just processes things differently. He always contributes around the house (he always has), and when I ask for additional help, he never lets me down. And, when we help each other our marriage is in such a good place. Nothing beats knowing that someone always has your back (even if you have to ask sometimes).
I just have to realize that although being “superwoman” can feel empowering, it can also be very stressful, and can put unnecessary strain on my relationship. I definitely don’t want or need that, and I am pretty sure my husband doesn’t either. As a matter of fact, I have a to-do list like you would not believe, so guess who I’m about to ask for some help?
BMWK Family — Do you have a hard time asking your spouse for help?