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honey do list

A Honey-Don’t List for Wives

By: Mark Merrill


Don’t interrogate me.

Remember that men and women communicate differently; typically she has more words to offer in a day than he does. So don’t expect him to be as verbal as you are. He may process things internally more than you do, thinking them through rather than talking them out. Asking too many questions may make him feel threatened like you’re a detective out to convict him of some crime, rather than someone who’s on his side.

Don’t confuse me.

In addition to being more verbal, women typically have a greater ability to “multi-think”: they have more “open tabs” in their internal browser. Lots of guys are silo thinkers, focusing on one topic at a time, so switching topics isn’t helpful to them. This is true for us; my wife, Susan, is a creative, big-picture thinker who can flow from one thing to another effortlessly. I am more linear in thinking, and sometimes need to remind her to slow down and give me her thoughts in order. 

Don’t lecture me.

We may act like we’re confident most of the time, but we sometimes have fragile egos so being corrected can be difficult. We need someone to point out when we are going wrong, but please try to do it in a way that doesn’t make us feel inadequate. We want to learn from you, but we need you to build us up, not tear us down. And remember, just because our way is different, it doesn’t necessarily mean we are wrong: could you have a tendency to be controlling?

Don’t belittle me.

Given that we can be sensitive to correction, it follows that we don’t like being made fun of in a way that puts us down. Playful teasing between a husband and wife can be a positive bond, but it can easily become a passive-aggressive way of criticizing which is especially wounding when it’s done in front of the children or in public.

Don’t reject me.

We want your warm touch: we need to know that sex isn’t just an obligation to you. So please find ways to reassure us that desire is a two-way street. Flirt a little, from time to time. 

Don’t forget to thank me.

Gratitude is a great fertilizer that helps grow your marriage. Knowing you appreciate what we do—whether that’s working, working out, weeding, washing the dishes, or watching the children so you can have some downtime—makes us want to do more! Your “thank you” means more than you know. 

Don’t stop telling me I’m the man.

Just as your appreciation matters, so does your admiration. Knowing we still float your boat sends us out into the world with a spring in our step. We want to be your hero.