Sometimes we need encouragement in our quest to step up and be the men God has called us to be. Sometimes we need information, and sometimes we need training. Sometimes we need a mentor—someone who will show us how to be godly men, how to love our wives as Christ loves the church.
And sometimes we need to know what we should stop doing. Sometimes we may even need someone to say, “Hey, stop acting like a jerk!”
That’s what this list is about.
One of the most popular articles on our website is “15 Things Wives Should Stop Doing.” When we first posted it, several readers asked for a similar list for husbands, so we gathered suggestions from a number of men. Here's a list of their best ideas. Of course, not all of these items apply to all men. But perhaps something here will hit home for you.
Two things to remember: First, these items were sent to me by other men, not by wives. Second, some readers have expressed concern that this list for husbands has 40 items while the corresponding article for women has 15. I'm not sending a message here—I'm not saying husbands need more help than wives. It's just ... a different list!
1. Stop acting like the battle is won in pursuing and getting to know your wife. Have fun together, just like you used to do before you walked down the aisle.
2. If your wife is a stay-at-home mom, stop treating her like her work during the day is somehow less strenuous or less important than yours.
3. Stop coming home from work and plopping in front of the television for the night, leaving your wife to bear the responsibility for everything else going on in the home.
4. Stop working so much. Find a healthy balance between work and family. Your wife would rather have you than a big house, nice car, etc.
5. Stop acting like you’re listening when you’re really watching TV.
6. Stop allowing the spiritual leadership of the family to default to your wife.
7. Stop being passive when it comes to disciplining and training your kids.
8. Stop saying you know and understand what your wife is saying or feeling when you haven’t even listened to what she has to say.
9. Stop being a closed book. Open up to your wife. Don’t be afraid to show emotion.
10. Stop allowing your role as leader in the home to be an excuse for selfish behavior. Don’t forget that a true leader also serves.
11. Stop dishonoring your wife by criticizing her in front of your children or in public.
12. When you wife irritates you, don’t answer right away. Instead count to 10 and remember that she is a gift from God.
13. Stop using your size and strength and anger to intimidate your wife and children.
14. Stop using the word “divorce” in your vocabulary.
15. Don’t shy away from difficult conversations with your wife.
16. Stop saying you’ll do something and then procrastinating.
17. Don’t purchase any major item without first discussing it with your wife.
18. Don't allow your eyes to linger on beautiful women who pass by. You can't help the first look; it's that second, longer look that you need to avoid. (And if your wife is with you, don’t lie to her and say you didn’t see that woman. Just admit you looked.)
19. Stop thinking, I know more than my wife. You and your wife will each have more knowledge than the other in certain areas.
20. Don’t assume you know what your wife is thinking. Ask her how she is feeling and why.
21. When your wife tells you about a problem she’s having, don’t immediately try to solve it. She may just need you to listen to her.
22. Stop the sarcasm. You may be trying to sound funny, but you’re only cutting down your wife.
23. Stop treating your wife like a child. Remember that God has given her a wealth of experience and information that you need.
24. Stop acting like God and trying to control your wife.
25. Stop pointing out her mistakes and asking for explanations. Doing these things can make her feel like a failure.
26. Never casually or disrespectfully talk to other guys about sex with your wife.
27. Stop telling your wife that she is supposed to “submit” to you. If she is not following you, that means you’re not leading her as Christ loves the church.
28. Stop feeding your sexual desires from any source other than your wife.
29. Don’t be alone with any woman who is not your wife or related to you.
30. Stop discussing deep-level issues with a woman who is not your wife or related to you.
31. Stop deceiving your wife about your finances.
32. Don’t look up old girlfriends on Facebook.
33. Stop putting a number on how often you should enjoy sexual intimacy.
34. Stop acting as if you have a GPS programmed into your brain. Before you go somewhere with your wife, get the right address and find out how to get there. If you are lost, don’t hesitate to get directions—from your smartphone map, even from a person.
35. Don’t make fun of your wife to other guys.
36. Don’t allow guy-only activities (like playing golf, basketball, etc.) to rob you of leisure time with your wife and kids.
37. Stop expecting your wife to do all the housework.
38. Stop saying, “Honey … can you get the kids to be quiet?” when the kids are being monsters. Get up and go quiet them down yourself!
39. Stop putting all your stuff in the laundry basket and then acting as if you “did the laundry.”
40. Stop acting like picking up a gallon of milk is equal to the martyrdom of St. Stephen.
Some will say that lists like these are “too negative”—that this is an example of “trashing” men. Here’s how I see it: If you are coaching your son’s Little League team, you’re going to teach him a lot of positives—how to hit, how to throw, what base he should throw to when there are runners on first and second. But you also will need to get him to stop doing things—like swinging at bad pitches, or jogging to first base instead of sprinting.
Sometimes we need to know what not to do.
Is there anything you’d like to add to the list? Use the comments section below.
Click here for articles that will help you be a good husband. Also, be sure to read the article on “15 Things Wives Should Stop Doing.” And check out the Marriage section on our website to find plenty of articles on how to build lasting marriages.
Article updated in June 2014.
© 2012 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.
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