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  • Olivia Sanders
    Olivia Sanders

    When Helping is a Struggle: Supporting Your Spouse When Effort is Not Enough

    One of the most common struggles in marriage revolves around the balance between effort and results. Often when one partner feels that their efforts are not enough to please the other, frustration can become a common occurrence. This same struggle can arise when a husband is eager to help out around the home, but the wife may feel that it simply isn’t enough. In the face of rising tensions, it is important for couples to recognize and address this difficult dilemma.

    When someone puts forth an eager effort, there is an expectation that the results of this effort will be appreciated or return recognition. Unfortunately, even if the effort is sincere, sincere disappointment can settle into the relationship if the output doesn’t provide the desired outcome. For many men, the effort of trying to help performs a necessary role of self-esteem.

    Couples need to acknowledge that this dichotomy - trying one’s best while still not reaching expectations - can rapidly cause eroding loyalty. Husbands need to be prepared to accept that their efforts may not always meet their spouse’s expectations. With an appreciation and understanding of this, these couples may benefit from a new approach to helping.

    It helps to open the discussion with honest discussions about expectations. While it helps to talk about help and support, it’s also crucial to talk about what needs to be done and why. When needs aren't articulated, one partner’s contribution will often go unrecognized. Working out the details together can help build a stronger foundation and provide clarity on both sides.

    Sometimes, it’s more useful to cast off expectations when it comes to help and support around the home. Men and women both need the freedom to contribute without being weighed down by the pressures of expectations. It’s up to each partner to decide what type of assistance will be offered and how to distribute labor in an equitable way which makes both feel validated and seen. Without this, restlessness and discontent can easily breed in the home.

    When husbands and wives work together mutually, they can appreciate one another's efforts far better than if one partner only feels as if their needs have been met. Encouraging mutual discussion and understanding is key to finding a place where both partners are happy. Taking a step back and conversing with one another can help pinpoint the root issues and find solutions that put both spouses in a place of contentment. The bottom line is that assistance needs to be offered and gratefully accepted in order to move forward....even when expectations are not adequately met.

    This delicate balance requires the couple to be present with one another and understand the importance of expressing gratitude and support. When spouses make an effort to recognize their individual needs while encouraging and validating each others’ contributions, they can begin to build a healthy dialogue and potential solutions to overcome the gap between effort and accuracy. This mutual cooperation creates an atmosphere where helping around the home is something enjoyable and appreciated, rather than a source of discord.

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