How to make a request to future DH without being manipulative!


#1

Just wondering, I always feel like if I make a simple request for something, that I am being manipulative! I never want to manipulate my future husband or be so spoiled that he can’t tell me no. What advice do you all have for requesting the things that seem important to you, without making him feel like he has to do it or that you will pout for months if he does not? :shrug:


#2

This is not like a parent/child thing - if you need assistance or something, just ask!

“Honey, will you stop by the store and pick up eggs and milk?”

“Do you want to go to a movie tonight?”

“Will you hand me that socket wrench?”

Same as you ask anyone for something.


#3

I ask because every time I make a request to h2b, he seems to feel that he is being manipulated.


#4

Sounds like you’re having communication problems. You’re not intending to be manipulative, but he is interpreting your requests that way. I would talk to him about it, and ask him how you could phrase requests to that he didn’t take them as being manipulative.


#5

I think that is a big red flag. You should be able to ask for things without being accused of bad intentions. Are there ever any other instances where he gets upset because he thinks your intentions are different than they really are?

If you were manipulating him, you would be using guilt and trying to trick him into saying yes. You would be trying to be sneaky rather than being direct.

It’s really hard to be married to someone that you have to hope just coincidentally does the things that you need or want him to do. You should be able to ask.


#6

Is there anything in your requests that makes him look bad when he refuses? How do you answer when he does refuse? What is the way he handles his own requests from you?


#7

I honestly don’t know if my requests have a bad sound to them. Yesterday he was upset because I mentioned that I hoped to paint the walls in our house once we got married. Maybe, it is because I didn’t ask him, can I paint the walls, but I more just mentioned that I wanted to. I wasn’t even going to ask him to paint, because I love painting, but he was upset even after I explained that. Later, we talked it out, but I’m still not entirely sure why he was upset, other than he says he has seen too many wives who guilt their husbands into doing whatever the wife wants. Before, it was things like asking him if he would be willing to drive two hours away so that I could see my brother (who lives a few thousand miles from me). When he said no, I don’t know, maybe my response was bad, I was disappointed, but I hope that I didn’t sit there and whine and mope about it.


#8

Please give examples so I may (hopefully) be more helpful. Does he think he is being manipulated when you ask him to “pass the salt” or are you requesting him to run errands? Are you making a request for him to do something personal such as change something about his personality? Are you making these requests often so he is feeling nagged? Do you pout when he denies your request or are you reasonable? I would like to help if I could but your description is too vague. Thank you.


#9

This statement says a lot. Your fiance has fears of losing his independence and freedom to his wife. This is why he got so upset about painting a wall…it is not about the wall, he is sensitive to being told HOW things are going to be instead of being consulted about it.

Are you in pre-marital counseling? This is something to bring up to a priest. Your fiance is afraid of being in a manipulative marriage. Your marriage can be a strong one in spite of this but you will need to examine your language and adjust. Make sure you go out of your way to ask him things instead of just telling him (like the paint). This may seem odd that you should make this adjustment because of his fear which you may think is irrational. Ideally, you** BOTH **will make changes…but since he is not the one asking for input I am giving input to you as to what you may need to do.

Your future husband has a fear, and you can help ease his fear of being manipulated by going out of your way to see that he feels you are not manipulating him by the words you choose. He, on the other hand will need to examine his fears and what is motivating them and see if he is willing to change. If he is not willing to consider change and the only one changing is you…I beleive you have a rough road ahead of you. I have been in relationships like this and they can be hard to make work because of constantly butting heads. I will pray for you.


#10

I am aware that he is insecure in certain measures. I have been learning to adjust in the way I talk, though sometimes I do still forget! There have been things that we have talked about that he does admit he is wrong and he has made the effort to change. It is a two way street! I think that I will ask him how I can make requests that won’t make him feel like he is being manipulated!


#11

You are a wise woman and I give you a lot of credit for recognizing this and working to change you if need be.
Awesome.


#12

Yesterday he was upset because I mentioned that I hoped to paint the walls in our house once we got married.

You said “hoped”… he heard “I’ll be painting the house the day after our honeymoon”.

If you’d said “within a few months after we’re married, I really want to paint & redecorate a bit - make this place our own”… bingo - intentions aired, deadline set. No “hope/wish/unknowns”. (He should know by know that “not long” in woman-time is 6 mo.)

Learn now & learn quick… men see in 16 colors, and peach is a fruit. Either make a statement, or ask questions that require a definitive answer. (and don’t ever ask if an outfit “makes me look fat” :wink: .)


#13

Oh no no no…you know this man is insecure, so you are already schooling yourself in how to walk on eggshells before you are even married. You can’t make even simple requests, or even discuss a mundane desire like wanting paint a wall YOURSELF, without him getting upset at you or feeling you are manipulating him? He is using what he sees in other people’s marriages, which may not even be accurate by the way, to justify reacting badly to you. He automatically assumes that the relations that lead to husbands doing what wives request are negative.

This guy has major, severe issues with the concept of marriage and in the way he relates to you. I am comfortable saying, with all you have already posted, that this guy is not ready to get married.

Why are you willing to hem yourself in and accept these things? Why do you want to be married to a person you can’t discuss things honestly and rationally with? Believe me, issues way bigger than wall painting are going to come up. If you can’t talk about those without him accusing you of manipulating him, then how will you talk about the really serious stuff? Like when your financial base caves in after a job loss, or a child has a serious health issue, or you have to decide whether you should move, and to where? These are all things that have come up in my own very stable, open, and relatively calm married life. We don’t look for big issues, but they find us anyway. The only way we have gotten through them is because we can be open and express ourselves without reservation to each other. We don’t always see eye to eye, and there are things we sometimes do that set each other off, but we are not afraid to bring up any issue to each other. We know we can literally say anything to each other, including, when it’s needed, “you’re wrong” or “your attitude is damaging our family.” Do you think you could say that to your intended without risking him walking out on you? From your previous posts, I don’t think you could.

You need to do some serious evaluation here of whether this guy is someone you can really count on. When you hand power over your life and well-being to someone else, as you do in marriage, you must be able to completely trust that they are a person who will be worthy of having that much influence. You have to trust that even when things hit their worst, that person will be a support to you, not a further difficulty. You have to know that you will be facing everything together, not being immobilized by fighting between yourselves.

Whomever is doing your pre-marital counseling needs to know about this issue, and the fact that you have already started trying to change yourself to accomodate his behavior. I think they will also tell you that this is a huge red flag, and that you need to slow down and take the time to evaluate every part of this relationship to discern whether it should progress to marriage at all.


#14

What Duskyjewel said is right on the mark. If he’s like this before the marriage, well, it’s not going to get better once the vows are exchanged. If anything, it will get worse because you’ll be living together and he will be more inclined to “let it all hang out”.

If he’s not willing to address this issue, postpone the wedding. Fortunately he doesn’t seem unwilling to budge, and also fortunately you arent placing all blame on him. That said, I wouldn’t advise anyone to marry someone with whom she is afraid to share her hopes and dreams lest he feel burdened and lash out. That’s not how a husband should behave.


#15

Dusky is well said above. If you were my sister or daughter, I’d tell you to RUN.

You are in the period where you get the BEST version of him - time to talk very honestly to a professional.


#16

Erm, I don’t want to say you said something the bad way, but he may have got upset because you spoke about a totally possible thing, depending on your (joint decision), in terms of hopes, so perhaps he understood there was some emotional coaxing going on. I suppose some men would prefer a clear-cut request. Myself, I don’t know how I would react, but I generally prefer clear-cut requests over veiled, subtle, tentative ones, if they are strong. Sometimes I teach people that if they want something from me, they have to frame the request and I won’t be guessing their mind or anticipating their wishes. I make it especially clear with other guys, while I try to be tender with ladies.

I would worry about the thing with brother more than the painting thing. The painting thing sounds a bit like an honest misunderstanding, whereas if he won’t drive with you to your brother you’re missing, without a good reason, then I wonder how much sacrifice he’s going to make for you. I’m taking you’d drive him to his sister if he couldn’t drive?

Basically, while I’m not the paragon of sanity, I can see myself repeating the pattern with the painting, but the driving thing looks bad to me.

Note: Women have different ways of dealing with requests than men do. In some proper homes, you won’t see that because there are properly carried gender roles and all, so people learn how to live with each other. But interactions from a female company will not be transplanted into a male one and vice versa. Women will always prefer to be subtler and more tentative and will pick up hints much more easily, I think. Men will tend to take non-verbal ways of persuasion for manipulation. Appeals to emotions, feelings, mutual bonds, may be taken the same way. Whatever makes us look bad if we don’t comply. Whatever puts us in a no-win situation where we have little choice in the matter. Whatever “outsmarts” us. We see such things and they don’t make us happy, even if we say nothing. I’m not saying you do any of these. I’m just saying what’s a potential problem.

Well, one last thought is that if a guy is a gentleman he may not like an alternative like, “either you do it or I’ll do it,” because his manners won’t let him watch the woman do it, so he has to do it anyway. Maybe he doesn’t want to paint the house or something.


#17

I’d tell you the same. “'Til death do you part” is a loooooong time to put up with this sort stuff. And insecure men can become controlling and abusive down the road. Proceed with extreme caution here and please get some professional counseling.


#18

This post says exactly what I was thinking.

That whole “trying to learn how to not set him off” thing you posted really raised red flags for me, too. I didn’t marry a jerk, but I dated a couple of them and I well remember that walking on eggshells.

It doesn’t get better. It only gets worse. You will NEVER get it “right” and will ALWAYS be second-guessing yourself, trying to figure out what to change about yourself to make him happy.


#19

Amen, about these red flags. When a spouse uses anger as a response pattern, the relationship will not be a healthy one. It’s a control tool, whether used consciously or not. The partner will lose his or her sense of self while tripping over his (the angry person’s) anger and irrationality, while trying to accomodate him. Blues, PM me if you’d like – I know this first hand. This is not merely a matter of you communicating “correctly.” I hope I’m wrong, but based on what you posted, IMO your h2b is too self-centered – too focused on perceived control issues – to be a mature and honest Christian spouse.

Are you in a pre-Cana (marriage preparation) program? I hope so – although as another poster suggested, this dynamic between the two of you is dangerous enough to merit therapeutic work.


#20

I have to be fair to h2b… he did take me to see my brother, and apologized for at first refusing when he knew it meant a lot to me. He also told me later that he wishes he would have said yes right away because he should have.
I also come from a family that is often manipulative, so it is very possible that when I do make a request, I subconsciously make it in a way that I know will be hard to refuse! Further, in most of the marriages that I have seen, to some extent you do walk on eggshells for the other person because you do love them. I mean it drives me crazy when someone doesn’t squeeze the toothpaste the wrong way. There have also been things that he has said, that I have asked him to say slightly differently because he was unconsciously hurting my feelings by the way he said something (though he had absolutely no intention of doing so). He said ok honey and since then, he has always made the effort to avoid saying it in the way that bothered me (and has done an excellent job of avoiding it.)!


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