I had an argument with the wife about advice


#1

I recently had an argument with my wife about unsolicited advise, she tends to give this to me and it drives me crazy.

I’m not one to give advise unsolicited because I believe that when people give unsolicited advise it basically comes across for me as one-upmanship, or assertion of dominance, or criticism, or distrust, or failure to consider my own unique goals, basically I don’t know what I’m doing or have control in my life. I’d really like a choice to accept advise or not.

I had asked her if you want to give me advise on a certain event, topic etc, then she should ask if she can give it and not just give it. Of course if it has to do with life or limb or to save me from certain doom, ok, I can understand that.

Her position on the matter of advise is that it doesn’t matter what is it about and it is her right because she cares for me and loves me and she is my wife, and doesn’t believe she needs to ask.

We are at an impasse and has driven a wedge between us and I don’t know how to move forward, it is stagnating us. We’ve known each other for a little over 20 years and married for 11. I’d like your solicited advise on this. Thanks!


#2

There’s only a little input I can give, not knowing the whole story nor the relationship.

Have you really talked to her to the point where she knows how this makes you feel. As she cares for you, knowing that could make a difference. Solicited or unsolicited, you choose to accept or reject, and you choose to attach an intent that may not be there.


#3

Can only speak from the example of my marriage of close to 30 years. We give each other advice, we listen to each other, and I cannot fathom asking permission or being asked permission re advice to each other.

Have you considered a Retrouvaille retreat? The focus is on communication styles. It could be that what one considers advice the other considers criticism? Don’t let this come between you, there are ways to learn to communicate with each other in love and respect.


#4

Same here. It doesn’t mean you think your spouse doesn’t know what they’re doing, it means you care.


#5

Makes one wonder if there were some hyper-critical people in the OP’s family of origin.


#6

Is this really the hill you want to die on?


#7

And/or it could be the words she uses are triggering this response.

My husband, like his parents, used “maybe” for “I plan to”.
So if he said “maybe we’ll go to the mall later”, what he meant was “I see us as going to the mall later”.
But I would hear “the mall is one of many options for the day, and might not happen.”

Some of our early conflicts would happen because I would then go and plan something else for the day, not understanding what he was trying to communicate.

It got better. He learned to rephrase, and I learned to verify :slightly_smiling_face:


#8

Seriously? That’s like a spouse’s job!


#9

I get it- I get annoyed when my husband tries to give me advice about something and I just need to talk.

However, I do it to my husband too, without even realizing it. I’ve tried asking “Do you want to know what I think?” before spouting off suggestions, because I know it bugs him too. But I don’t do this all the time and he does it basically never.

I think it’s just something spouses do because they care about each other and want to help. It can come off as “I know better than you do” which is frustrating. But sometimes the advice given is worth considering.

I think the best thing you can do is learn to listen without feeling criticized, because that’s probably not her intention. If you don’t want her advice, no need to get upset- just say thanks and move on.


#10

But this isn’t what you are asking in the rest of your post. The rest of your post is asking for your wife not to give advice at all. How can you say ,“I’d really like a choice to accept advice or not” when you also say that you don’t want to hear any advice? Perhaps you misspoke.


#11

:thinking: There is more to the story? Are you saying that every time you talk about something she starts in with “advice”?


#12

A spouse shouldn’t have to “ask permission” of another spouse before they bring up a certain topic. You’re spouses, you’re supposed to be able to just talk.

Your wife has made clear she is speaking out of concern for you and not out of any attempt to assert dominance or “failure to consider your own unique goals” etc. You in turn are free to say, "OK, thanks, I hear you, " and not take her advice. If you feel she is nagging then maybe after she has given the same advice a couple times you can say, “OK honey, we’ve been over this, and I know what you’ve advised me to do, can we please drop the subject now.”

But the whole, “don’t even bring up the subject before you ask me if it’s okay” is not going to fly in a marriage. People can’t be walking on eggshells asking permission to speak all the time when they live together 24/7.

I agree this is a difference in communication styles and if you continue to have trouble with it, then a workshop or some counseling is in order.


#13

One of the more difficult lessons I’ve learned over the years is that most women do not appreciate unsolicited advice. They often just need me to listen and they need to feel that I heard them. I like to be helpful, but I had to learn that often the best help I can give a woman I’m listening to is to say nothing beyond active listening, to not give advice or help unless she specifically asks for it. Well heck, I don’t like unsolicited advice all that much either so I can see where this is coming from.

Have no idea how the OP’s wife feels about unsolicited advice from her husband, he does not say. But this could easily flow in both directions. I’m no relationship counselor, but I should think if unsolicited advice is unwelcome, then there has to be active asking for input.


#14

Tis_Bearself
A spouse shouldn’t have to “ask permission” of another spouse before they bring up a certain topic. You’re spouses, you’re supposed to be able to just talk.

Your wife has made clear she is speaking out of concern for you and not out of any attempt to assert dominance or “failure to consider your own unique goals” etc. You in turn are free to say, "OK, thanks, I hear you, " and not take her advice. If you feel she is nagging then maybe after she has given the same advice a couple times you can say, “OK honey, we’ve been over this, and I know what you’ve advised me to do, can we please drop the subject now.”

But the whole, “don’t even bring up the subject before you ask me if it’s okay” is not going to fly in a marriage. People can’t be walking on eggshells asking permission to speak all the time when they live together 24/7.

I agree this is a difference in communication styles and if you continue to have trouble with it, then a workshop or some counseling is in order.

I very much agree with Tis Bearself. There seems to be a similar situation in my marriage from the other side of the aisle, sometimes to the point where my husband will be extremely curt and impolite about telling me that he doesn’t want to hear my advice, even if it’s regarding his physical and/or spiritual health. I now try to think real hard before I say anything and attempt to word it in such a way in my head first so that he truly can feel that it’s coming from a place of concern and love. This, however, is difficult, but at times I’ve been successful. Perhaps one of the reasons in my situation and possibly yours is that my husband was raised in a family which had a few over-bearing individuals. That can carry over into a marriage, unfortunately, and it’s rough when it does. Kindness in words by both spouses can go a real long way to helping solve this issue as well as many others. You will be in my prayers!


#15

You philosophy on advice is appropriate for pretty much everyone except your wife. I don’t know what subject your wife is advising you on, but if it effects her and your family, then she gets to have a say. A marriage is a different kind of relationship. You are literally one with your wife. I can’t think of too many subjects that it would be inappropriate for her to be concerned. I’m sure there are some, but any choices that have the potential to have a financial effect, endanger your life or health, cause a mess that she has to clean up, take up too much of your family time, create an unpleasant odor, or embarrass her in front of the neighbors are pretty much fair game.


#16

Hee hee. Our conflicts go more like this. Husband says, “Let’s go to the mall.” I say, “Okay.” I get dressed. I dress the children. I get them in their carseats. I find a coupon for Charming Charlie. Then he says he thinks the mall is too crowded and he never said we had to go to the mall. It was just an idea.


#17

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