Have you ever been micromanaged by a parent, boss, teacher…or your spouse? If so, you know what it feels like…they’ve asked you to do something, but while you’re working on it, you’re being constantly monitored and judged to see if you are doing the work correctly and fast enough! Did having someone breathing down your neck motivate you or make you resentful of being controlled?
Now, be honest. Do you routinely micromanage your spouse? For example:
- Do you ask your husband to do something, and then follow up to make sure he has started and is doing things right?
- Do you ever “assign a task” and then hover over him, giving him all sorts of “helpful suggestions?”
- Do you get mad and redo work your husband already completed because it doesn’t meet your standards, and you know you can do it better?
- Do you have trouble relaxing and staying out of the way when your husband is in charge of taking care of something?
- Do you feel like you can’t trust your husband and must follow up on everything he does because he’s not very detail oriented?
The ability to actively control details may sometimes be useful when managing people, projects, and deadlines at work. However, you must be careful not to emasculate your husband by attempting to micromanage his every move at home.
If you don’t watch this behavior, chances are he will feel:
- You don’t trust him
- You think he’s stupid
- Unmotivated to do his best
End result: he’s turned off from you and is less likely to help!
If you are seeking a true partnership with your spouse, respect and boundaries are critical. Here are a few tips to stop micromanaging behavior in its tracks:
- If it’s not yours, don’t touch it. If your husband is working on something, remove yourself physically and mentally from the task. Work on your own tasks and leave him alone to complete his as he likes.
- Remember there’s more than one way to do something. People have different approaches they bring to the same situation. Be flexible. It’s not the end of the world if he didn’t do it your way.
- Turn negatives into positives. When you feel like criticizing, intruding, or giving a “helpful hint,” breathe and either walk away or say something encouraging. You have to catch destructive behavior in its tracks before it hurts your marriage.
- Relax! if you can truly break the micromanaging habit, your spouse will probably become more confident and competent, allowing both of you to truly share the numerous household and childcare tasks that present themselves on a daily basis.
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But what if your husband has a habit of being very forgetful and not following through with things?
Great question, Vemetria. You will find the essence of how to be more effective with men by reading the entries in the section on Understanding Men:
These specific blog posts may also be helpful:
In general, men respond better to short, specific requests that are delivered in a way that clearly helps them understand how that action will be helpful to you. By assuming they are not intentionally trying to frustrate you and really want you to be happy, most women will have an easier time being kind, direct, and appreciative. Good luck!
I feel emasculated by my wife’s micromanagement. She lacks respect and often rubs salt in the wound reminding me of previous mistakes
I’ve seen that type of myopia before (my wife). He’s probably not forgetful; he just isn’t interested in the things that you want him to engage in.
What he says is probably, “Sure, honey. I’ll get right to it.”
What’s going through his head at the same time is, “What a stupid idea. Why should I waste my time on that?” and then his brain dumps that file into the recycle bin.
How often does he ask you to do something for him? Make a comparison of what you ask for and what he asks for. I tend to find that although my wife is a professional in the medical industry, her household requests are very frivolous. Why do I have 5 pair of shoes, while she has over a hundred pair? Why does her clothing require an couple of extra closets and multiple dressers? -And she keeps getting more clothes and shoes because she can’t remember whether she has something like that. Oh, and let’s not forget purses – what a waste of space! And why does she have to plan every holiday and sub-holiday, making it a special event for her, but plain stress for me?
See what I mean? If you are pointing something out about your husband, based on minutiae that you have blown out of proportion, I’d bet that he has just as much to say about you.
That’s exactly how I feel. I want to fall back but believe if I do that then we might really be in trouble…
I have trouble with my micromanaging when it comes to my boyfriend taking care of himself. For example, brushing his teeth at night, quitting smoking, and going to regular doctor or dentist visits. I can’t help it because I want him to be healthy but it seems like he doesn’t want always take care of himself and also doesn’t want to be told. It gives me so much anxiety.
Sounds like you want to force him to do something. That’s no way to live. We cannot and should not force people to do things. Not only does it not work, but it disrespects the other person.
You won’t help the situation by trying to force him anyway. You just have to accept some things you don’t like. Your anxiety is your fault. It is not in our power, nor our right, to change people. If you find his way of living somehow intolerable, then break up. You’re not married.
My husband accused me of micromanaging last night and it’s really bothering me. I was unloading the dishwasher and he was trying to shove more stuff into the trash when it was already over flowing. All I said is I dont think that’s going to fit and he snapped. How can I tell if I am micromanaging him? We are in our first year of marriage and fight more than I ever thought we would.
Hi Nikki, your husband sounds like my husband. We’re married for more than 10 years now and he keeps accusing me of micromanaging. Everytime he comes home late and I text or call him to ask where he is, he thinks I control his every move. He’s also often forgetful. It seems like I’m more alert so I have to remind him again and again. I’m not a hygiene freak but I love to take care of myself, a clean and tidy home, fresh smelled laundry and linnens, and of course a husband who showers properly. What he does all the time is standing under the shower head with running water and quickly soap his body, occassionaly wash his feet and back (he can’t reach it). When I offer to “help” him by soaping or sometimes scrubbing his body, he sees it as micromanaging instead of a sweet thing. The list goes on and we argue constantly. He’s once almost cheated on me when we’re still dating and had a brief online emotional affair when I was pregnant. I know myself that I’m not a perfectionist nor a micromanager, but his attitudes give me certain level of anxiety. Everytime we argue he keeps defending himself and thinks that I never respect and appreciate him. He doesn’t realise that he doesn’t treat me right. Our love is only a surface, I don’t even know how we feel about each other now.
We’re still together but lately we talk about divorce. It’s against my principal but I don’t think we can hold it for my longer. Eventually I need happiness and affection without being haunted by the word “micromanaging”. This really makes me sad. :’-(
I have same issues with my wife after one year of our marriage. She is not mindful of cooking, washing, working, time management etc. It affects our relationship. When I told her about talking with a doctor about her anxiety and seeking therapy, she just got angry and told me I am not appreciating lots of her other qualities and that I am micromanaging her. I am just trying to leave her alone. We are like a room mate now.
People with mental illness cannot run a race at anyone’s pace but their own, she might not be ready to face what therapy means for her. As much as you care about her wellbeing, people have to seek treatment on their own for it to truly have a powerful impact. As a partner it is only your job to make the decision for yourself of – do you feel capable and willing of staying in the relationship and being supportive but not enabling – or do you feel that your happiness would not be something you could hold on to if this situation continues without improvement–if the latter it is usually best to part ways.
My husband has been accusing me of micromanaging him for a looong time. I am strong and have opinions. So is he. I’ve often felt that he would’ve preferred a STEPFORD WIFE as whenever I say something, it isn’t often agreed with. When he does go along with me, I feel it’s a big deal and am surprised. Often throughout my marriage I have felt it was/is his way or the highway. In the beginning, when I went along, things were much better until I started speaking up. That’s when he started accusing me of micromanaging and all I felt was that I was just being myself.