Monday, August 16, 2010

How Honey-Do Lists Affect Your Relationship or Marriage

We all have them. Some of us find them amusing and fun, while others hate them as the bane of their existence, a constant source of stress and a major hurdle to doing anything that they may want to do. Yes, I’m talking about the dreaded “Honey-Do” list. How you handle it has a HUGE impact on your relationship, and it can be good or bad. The good news is it’s YOUR choice, not hers…

I spent almost all of this past weekend in my workshop, cleaning up, organizing, tying up loose ends on a couple of projects. It’s a real man cave for a “do-it-yourselfer” like me, because I can do just about anything in it that I need around my home, and I enjoy being self-sufficient, especially after handing over large sums of money to contractors and ending up having to redo everything I paid them to do anyway. In my life, productive work is a person’s greatest virtue, and I love doing anything that helps me to do more, competently, or do things more efficiently. Next weekend I may well do the exact same thing, and love every minute of it.

You have another weekend coming up. And many more after that, until the end of your life. What are you going to do with each of them? Or even the next one? According to your letters, for many of you Friday is just your last day of rest before another frustrating and laborious weekend spent trying to shorten your “Honey-Do” list.

I want to ask you a really simple and blunt question: WHY???

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself a single question about your honey-do list, let alone all of the pertinent questions? Well brothers, it’s time.

The first question you need to ask yourself is why you have a honey-do list (hereafter referred to as simply “the list”) to start with! To answer that question, we need to consider the various reasons why women construct the list, and then look at what is on YOUR list to verify their intent. Ready?

Some of the reasons women construct this list are logical and productive, others amusing, and still others downright diabolical. Let’s take a look at these.

1. It makes you look and feel important around the house

2. It makes you unavailable to look and feel important around other women

3. It helps distribute the task load so that you each have equal free time

4. It helps distribute the task load so that she has more free time and you have less or none.

5. It gets things done that she is unable to do herself

6. It gets you to do things that she could do herself so that she’s free to have fun while you’re working on the list.

7. It promotes a feeling of cooperation and teamwork

8. It creates an investment in the relationship that you will be reluctant to cash in even if the relationship or marriage goes bad.

9. It makes good use of otherwise idle time

10. It puts her in complete control of your free time and ensures that you won’t be tempted to have any fun of any kind without her, even though she may be having loads of fun without you while you’re working on the list.

11. It’s more affordable for you to do the work instead of hiring it out

12. It frees up money for her to spend on other things that she wants, without regard for what you might want, which will be purchased when she’s out shopping while you’re working on shortening the list.

13. It lets your wife see you acting competently and confidently to get things done.

14. It lets your wife see just how much crap you’ll put up with from her – TESTING!

15. It helps to maintain or even increase the value of your real estate so that you can upgrade later or contribute profits to your retirement.

16. It helps to maintain or even increase the value of your real estate so that she has more to take with her when she leaves you for the gardener, playboy, or biker she noticed recently after you bored her to death.

What’s the first thing you notice about this list? How about that there are an equal number of good and bad reasons for the list and its elements, and that each good reason has a directly opposing bad reason? That means we cannot make snap judgments and say silly stuff like, “My wife would NEVER do that to me,” or “My wife is such a nagging, selfish witch that she’s just making me do everything so she doesn’t have to,” so drop any preconceptions and let’s look at the facts of your relationship through a few other simple questions.

How many of the things on your list are things that:

…your wife is unable to do?

…your wife is unable to help you with?

…you do well and/or enjoy doing?

…you don’t do well and/or despise doing?

…your wife offers to help you with or you will be doing while she is working on something else?

…your wife informs you that you will be doing while she is out shopping or doing something fun?

The answers to those questions will tell the tale. They will also tell you what you need to do about your list!

If there are things on your list that your wife could do, why isn’t she doing them, or helping you to do them?

If there are things on your list that you hate to do or aren’t skilled enough to do competently and safely, why are they not either being done by your wife or being hired out?

If there are things on your list weekend after weekend that you are doing while she is out having fun, when did you hand over your testicles to her?

Yes, I DID say that. Committed relationships and marriages are partnerships, are they not? (If you just answered “no,” take that as a sign that you need to be on the phone with me within the next 24 hours!) That does not mean that you do all the hard stuff while she has all the fun any more than it means that you drink up your paycheck every week and beat the hell out of her to keep her in submission while you spend her paycheck to keep the bills paid. It’s a two-way street, and if you’re not doing your share of traffic control, somebody else in your house is “wearing the pants in the family,” as the saying goes.

So what do you do? That depends on what answers you have to all these questions, but when you have the answers, what you do about it will be self-evident. If your tasks are on your list for the right reasons, have fun with it. Open some negotiations and playfully challenge your wife on her contributions, get her to help you with the items on the list, etc. Tit-for-tat (no pun intended) can be a lot of fun.

If however, your list turns out to be a “massive cargo of bovine fecal matter” (a big load of bulls**t), it’s time to turn the tables. Tell your wife that you’re done spending every free minute you have working on the list while she’s out having a good time, and that she’s going to share responsibilities, to include taking up a part-time job to help pay for things that need to be hired out if your financial situation calls for it. If she threatens to leave over it, let her go; either she’s testing (women do a lot of that, remember?) or you just flushed out a spoiled brat or a toxic gold-digger who was taking a free ride at the expense of your life and hard work, and life’s too short to live like that.

Gentlemen, it’s really just this simple: If you are referring to your wife as your “ball and chain,” you’re either married to the wrong woman, you’re allowing her to take advantage of you, or you’re being punished for not stepping up to the leadership position that you are supposed to be filling, whether it’s intentional or not.

These problems are entirely correctable, and only serious cases of incompatibility or skullduggery require divorce to correct them. Most problems, including honey-do list and others, require only that you stand up and act like a man, taking a leadership role (not a bullying, controlling role, mind you) in the decision-making, resource allocation, etc., and then inviting, listening intently to, and considering your partner’s input if she has any before finalizing decisions. Can you do that?

Certainly, but maybe not in your present condition. To lead you need to know about leadership, and to lead a woman you also need to know about women: how they think and communicate, what they want, need, and expect, and what turns them on and pisses them off. You got all that under control there, Sparky?

If not, go to http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and download your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and get it under control, quickly and effectively, as have the many before you who have done everything from stopping divorces dead in their tracks to making mediocre relationships the envy of the community.

Who am I to make such a claim? The translator for several hundred women who contributed to the content and have watched their husbands become the man of their dreams, and a guy who saved his own marriage with this information. If you’re going to ask for advice, go to the source, somebody who HAD the same problems as you and fixed them, not somebody who HAS the same problems you do and miserable, or worse yet, has never had the problem and has only an opinion as to why you do or what to do about it. There are quite a few women on our forum at http://forum.makingherhappy.com/, too. Drop by and ask THEM if I know what I’m talking about. ;-)

In the meantime, live well, be well, and have a wonderful day!
David Cunningham

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