How To Get A Man To Do Almost Anything

Ladies, this article will tell you how to get a man to do stuff for you. But first we need to explore a key difference between the genders. Generally speaking, women are more naturally “givers” and men are more naturally “takers.” Historically men have been hunters and conquerors while women have been nurturers. A group of women compliment each other while a group of men poke fun at each other. This is just the way the sexes are wired.

Both giving and taking are important and there is nothing morally inferior about taking. If a business gives everything away without taking anything in, then it’s not going to be around long to serve its customers or pay its employees. 

A women tends to give and give in her relationship, hoping and waiting for her partner to respond by giving back to her. The man will gladly take everything she offers. The problem occurs when she receives little or nothing back in return. She will eventually give until she burns out and her emotional bank account is overdrawn. It’s not that he doesn’t love you–he just doesn’t think like you. “Giving” simply doesn’t often occur to him. It also doesn’t occur to you to “take” from your husband. But, most guys are actually quite comfortable with the idea of their wife taking from them.

You might be thinking, “This rings true but it isn’t fair. It’s not right.” And at some level I have to agree with you. But I also realize we are not finished people. We are all works in progress. Perhaps he will learn through his relationship with you that sometimes it’s best to give. And perhaps you will learn that sometimes it’s beneficial for everyone involved for you to take. Both genders can benefit by appreciating and learning from our differences. With this as background, here’s how you can get your husband to do almost anything you want.

1. Ask him for what you want. He can’t respond to unspoken hopes/expectations and he cannot read your mind so you need to ask, and the more specific, the better. Be positive–ask for what you do want rather than what you don’t want. Use action-oriented language–tell him what you want him to do, not how you want him to feel (I do some things for my wife because I care about her–but I’m not always thrilled about it). Be realistic and that may mean breaking something big down into smaller, manageable steps. What can he do this week, for example?

2. Ask him more than once. Another gender difference is that women are amazing multitaskers while men are wired to do only one thing at a time–and to do that really well. Women can simultaneously make dinner, talk on the phone, discipline the kids, and make the grocery list. And they reason that guys should at least be able to listen to her while reading the newspaper. Wrong. The problem is if he is already doing his one thing when you ask, he probably is not going to hear you. Again, it’s not because he doesn’t love you–his brain works different than yours. Ladies don’t think they should have to ask more than once. We’ll you do. Now, perhaps you’re asking for something he just doesn’t want to do. Asking more than once informs him that you are serious and you’re not going to forget about it.

3. Ask him the right way. Attacking a guy, criticizing him, or making him feel small is not effective in getting what you want from him. He will just become increasingly resistant. This is something what women sometimes resort to out of frustration. Please don’t go this route–there is no more sure way to get your marriage stuck. Trust me. It’s very difficult to back up and start over once this pattern is established. And it’s usually avoidable. Try asking him nicely without any insults or threats.

4. Train him with positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is always more effective than punishment such as insults or threats–and this is especially true in marriage and with men. Men are simple–they respond to rewards and praise. In fact, this is really your only viable choice. Sometimes women will praise a guy only for unexpected kindnesses but not for doing small things that they, frankly, should be doing anyway. If you praise him for both the expected and unexpected things, both big and small things, then he will want to do even more for you.

5. Barter with him. Men are always thinking, “what’s in this for me?” It’s what men do and it’s how we’re designed. So you can either fight that and get really frustrated or you can work with it to your advantage. Of course, when I mention this idea of bartering to women they’ll immediately get a sour look on their face. Remember your first date when he invited you out and planned an enjoyable evening together and he was a gentleman and, at the end, he walked you to your door. You probably kissed him tenderly and said goodnight. First base. So you already know how to barter with him, you just didn’t think of it in those terms. All the while you were courting, the bartering system was alive and well. He was trying to win you over. Let’s be honest–ultimately he wanted to get you in bed. Did you really think he was just a naturally “giving” person? Most of us look back on this period and remember it as a wonderful time. So why then do we get married and stop doing what worked so well?

Here’s an illustration of how this might look. Say my wife wants me to fix the toilet that keeps running. She asks me to fix it while I’m watching a Clint Eastwood western and I say, “Sure.” But I’ve already forgotten by the time the movie is over. She nicely asks again at breakfast the next morning–and I vaguely remember something about it from the day before. But I don’t want to fix the toilet since you just have to wiggle the handle and, frankly, there are other things I’d rather be doing. That night my lovely wife says, “As soon as the toilet is fixed I have a new little thing from Victoria’s Secret that I want to model for you.” Now that gets my attention–it’s not a threat, it’s an invitation with conditions. But I still don’t want to fix it. The first day goes by and I don’t do it. The second day goes by and I don’t do it again. By the time the third day rolls around I’ve been to Home Depot and replaced every moving part before breakfast. Later that day my wife, a very patient and wise woman, is happy and now I am happy too. Best of all, no damage has been done to our relationship. And I’m sort of looking forward to the next home repair project.

This article was inspired by “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage” by Mark Gungor, Atria 2008.

© 2010 David Bentley, MA, NCC