How to Motivate Your Husband

Every married woman finds herself, from time to time, puzzling over how she can get her husband to do the things he ought to. It’s not that complicated: treat him like a dog.

Dogs need to be trained; so do men. It’s a relatively short distance between man and his best friend in the tactics that work. The formula is well known: reward success with reliable incentives, ignore failure. And whatever you do, don’t ever whack him with a rolled-up newspaper, metaphorically speaking.

If you want your guy to do something for you, tell him he’s good at it. When he completes the task, make it worth his while. What motivates him? Whatever his favorite thing is, make sure he gets it when he performs. When he fails to perform, resist the temptation to show him how he has failed to live up to expectations time and time again. Instead, show him you have confidence that he can do it.

Here’s a simple example. Let’s say your husband consistently puts drinking glasses in the dishwasher where the bowls belong, no matter how many friendly reminders you give him. The temptation is to cry out, “How many times have I told you!” Instead, say with a smile, “Every time you put the glasses there, I’ll feel thankful that I have a husband who listens so attentively.” Try this method out. He’s not getting it done anyway, so you have nothing to lose!

My male patients invariably let out a woof of relief when I point out to them that their minds respond to conditioning in predictable ways. A woman might grumble that the man in her life ought to do the right thing just because it’s right, without any reward. Maybe he ought to, but experience shows that invoking the concept of right and wrong only brings up resistance, because every man wants to be recognized as the pillar of honor that he always is, in his own mind.

Shame is not motivating, and guilt motivates only when it comes from within, not from without.

As a wife, you deserve to get what you want from your husband. More often than you might think, a few simple tactics of behavioral psychology will get him closer to the marriage goal line.