Monday, 27 June 2011


Mort Fertel’s recent Marriage Counseling Blog entitled “Asking for Help in a Marriage” hit a little too close to home. For a variety of reasons – some altruistic but mostly dysfunctional, I have had trouble asking for help.
He writes:
Some people have difficulty directly getting their needs met. This can lead to complaining, criticizing, and indirect communication that do not yield results. Learning how to ask for help can be very helpful to both partners in the marriage.

Complaining about things without directly asking for help is not likely to be helpful. For example, a wife who wants more help around the house says, “I always have to do everything around here and no one else lifts a finger.” This is not likely to motivate her husband to spring into action and help her clean. However, she could make a direct request such as, “Will you please do the dishes tonight?”

Some people have a lot of difficulty asking for help. It may be a fear of rejection. If you directly ask for help, the other person might say no. Sometimes people struggle to ask for help because they just assume they won’t get any help anyway. Other times, people feel guilty asking for help. Learning how to ask for help can be humbling yet very beneficial.

Complaining or trying to guilt trip your partner with indirect communication is likely to leave both people feeling frustrated and angry. The worst thing that can happen when you ask for help is that your spouse will say no. If so, you can problem-solve how to get the task completed or how to get your needs met. If your spouse is unable or unwilling to help, perhaps the two of you can work together on a solution. In our previous example of a wife feeling like her husband doesn’t help out enough around the house, perhaps the two of them could make a chore list together. Then they could divide up the daily chores and assign chores to the children. Or perhaps they decide to focus on cleaning the house on Saturday mornings. There are lots of possible solutions if you ask for help.
By not asking for help I may be depriving other people pleasers like myself from the enjoyment they would get from helping me. More importantly by asking for help I can stop playing the martyr, and I can stop getting frustrated when my partner fails to read my mind. What a unique concept – plainly ask for help.

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