In a lot of marriages, one doesn't even have to go that far, because one spouse is the expert.
Need to remove a rusted bolt? Your answer's waiting.
Want to cook a souffle that doesn;t fall? Help is just a word-over-your-shoulder away.
And the really irritating thing is that The Expert is very often right. The advice turns out to be good.
But it's hard to deal with - to put it mildly. Every kid has the I-want-to-do-it-myself streak ingrained in the personality, and it really doesn't go away.
We want to have our own successes, and having someone waltz in and make our challenge 'easier' somehow diminishes us.
I want to do it myself!
So...how can we deal with our in-house expert, gracefully?
- Remember that the intention is good (and forget about the 'road to you-know-where being paved with good intentions). Your husband or wife really wants to help, and wants to be involved in what you're doing.
- There may be a deep-seated issue in your mate's behaviour of which you (and possibly your mate) are unaware. Parents and teachers can do a lot of damage by directly or indirectly implying a child's lack of competence, and the reaction is to want to be competent in everything - and to show off that knowledge.
- Ask yourself this - if it were a friend, or a stranger giving you the advice, would you resent it? Sometimes we are biased against our spouse. Familiarity breeds contempt, to begin with, and there's an unspoken competition for position in every marriage. When our husband or wife shines, somehow we are placed in shadow.
Finally, sometimes you just have to grin and bear it. Telling someone - especially a spouse - that you don;t really want to hear their advice can be taken as a kind of stunning rejection, and can do far more damage than you intended Do you really want to do that?
Or isn;t it easier to swallow the pride, and listen?
Am I saying "give in"?
Yes. Sometimes it's better to give in, and it doesn't always lead to bigger and worse surrenders. You're dealing with the person you married, after all, not the Nazis in 1938.
Trust the love, because that is where all that advice is coming from.
If you have a chance, please stop by at my other blog, "Starting the Day with Grace", for a 'grace quote' and brief commentary.