Why He Puts Others Ahead of You

Does your husband say yes to anyone and everyone except you? Does he do for others things long overdue at home? Alternatively, maybe he says he will do something but does not, takes forever to do it, or starts and never finishes – all the while doing things for others. Do you feel unloved by such actions? Of course you do!

Over on The Generous Husband I recently confessed to having done this, saying:

When I owned a landscape and irrigation company, our yard did not get mowed as often as it should. Customers yes, our yard not so much. Sure, others were paying, but what did my not finding time for our yard say to my wife? It certainly did not back up my telling her how much I loved and cared for her. 

Painting together © Jura Vikulin | Dreamstime.com

I have gotten better about this, but I am sure I have a way to go yet. If your husband does this, maybe understanding some of the common reasons will help. Maybe you will feel less hurt, and you might figure out ways to encourage him to do what is needed.

  1. Wanting to be liked. The pleaser is all about his image. He wants others to like him, so doing what they want is important. If he thinks he has your love no matter what, he will say no to you to say yes to others.
  2. Not able to say no. Some people feel bad when they say no, while others fear what will happen if they say no. This leaves them without enough time, and as above, saying no at home seems safer than saying no to others.
  3. Confusing why things need to be done. Seeing what he does around the house as being “for you” rather than things he should do.
  4. False sense of balance. Even if you says no to you often, he probably does more “for you” than anyone else. He may take this to mean he is doing enough.
  5. Passive aggressiveness. He is upset with you about something, and saying no is a way of punishing you. He may also be refusing to do things for you because he feels you are not doing things for him. 
  6. Family of origin issues. My parents expected an unreasonable level of neatness from me when I was young. I rebelled by being messy. When I got married, I kept rebelling, hurting Lori. Understanding what I was doing, and why, helped me change. I will never be a neat-nick, but I have attained a reasonable level of order.
  7. Feeling you expect too much. If he thinks you want too much, he may drag his feet on everything, or he may pick and choose what he does.
  8. Bad time management. It is easy to give so much time to others he does not have enough time for his family and what needs doing at home.

Odds are more than one of these is at play. Just pointing it out to him may help if he is open to you and desires to change. Otherwise, it will do no good and could make things worse.

If you understand why he is doing what he is doing, you may be able to change his responses by changing how you ask for his help. Also, look for ways to give him the support and feedback he desires. If he feels valued and appreciated, he will be more likely to want to take care of things for you.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I’m doing better all the time.

By the way: My friend Scott over at Journey to Surrender had a great post on how you look to your husband: What If… Your Husband Really Does Love Your Body 

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3 Comments on “Why He Puts Others Ahead of You

  1. You forgot one reason… a genuine servant heart! As a friend once said when I was complaining about my husband, “It could be worse, he could be the kind of guy who never volunteers to do anything for anyone!”. And she was right. :). Thanks for the post, a relevant topic for me with a fresh perspective.

  2. Pingback: Why He Puts Others Ahead of You | Marriage Arti...

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