In life a lot of people find it easy to criticize mistakes made by others.  One of the main problems is some people would rather criticize than give acknowledgment to the great things done by their partner.  This brings up the question, why won’t people praise the behavior from their spouse that they want to continue?

Why Do You Always Have To…

Whenever a person starts a sentence off with “Why do you always have to…?” often times something negative follows.  I know when I hear that I automatically start to think “Oh boy what am I getting accused of doing now?”, or I just get myself ready for the start of the bashing session.  Instead of starting off a conversation with a condemnation, try starting off with something positive that the person has done.  People react better to positivity than they do negativity so instead of saying “When are you going to take out the garbage?” try saying something like “Thanks for sweeping the floor, oh Babe tomorrow is garbage day, can you take it out please?”.  Starting off with “Thank you” and without the negativity will reduce the stress and increase the probability of having a good CONVERSATION and better results.

A lot of us tend to place more importance on the bad instead of focusing on the good things that our spouses do.  If you’re going to complain about him not taking out the garbage and then when he does take it out you say something dumb like “About time you did it without me asking you to!” don’t expect him to take it out again.  Why would he take the garbage out if you’re going to give him the same grief as if he didn’t?  You can’t complain when a person doesn’t do something and still complain when they do it on their own.  Say something as simple as, “Thanks for taking out the garbage Babe”.

Those words will go a long way and if you keep “Praising the behavior you want” he may just do other things around the house that he was putting off because of your crappy nagging attitude.  Men are simple and just want to be appreciated for what they do.  Your appreciation will be the energy he needs to continue doing great things around the house.

Do You Have To Look At Every Single Rack

Men, I’m going to take it back to the mall for this example only because it’s more relatable to most of you.  Trying to rush a woman out of a mall is like pushing an elephant through a mouse hole… It ain’t gonna happen, so why bother!  I know I am guilty of this and it never gets me anywhere.  Pouting around the store, walking in and out of the store only to come back and see that she is still at the same rack.  Now there are times when a woman who loves to just look around at everything in every store will go into a store, get what she went in to get, and  leave before the man had a chance to update his Facebook status with the complaint of “being stuck in the mall”. This is the time to “Praise the behavior you want” because it’s not going to happen that often.

When this rare opportunity presents itself men are usually so in shock that they don’t know how to formulate the positive words to give the praise that is due at this glorious moment so something dumb like “See is that so hard, get in, get out, why can’t you do that all the time?”… LOL… There probably isn’t a man reading this that has a wife who loves to shop and can waste an entire work day in the mall that hasn’t said something close to that, but once again I digress. (Not so shameless plug of another mall rant… click this link to read the article Marriage Takes Work but Shouldn’t Feel Like a Job) Men you must try not to go into complete shock so that you can say something like “Ok Sweetie thanks for not taking so long, is there another store that you want to go to or do you want to go eat now”?

WARNING:  Only say the part about going to another store if you know for a fact that she is starving and you have heard her stomach playing the bongos.

“Praising the behavior you want” when the opportunity presents itself is not about training your partner like a pet.  It is about focusing more on the positive actions and the good that your partner does rather than dwelling on the negative.  A relationship full of complaints is one that is full of Ain’t, meaning nothing will ever get done.  Showing appreciation for what each of you bring to the table will help to keep things light and fun while you both get household chores accomplished.

Remember to always choose your battles wisely and praise your small victories!!!

 Author: B.A.M


  1. I agree with the importance of expressing gratitude. It’s easy to focus on the things we don’t like and to disregard the positive attributes in our spouse. This being said, the phrase “praise the behavior you want” could easily be misunderstood to lead towards manipulation and self-service in our words. I want to express gratitude because I’m grateful, not because I’m trying to train good behavior.

    • Jen to me there is a difference in expressing sincere gratitude and manipulation. When i say praise the behavior i mean focus more on the good than the bad. If a person is always talked down to even when they are doing good it makes them think, Why bother doing right If I’m still going to catch the attitude. But i do understand what you are saying. Thank you fot the great comment.

  2. I have been married for 48 years and the best advice I can give is not to try to change the other person. We appreciate each other and we tell each other all the time. With that said there are times we do feel the other person is not living up to our expectations. The best way to handle a situation is make it light and do not accuse. My husband likes to watch car auctions. Not my favorite thing on TV, but marriage is give and take. So I am there watching with him, (of which I have NO interest) when I look over and he is asleep. Instead of getting mad that he made me watch this program while he sleeps, when he woke himself up, I said now this is interesting, I am watching the car auctions while you sleep, do you think there is something wrong with this picture? Oh by the way you missed what that Corvet just sold for. He laughed and turned to me and said, what would you like to watch. There is an old saying, it is not what you say, but how you say it.

    • Arleen, i couldn’t agree with you more. It definitely is how you say it. And I like you i have been stuck watching HGTV while my wife fell asleep but now i have to see which House they chose or the finished product of the renovation lol. This is a great comment

    • Arleen, i couldn’t agree with you more. It definitely is how you say it. And I like you i have been stuck watching HGTV while my wife fell asleep but now i have to see which House they chose or the finished product of the renovation lol. This is a great comment

  3. I am guilty of the “do you have to do that” mantra and I berate myself for it. On the upside, I am not a woman who likes to shop all that much, so on balance, we are doing OK.
    I have been trying to make sure I praise rather than find the bad, but it is so easy to fall into old habits 🙁

    • Becc. Thanks for the comment.. yeah we all struggle with trying not to fall back into bad habits.. all can do they


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