Has your once fun and outgoing partner turned into just another child to parent? It’s certainly fun when you’re both young and finding your way in life, isn’t it? You go out, drink your fair share of grog, play the fool, and generally take life way too lightly. But then you grow up, get married and start a family…except there’s one problem… it doesn’t seem like your husband has joined you in the growing-up department. Instead, he is childish and irresponsible. What can you do?
Dealing with an immature husband is just like dealing with a toddler. Be firm, have boundaries, and ensure that your love is absolutely unconditional.
Husbands that come across as childish or irresponsible might only be behaving that way because they don’t have any ground rules or don’t know how to behave any differently. Settling down for men is sometimes a whole different experience than settling down is for a woman.
Take the time to understand your husband, love him, and strategize for success. Perhaps with the right approach from you, he will step up to the plate. If you want to take a look at the ways to deal with immature husbands, read on.
These are 14 strategies on how to deal with an immature, childish, or irresponsible husband:
1. Stop parenting him – Instead, treat him like a man.
Many wives fall into the habit of parenting their immature husbands. When he steps out of line, they scold him. When he stays out too late, they “ground” him. When they do something wrong, they fix it for him. Stop doing that. Treat your husband like you would treat any other man. Don’t get his mother’s day cards for him, don’t cook him hangover breakfasts, and don’t make excuses for him when he misses important events because of being irresponsible. Just stop.
2. Don’t take it as a personal affront.
Chances are that your husband has always been a little immature, you were just in a different place in your life before, and so you probably didn’t notice or realize it. When your husband is being immature, it is all about him and has nothing to do with you. It’s nothing against you – he is just being himself. Don’t take it personally. If you do, you will end up taking it out on him, which won’t be good for your relationship.
3. Make him a role model for the kids.
When your husband realizes that he has a set (or more sets) of little eyes on him, looking to him for guidance in life, he will start to grow up. Help the children look to him for life advice and guidance. Help him become the type of man that he wants to be for his children.
4. Lead by example – be mature and patient/kind around him.
You can’t force your husband to suddenly be a more mature and responsible version of himself. Instead, you can show him what being mature and responsible is all about. Show him that you are doing what you have to do for the family and you are doing your bit. Encourage him gently to do his bit too. Most importantly, make sure that he sees how rewarding it is.
5. Talk about it with him.
If your husband’s behavior is out of control, you might need to talk to him. Perhaps he is over-drinking at family events or missing the kid’s sports days. Whatever it is, make sure that you set some time aside with him and then approach the topic gently and with kindness. If he feels judged or attacked, it could have the adverse effect.
6. Positive reinforcement – when he is mature and responsible, praise and reward him.
Much like with children, you can show your husband when he is doing good – and he will like it. Praise and reward the good behavior and ignore the bad behavior. Make it obvious. He will seek out the praise and rewards and so start to portray more of the good behavior than the bad.
7. Be firm about the consequences.
Actions have consequences, and because he is your husband, it doesn’t mean that you should clean up his messes. If he does childish or irresponsible things, tell him how it makes you feel and apply the consequences. For instance, if he stays out every night of the week drinking with his buddies, you are not going to take the time to cook him dinner or wait up for him.
8. Let him take full responsibility for his own actions and choices.
An immature husband can take a while to realize that he is responsible for his own behavior. If he stays out with buddies and misses your son’s soccer match, don’t make excuses for him. Let him make things right with his son. If he is going to miss an important meeting because he is unable to get himself together, don’t make it easier by organizing his life for him. Let him handle it himself. It will soon become inconvenient to be irresponsible or childish, and hopefully, he will brush up his act.
9. Never ever stoop to the same level of immaturity.
When someone is being immature or irresponsible, it’s tempting to follow suit and try to behave the same in order to “teach them a lesson”. This almost never works and will only leave you feeling upset and unsettled.
10. Don’t scold him in front of the kids.
You might want to bring up his immaturity and irresponsibility in front of the kids, but don’t do it. Allow him some respect and rather speak to him about issues you have in private.
11. Adopt an attitude of independence.
When you go about your day and do your own thing, he will see you getting on with life and hopefully feel inspired by your independence to join you in being responsible.
12. Train him, slowly and gently.
You can train the immature behavior right out of your husband, but it takes time, attention, and patience. For instance, if your husband keeps leaving his clothes lying on the floor, ask him gently to pick them up and put them in the hamper. Do it every single time. Never pick the clothes up for him. In a bit of time, he will start putting his dirty clothes in the hamper – he is going to end up having to do that anyway.
13. Give him a list.
Telling your husband what you need from him could really help him find his feet in the relationship. If he knows what is expected of him, he can work towards a goal. You may find that having no goal or not knowing what is expected of him could be the only reasons why he is behaving in a childish or immature manner.
14. Have a long hard think – is this what you really want?
Sometimes an immature and irresponsible husband is just never going to change. You cannot force change in someone – why would you want to. In order for both you and your husband to be happy, you owe it to yourself to think long and hard about what you want from a relationship and if it is going to work for you long term. You should also have an open and honest conversation with him about this.
All things considered
When there’s an immature and irresponsible husband in the mix, things can be hard. If you have kids, it can feel as if you are suddenly caring for an extra child. No one deserves this extra pressure. Try the above strategies and if they don’t work, consider what your next step in life and your relationship should be. Best of luck!