Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Does Your Partner Want Your Advice?

advice coupleYou see her trying to balance the checkbook. You have some advice that you are ready to give.

After all, you are just trying to be helpful, but it turns out that your partner may not appreciate that type of help. In fact, too much advice giving is associated with lower martial satisfaction according to a University of Iowa study. The study noted that men experience advice giving by their wives as nagging or being reprimanded. Wives feel that their husbands are more condescending or see them as incapable when husbands try to “fix the problem.”


If you really want to make things worse, give unsolicited advice. That’s right, spouses don’t seem to appreciate it!

And if you are the one asking for advice or receiving the support, the way you behave is more important than how the person giving the advice behaves. One reason is that asking for and receiving advice puts you in a vulnerable position.

But now here is a caveat. If too little advice is given in a marriage, men suffer. The reason, men look to their wives for their main support. Women look to other women, friends and loved ones in addition to their husbands. So women get help from a broader range of people.

Finally, it appears that even well meaning advice comes across as criticism. Ouch! I was only trying to help!


So what’s best to do:

1) Make sure your spouse is asking you for advice before you decide to give it.

2) Allow your spouse time to talk out a problem. Sometimes that is all he or she needs.

3) Personalize the problem to something you struggled with and how you worked it through, rather than giving straight up advice.

4) If you don’t want the advice, thank your partner for offering it, but tell him or her that advice wasn’t really what you were looking for at this moment. Then follow that comment with what would have been helpful.

5) Don’t be so sensitive. Just say, thanks and take the advice giving as good intention!










Source: Journal of Family Psychology, 2009

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