Doing your spouse’s laundry or scheduling his doctor’s appointments might seem like gestures that show how much you care about him, but there’s a fine line between caring about your spouse and taking care of him the way you would your young children. This kind of mothering behavior can strain relationships and has led many couples to end up in Houston marriage counseling, often at the request of men who feel that their spouse no longer desires them sexually and sees them as one of the kids. This painful phenomenon isn’t gender specific. This type of mothering (or “smothering” in some cases) can be done by husbands to wives as well.

Are you worried that you may be causing relationship problems by mothering your spouse? Below are some suggestions to remedy this behavior and strengthen your marriage.

Ideas to Stop Mothering Your Spouse from Houston Marriage Counseling

Be aware of the way that you talk to your spouse. Don’t criticize your spouse in front of your children; this can be felt as demeaning and emasculating. Also, avoid talking to your spouse in the same tone that you would use with your children.

Make an effort to compliment the positive things. Everyone likes feeling appreciated. Think about both the little and big things your spouse does for you and the family, and make sure you’re acknowledging them aloud.

Share household tasks. Don’t fall into a routine that causes your spouse to feel overly dependent on you. Have a conversation about sharing in domestic tasks so that you both have autonomy in the home.

Set aside time without your children. Schedule a date night or time out with adult friends. This will help keep your husband from feeling like one of the kids because you are reaffirming the importance of the relationship between the two of you.

Visit a marriage counselor and start a dialogue. If trying to resolve the problem at home just isn’t working, you might want try therapy. A marriage therapist can help start a dialogue between you and your spouse so that you can get to the root of the relationship problems together in Houston marriage counseling.