It’s a classic (and irritating) scenario: it’s the weekend, you’re up early, breakfast is made, and you’re looking around the house preparing to tackle the mountain of chores that stretches before you.
Your husband eats, leaves his dirty dishes on the table, and plops down in the living room with the TV, laptop, newspaper, or some other distraction. He’s ready for a lazy morning, and you’re feeling overwhelmed by things to do around the house.
He doesn’t seem to want to help, and even worse, he doesn’t even seem to notice as you start running around cleaning the house while he’s got his feet up.
Infuriating, isn’t it?
This kind of situation isn’t at all uncommon, and in fact, perceived unfairness in household responsibilities is a big reason couples fight. There is hope, however, but there are a few important things you need to understand as well.
So, here’s what you can do when your husband just won’t help out around the house:
1. Accept Differences in Perception
Even though you might think the house is trashed, you have to also understand that it’s open to some degree of interpretation (in most cases). You and your husband likely aren’t going to feel the same way about housekeeping all of the time, and if you can accept that he really doesn’t see it the way you do, it’ll help those feelings of frustration.
He’s not doing it on purpose.
The same is true when he does help out. It might not always be up to your standards, but that’s not a reason to berate him about it. YOU are the one imposing the standards. Again, he may truly not see things the way you do.
You can be pleasant about the way you’d like things done, but going back and correcting his work, bossing him around, or making him feel inept is a major turn-off…
Even if it helps keep the house clean, it may damage other parts of your relationship.
2. Talk to Him
You can certainly bring your frustrations to your husband – just don’t attack him!
Instead of “you never help out around here,” you can approach it more as a request for help. Let him know that you’re feeling overwhelmed by all there is to do, and feeling slighted that he’s got his feet up while you’re working away the day.
When he offers to help out, thank him – or if he’s doing things of his own accord, acknowledge that you appreciate his contributions. This is not to say that it isn’t his responsibility, but rather that positive reinforcement can help turn it into a more consistent habit.
Don’t try to make it a fight. The past isn’t what’s important here… Instead make it about building a better future together – where you’re less stressed, the house is well maintained, and you’re working together toward a common goal.
3. Know When Not to Ask
We’ve all got our own triggers for frustration, and while the very topic of this article may be one of yours – also keep his in mind when you’re feeling irritated by lack of help around the house.
If he’s just getting home from a long day or seems stressed out, maybe it’s not the best time to harangue him about not taking care of his laundry. Chances are, you know when his fuse is going to be a little shorter than normal, so avoid setting off a dispute by waiting for a more opportune time.
Like the first point above, part of your concern is your own perception and your own desire for how you want your living space to be. With that in mind, putting the laundry away or sweeping the kitchen can wait… You don’t have to do everything yourself, and it’s not worth fighting over if he’s on edge.
The overall point here is that you shouldn’t have to feel like it’s all on you, nor should it be worth causing full-blown arguments. Approach your husband practically, not angrily, and let him know how important it is that you work together for your mutual benefit!