How to get your husband to help around the house is probably one of the biggest questions wives face today. When society shifted and women went to work outside of the home, it is unfortunate that most of the “domestic” tasks remained their duty as well. Most men saw no problem with this. This was mostly because they had never tried to hold down an outside job plus be a maid, cook, chauffeur, nurse, and nanny at the same time.
Luckily, today’s average man is a lot more sympathetic to our plight, and many of them are top notch at jumping in there and doing their share. However, there are still those out there who need a little motivation.
Girls, are you tired?
I was too. Like other couples we used to have the normal situation where I did most of the cooking and cleaning even though my husband and I both had jobs outside the home. So, yes, I was tired. But even more than that, I was MAD. After a while, that led to being resentful, and that was not a happy place to be.
It was bad for me, bad for him, and bad for our marriage in general.
I knew something had to change, but I didn’t know how to motivate him. He would say he was going to help me, but then there were many different ways that he would manage to get out of it. Every time he did that it made me a little more resentful. I started wondering if he even cared about me. After all, he was allowing me to work myself to death, and he didn’t seem to mind at all.
Then one day I accidentally stumbled on something that motivated him. There was somewhere he wanted to go (and he knew I didn’t want to go), so I said if he would help me do certain things around the house first I would go with him.
That did it.
He got up and asked specifically what things I wanted him to do – then he did them all! (In record time too!)
I suddenly realized I was onto something. Fast forward several years later and I now get loads of help from him on pretty much anything I am doing.
You see, it’s all about the give and take.
Men and women are different obviously. Women tend to be more able to multitask, while men tend to concentrate on one thing at a time. Nobody likes having to do things around the house over and over (like laundry), but men are able to block it out and not think about it. And you know, ladies, that we cannot not. Sometimes multitasking abilities are a curse, you know?
Since men are able to not think about it, they simply don’t think it’s as important as we do. We think about it constantly until it’s done. They listen to you say it needs to be done, then go right back to watching “How It’s Made” and the laundry never enters their mind again until you angrily slam the laundry basket down beside them.
(You see, life is much easier and simpler in their heads. Sometimes I am jealous….)
So here is my guideline for getting lots of help from your husband (or boyfriend):
1. Decide Specifically What You Need Him To Do.
“Help clean the house” is not sufficient for most men. It would be like them telling us to go rebuild the motor in the car. See what I mean? My husband used to stand in the kitchen and tell me that he didn’t know what to do even thought there was a sink full of dirty dishes in front of him. It used to drive me insane.
So you need to come up with something like: load dishwasher, sweep the porch, walk the dog, set the table for lunch, and put away clothes that are in the laundry room. Be as specific as possible.
2. Tell Them What’s In It For Them.
This will be his motivation, so make it good. Maybe you will go the the races with him tonight if he helps you today. Maybe you could explain to him that you will have more energy at bedtime if you get some help today. You know what will motivate your guy.
My husband will work himself to death for rewards. We joke about it all the time. It’s not mean or devious to set your husband up like this if you both understand what you’re doing and are both fine with the arrangement.
3. Don’t Criticize Their Work.
This is a big one. You have to be kind if you want them to help you the next time. And nobody likes to be criticized, but sometimes I think men take it worse. You want this to be a positive experience for him. He follows through on your request, he gets his reward, and in the end he feels good about the whole transaction and wants to please you again.
For example, my husband used to be really bad at vacuuming. He missed more spots than he hit. Sometimes I would wish I had just done it myself, but I bit my lip. There were times I went behind him and did parts of it again. Then one day he mentioned that he couldn’t do it to suit me because I did it over. So I told him he was right and that I would never do that again. And guess what? He suddenly got better at vacuuming. Amazing!
You are probably thinking, “But I shouldn’t have to “reward” him for things that he should be doing anyway.”
I totally agree with that. But to that I must add, “Do you want help or not?”
It is what it is. But here’s the good news. Over the years, after seeing my gratitude and willingness to help him with things in return, I no longer have to negotiate with my husband to get things done. He actually WANTS to help me. He has done enough of the work around here that he now realizes how much time and energy it takes to keep things running.
Here is a good resource from Amazon to give you more information:
Now that you know how to get your husband to help around the house, I hope you will leave some feedback. I would love to include any other ideas you have.
by Angela Christian Pope @ ModernRelationship.org