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How To Get Husband To Help Without Nagging

by Sonya Schwartz

If you are looking for alternative ways to get your husband to help with housework without nagging, then you’ve probably seen how much of a strain it can put on a relationship. Chores rank right up there with money, sex, and the other top reasons couples argue.

A 2019 Yelp survey found that 80% of partners who live together fight about household chores, with many going at it quite often. While husbands are taking more active roles in housework than in the past, the bulk of the tasks still tends to fall upon women more in heterosexual relationships.

Considering we no longer live in a time where being a wife automatically meant being exempt from working, men who are yet to get the memo, have some adjustments to make. They can’t expect us to contribute financially, do wifey duties, be a mother to our kids, and still have household responsibilities solely on us.

If you’re tired of mothering your husband along with your children or have had enough of your marriage taking a hit because of chores, you’ve come to the right place.

17 Ways To Get Husband To Help Without Nagging

1. Start with a conversation

Where nagging fails, effective communication might help. I know emotions can run high when you don’t feel supported enough by your partner, but you need to even those out before having this conversation. It’s going to be about housework alright, but you should speak in terms of how him not doing his fair share of it makes you feel.

You know your husband best, so make sure to pick the time when the discussion is most likely to sink in to do it. If you’ve gone down this road before and the talk always ends with him promising to step up but never does, give him an out. Let him know it’s better to tell you next time if he’s unable to do something instead of shutting you up with a yes he knows he doesn’t mean. 

2. Determine what needs to get done

If you’re mostly in charge of the household tasks, you know which areas need more hands, where your partner can come in. Perhaps, your marriage is just starting out, and you’re trying to set the tone of how you will run your home.

Since the idea is to get your husband to take on more household duties, it would help to know what that typically entails to assign accordingly. 

3. Make a list

make a list

After making a mental note of what your domestic labor usually entails, you can proceed to make a to-do list. I know it sounds a bit formal for home, but it works with men. This way, all he needs to remember the next task is a look at the sticky note on the fridge instead of the icy voice of his pissed-off wife.

Also, many men leave the chores to their partner because they feel like it’s light work, something you don’t need them to handle. If your husband happens to think like this, too, seeing the tasks in writing might help him realize just how tedious it can be.

4. Create a practical routine

Once you have a handle on what makes up the entire thing, your next move should be to create a hands-on routine, preferably together. You can categorize your list by order of difficulty, importance, or time. Bringing your spouse in the loop helps him see that asking him to do chores isn’t some punishment you enjoy making him serve.

It’s your reality, and to keep your house running smoothly, those tasks need to be done. You can agree on a convenient yet appropriate time to get them done and who is better suited for what, but try not to limit yourself by stereotypical gender roles.

5. Play to his strength

To get the best out of men within or outside the home, put them in charge of what they are good at or have genuine interests in. We all know how unexciting chores can be, but assigning labor based on forte can be a way to keep everyone efficient.

If he’s good at planning and taking inventories, put him in charge of tasks that require that. If your partner’s talent is with kids, let him deal with the children’s fuss while you take care of something else. It can also include the little things taking out the garbage or emptying the dishwasher. The point is to put him where he’s most likely to excel without your supervision.

6. Make it fun

Again, given the monotonous nature of chores, men may not naturally gravitate towards it, especially when they have someone else around who does. But just like we can get creative when it comes to making children eat their vegetables, couples can also come up with fun methods to tackle household work.

Think about doing what you have to do together, essentially turning tedious tasks into bonding moments. Think music, games like scavenger hunts, catching up, pillow fights, etc. These little motivations do not only help get the chores done in high spirits, they can also help boost intimacy with your spouse exponentially.

7. Set a reward system

The sweet thing about making chores fun is you can choose to come up with what you want to kill time with at the moment or establish something to look forward to afterward. Personally, I like to reward myself with a little something after a job well done, within and outside the home.

You can also inspire your husband to do more around the house with the promise of something nice afterward. Use the knowledge of what he likes to your advantage like if he enjoys his solo time, he can take as much as he needs post-chores. You can also make a friendly competition out of it, whoever finishes first gets to win something.

8. Avoid micromanaging

avoid micromanaging

It may help to understand that there are several ways to do things and let him do the tasks that are not time-sensitive at his pace. Also, about standards, you may need to lower yours a bit if you feel you’re better at housework than your spouse. Get used to leaving him to what you’ve assigned him to do without hanging around to criticize or control his every move. 

No more recleaning after he’s done it, at least not that he should be aware of. Give him the idea that he’s the only hope of doing his assigned tasks right and watch him put his best effort into it. 

As opposed to throwing it in his face that he’s incapable of doing them right on his own. A lazy husband might also slack off intentionally if he knows you’re always lurking around the corner, waiting to pick it up.

9. Acknowledge when he makes an effort

Appreciation goes a long way with men, especially in marriage. Your partner may not be doing anything outside his duties when he gets the children ready for bed or makes the family dinner, but appreciating him nonetheless, is good management.

Don’t become that wife who gets so used to calling her man out for his failures that she can’t recognize it when he does something right. Even if his performance isn’t exactly 10/10, as long as it’s an improvement, acknowledge it, and you might motivate him to do more.

10. Keep your requests and reminders specific

The reason couples argue so much about chores is that one person assumes their partner knows when something needs to be done yet refuses to do it. This assumption breeds resentment, and before you know it, you’re either giving your husband the cold shoulder or complaining he’s unsupportive.

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How about coming out straight to say it the next time you want your hubby’s help with something around the house? And when you get the urge to nag the lazy out of him, so he doesn’t forget, don’t. If you must remind him, stick to calling out the specific task instead of another lecture or threat of what would go wrong if he doesn’t.

11. Have defined assignments

Many couples have a system where each partner has clear roles to play in the household. And I’m not just talking about traditional ones. If you think that might work for you, factor in each other’s strengths, priorities, and availability when planning your routine. One more reason why it’s better to do it together, so no one can complain of getting the short end of the stick.

Since doing only the tasks each of you enjoys may not be the most efficient way to split the work, assigning the rest based on capability may be the next best thing.

12. Switch roles occasionally

switch roles occasionally

Like it or not, chores are a regular part of our lives, and in case you haven’t noticed, most of marriage is discussing one household situation or the other. Something you do so often can influence your relationship's quality and reflect how invested you are as a couple in keeping your marital life interesting.

Most people will agree that chores are the absolute worst, but if you’re going to be stuck doing them, might as well make it interesting for yourselves somehow. Swapping assignments can also help fix the issue of one person getting stuck with a chore you both hate and keep responsibilities evenly distributed.

13. Don’t make a habit of doing his tasks for him

In an ideal situation, your husband should take the initiative to do chores when they are on the ground. But as that isn’t often the case with some men, their wives find means to make it work, like you’re currently doing by reading this post. However, if he dismisses your best efforts to ask for help, consider not covering for him for a change.

The occasional unique treatments where you take the load off your partner by completing their portion of the housework sometimes are great. But if you do it all the time, you’re essentially telling him you don’t need him like that, and if you’re not careful, that might become your marriage’s status quo.

14. Work as a team

Married couples’ best chance of surmounting household chores is to work as a team. The earlier people, especially men, realize that dumping all the responsibility on their partner is not just hurting her but their relationship too, the better. How can you put your best into being a wife if you are worn out by housework, your job, and maybe mummy duties?

I know it may seem less stressful to just take it all on yourself sometimes, but make it a point to include your husband in the work. If you do everything together from planning the chores to the incentives, he’s more likely to commit to it because it would be his idea too.

15. Give an ultimatum

Then again, some men are big babies and may require a bit of an iron hand to get in line sometimes. That you are not trying to nag doesn’t mean you should condemn yourself to a lifetime of slavery because you are a wife or a mother.

If you don’t see any sign of progress in your spouse’s attitude to housework after trying everything in the book, feel free to break this one out. Let him know you’ve had enough and that he can either fix up, offer an alternative, or face the consequences. Whatever the latter will be, is now up to you to determine.

16. Outsource what you can

Speaking of alternatives, have you considered having someone else take some of the labor off both of you? Not everyone can afford a maid, but if you can pay for some of the tasks that make up your chores, please do.

Take your dirty laundry to the dry cleaners instead of always doing it at home. Save cooking time and stress sometimes and eat out. Since men are often so quick to throw their money at problems, your reluctant husband may be willing to open his purse and pay for these services.

17. Keep in mind Rome wasn’t built in a day

keep in mind Rome wasn't built in a day

Again, before you decide to give your husband an ultimatum or give up on trying to get him to help the right way, remember change takes time. I assume you’re both in your relationship for the long haul, what with you being married and all, so it goes without saying that patience is a requirement.

Work on making your relationship a judgment-free zone where you can speak up when he inevitably slips up without him counting it as nagging. 

In the meantime, check-in with each other regularly to note improvements and what still needs to be done. Though you may need to be stern sometimes, be mostly gentle with him on the matter so no one says or does something they’ll regret out of frustration.

FAQs

How do I get my lazy husband to help around the house?

If your husband is too lazy to assist around the house, you can offer him the option of paying someone to do it, if it’s a task you can delegate. You can also come up with a rewards system together, so he has an additional incentive to do it.

Should a husband help with housework?

Everyone who contributes to making the mess in the house and is old enough to do housework should take part in the labor of cleaning it up. However, there are no strict rules in matrimony, so who does what among couples eventually comes down to the individuals involved.

How do I live with a messy husband?

With a lot of patience. Communicate what bothers you about their behavior instead of your irritation with them. When sharing housework, you can include some of the mess he creates in his portion, so he knows how to clean up after he feels. Or hire a housekeeper if you can afford one. More importantly, try to remind yourself of the positive things you love about him regularly maybe they can help make putting up with his messy ways a bit easier.

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How can I share my home responsibility with my spouse?

Work with each other to determine your individual strengths and distribute the labor fairly between you based on that. Keep in mind that what is fair to your spouse may not necessarily be equal division, so don’t always insist on splitting the responsibility equally.

Are neat freaks controlling?

Because of their compulsive need to keep a perfectly tidy environment, neat freaks can be controlling. They want everything around them a certain way, and their process of making that happen can make them come off as control freaks.

To Conclude

Much of getting men to do their duty without nagging is mastering how to keep an open mind, so you don’t expect the worst of them by default. If you can work with your spouse, you can get him to do much more than sharing domestic labor with you. As always, let me know in the comments if you enjoyed the article and share it with other couples you know.

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Sonya Schwartz
A hopeless romantic that struggled for many years to find her Mr "Right" and made all the mistakes you could think of while dating. Known for always choosing the wrong guys or messing up relationships, Sonya was finally able to change her approach and mindset when it came to dating which helped her eventually find the man of her dreams and become happily married. You can read more about me here...

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