How Do I Get My Husband to Help Around the House? Part I

“How do I get my spouse to help around the house?  I’ve been married for 15 years and I still don’t know how to solve this problem.  What can I do?”  – (Sandy L.)

Unequal division of labor related to children and household chores has been a growing problem, especially as more and more wives and mothers work both inside and outside of the home. It creates resentment and hostility and often leads to conflict. In fact, a couple’s inability to effectively remedy this problem can significantly undermine the quality of intimacy and connection in their marriage.

In the next several blog posts I will offer what I have found to be some highly effective tips for solving this very common and frustrating dilemma.

First of all, it’s true that more wives struggle with this issue than husbands, but I have seen plenty of men frustrated with it as well. So, although I will address the problem by answering Sandy’s question, the truths and strategies apply equally. You guys can be successful using the same approach.

So, Sandy, the first step in overcoming the problem of not knowing how to get your husband to start helping around the house is to STOP ASKING HIM TO HELP YOU!

In order to accomplish this first step you must change the mindset that repeatedly sets you up for failure. So, what is a mindset? Simply stated, it is a combination of the ideas and attitudes with which a person approaches a situation. Unfortunately, I believe most wives have a faulty mindset when it comes to the role their husbands play in making sure the home is well maintained and managed.

Repeatedly asking your husband to help around the house reveals that you have the mindset of a Volunteer Coordinator. Consider the nature of volunteer work; it is optional, often time-limited and occurs at the volunteer’s convenience. The responsibility for completion of the tasks ultimately falls upon the Coordinator. In an organizational setting, after the volunteer completes their benevolent act the Coordinator is quickly looking for another warm body they can enlist to perform the same or similar service the next day, week or month. Does this sound like the way you want to get things done at home?

Sandy, do yourself a favor and dump the Volunteer Coordinator mindset as soon as you can and replace it with a Partnership mindset.

A Partnership mindset involves the understanding that both spouses have a shared and vested interest in making sure projects, tasks and responsibilities related to the home and family are carried out on a regular and consistent basis. Whether you are a fulltime homemaker or CEO of your own company, a Partnership mindset will enable you to completely change your approach to getting things done around your home. When both partners understand and buy into the Partnership mindset, you will no longer be begging for help every day.

Of course, Sandy, when you adopt a Partnership mindset, that is just the first step. You will need to make some strategic changes in how you communicate with your husband in order to help him see the new vision for your family “organization” and how the two of you can truly operate cooperatively to get it running more smoothly. So next time, we will talk about some new approaches to this old problem.

Live, Work & Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

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