Too Many Chores, Not Enough Help from Your Husband


From a recent comment on What Should You Expect from a Husband or Wife?:

I do try to assume love, but what do you do when your husband’s idea of “helping” is only doing what he feels like doing? I wind up spending hours and hours on housework, cooking, laundry, etc. Plus working full time. He hangs out and maybe does the dishes once a month. If your spouse is not interested in being an equal or even some kind of partner, what do you do?

Once upon a time, I thought you should “fight for your rights.” Then I suddenly had the fair deal I thought I wanted. My husband dropped dead at age 35. And then I had to do what I am going to tell her to do right now before it’s too late.
Do less.
You have too many chores. They leave you no time for love. More importantly, they leave no room in your heart for love. Who knows how much longer love will be an option for you? Don’t blow this.
The chores do not go away when the husband does. All that goes away is money: some of it to the lawyers, some of it to provide a second home and its furnishings, some of it to provide the recreation you deny yourselves now but will feel entitled to once single, some of it to duplicate whatever your kids will need if you shuttle them between homes, some of it to caretakers for your parents as they age, because you will have no time for them.
Clean less. If you cannot stand to clean less, get a smaller place. Cook less often. Make large batches of food and freeze them, or buy prepared food.
Work fewer hours. Put some elbow grease into finding a job that pays as much for 30 hours a week as yours does for 50. And make it closer to home, to cut out the commuting time and expense.
Work more hours. If you can make enough in four hours to buy eight hours of help with the chores, you just gained four hours for love.
Send your laundry out. Or stop buying any clothes that must be folded as soon as they dry. Buy more underwear, so you can go longer between loads.
Order your groceries over the internet and have them delivered or ready for pickup. Pay someone to do your taxes. Put your bills on auto-pay. Get a larger trash can, or a less smelly one.
And buy a lot of paper plates.
If equality is a big issue for you, be your husband’s equal instead of demanding he be your equal. If you were away on a trip for a month, how many of those chores would he consider necessary enough to do? All the rest are making your relationship unequal only because you added them onto the list. Take them off.
Having an equal household partner is not nearly as satisfying as having a loving partner. But why not have both? Offer a room in your home to a college student in exchange for half the chores. You may lose a little privacy and storage space, but half your non-working time will be freed up for dancing, movies, love letter writing, new hobbies, watching your old videos, and silly stuff with your man.
If you get rid of some of what keeps you feeling overworked and find you don’t enjoy spending the extra time loving the man you chose as your husband and letting him love you, then you can think about divorce. And you’ll be well ahead of the game for having already cut back on all the chores a single woman needs to do.

About the author

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.


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  • Thanks Patty, for a wonderful post. I love what you said about the chores your husband would or wouldn’t do if you weren’t at home. When I travel for business, it’s when I get home that I get an insight to what’s important to Jim. He doesn’t care if I make the bed. The recyclables can sit on the counter until the urge to separate them and take them out in the garage strikes. Dishwasher full? He just pulls a plate and glass out of it, uses them, puts them back in and runs the thing again.
    So, if I’m in the middle of making the bed or doing one of those chores that he has marked down in the “Optional” category, and he asks if I want to take a walk, I happily drop whatever that chore was, pull on my sneakers and head out the door guilt free and happy to be with the man I love. Smile.

  • Terrific post!
    To this I would add: knowing your finances, really knowing where each dollar is spent, enables you to “buy” time for yourself.
    For example: we discovered we were spending about $20 in raw materials to cook dinner for our family. This then entailed food shopping, preparing food, setting table and cleaning up. We now keep track of all the places kids eat free, eg Tues at IHOP, Wed at East Coast Wings, etc
    We all drink only water to conserve money. Hubby and I split one entree and kids eat free -costing a grand total of just $10 most nights – half of what it cost to do all that work ourselves. I appreciate a home cooked meal but even more appreciate less stress/more family time.
    With that money saved ($70/week) we hired someone to clean our home weekly and launder our sheets.
    We hired our daughter to do just about everything else – she has as a result saved up $8500 toward her car one day – and she is just 11.
    She is learning the value of a dollar and we have a more relaxed family life.

  • I do try to assume love, but what do you do when your wife’s idea of “intimacy” is only doing what she feels like doing? I wind up spending hours and hours on romance, date nights, massages, love notes, etc. Plus working full time. Sh hangs out on facebook and maybe responds once a month. If your spouse is not interested in being an equal or even some kind of partner, what do you do?

  • Intimacy is a lot like chores, with one exception: you really should not hire someone to do what she won’t do. If you are doing so much that you feel resentment when she does not join in, stop doing it. It may be your resentment that’s scuttling your hopes of a closer connection.
    When you Assume Love, do you remember to ask yourself what would make a woman who really loves you turn down a chance for intimacy with you? This is the profitable question to explore, not the question, “What’s wrong with her?” Odds are really good that she really wants more intimacy with you, but something’s in the way.
    What else can you try? Learn new ways to make sex more pleasurable for her. Learn more about Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages, so you speak hers as well as yours. Find out what creates her resentment, because it kills her libido. Pay attention to her schedule and when she’s most able to make free time, when she’s at her cheeriest.
    Pay attention to what she spends time on. If it’s Facebook, maybe you should be there, saying the sorts of things about her that you would say if you were trying to get a date with her. Or maybe you should start gathering real live friends at your home (or your local skating rink or billiards hall) for some fun.
    Pay attention to her tastes and to her fears when you get a chance for sex together. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is your only chance to get what you want. It’s your best chance to show her what she’s missing.

  • So spot on, Patty! I’m a huge advocate for streamlining lives to make marriage and relationships, rather than work or chores, the priority. If some one asked us what was the most important thing in our lives, many would respond “my wife” or “my family”…but do our actions and daily routines show that? Often not. I wrote a research post about workplace stress and marriage for my blog that also appeared in the Coalition for Divorce Reform website.

  • Patty,
    I generally love your advice here but your advice to John up above was a little heartless and off base. As you point out, this is the one thing in marriage you can’t hire out. Here’s a guy that said he’s trying just about every love language and seems to be making more than an honest effort…and you tell him he’s being selfish in bed and that his wife is resentful of him which is causing her to lose his libido. Trust me, for some women it’s medical, for some it’s psychological, emotional…etc. The last thing in the world this guy who is trying to love his wife and not just get chores done needs to hear is it’s his fault. His hearts already being torn out. Sorry, he can’t just eat out or hire a college student…love your solutions for chores but this is just WAY off base.

  • Robert, thank you so much for calling me on what sounded like a heartless response. He’s not at fault. He’s at a dead end and needs to back up and try a different route. So often when we are working very, very hard to change something and it’s not changing, we stop being able to see our way to a real solution, a real Third Alternative to our spouse’s happiness and our own.
    As soon as we realize we’re making so much effort that we resent the lack of effect, it’s time to stop the effort. Resentment pretty much guarantees our efforts will fail. It also limits our ability to see what might work, whether we’re talking chores or sex.
    The next step is to figure out what she’s protecting herself from. As you say, it may be medical, it may be an old psychological wound, it may be her own resentment about an unrelated issue with John. Odds are good it’s not John or all forms of sex. John and his wife need a solution that meets her need to protect herself as well as his real need for a sexual relationship with his wife. To find it, they both need the truth about what a great solution would give their spouse.

  • Patty,
    Sorry to disagree with you again, but it goes much deeper than what you are suggesting with many women. Yes it can be many things, one just plain selfishness. It’s also unfair to assume there won’t be resentment if he just stops trying. He pledged is heart, life and love to this woman when married…and it’s a real, not manufactured or slightly desired, thing for a man to have this need. There will be resentment no matter what he does is what I am getting at, I can guarantuee it.
    As someone who has lived through this you double down on the love, but at the same time you put up boundaries. Those boundaries look different depending on the situation. If this is post partum and is only been going on for months a real serious talk followed up by a mutual, non breakable schedule of frequency. If this is years going on it means double down on the loving but at the same time saying I love you with all my heart, you are my world but this is not working. You have a few months to figure this out. Get to the doctor, get to a counselor (or we get to a counselor), do whatever you have to do but you have X amount of time to figure this out or I’m…..
    Bottom line, with some women, no matter HOW you love them no matter what angle/perspective/actions etc you take. It comes down to them choosing their marriage (which means regular sex with their husband) or not. Can they choose not. Yes, so be prepared for that but honestly some women can go the rest of their lives and have barely any sexual needs no matter how much, or just plain how their husbands love them. To say otherwise is just unfactual. If they choose their marriage, that may mean taking testorone as my wife now does. It may mean going to counselor to figure out what in their head is off as to why the know sex is EXTREMELY important to their husband and yet they don’t care enough to… It may mean they have to work on other things.
    But bottom line not all things in marriage can just be assumed love away. Some things are deal breakers…some things you just can’t look on the bright side and positive side. It minimalizes the importance of sex to say such a thing…it’s not doing the dishes or laundry and it goes a lot deeper than that.
    My wife knew how important it was to me and it was a combination of selfishness, emotional issues, medical issues and even spiritual issues. She knew she was killing me and to be bluntly honest we were in the period of boundaries being set (this will be fixed or you will be asked to leave our home) when I literally stepped in front of a gun and risked my life for her. It took that to wake her up and see how much I loved her and for her to change her ways. And I pray no else has to literally step in front of a loaded gun to get the same result, and 99.9% wouldn’t even have the opportunity. In other words, no matter how much I tried to love my wife and for no matter how many years I tried…no matter how good of man, husband, father, etc…it just didn’t change. I’ve talked to countless men where it’s the same. Sorry I signed up for sex when I got married (here’s a secret…that’s why we men get married! I literally would die for my wife, worked till a bled for my wife, buy her flowers everyday…so don’t take that the wrong way…but yes ladies that’s why we get married), there’s going to be resentment…you can’t reframe that with a different mindset.
    It comes down to not stop loving her, but going all out and at the same time putting very real, very scary boundaries up.
    That said…you had better be loving her for a long time before putting up those boundaries.
    Sorry this is one issue I don’t agree we assume love away.

  • So… what do you do when you already do ‘less’, and all he does is gripe and complain about what’s not getting done, but still never lifts a finger to help? I have left dirty dishes on the counter for months at a time.. 5, 6, 10 trash bags piled in the courner.. had an infestation of maggots all over the kitchen (thankfully we had no children).. grass up to our waist (probably with snakes) in the yard.. and he does nothing about it.
    So “become your husbands equal instead of demanding he become your equal” doesn’t always work. Because when I became his ‘equal’, then NOTHING got done. And I was resented for not doing more (even though I worked just as much outside the home).
    Btw, this was our past and does not apply to us anymore. But maybe there’s someone that this does apply to.
    I have learned that marriage is about giving 100%.. NOT 50/50!

  • Robert, I believe we agree more than you think. I hope John with not try to pretend things are OK without the sex. That is certainly not what I mean by Assume Love.

  • To those who feel that there are hopeless situations and incurable deal breakers, I would say, yes, sometimes that is true. But I don’t think it’s true as often as people think it is. My understanding of assume love (and I realize I could be wrong – Patty will correct me if I am) is that you step back and try to figure out why someone who loves you would behave in what seems like such an unloving way. Just as your behavior is often based on trying to get what you need, there is a good chance that their behavior is based on trying to get what they need. Indeed, sometimes it may require a counselor, a doctor, an intervention, or something else that goes beyond just the two people talking to each other. In any case, it means letting go of all current assumptions and asking some completely new questions.

  • What I do (and really wish I did before my first husband died) is exactly what you said, give my marriage 100%. If you marry someone who is not moved to do anything about waist-high grass and filth in the kitchen or any other aspect of your life together, you’ve got two choices. You can do 100% of the work for both of you or you can leave and do 100% of the work for yourself alone.
    If you find yourself fantasizing about divorcing and being rescued by someone with a yard work compulsion and boundless energy for kitchen cleanups, you should not find it hard to understand a husband who hopes you will take care of these for him.
    I think it would be wonderful if all marriages felt fair to both parties, and sometimes they do. But when life throws a bit more at us, resentment cheats us. We push off love while we’re angry over being left with no more responsibility (for the house, the eating, the yard, the sex, the security, the kids) than divorce would dump on us.

  • My problem is that I cannot seem to get over my resentment over my husband’s lack of household help and his fiscal irresponsibility. I love him, but he has ruined us financially by not being responsible in his business accounting, and seems to have a mental illness or personality disorder. We separated for a year, and I was miserable without him, but am miserable with him (in different ways), too. We seem to have a dysfunctional relationship and it is hard to see the solution when there is so much (self-induced) financial crises going on. My head is spinning from the craziness. I want to get through this together, but even going to counseling isn’t helping. I love him and worry about him, but maybe I’m better off with a lonely, calm life than a marriage to someone who creates major drama.
    This is my choice, and I can’t seem to make up my mind. I am 55 years old and don’t think I can handle the drama at 70 or 80.

  • You are miserable but calm without him, miserable but in love with him.
    Perhaps there is a Third Alternative. If you have the ability to provide a calm financial life for yourself, how about separating your finances? You provide a home you can afford — anything he can add to it when he’s flush will be icing on the cake. You keep the rainy day fund, so his ups and downs don’t change much. You might even talk to a tax attorney about the possibility of separating your tax liabilities.
    You do all the things you would need to do on your own, but you get to keep him. And when his financial dramas are positive, he can help pay for extras or for helpers to reduce your workload. His dramas will be less dangerous to him and to you.
    Of course, all good Third Alternatives must meet both your needs. If he wants more house or more housework than you can afford without drama, you can give him the option of personal therapy to treat his personality disorder or mental illness, after which he can resume sharing the financial decisions in your life.
    You can take back control over your financial life without relinquishing your relationship with someone you love. In some states, it is harder than in others. If you live in one of those states, consider relocating to a state where you and your husband can love each other despite your need for calm and his for drama.

  • I love this post Patty. I really love how natural and normal you make it seem. But I have tried this and it does not work for me… and Im not even married. My boyfriend and I currently live together and he goes on and on about the house. He often says when he first met me, my home was spotless and he thinks that I was just putting on a show to attract him, but he doesn’t understand that I was cleaning behind my single self. Now that he and his son have moved in, nothing ever stays clean!
    The problem is that for years of our relationship, I was the one doing all of the housework and after a while, nothing was ever good enough for him, mostly because once I was done cleaning house, he would come home and make a mess in the few hours before we called it a night. Despite my pleading, they NEVER pick up behind themselves. Then he complains that the house is not tidy. We get into an argument because I am not his maid.
    Anyhow, I have tried the clean less method. After a while, you just give up. I started doing the bare minimum because nothing is ever good enough for him. Bare minimum= clearing clutter, vacumming, doing dishes, laundry, cooking. Im lax about about mopping and scrubbing toilets. The problem is that he complains all of the time. I know for a fact that when I am not there, the house is in shambles, he does very little if anything. Yet when I am there, he complains if I do not do it and refuses to simply pick up behind himself to maintain what I’ve done.
    Also they dont eat leftovers, so cooking large batches doesnt help. So I have to cook something new everyday and if he has to cook a couple of times a week, I will hear about it later that week during some random argument. 🙁
    I love how you said to be his equal instead of demanding he be mine, but what if even that fails?

  • Heather, I just noticed that I did not reply to your great comment last month. It arrived just as I was leaving on a trip. It sounds like you two need a Third Alternative, a different way to get what you both want instead of two competing ways that don’t work for both of you.
    To find a Third Alternative, you first agree to throw out the two alternatives that aren’t working for you. Then you discuss the specs for one that would. It sounds like both of you would like a clean house and neither of you wants to clean up after him and his son. Before looking for one, I would want to know what else goes on this list. You mention that he cares about tidiness, and your minimal chores suggest you care about cleanliness, which means he may not even notice most of what you now do when he asks for more. You also mention that he can’t keep it tidy when you’re away, which suggests he could use a more easily tidied house. You might consider a drawer on the second floor the place to put away something used outdoors, while he might be the sort who needs storage next to the door and his son might need color-coding or (if he’s young enough) match-the-animals or shoot-it-through-the-basketball-hoop methods to reward tidiness efforts.
    Once you have the list of specs, the three of you might have some fun brainstorming ways to meet them. Be sure to do some hotdogging during your brainstorming, when you all suggest really off-the-wall ideas without any critique, in hopes of coming up with a really creative way to what you all want, without whatever pain you each need to avoid.
    You can do the same with cooking. Is it really that they don’t like all leftovers, or is it that they don’t like the same food twice in a week, or maybe they espcially dislike reheated steamed vegetables? Stew or chili stuck in the freezer for a couple of weeks and reheated is often even better than freshly made stew or chili. Burgers or steaks seared on the grill, frozen, and cooked a week later can be even tastier than something made fresh on the stove. If your family likes rice dishes, will they care if the rice is precooked in large batches? If they like potato skins with cheese and bacon, would it matter that the potatoes were baked with the baked potatoes you served a few days earlier?

  • Great ideas here. I do almost 100% of house chores and am so overwhelmed, I did some of the stuff here before seeing this article (e.g ordering home-cooked meals regularly, cleaning less etc). Nice to see an article which re-affirms what I have been doing and gives me more ideas on how to get my sanity back.

  • That was a great post but what if you’ve already lowered your standards and you can’t put your kids on hold?
    It’s New Year’s Day and my husband went to bed a little bit before me, but didn’t wake up until Noon when New Year’s dinner was sitting on the table. After dinner with all 3 kids, I fell asleep on the couch because I’d had 5 hours of sleep to his 11 or 12 hrs. I woke up to the two little ones tearing up the house, my teenager in the wreckroom with earbuds in, and my husband lounging under the covers in our bed watching tv totally oblivious to the kids. He is not sick, not getting sick. He either doesn’t understand the children need more supervision or attention, and doesn’t even consider I’ve had such little sleep.
    So what do you do when you get to the point that you’re continually exhausted with a husband like this who acts like one of the children and you NEVER ever get a break from being the watchman of the whole house, the cook, etc ? He has been like this for years. He will help vacuum and pick up toys, will not get the kids to do it which is a whole other story…he helps but the ways he does it are ineffective and so the help becomes incidental. The way he is, which is loving, affectionate, not abusive -but childish and takes me for granted- are literally doing a huge number on my health. I am continually sleep-deprived since our daughter was born 14 years ago, I went from being a runner, cyclist and gym rat to being totally overweight and out of shape, am unable to enjoy any hobbies on my own or go anywhere on my own except grocery shopping. I take care of everyone. I have a severe vitamin B12 deficiency I have to take supplements for and as the dominoes fell, dental problems. I think most of this is obvious. Isn’t it obvious when the whole family was up late on New Year’s and you slept until Noon with a full holiday dinner on the table, that your wife was probably up way before you?

  • I know it can be awfully frustrating, Carolyn. But I hope you won’t believe that because your husband slept late or watched TV while you slept, he doesn’t care for you or isn’t a good enough parent.
    Assume Love — ask yourself what might lead a good man who loves his wife and kids to do these things.
    My husband, for example, believes getting enough sleep is essential to good health and to being there for each other. It’s what you do first, holidays and non-life-essential deadlines be damned. If your husband shares his point of view, he probably believes if you got up before him, you either had enough sleep or you valued making a New Year’s Day dinner even more than your health.
    When you fell asleep, he may have thought, “I’m so glad she’s come to her senses and set aside some of these less important things to get some rest. I’ll go in the other room and watch TV, so I don’t accidentally wake her.”
    If he did not stop the two little ones from tearing up the house or the teen from listening to music, there is a good chance he believes they were doing exactly what they should be doing. Many parents differ on the balance between freedom and control, depending in large part on how their own childhoods went. Others differ because one has never allowed the other to experience the real costs of letting children tear up the house or disconnect from everyone else.
    (And yes, some are narcissists or sociopaths who care nothing about their wife’s or children’s wellbeing, but nothing you said about yours seems to put him in this category.)
    So, what do you do next? You divorce and have no other parent in the house while you nap half the time and the other half leave the kids in his care in another house where an emergency won’t wake you. Or you look for Third Alternatives, something you can live with that he can, too, something that acknowledges the differences in your priorities and your expectations and draws on your creative thinking instead of your criticisms of each other’s values.
    One place to start looking for answers is to ask what you would do about meal prep and child care and sleep if tomorrow morning you woke up and he was dead beside you. I hired an au pair. I was fortunate to have a guest room and the sort of job where greater, more focused effort resulted in greater income, as I doubled mine in 14 months to pay for this and the bills my husband’s income had paid. I also cut my daily commute by about an hour each way. I cannot tell you how many times I daydreamed about how our lives would have gone if I did both of these while my husband was still alive instead of wondering why he did not do what I would have done.
    Even more important is to discuss these matters in a non-judgmental way with your husband. It may be that you grew up being held accountable at all times for the safety of other children (leading you to blame your own child for putting in earbuds while Mom’s napping and Dad’s watching TV), while he grew up as an only child with too many or too few responsibilities — or as a child in a family where each child had specific times of responsibility and freedom to be a child the rest of the time — or in a family where all of the childcare responsibilities belonged to Mom (never noticing that this was her only job while Dad worked two outside the home).
    I hope you will read some of the other posts about Third Alternatives. They are a fantastic way to end your frustrations and reveal some wonderful things about the man you married.

  • My ex-wife was constantly whining that I didn’t help with housework, laundry, etc. enough. I finally offered to do ALL the housework if she agreed to do all the things that ONLY I DID. Like changing the oil in the cars and other mechanical repairs, plumbing repairs, carpentry work, mowing the lawn, tilling the garden, electrical repairs, painting, snow shoveling, and on and on. She was absolutely furious; she knew she had lost that discussion

  • Big Frank, I can’t really get behind your goal of winning against or infuriating your wife, but your point is well taken, that most of us pay a lot more attention to the chores we do than what’s required for the chores we don’t need to do because we’re married.

  • Loulee, thank you for sharing this Today Show blog post.
    Leslie Bennetts’ description of her marriage doesn’t sound all that pleasant to me. She gets no thanks for her efforts and offers none for his. And she’s apparently ticked off at her husband (and other women’s husbands) most of the time. And her version of marriage doesn’t sound very equitable to me: she’s her husband’s supervisor, not his equal.
    Way back in 1973, as women were beginning once again to enter careers in droves, the MIT Dean of Students, a woman, offered a workshop on two-career families. She invited her husband to join us. He took an afternoon off from running one of Harvard Medical School’s hospitals to do so. What he said has really stuck with me for the past 42 years.
    This was a second marriage for him. He adored his wife, and both of them had the sort of jobs that can completely overwhelm one’s love life.
    In his first marriage, he said, his wife (a housewife) would call him at work and ask him to pick up something like toilet paper on the way home. He’d feel annoyed at the interruption and completely forget the request before he left work at least half the time, annoying her.
    He said he knew he had an equal marriage now, because the need for toilet paper would pop into his head while sitting in a work meeting discussing a multi-million dollar decision, just as it does for so many working wives and just as it did between marriages for him. Instead of picking up necessities being a *chore* they shared, it was a *responsibility* they shared, because wife #2, our dean, refused to appoint herself in charge of making sure household chores got done.

  • So what you’re saying is that to have a man, you need to lower your standards. To around what they were at 19 and in college. Live in a shambles, put up with dirty, un-ironed clothes, eat off paper plates, and learn to enjoy takeaways.
    Since I am also paying the bills, and earning most of the income, I think I will just tell him to move out.

  • You should do that, April. If your relationship is that of landlady-tenant, you get to make the rules and you get to evict those who don’t follow them.
    I write for those who love their spouses but find themselves too full of resentment to still appreciate their good points. One place a lot of them get stuck is on lifestyle issues pounded into their heads at age 4, so that they now hold them out as moralistic yardsticks for others.
    There are wonderful, smart, adventurous, creative people in this world who feel fine eating takeaways on paper plates. Those who prefer fine china (or even Corelle) are no better or worse than them. But if either feels superior to the other, they really should not date or marry each other, because you cannot have a satisfying, healthy, long-lasting relationship with your inferior.
    You can, of course, live with and love someone with different lifestyle standards. You just recognize that china is your preference, and you make the effort to earn enough to buy it or to ask for it as a gift, to set the table with it, to wash it after dinner. And you can do it with love, because you get that this is not something you do for your spouse, who does not care about china and dislikes wasting resources or time on it. It’s something you do for you.
    If you grew up thinking “good” people live in fine houses, you may need to stretch a bit to understand that the person you love, the person who brings other great qualities in your life, actually would feel most comfortable living in a fishing shack by the river and lives in an apartment in town to make you more comfortable or to have more opportunities to earn money to buy you and someday his children what they need.
    I think it’s a good thing to have standards when choosing a mate. Make as long a list as you need to feel comfortable. Choose someone you admire.
    And then, if you want to enjoy being married, admire him. Don’t shame him. Don’t look down on him for having different preferences. Don’t expect him to “grow up” into your picture of a grown up, which comes from a very limited sample of people. Expect him to become more of the man you admired.
    You can be pretty certain his expectation of who you will “grow up” to be does not include his mother or landlady.

  • This is the most sexist, anti-feminist and religious brainwashing blog I have seen in a long time. Men need to help with all of the menial chores too, and not have 24/7 (apart from a cushy office job, like watching cameras) videogame addictions, or to do things so poorly and passive- aggessively with the real agenda being that they never get asked again (for instance, the only time my family has ever gotten sick is when my husband has done some dishes, which happens once in a blue moon). He is literally like a 4th child to clean up after, and with children ages 6,4, and 3, I have to be vigilant 100% of the time. He does not think about common sense things, and blames me for not being ridiculously explicit in every single direction if I ask him to please do something, so he blames me for not asking, yet if I do ask, he calls me a nag. He was yelling in my face for not cleaning enough, then when I lightly slapped him to get him out of my face, intentionally not hurting him, he used that to call the police and tell them I assaulted him, which resulted in an ongoing criminal investigation now ( I have zero criminal history) and them calling CPS. I am traing to become a teacher so this can affect my ability to live my calling for the rest of my life.Telling women to just “do less chores” is not a possibility for a sanitary and functioning home, when the husband refuses to do anything for himself, and then claims he has that right as primary breadwinner and that I ought to be making more money from home, on top of homeschooling children as Vegans whose oldest daughter was getting sick from the long days at school via bus with 15 min. to eat and no Vegan hot meal options. He has put me into a state of nervous breakdown at least once a year. When we get divorced, which Ive been training to become a teacher whenever I can, and have been substitute teaching and doing Cambly tutoring and transcription work when possible, I can not trust him to clean the dishes properly to keep the kids from getting sick or take care of my children’s health needs. And no, going to the doctor does not qualify because it is about prevention: they need to have windows/doors open for airflow (he will doors and windows closed, sleep with his face covered, no sunlight, no exercise and wonder why he’s depressed or why he can no longer feel his arms, or get the type of quality rest that he needs). They need healthy variety of food, and the only thing he will make in a blue moon is potatoes, rice, and pasta without veggies. He will go some days without eating at all unless I remind him, and almost never eats raw foods. The problem is, he has had me hospitalized at the slightest sign of the beginning of a nervous breakdown (rather than leaving me alone and letting me handle it) has destroyed my credit with doctor bills I not only did not consent to, but actively tried each time to convince them to not take me though I have PTSD around police now. In the ambulance with no air flow or water given, they use circulation stopping/ cutting restraints and tranquilizing drugs that stop the lungs from breathing and body systems shut down (10 min. without oxygen is brain dead), then am kept there for hours with the restraints while they have caused lasting nerve damage to arms from tourniquets. The experience takes me on average a month to recover from, and it is getting harder each day. For instance, my family almost never gets sick, but now my son and I have become almost deathly sick with diarrhea after [husband] did some of the dishes while playing games, which Ive noticed is a pattern. Oh, and the yelling incident? Not only do I pick up 364 days a year on top of almost all the cooking, maybe eating out once a month, b/c we are on food stamps and he doesn’t care about getting a Bachelor’s degree (did I mention I have a BS in Biology before we got married, and an EMT certification?) He also asked for sex when I was sleeping, I told him yes, and then discover once I felt him orgasming that he decided not to wear a condom, despite my making sure he had a condom on all the times before, which really constitutes rape. No, I wouldnt trade my children for the world, but I dont even have the money to get divorced right now. Did I mention he controls all the finances and doesnt allow me to see the account despite sharing an account? Enough is enough. If women don’t have children, maybe they’ll think its still doable to marry a patriarchal, anti-feminist man who displays zero romance or concern for health or education, with another real and damaging addiction. Marriage is not necessarily something that ought to be treated as sacred above one’s well being, and definitely do not cater to selfish men as one would a child. For all the times he has destroyed or damaged property by not being conscientious, I’m certain I could be in my own owned home by now. If you are reading this, please do not think this can’t happen to you. We were both Mormon and so I had thought love of God was the most important thing between us and what mattered most, despite very little other values in common. I discovered through reading scientific impossibilities of the bible, all the discriminations commanded/condoned, approved or committed by the character portrayed as God in the bible, biblical circular reasoning, historical issues with the origins of Christianity (if oral stories passed on for centuries by many different people before the bible was written doesn’t clue one in as to accuracy levels as “Word of God”, then nothing will), Christmas coming from Saturnalia and Yule, what happened at the Council of Nicaea, and thousands of cross-referenced contradictions of the most popular KJV, with thousands of biblical edits and hundreds of bible versions, that Christian churches are corporate cults. The Truth matters. If one is living one’s life by the values of a heinous, amoral book, (because the character portrayed as God commands, does or approves the most heinous acts imaginable by calling those who do them righteous, and those who don’t, not) then one might want to carefully examine the evidence available for the historicity of Jesus, why no primary credible historian has ever met a Jesus, and why there are no bibles dating back to before mid 4th century (it wasn’t written until then). I recommend reading “Caesar’s Messiah,” “The historicity of Jesus,” and Egypt knew no pharoah’s nor Israelites.” Don’t use things like, “this guy is good at math, likes games like I used to, eats the way I do, keeps a steady albeit lowpaying job and loves God too, from my same religion that claims one must be married to reach the celestial kingdom” as reason why its good to get married. I recommend living together first to know his habits. When I got engaged, seeing his room for the first time (where he was living at someone else’s house no less) with the trash and items piled up all over several layers deep covering all the walking space, with no organization, as if a tornado hit it, was a huge red flag to me, and I felt sick seeing it, but then I ignored it thinking I could help him and that he just needed training for organization, cleaning, and a “woman’s touch.” I did assist him in getting his associates degree. Please ladies, do not ignore red flags like this, because continuing with Assume Love’s advice here can cause sickness from lack of a sanitary home, plus sickness, stress and not enough sleep from being the first to wake up and the last to go to sleep, heartache, no societal status or credit without making enough money, nervous breakdowns and a CPS case with him having all the established credit as he can destroy yours by claiming one is “hysterical/dangerous”, and if you have PTSD and anxiety from interaction with police, then its difficult to be calm enough after these threats from husband that he is calling the police when on that verge of meltdown from the same disgusting habits day in/day out, and the way he is teaching our children to behave and treat women, to stay calm (its a cycle of domestic enslavement in many cases.). In addition, he has pinned me up against a wall, and yelled as loud as could i
    nto my right ear, causing hearing damage, after I had rightly outed him for not looking underneath a pile of his still untouched clothing heap on the floor, after he claimed he did. Yet pressing charges, after he falsely accused me of assault since I lightly smacked him to keep a repeat of the yelling in my ear incident from happening, means I would get charged too…no marks whatsoever on his face doesn’t matter. I had told him to stop harrassing and yelling at me, or else I would call the police for once, and so he knew what he was doing getting up in my face, then called them first. I know one’s husband dying might have led Patty to feeling a lot of sadness about needing to enjoy whatever time one has with a man over anything else, thus the shitty and biased, anti-feminist, non-egalitarian advice to put up, do less chores, and to figure out how to “respect his values”, but that advice is keeping women as secondhand menial chore slaves. Sometimes the best answer is like in the honeybee hive: the male bees who do nothing but mate get kicked out.

  • If you have a male bee who does nothing, I agree: kick him out.
    Unless he fights you for custody, though, this still leaves you with all the chores, and the need for an income, unless you happen to be a queen bee.
    And there’s nothing the least bit religious, sexist, or anti-feminist about this.
    Marriage is not slavery. You are not required to do a darn thing for your husband, nor he for you. You don’t get to decide he’ll prepare vegan meals, and he doesn’t get to decide when you’ll clean the house. You don’t get to slap him (even lightly), and he doesn’t get to rape you. Neither of you owns the other.
    No matter how “fair” it looks that one of you cooks healthy food and the other washes the dishes until they don’t infect the family, it’s no more fair than insisting one of you changes the brake pads and the other changes the oil or one of you brings home $500 on Wednesdays and the other $500 on Thursdays.
    Feminism is NOT about getting even for sexist injustices done to our foremothers by men who believed they were the masters of the women they married. It is about refusing to be owned.
    Or to own.
    Marriages thrive when the partners willingly make each other’s lives easier. They wither when either partner decides in what way their spouse is “required” to do this, whether it’s a man insisting his wife do housework or a woman insisting her husband do it. If they need religion (or a blogger) to tell them who does what, the marriage is not thriving, and more rules will not improve things.

By Patty Newbold

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.

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