How do you get your husband to do things?

scarlett2001September 17, 2007

Our grass is always long and shaggy, the front porch rails are half painted, the two broken windows will soon let in the cold and rain , etc. etc. I'm not the nagging type and he won't hire a handyman. Any creative ideas??

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This is a tough one for me, too, though my husband would spend money we don't have to hire someone to do the stuff he has no interest in doing. Does your husband have the TIME to do this stuff and just not the interest? Or is no time the issue? Do you have young kids that require looking after which means it is hard to find an opportunity to get this stuff done?

How about making a list of just a few things that NEED to get done. Be honest about not wanting to nag, but state the importance of certain things regarding health and safety (broken windows!!) Offer to help and spend time together-- he cuts the grass while you paint the rails, etc... have some cocktails and make it be some enjoyable home improvement time. Then say "wow, we've done a lot... let's just hire someone to replace the windows!!"

I wish I could be more creative for you. My husband does very little in terms of stuff around the house. I do it all. Sometimes it doesn't bother me (he works outside the home; I'm a stay-at-home mom) and other times it REALLY gets to me. Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 10:12PM
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Hi Scarlett

Tricky situation, I think planning a working bee, together, might be the way to go.

Or you could turn into a handygirl and do some of it yourself.

I do all the mowing at my place, I learnt early on in the marriage, that I liked the grass to be mowed and looking nice, and that idea was not shared ! So I just did it all myself. At least then I have control over it and can have it looking nice. And get exercise at the same time !

You could get out a paint brush and start painting the front railings, you get to choose the colour, and have the wonderful satisfaction of doing a good job.

Perhaps this isn't what you want to hear. I do agree its tricky to get the old man motivated into doing things around the house. But really I don't think they see things the way that we do. I try not to let it bother me, but then with women's lib and all, why can't we do the jobs ourselves!

Good luck.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 10:43PM
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Usually if I get started, he'll help, or even take over if he's afraid I won't do it as well as he'd like. I'd start painting those porch rails (mowing the lawn) one Saturday when he's sitting in front of the television. If he doesn't help, well, at least you'll get it done.

If it's something I can't do, like install new windows, he'll do it if I threaten to hire somebody. I'm not much of a nag either since he works a lot more hours than I. Tell him that the windows need to be replaced before cold weather hits and let him know you'll call around next week to get bids and schedule the work.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 3:38AM
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I'm a lot like Bunglogrl...and am "lucky" the DH (And by that time the D doesn't mean DEAR) is so "Macho" he can't let ME finish so he takes over (he hasn't figured it out in 24 years, YES I love that testosterone!!!)...or I'll hire someone. I don't really give him the choice of do or don't do...and I'll fight him on it. It's you do, I'll do (if I can and have the time..and am willing...or I'll hire someone to do and you can be embarassed. DO I care if I "embarasse" him...he11 no, he can get off his a$$ and help...I didn't marry him to be a servent. He learned this long ago, and is actually VERY good--usually and NOW. Our problem is more he gets his "weekend plan of accomplishments" and has plans for me...while I've done the same for myself, and they're different than his (because he didn't consult me with "his plans for me"...he's still learning there).


    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 7:31AM
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I always kill my husband with kindness when I want him to do something. I learned that he is much more receptive to my requests when I am really nice about it. I used to nag him and bother him about it, but it didn't really work. Then I watched a friend approach her husband in a nicer way, and it worked wonders!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 12:32PM
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speaking from teh husband's side, i agree with emmhip. if my wife TELLS me i need to do soemthing, i almost never do it. if she asks me to do it, or even casually mentions that it needs to be done, then i usually get on it soon.

there are tons of things to be done around our house, and honestly most of the time if we have the TIME to do it we don't have the MONEY, and if we have the MONEY we don't have the TIME.

for example, since we bought the house 3 years ago she has expressed her desire to have heat in the bathroom. our tub/shower/toilet area is seperated from the sinks/closet area by a door and has no HVAC duct. we have an exhaust vent, but no heat in there. we normally leave the door open, so it is close to the same temp as the rest of the bath but still a little chilly when you step out of the shower! anyway, back in Feb when we got our tax refund we bought a bunch of stuff to fix up the house. MOST of it has sat around and been done as i have time. This weekend i FINALLY got the last thing done, swapping out the vent light for a heat/vent/light. she thanked me rather well for it too!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 2:05PM
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I work, he's "retired". Sure, I could do it all myself- but why the heck should I? I already work and take care of the house, paint all the interior, pay the bills, clean the carpets, etc. etc. And I am getting tired of being so doesn't work. Maybe a big two-by-four would get his attention. Oops, that would be assault..maybe I could get a trial by my peers, other wives.

Sometimes I think we have liberated ourselves into a corner...we get to do all our stuff and theirs, too.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 3:32PM
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Frankly I think this is too much small stuff to bother sweating about. Why waste all that time and energy and being frustrated trying to get your husband to do those things when you can either do it yourself or hire people to do them for you? You don't need your husband to hire a neighborhood kid to cut the lawn every week or so. You don't need your husband to hire a handyman, either. I'd just tell him that on such and such a date, I'm calling a lawn service and handyman unless the work has already been done. Then just do it. That simple.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2007 at 4:51PM
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Good point, meghane. Scarlett, it sounds like you're just not going to get what you want from him on this one. As I see it you have two choices (not necessarily mutually exclusive):

1) Talk to a therapist about your communication and lingering resentments and see if there are deeper issues you need to explore.

2) Let this one go, and, as meghane suggested, just hire someone. If the cost upsets him, perhaps that will be the motivation for him to pitch in.

This vaguely reminds me of the issue that became a huge wedge for my husband and me during our first year of marriage: housework. I was satisfied with the level of neatness/cleanliness that I kept our place, but he never was. Ever. We tried and tried to work it out, but even things that initially seemed like workable plans ended up back at the same place. Our solution? A housekeeper. Even in our tiny newlywed apartment. Every other week he knew he could look forward to the place being top-to-bottom spotless, and I didn't stress out that my cleaning wouldn't be good enough. Sometimes hiring the help is the answer.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2007 at 10:47PM
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Guess I can't help you either. If there's something around the house that needs doing, that I cannot do myself (and believe me, I do a lot of the work you've listed), I simply ask hy husband politely, and he generally gets to the chore in a day or a few.

Truthfully, I think the work that you say needs doing is far less important than the fact that you seem to be saying you have a very one-sided marriage to a husband who doesn't seem interested in pulling his own weight. A question--has he had a physical lately? Could there be a physical reason for his apparent lack of energy? Or, since he's retired, any chance he could be feeling a little useless and maybe depressed? I really think I'd prioritize here and work on repairing his health/the marriage before I worried about the porch railings peeling. You can always hire a kid in the neighborhood to paint them for a few $$$

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 7:43PM
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The way I get my husband to do things is I start doing them myself.The leader in him sees I'm doing it wrong and wants to take over.Also,once he sees me doing it,he suddenly realizes how much he wants it done too.Then he gets really motivated and takes over the whole project.
I guess he's just really impressionable.Cuz he's like that with alot of things.If I'm eating pizza,you can bet in 5 minutes he is going to be eating it too.If I say I'm tired,he suddenly needs to go to bed.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 11:07AM
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Now some of you are making excuses for him. He took early retirement, so he's not old and he plays 18 holes of golf twice a week, so he's not feeble, either. Depressed? No, more like BUTT LAZY. There is no deep seated Freudian scenario going on here, he just needs to get his behind out of the recliner.

He told me last night that his previous wife had the same problem with him so they made a bargain: now get this! she would trade sexual favors for chores he did- and they had an actual system - one type of favor equaled one type of chore, etc.

I don't feel that our sex life (which, by the way, is the best and most successful part of the marriage) should be reduced to currency. There's a word for that: prostitution.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2007 at 1:09AM
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A actual system? you are kidding me.
When I stayed at home I did all the housework and outside work (except anything like replacing windows or anything technical like that) One reason was no way was I going to let him anywhere near all of my plants and flowers with a mower (hydrangea bushes DO NOT look like weeds thank you very much)
Now that I am back to work I am to tired to care if he accidently mows something that is going to grow back anyway, okay he has mowed down my Ostrich ferns until I am doubtful they will ever come back and he got some of my Hollyhocks but that is a small price to pay as far as I am concerned, he even helps with the housework, and he works 12 hour shifts to my 8 hour day! granted he has 3 days off a week and I only get a day and a 1/2, but I still sometimes feel guilty that he does do so much around the house compared to myself.
This to me sounds just like you state... Laziness and I doubt if you are going to change this, lazy people do not care what the yard or house looks like and the only one that is bothered by the way it looks is yourself (well and possibly the neighbors if you have any) I couldn't deal and I am afraid I would shoot off my mouth, saying things that I would regret later.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2007 at 2:46AM
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Sexual favors! I'd be insulted for him just mentioning you should have to do that.Sometimes my husband will say he'll do it for (fill in the blank with sexual favor) but it is said as a joke.If he was ever serious I'd tell him to get real.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2007 at 3:26PM
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For regular household chores, things in our house sort of just get done when they need to get done. We both have things that we tend to do -- he waters the garden, scoops the cat box, takes out the trash, and usually loads the dishwasher, whereas I do more of the general tidying of each room (he's better if he's given a specific task; if I told him to "clean the living room", he'd have no clue). Usually every week or two we jointly clean the entire house, which involves mopping floors, scrubbing toilets, and all that stuff -- realistically, I do the lions share of that work, but he tries his best.

One thing that has made housework a little more fun for us is this thing called Chore Wars -- if your husband (or kids) is into D&D or other roleplaying games, it's a way to track your chores, and gain "experience" while doing it. My husband and I compete to gain more points than the other, and right now he's beating me :( Because my husband is such a geek, though, he's been so willing to do chores lately, just to be able to enter them into this Chore Wars thing, so I love it.

As far as household maintenance type stuff, like fixing things, generally hubbie asks me what our plans are for the weekend. I tell him if I think we need to work on anything special, and if he's noticed anything that needs attention, he'll add it in. We also keep a list up on the fridge of things that need to be done, and try to knock off 1 or 2 of those regularly. I'm very lucky that my husband is always very willing to pitch in and do his fair share -- I try to return the favor by making sure that he has plenty of his own time on the weekend to do what he wants (play video games, watch TV, whatever).

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 7:10PM
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i bring up calling a professional and that costs money. or i offer to do it myself. either way, this motivates my husband. but be ready to follow through ... good luck!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 10:40PM
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